Welcome to a new series for the blog: “My Top Obsessions from this Month” (title still under construction). This came about after some consideration on the nature of my blog and what I really want to talk about. I love having a blog specifically dedicated to Romance and all the anime, manga, and comics that fall under that genre, but there are times when I want to gush about other things. Well I figured I’d create this little space for myself to talk about some of the things I’ve fallen in love with on a monthly basis (to be published on the last day of every month), to give me the space to step away from the romance genre for a little bit and give everyone some more exposure to different things and myself the space to gush about various things on my mind. For this month I’ve included sections for manga/comics, books, TV shows/Movies, Podcasts, and youtube channels. Let me know in the comments if you also are obsessing over these things or have anything in particular that you’re currently obsessing over.
The Girl from the Other Side Volume 7
The Girl from the Other Side: Siúil, a Rún has to be one of my favorite manga series to come out recently. The series was created by Nagabe and the English translation is published by Seven Seas, which has recently been on the leading edge in terms of manga licensing. The most recent volume, volume 7, just recently came out this past month and it’s another stunning read. I really could gush about this manga all day, and I highly recommend checking it out, especially now that the OVA was announced (which also looks fantastic).
The series is this fantastical look at this world where humans are being infected with this disease or curse that causes them to turn into half-human, half-animal, all black monsters. Anyone found to be cursed or even thought to have been in contact with anyone that is cursed are promptly killed or forced out of the community. Humanity has proceeded to band together in the face of this curse, creating a walled community, where anyone found to be outside the wall are called “outsiders” and is generally considered cursed. The story follows a young girl who is thought to be immune to the curse is sought after by insiders and outsiders alike for her “pure soul.” The whole manga reads and feels like a Grimm fairy tale, and the art certainly supports this, with its very whimsical look, lacking much of the high detail commonly found in manga. I’m constantly drawn back to this series as it’s not really something I can say I’ve seen in manga form ever before. Be sure to check it out if you can!
The Wicked + The Divine
The Wicked + The Divine just finished off its long-running series with the release of issue #45. I’ve been following the series since its release in 2014, trying to stay on top of each new issue release. But I have to admit, I dropped off on keeping up with it over the last couple years mostly due to the huge inundation of manga and other things I’ve been involved in over the years. However, with the release of it’s final issue this past month, I’ve made a commitment to finally catch up with this series and finally finish it. Luckily each issue has been collected into trades and the last trade is set to come out this week. I absolutely can’t wait, and if you’ve been sleeping on this series, please consider checking it out especially if you have an interest in mythology, music, and supernatural drama.
Basically, the series follows the fall-out of the world’s most recent reincarnation event, where 12 people are born as the reincarnations of Gods and go on to become huge influences in pop culture and music around the world. But after 2 years in the spotlight, they die, and aren’t reincarnated for another 90 years. It’s a really interesting story that takes a look at the price of fame and power and how much people hold up celebrities and stars as actual idols or gods. The characters are great and the plot twists and turns in some really interesting directions. The series is published by Image, and is written by Kieron Gillen who has also done DIE (another great series) and has worked on a ton of Marvel properties. Jamie McKelvie does the art and it is stunning. Be sure to check it out!
“Cougar Town” (2009-2015)
Even though this is a very old series, running from 2009-2015, I had a really strong desire to watch it again earlier this month after I was pretty much couch-bound for a day or two from a bad migraine. I had watched this show a long time ago back in college around the same time that “Community” was airing. It aired on the same channel and even had a crossover episode where Abed appeared in the background as an extra. I absolutely love this series and find that is a great mindless comedy, sit-com to watch when I just want to cheer myself up or turn my brain off for a little while.
The series follows a group of 40-somethings who all live together in a cul de sac of a town in Florida. Two of these 40-somethings are recently divorced and are having trouble getting back into the dating scene, overcoming their past relationships, and body-image issues that stem from growing older. While some of these characters date much younger partners for part of the series, that doesn’t last long and we see new relationships form. I absolutely love the characters in this series as they all interact really well together and produce some of the funniest comedy since “Community.”
Me and My Shadows: A Family Memoir by Lorna Luft
I’ve always had an interest in the history and stories of the early 20th century, from the creation of the comic book industry in the 1920-30s to the expansion of Hollywood in the 1940s and 50s. Just recently, I was listening to a podcast about the life and history of Judy Garland and all the harassment and drug abuse she faced while being a child star in Hollywood and it really got me interested to learn more. Luckily, my library had quite a few biographies about Judy Garland, and I wound up reading one written by her daughter Lorna Luft that turned out to be very good.
Judy Garland is most famous for her work as a teen star in The Wizard of Oz and quickly rose to international fame for that role, but what a lot of people don’t know is what happened to her later in life and how the effects of that role and being a child star affected her throughout her life. Being a child star back then was a lot different than it is now. For one thing, there was a lot less regulation. Combine that with very little research around drugs, particularly the effects of methamphetamines, and you get child stars that are forced to take uppers to get through tapings and then downers to be able to sleep at night. Garland was exposed to this throughout her career and formed a dependence that stayed with her throughout her life and was ultimately the cause of her death.
Luft’s biography goes into her mother’s life both before and after she started working in Hollywood and the stage, detailing her and her father’s struggles with Garland’s pill dependence and personality. The book also goes into how her mother’s legacy has affected her own career, Garland’s fame casting a shadow over her own efforts to get work on the stage and big screen. The book wound up being a really interesting look into the lives of Hollywood stardom and just how much drugs played an integral role in many stars’ lives.
