Losing Control of Your Strengths [OWLS September Blog Tour: Self-Care]

Being highly skilled at something makes us feel good. It's a confident boost. It's a skill that we can consistently do and know that the outcome will be positive more often than not. Recognizing our strengths, and also recognizing the limits of our strengths, is an important part of self-care that sometimes gets left out, overpowered by the images of hot springs, amazing scented oils, and snuggly blankets to hide in that the term self-care often evokes. The anime This Boy is a Professional Wizard (Kono Danshi, Mahou ga Oshigoto Desu) does a beautiful job of addressing this element of self-care...

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The Magic of Hands-on Learning [OWLS July Blog Tour: Mentor]

Not every mentor is spectacular, but sometimes we come across one that is out of this world. Today, I'm writing about an out-of-this-world teacher from pop culture who never fails the kids she's in charge of educating: Ms. Frizzle of The Magic School Bus...

Variations on Tropes and Themes: Competition in Anime [OWLS February Blog Tour: Competition]

I have an embarrassing problem: I can’t help but love tropes. Yes, I even enjoy many of the tired ones like high schoolers putting on a gender-swapped play or two or more characters swapping minds. It’s just such a delight to see the unique twists and theme combinations that authors and creators throw into less-than-unique content and see my favorite story types retold over and over again. Let’s explore the differences that theme combinations can make in repetitive story elements by looking at tropes centered around the theme of competition...

Dramatical Murder and Rap Music: How Pop Culture Raises Awareness for Mental Health [OWLS September Blog Tour: Treasure]

What if I told you that the Dramatical Murder anime and music artist Logic have something in common? On the surface, the two seem entirely different, one being an animated narrative based on a visual novel and the other, a rap artist. Although dissimilar in many ways, these two pop culture artifacts help to bring awareness to mental health concerns such as depression and suicide...

Family Dynamics in Gravity Falls [OWLS August Blog Tour: Bloodlines]

Everyone has their own experience with and definition of family –some positive, some negative. In the media, however, we often only see certain portrayals such as a positive family with one mom, one dad, and children, or a broken family who all work together to change their ways in the end. In his hit animated series Gravity Falls, Alex Hirsch tackles the complicated issues that shape families and addresses the fact that not all families are ideal, but that doesn't make them bad...