I Wish I Had Steven Universe Growing Up

*MAJOR SPOILERS FOR THE MOST RECENT EPISODE OF STEVEN UNIVERSE – READ AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION.

Self-love is a difficult thing to teach. Try as we may, at the end of the day it is up to that person to decide whether they love themself or not. However, in our current social climate, we are constantly bombarded with advertisements and social media influencers telling us that we need to look and act a specific way in order to live a successful, fulfilling life, which can make self-love a challenge to achieve. Although these advertisers tell us that it is important to be our most “authentic” selves, the images attached to them are almost always an idealized version of what the authentic self is supposed to be. This is especially hazardous for children in the pre-teen to teenage demographic because they are very impressionable at that age, and it is already so hard to figure out how to “fit in” once their bodies start going through drastic changes.

When I was 14 years old, I certainly did not love myself in the slightest. I wasn’t a “cool” girl, my clothes were baggy, my hair was frizzier than that of an 80s aerobics instructor, and I was starting to notice some… interesting developments in my sexuality. I too suffered from gazing longingly at alternative magazines and thinking that my life would be perfect, if only I had stick straight locks, expensive garments and a cute boyfriend by my side, just like the models and celebrities did. If only I were one of these people. Self-love was always just a bit out of reach for me.

When Steven Universe aired its most recent special titled Change Your Mind, I came to a realization: Steven Universe is the most important children’s cartoon of this generation. Of course, this is just my opinion, but the message that I have always received from Rebecca Sugar’s passion project is one that no other show has ever taught me, not even in my own adolescent years – and that is to love myself because I am me.Read More »

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The Legacy of Stephen Hillenburg

I heard the news on my way to work last week. I was on the train, mindlessly scrolling through Twitter as usual, when I saw that Nickelodeon had posted something much less cheerful than their usual real-time content. It read: “We are sad to hear of the news of the passing of Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of SpongeBob SquarePants. Today, we are observing a moment of silence to honor his life and work.” The tweet was surrounded by yellow heart emojis. Next thing I knew, I was forcing back tears on the MTA, trying not to look like a complete basket case.

I certainly wasn’t the only person who felt this emotional upon hearing the news. Dozens upon dozens of tweets, posts and articles were being shared by the minute about the passing of the Nickelodeon veteran, from television networks and fans alike. Every single one of these posts seemed to have something in common – They were all honoring the legacy that Hillenburg had created in his simple little slice of life show about a talking yellow sea sponge who flips burgers and loves life.Read More »

Dorrie’s Anime Watchlist #1

So I recently got a freelance part-time job where I basically get paid to write and talk about anime on the internet. Sounds like a pretty rad gig, right? I must admit, it is a perfect fit for me, but because of that, most of my free time now consists of watching anime until my eyes bleed. I’ve gotta stay in the know, after all! I’ve been an anime fan ever since my baby Dorrie days of watching Pokemon and Hamtaro on the CN, but for most of my life, I’ve considered myself to be more of a casual watcher. You will definitely not be finding me bingeing 600+ episodes of Naruto and One Piece, but you most certainly will catch me shouting, “Damn, Yuno,” at my computer screen just about every five seconds while in the middle of an intense episode of Future Diary.

In the past month or so, I’ve completed at least 10 different anime. That sounds like a lot, but most anime are only about 12-26 episodes long, which makes them a breeze to complete in just a few sittings. Unfortunately, this also means that I had trouble picking one specific show to talk about for this week’s blog.

Which brings me here. I’ve decided that every couple of months, I will be compiling a “watchlist,” of anime that I am currently watching or have recently finished watching that I want to recommend to you all. There are hundreds upon thousands of shows that are accessible to viewers in the US that either have good English subtitles, or an English dub if you don’t feel like reading while you’re watching TV. Of course this means that there is a lot of pure unadulterated crap out there, and I definitely watched my fair share of crap this month, but this is supposed to be a positive blog, goddamnit, so I only want to highlight the good stuff (in my opinion, of course). So without further ado, let’s talk anime, babes.Read More »

OK K.O.! LET’S BE A MODERN CLASSIC!

One of my favorite cartoons as a wee lass was the original 1998 series, The Powerpuff Girls. I watched the show religiously, owned almost every piece of merch – hell, I think I wanted to be Buttercup when I was in nursery school (although my personality aligned a lot more with Bubbles). The show had a colorful, anime influenced style, and even more colorful characters that anyone, child or adult, could get to know and love. It was very easy to get into: it followed a “monster of the week” formula and wasn’t serialized, so you could watch just about any episode and understand what was going on. This is how most cartoons were back in the late 90s, and the kids who watched them way back then are now the ones creating new cartoons on those same children’s networks, like Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon.

But Dorrie, you may ask, why are you talking about The Powerpuff Girls when the title of this blog clearly pertains to a completely different cartoon? Well, if you must know, it is because whenever I watch an episode of OK K.O.! Let’s be Heroes, I feel this sense of nostalgia that brings me back to those days of Saturday morning cartoons like The Powerpuff Girls. I can so easily picture little baby Dorrie watching OK K.O., and enjoying it just as adult Dorrie does. I really have to thank creator Ian Jones-Quartey for this bouncy, action packed piece of media because it is filled with as much heart and soul as the cartoons that I worshipped back in the late 90s and early 2000s, emulating that same style, but with a fresh and non-cringeworthy modern twist.Read More »

What’s so Great About the Death Game

(Apologies for the lack of posting last week – I’ve recently undergone an exciting change in my life, so things have been a little busy. That’s why this week, I am ecstatic to be covering not one, but TWO of my favorite franchises. Get ready!)

To all my fellow fans of quirky, messed up Japanese murder mystery games: What a time to rejoice! If you follow me on twitter, then you know it’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of game developers Kotaro Uchikoshi and Kazutaka Kodaka, the creative minds behind the Zero Escape and Danganronpa franchises. With this knowledge, I bet you can imagine my excitement when I heard that these two creators have announced that they’re starting their own Tokyo-based company, Too Kyo Games. They have already released information about several new projects in development, including an anime, and a few different games. Along with Uchikoshi and Kodaka, several other creators from Team Danganronpa are on board with the company, so we can expect a lot of top quality content in the coming years.

Zero Escape and Danganronpa are major influences in my screenwriting work; I admire their unique approach to crafting strange, but amicable characters as well as meticulously convoluted plot twists. These games are downright sick, leaving no character safe from their malevolent “death game” narratives, no matter how lovable they are. What is a “death game,” though, and why is it such an ingenious method of horror storytelling? I’m not talking about Hollywood torture-porn gore fests like SAW (although those movies are a lot of fun after a few cocktails) but games that test the mental endurance of their players, and just how far they are willing to go for their survival. Since Zero Escape and Danganronpa are often associated with each other, I thought I would use them both as my examples for why “death games,” are so great.Read More »