When Brooklyn was Queer by Hugh Ryan
I get a lot of free books working in my industry, which is both a blessing and a curse, since now I have so many books I feel I need to read. When Brooklyn was Queer was just one of these books that is published by a sister company of mine and as such I got the chance to take home a free copy at work. But I didn’t just take this one home because it was free, I legitimately thought the concept of the book sounded interesting. This nonfiction title delves into the history of queer and lgbtq people in Brooklyn from the late 19th century to the 20th century, how Brooklyn has evolved over time, and how that has effected queer culture in that area.
I haven’t gotten all the way through the book yet, but do have a good impression from the first two chapters I’ve read so far. The first chapter takes a look at the life of queer poets and writers who spent part of their life in Brooklyn such as Walt Whitman and Alice Ruth Dunbar Nelson. It also looks at how the economic development of the area helped support the lives of many queer women and people of color, including the building of the Brooklyn Bridge. The book delves into a lot of areas and many different people, even taking a look at the gender non-conforming people most often seen as female or male impersonaters on the stage or in acting troops of the time. It’s been really interesting for me so far to read that far back into the past about something I definitely don’t have enough knowledge of.
Cartoon Cipher is one of the few anitubers that I get legitimately excited for when they come out with a video. Their content is always insightful and backed with knowledge that can only come from having experience in the industry and cultural knowledge that comes from actually living in Japan. They also take the time to talk to industry insiders, do their research, and make sure each video is presented in the best way possible. You can really feel the care they put into their work, and I look forward to every video that comes out.
Cartoon Cipher has done a ton of work examining the nuts and bolts of the animation work being done behind the scenes of a lot of shows, especially when it comes to 3D use in animation. They’ve also done a ton of videos on the anime Dubbing industry that I would highly recommend. The most recent video, “Are English Dubs Censoring Anime?”, has a lot of great points and information regarding how dubs are created and the ins and outs of the translation process and common localization issues.
Are you a student of philosophy or modern media, or both? Well Wisecrack combines these two things together to examine our favorite media in a philosophical or psychological lens. They take shows and movies like Office Space, Harry Potter, Fight Club, ect and dig into what makes them good or bad and what these pieces of media have to say about our modern world, political climate, or the current psychology of the day. I love it when one of these videos pops up on my subscriptions list because they always provide a really unique and almost academically leaning view on our modern media, something I have a huge interest in. But their use of philosophy or psychology isn’t relegated to academic jargon, they manage to break it down well enough in simple terms for their audience to understand. It really is a fun channel if you enjoy deeper dives into popular series.
“The Stuff They Don’t Want You To Know”
Do you love learning about conspiracy theories or are interested in current events that tend to baffle or confuse those involved? “The Stuff They Don’t Want Your To Know” podcast looks into these areas of current and past events, discussing various newsworthy stories that may have some hidden secrets going on behind the scenes and discuss the theories and conspiracies behind these events. Recent podcasts have covered the death of Jeffrey Epstein; Church Burning, Metal, and Scandinavian ‘Satanists’; and the protests currently happening in Hong Kong.
I personally love learning about the weird or the slightly out-there stories not usually talked about. I’ve fallen in love with a lot of paranormal podcasts, podcasts about cults and family secrets, and ghost stories. “The Stuff They Don’t Want You To Know” mostly try to connect their episodes to current events or recent media releases or phenomena and then start digging into the history, theories, and conspiracy-ridden stories behind these events. Did Epstein really commit suicide? What’s the connection between metal music in Scandinavia and a rash of church burnings? The three hosts have a really nice conversational style that manages to stay fairly light-hearted even as they talk about difficult subjects. I highly recommend this to people who like history or conspiracy podcasts.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to find out that you have a serial killer in your family? Or wondered about the family behind some of the most famous serial killers? Well “Happy Face” takes a look at the family of one of the most well-known serial killers in America, the happy face killer Keith Hunter Jesperson, who murdered at least 8 women in the United States during the early 1990’s. His daughter now takes a look at the history of her family before and after she learned that her father was a serial killer and how she is currently struggling with the fear she may become like her father.
The podcast is full of stories from her childhood as she looks back at the moments of the past and wonders how she never noticed the truth. She also fills the podcast with interviews with family members and friends as they remember who her father was and how he treated those around them. She then takes a look at the cat and mouse chase between her father and the police as he left taunting messages for them to find, his signature happy face often accompanying them. I highly recommend this series for those fans of true crime and family drama.
This podcast takes a look at some of the weirdest and most well known hysterias that have ever made their way through the United States and abroad. It examines the influence of the media, religion, and fear mongering that let such hysterias as the Satanic Panic, the Halloween Candy Panic, and the fear of the Illuminati spread through the nation. The host takes a very multi-faceted approach to her research, compiling differing theories and histories from various sources including psychology, old interviews, and news stories. She also conducts interviews with people who were closely involved those panics or experts who can provide a more expansive look at the subject.
I love this series and wound up binging huge chunks of the podcast during and after work while reading or writing. It’s really interesting to take a look at these different urban legends and fears that were spreading through the US and how they were started or influenced by different things. I particularly like her two part series on the Satanic Panic that looks at how parents and law-makers thought there was some sort of underground Satanic worshiping cults in America, particularly in daycare centers, that targeted children. She also has a really interesting episode on the history and panic around clowns and why we fear them so much. I would highly suggest this podcast to those history buffs and fans of urban legends or students of psychology.
~~Thanks For Reading!~~
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