gensoumaden saiyuki (幻想魔伝 最遊記)


oh boy, where do i even start with this? the saiyuki series has been a love of mine for literally more than twenty years. i started watching the first series, gensoumaden, when i was maybe eight or nine. the story follows an unlikely party: an alcoholic, cigarette smoking priest named genjo sanzo, a quiet and sweet but troubled healer named cho hakkai, a lady-chasing gambler named sha gojyo, and an incredibly destructive and food mativated child named son goku as they journey west to stop the resurrection of a 500-year dead demon lord. it's based on the 400+ year old chinese legend xiyou ji, or journey to the west. obviously, this series takes an extraordinary amount of liberties with the source material.

the show starts out rough. it had an extremely limited budget and the first few episodes were more like animatics than actual anime. but my god, the writing is phenomenal. i haven't watched any of this since i was around twelve or thirteen, and recently mads and i decided to watch it together! they're really enjoying it, which i'm thrilled about. it's been really fun. :) we're about half-way through the first series (it's 50 episodes long) and i'm sooooo excited to get into the next series like reload and gunlock. i have to say, i lost track of the manga and i'm really not sure if they ever made it to the west. i guess we'll have to watch and find out.

my new boss is goofy (新しい上司はど天然, atarashii jōshi wa do tennen)


ok, i'm a sucker for a cute anime. i can't help it. i love horror, i love the weird and obscure, but sometimes i just want to sit down and watch some goddamn fluff.

momose kentaro is a sweet little guy who suffered power harrassment (verbal/physical/emotional abuse) at his former job, and boy did it traumatize him. finally motivated to quit, he finds new work at an ad agency where his new boss, shirosaki yuusei, is a stoic bimbo that does nothing but love and support him. it's got a delightful cast of side characters, and over twelve episodes we watch momose slowly but surely heal from his trauma through friendship and a cute lil kitty.

that said, it is 150% queerbait, which is a little icky. there are multiple scenes where you think the characters might be about to confess their love, but it never happens, and they absolutely are riding on that. i'm trashy, though, and i ship them anyway.

i recommend it if you need a little pick me up, especially if you're someone who needs to get or has just gotten out of a shitty work situation.

skinamarink (2002) dir. kyle edward ball


i'm gonna start this out by saying i know this was a contentious film. and for a lot of people, i totally understand why it was just two hours of staring at dark corners. for me, though, it was a terrifying experience.

as a kid, i was afraid of literally everything. every shadowy corner hid some demon that was going to kill me in the most nightmarish way possible. the dark itself seemed like a tangible presence that was waiting to close its jaws around me. waking up in the middle of the night, alone in the dark, was something i dreaded and something that happened pretty often. i would just lay awake, hoping i would fall asleep again quickly before i saw something horrific. if i had to pee, i would really seriously weigh the pros and cons of making my way down that dark hallway.

skinamarink perfectly captured that awful (and neurotic) childhood fear within the first five minutes. the static shots of everyday objects in the dark were so reminiscent of time spent awake at night, staring at the walls, terrified of nothing. i spent the rest of the movie white-knuckling my couch's arm rest. the worst part of it, i think, was the anticipation of knowing that something awful was going to happen to these poor children but not when.

i'm not going to delve into the theories about this film, its secret meaning or what metaphors it might have. i'm just going to say that, against my expectations, it has become one of my all-time favorite horror movies. i recommend it wholly, if you think it's the kind of movie for you. that said, if you're squeamish about bad things happening to kids, you absolutely need to avoid it. i've seen a LOT of horror movies in my lifetime and it was still pretty upsetting in that regard.