This is a list blending queer media I like as a queer person or that my queer friends recommend. It’s all queer, pals. If you need warnings or want to know what I think about a specific thing, ask! Right now I just wanted to get this list out and anything else would’ve taken too much time!
Title: I Want To Be A Wall vol 1 (Honami Shirono)
Any love story aficionado will say that the key to a successful couple is intense desire for one another—but what if the characters in question are an asexual woman with a passion for Boys Love stories and a gay man whose heart forever belongs to his oblivious childhood friend? Although romance will never be in the cards for newlyweds Yuriko and Gakurouta, the bond blossoming between them promises to be a wonderful relationship—the likes of which neither has ever experienced before…
Notes: This big installment has relatively graphic descriptions of violence, my desire to do violence (it’s really bad, I want to end the villain myself), Hector remains a sex pest near the end, body horror, some death by rats, and I guess I might cuss across this. I don’t know. I wrote this all while screaming.
On the surface, it looks as if I’m having mercy on you all by doing a speedrun through the last six chapters of this book.
But I am not.
If I were to have mercy on either of us, I would make up an ending where they all died and then move on to one of the books I want to go over because of how good they are. Instead, I am consolidating the suffering… by making the few of y’all still here go through six chapters all at once because in total that’s only gonna be like 5000 words max anyway!
Last time, we left Anita panicking over whether or not the rat shifter she’d killed (the one who Hamilton had Anita posit was more Asian than Mexican apparently) had actually meant to murder or just maim her. Chapter nineteen opens with her realizing that he’d come armed with a silver knife and that validates her tearing his throat open and ripping off his arm.
I’m a huge fan of violence, but this is literally overkill. Especially because Hamilton has to justify Anita’s violence. It doesn’t, ultimately, matter if the guy had a silver knife or not because self defense is self defense. It’s wrong to stab people who haven’t done anything to you or your loved ones first.
I’m always here to be a thorn in the ass of annoying people online and right now… that’s a lot of people who view themselves as (gate) keepers of Romancelandia’s Sacred Sexy Flame.
Let’s begin with a bit of backstory:
January 25th at 7PM YouTuber Jack Edwards – whose whole thing is being a guy who reads books and then talks about them for his subscribers – tweeted the following joke using a popular meme format:
romance books: this man is so big. he is just so huge. he towers over me. all i can think about is how big he is. his arms are big. but i have to contain this feeling. we work together! yet my mind is imagining a life with mr big in all his enormousness. he is so… big.
This is “normal”. Most people writing traditional M/F romances engage in a really dramatic size difference between their hero and heroine.
Not to be Like That on main, but a huge high point of doing these sporkings is knowing that you’re all cringing along with me as I do this. There is no point where you stop cringing across a modern Anita Blake installment, no point at which it stops being concerning, sexist, racist… or all three things at once. So thank you all for suffering along with me once more.
When we last revisited Rafael, it was with a relatively short (and actually super racist) set of chapters that ended with Narcissus (who is explicitly not into women) basically promising to ignore his actual sexuality to plow Anita for the power boost feeding the ardeur supposedly will bring him and the hyena shifters.
We return, in chapter twelve, to yet another discussion of stuff we’ve rehashed a bunch of times before. This time it’s the bodyguard situation. Anita can’t go to the rat shifter fighting pits without bodyguards because she’s technically a “leader” of the shifters but if she goes there without a bodyguard someone will try to kill her.
Content Warnings: racism (specifically antiblack historical revisionism and mentions of slavery that are poorly done), transmisogyny, poor representation of intersex people
When we last cracked open Rafael, the titular character and Anita had just realized that Hector was the animal to call and/or sweetheart of a master vampire that wasn’t America’s Next Vampire King Jean-Claude.
Chapter ten picks up with Anita in Jean-Claude’s bedroom, pacing around the bed because he has beautiful, bitchy, blond Asher with him and as Anita puts it “he still wasn’t on my cuddling list”. Mind you, she went to Jean-Claude for comfort but because she can’t communicate worth a damn and say “hey Asher, can you keep to one side of the orgy bed please? I’m still mad at you for not communicating to my specifications”, no cuddles for her.
When we last left Anita and her unwieldy polycule + Claudia and Benito, they were being homophobic as hell over one challenger to Rafael’s throne (the hella homophobic Nestor) and Rafael just dropped the bombshell that another, Hector, might be his long lost son. This, by the way, should be impossible as born-shifters are incredibly unlikely because of Hamilton’s own worldbuilding.
Either they kill the human mother partway through gestation and work sort of like a chestburster… or the shifter mother shifts during the full moon early on and just… has a period. It’s only recently (the Las Vegas book) where we found out that tiger shifters can “take pregnant women’s beasts” so they don’t shift and miscarry at any point. They only just started teaching other shifters how to do that.
