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Internet Murder Revenge Fantasy is a first-hand look at growing up online

As a transgender girl growing up in the American Midwest, childhood was a lonely experience for me. I was still questioning so much of who I was, and at the time, there weren’t many resources out there to help me work through it. Transfeminist literature like Julia Serano’s Whipping Girl (2007) had yet to be published, and I had to resort to older and more colloquial narratives instead, like a 1998 book a mother wrote about her daughter’s transition titled Mom, I Need to Be a Girl. Finding myself in a real-world culture that was unwilling to talk about LGBT issues for…

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Behold the Berserk composer’s lost cyberpunk anthem

With last week’s announcement that the renowned, metal-as-fuck series Berserk would return later this year, it brought to mind some of the genre’s most austere compositions. “Theme of Guts”, named after Berserk’s main character, is a sedate, moving electro-vapor hymn from composer Susumu Hirasawa. Not only is it the show’s emotional cornerstone, but it holds up astoundingly well, even all these years later. The same goes for most of Hirasawa’s stuff (the guy was a rock pioneer long before he became an anime composer), but few tracks of his are as bonkers—or frankly, as genius—as his monstrous jam “TOWN-0 PHASE-5.”…

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Sir Michael Rocks’ new video is an anime come to life

Japanese culture and hip-hop have a long relationship, from the genre’s mid-90s kung-fu obsession to Kanye’s mid-oughts evocation of Japanese pop art up through its current commingling in the very production of Drake’s ubiquitous “Hotline Bling.” The Chicago emcee Sir Michael Rocks has always been a nerd, but in his new video “In My Mode” he goes the full cosplay: it’s essentially a three-minute homage to modern shonen anime. The first half is a back-alley brawl, all close-ups of eyes and stylized violence, recalling Akame Ga Kill and Sword Art Online. The rematch takes place in an open field, and is…

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It’s Sailor Moon vs. the Devil in this horror story about pre-internet queerdom

Growing up as a queer kid in a rural, religious area can be a challenge. As you’re shuffled from church event to church event, it can be easy to feel stifled, especially if your folks are the evangelical type. Certain types of media can provide a momentary escape from that, such as the bombastic view into another culture that is anime, but in the end, it always seems like you lose a bit of yourself to the darkest part of a society that makes you feel like you have to hide who you really are. We Know the Devil, a…

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Explore the dense world of Spirited Away in 8-bit theater

“I do believe in the power of story. I believe that stories have an important role to play in the formation of human beings, that they can stimulate, amaze and inspire their listeners.” – Hayao Miyazaki The above quote could easily apply to any of the stories woven by Miyazaki and his animation studio, Studio Ghibli, which have been formative to so many people across the globe. Visual artists in particular have used the storyteller’s colorful worlds to inform their own original work and tributes. From woodblock prints to art nouveau, artists have translated the Japanese filmmaker’s stories into other…