Four Romantic Animated Shorts Worth Checking Out

Lately I’ve been finding myself drawn more and more to different animation styles and animations from different countries, particularly those from different countries and cultures. I’ve been on a mission to branch out my love of animation beyond Japanese anime and so have started to compile a list of the romantic shorts I like the most. You can find these across the internet, ranging in length from 4 minutes to 12 minutes, but I generally say anything around or less than 15 minutes is what I would consider a short. Going over that amount of time and you’re getting close to a full length cartoon episode. These are animations which display story, creative animation, and great directing in a very short amount of time. Those that have made it onto this list display some or all of these features to create a well-crafted story or message in a small package. Feel free to check out any that interest you and let me know what you thought in the comments below! Continue reading

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How American Romance Comics Died a Slow Death and No One Seemed to Care

As a lover and reviewer of romance in all forms, it became acutely apparent to me that there seemed to be a dearth of romance comics geared specifically toward women in the American marketplace. However, when you look at the success of the romance paperback market which has total fiction market share of 34 percent and an estimated total sales value of 1.08 million in 2013 this fact seems a little strange. It’s not that women don’t read comics either since GraphicPolicy points to women comic fans outnumbering men under 18 and among the older demographic time after time. What I have seen though is a lot of young girls around high school age turn to manga where Japanese publishers have fostered an industry focused specifically on the female market. It isn’t an altogether uncommon sight to see many girls sitting on the floor of a Barnes and Noble, thumbing through the newest manga featuring high school girls just like them discovering love and relationships. But still, where are the romance comics from an American perspective, and why aren’t mainstream publishers capitalizing on this demographic? The more I looked into it, the more I found that at one point in time American romance comics used to be, and in some cases still are, the most popular comics ever sold. So what happened? Continue reading

Blog Announcement/Update

Hi All!

I don’t know how many of you follow the Facebook page, but if you do, I’m sure you saw that I would be posting a surprise sometime this week. Well the surprise is the introduction of a new category for this blog: Long Form!

Since a few months ago I was writing an article once a month for the website Girls Like Comics. However, due to some technical trouble that website is now offline. Until such time as it comes back and all articles are restored, the pieces that were published on that platform will appear here! I’d hate for anything I wrote for everyone to go unread, so I’m bringing these long form articles back home for all of you again. I’m planning a few more longer articles as well, and I’ll let you know where to find them when the time comes.

Have a great rest of the weekend! The next review will be posting tomorrow!

~Allison

A Girl on the Shore Manga Review

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From the creator of Oyasumi Punpun, Inio Asano brings us a story of adolescent love, sex, and mental illness between two middle school friends. Originally published in Manga Erotics F, it was picked up for western publication by Vertical where they released all 20 chapters in one omnibus version. I honestly haven’t had to chance to check out Punpun for myself yet, but if it’s anything like A Girl on the Shore, I’m excited to see what kind of story Asano crafts and what kind of art he presents us with. After reading this manga, I almost want to say that this was what I was looking for when I went into Scum’s Wish, a gritty story about casual sex between two people who have a relationship complicated by fear and mental illness. And, while it doesn’t hold back on its displays of sex and exploration, I never felt like these scenes were there purely for our titillation rather they acted as a key component in our understanding of these two juvenile’s relationship to themselves and each other.

A Girl on the Shore follows the lives of two middle school students, Koume and Keisuke, as they develop a relationship based around casual sex and the need for something more. Koume looks to Keisuke as a rebound companion after the playboy Misaki loses interest in her, but soon finds herself enjoying their time together. Keisuke has confessed his love for Koume multiple times before, and agrees to help her get over the self-involved Misaki, but things quickly become clouded as the anniversary of his brother’s suicide fast approaches.

Continue reading

The Place Promised in Our Early Days Anime Film Review

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The Place Promised in our Early Days is something I saw years ago but completely forgot about until I was rewatching it earlier. I also completely forgot it is a Makoto Shinkai piece, which is fairly embarrassing, and watching it again — after seeing his most recent work Your Name — has given me a much better idea of the kinds of films Shinkai likes to create. Produced in 2004, this film was Shinkai’s directorial debut and was the first time he worked with a full team and large-scale funding. Compared to Voices of a Distant Star, his other major work before this one, you can tell just how much just having a team and adequate funding can mean for a project. With high-quality animation, a great sci-fi mixed story, and skilled direction The Place Promised in Our Early Days becomes a breathtaking movie about friendship, promises, and tragedy.

The film begins with a look at a Japan split in two after Hokkaido was taken over by the Soviet Union. A large, mysterious tower in the center of the northern island looms over the rest of Japan, making the rest of the world question its purpose. Is it a weapon or some sort of machine used to study something? Three friends, Hiroki, Takuya, and Sayuri, are drawn to this tower and make a promise to fly there one day on the plane they are secretly building. But when Sayuri suddenly disappears and war begins edging ever closer, their promise is soon forgotten. That is until the area around the tower begins to disappear. Continue reading