This is the full version of Junji Ito’s interview and the entire set of questions and answers I sent to him that you all were able to read in October’s second Fan Service column Why Horror Fans Love Being Scared. I’ve been a Junji Ito fan from the moment that I learned that horror manga existed and it was an incredible honor to interview him!
I’d like to thank Ito-sensei for answering my questions and sharing his insight! I’d also like to thank Chantelle and VIZ for making this happen as well as for giving me permission to share the interview in full! Please go treat yourself to Sensor after you read the full interview, and of course, go shout about it on social media!
You’ve been working in horror for over thirty years, with new fans coming to your work every year thanks to international translations like your Frankenstein adaptation and Sensor. Do you think of your work as “timeless” and if so, what do you believe contributes to that feeling in your work?
I mean this in the nicest way possible (which is still a bit mean, I know), but Anita really does need to do some heavy work to unpack her issues without unloading them onto other people. Across the series, Anita has increasingly used the language of therapy to get around certain issues with their relationships. There are all of these moments where the different characters make a point of going “we’re in therapy now” or “so and so is trying to work out their issues in therapy”.
But then it’s like… never effective?
Asher has been in therapy for half of his appearances and yet, he’s still really not able to handle the fact that he’s not Jean Claude and Anita’s main man or that Micah isn’t interested in him or that he still has extensive scarring from being tortured like 300 years ago.
Anita is in therapy for every single thing under the sun and yet chapter six still opens with her anxieties over relationships and stress over her not having the love she thought she’d have… all over holding Rafael’s hand and walking with him in-step.
Content notes for mentions of sexual coercion (sort of) and domestic violence.
When we last left Rafael, Anita and co had emptied out the communal showers in the Circus – Jean Claude’s underground lair and the least hidden daytime resting place for a vampire in the history of the genre. For this block of chapters? We’re still at the damn showers.
Content notes: I talk about sexual assault and metaphysical and emotional manipulation leading to such.
We’re all here because I have ongoing issues with the Anitaverse but lack the common sense necessary to stop reading the series even though it has actually repeatedly set off some of my bad brain stuff. As for issues… well, they’re largely things like Nathaniel basically bullying Micah into changing his sexuality to suit him – and succeeding. Anita casually mentions it at the start of this chapter and it is… not great:
We’re back at Rafael, beloveds, and I just… please tell me you see what I’m seeing when Rafael and his bodyguard are first introduced on the page after Anita escapes the bitch-off with Kane:
I was more bothered by Kane than I’d thought, since I didn’t sense Rafael’s energy with his main bodyguard, Benito, right beside him. Even without the otherworldly energy they were both tall: dark, muscled, and handsome for Rafael, more sinister for Benito. They both had short black hair and brown eyes, but Benito had deep facial scarring from something that looked like more than acne, but it wasn’t just the scars. I had other people in my life who had facial scars, and none of them seemed like a villainous henchman in a superhero movie, but Benito did. Maybe it was the fact that he worked so hard being scary as Rafael’s main bodyguard.
Y’all see this too right?
Like the sheer racist cringe on display here? It’s not as bad as the first time that we see Rafael introduced by how gosh darned Mexican he is, but it’s not actually that far off if you’re a recurring reader of the Anitaverse and can clock that this is basically just that? The bonus of Benito being described as menacing because of disfiguremesia – a brilliant term coined by my dear friend Mikaela a few years back – and because he’s Mexican… It just makes me itch.
I’ve said it at least twice and you’d think it’d stick by now since the past three books have been objectively poorly crafted and have contained content I know I don’t like as well as content that has been a trigger for me in the past. Despite the fact that I don’t read things I dislike – and tell y’all to do the same all the time – I couldn’t help myself. Rafael is the book I knew from Day One of its announcement that Laurell K Hamilton had no business writing because of its focus on Mexican-American wererat and titular character Rafael.
It’s not because Hamilton is a white woman, by the way. It’s because she has a habit of writing really racist-ly for her characters of color and not growing or engaging with it. Almost thirty years into the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series and Hamilton still trades on and writes stereotypes for the characters of color that populate her books.
So here we are with a book that really shouldn’t exist and a spork I shouldn’t be doing because I know I’m just gonna get mad by the end.
Images in the header are from an archived version of lelola.net, a site that fueled my journey as a teenaged weeb.
Who made this series?
While the first official piece of Weiss Kreuz media was the 1997 light novel “Weiß: Forever White”, the most well-known piece of media for the franchise is the 1998 anime series Weiss Kreuz. That initial and poorly animated series came from studio ufotable and was directed by Hitoyuki Matsui, produced by Jikenta Nishikawa an Hikaru Kondō, and was written in-house at ufotable.