Monday, May 19, 2014

The Critic is heading to AnimeNEXT!

Image courtesy of

Well folks, it's that time of year again, and your favorite critic is off and running to AnimeNEXT in Somerset from June 6-8 in Somerset, NJ. I'll be taking photos, doing some video, and of course reporting back to you right here at the end of it all! If you want to catch me in person, here are the following panels that I'll be participating in, led by Dr. Bill Ellis, Folklore Professor Emeritus at Penn State University and owner of Sensei's Anime Gallery.

You can also read my first impressions of the con all weekend long by following me on Twitter @TheInsatiCritic! 






Collecting Japanese Animation Art
Time: 5:30-6:30 pm 
Location: Panel Room 3 (second floor of the Doubletree Hotel)

Collecting American animation art (Disney, Don Bluth, etc.) has been actively collected for some years, but the same potential lies in cels and sketches used to make important anime series. When a show was wrapped, Japanese studios often released the original art onto the auction market, so cels, original production backgrounds, and original key animators' sketches are much easier to obtain. This panel will survey original animation art that can be found on the market, including those for classic cel-based series and the newer CGI-based anime, and show how collecting these artifacts enhances one’s appreciation of anime as an artform. Strategies for gaining and maintaining animation will be discussed.


Anime Under the Radar:The Roaring Aughties
Time: 4:30 - 5:30 pm 
Location: Panel 1, Bridgewater

The years 2000-2009 were a booming period for anime, and most fans have a shortlist of favorites made during this era: Fullmetal Alchemist, Ouran High School Host Club, Monster, etc. But many other productions were made that for one reason or another did not make the “Top 50” list of many critics’ retrospectives. This panel will discuss some of the other series or films made during this heady time that received little love yet are well worth another look.

Princess TuTu: A Queered Fairy Tale
Time: 8:30 to 9:30 pm 
Location: Panel Room 3 (second floor of the Doubletree Hotel)

Princess Tutu (Studio Hal, 2002-04) has gained and held a strong fanbase since its release. This series, which describes the rebellion of fairytale characters against the demented undead storyteller who tries to control their destinies, is typical of many series and books that adapt old folktales for a contemporary audience.  This panel will apply concepts from new folkloristics, queer studies, feminism, and Jungian psychoanalysis to deconstruct the multiple narrative layers of Princess Tutu and suggest reasons why its message resonates with so many Eastern and Western viewers.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Photo Contest!!

Contest UPDATE! In celebration of June is Audiobook Month, the winning picture will also receive a copy of Summer Shorts '14, a collection of short stories, poems and essays, in addition to The Insatiable Critic mug! DEADLINE EXTENDED TO JULY 1 AT MIDNIGHT!

My friends Daman and Courtney started a Facebook profile pic trend with "mugshots", a picture of themselves in the act of drinking out of their favorite mug. This gave me an idea, mwhahaha! To get everyone excited about The Insatiable Critic merchandise soon to come, I propose a photo contest! The winner will be the first to get their own Insatiable Critic mug, featuring the site's logo as well as our favorite critic kitty, Sir Toby.

1. Grab your favorite mug.

2. DRINK out of said mug.

3. Take a selfie while doing so.

4. Email the image to with subject line: "The Insatiable Critic Photo Contest"

5. See example below.

I moustache you a question - why don't you enter this contest?
Photos submitted will be compiled into a slideshow that will be presented on the blog unless stated otherwise. If you would prefer NOT to have your photo added to the slideshow, please state that in your email along with your photo submission.  Deadline for images is JULY 1. Get snapping!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Spring AudioFile Book Reviews: Shaman and Annihilation

The natural world is coming at us full force with these spring audiobook titles I recently reviewed for AudioFile Magazine! First up, we have the Audio Publishers Association's (APA) Audie-nominated title, Shaman, where the listener dives into the heart of a native, rustic world with the warm tones of Graeme Malcolm taking the lead. In the chilling Annihilation, the narrator of The Hunger Games trilogy Carolyn McCormick takes us neck-deep in terror as the natural world bites back at a dystopian human civilization in a big way.


Kim Stanley Robinson
Read by Graeme Malcolm

In this sci-fi world, the line between humans and nature is blurred beyond distinction, but narrator Graeme Malcolm's cadence is steady as a heartbeat. His deep bass gives reserved power to a story that glimpses how we lived 30 thousand years ago. For Thorn, the shaman master, Malcolm uses growling, occasionally animalistic, tones, which are particularly effective when Thorn delivers a blistering admonition to younger male tribe members about the power of the female spirit. Malcolm gives Thorn's apprentice a wavering voice that brings the uncertainty of their futures into stark relief. As delivered by Malcolm, this tale of survival is as shocking and coarse as it is sublime and powerful.
E.E. 2014 Audies Finalist © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

To view this review on AudioFile's Website and listen to an audio sample, click here. 

Image courtesy of Audible, Inc.


Southern Reach Trilogy, Book 1

Jeff VanderMeer
Read by Carolyn McCormick

Area X is a stunning Eden where nature has reclaimed its hold in a crumbling human civilization. The only problem is that humans who attempt to explore it keep dying. Carolyn McCormick narrates increasingly disturbing events with an unwavering calm that makes the listening experience all the more chilling. The latest expedition in the series consists of four women known to us only by their professions; the story is told from the biologist's point of view. McCormick gives a haughty, deep voice to the psychologist, the leader of the group whose intentions may not be what they seem. Her arrogant tone contrasts nicely with the gritty and increasingly anxious tones of the surveyor as the group uncovers deadly secrets better left alone.
E.E. © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

To view this review on AudioFile's Website, click here.