Discovering positive, complex narratives about queer individuals in anime can be a difficult task. To some extent, it requires accepting the limits of representational politics, and enjoying television even when it is problematic.
The film unfolds over the city in the darkness of night, which, as we know, is where we can see stray shapes and shadows in the corners. It may be the end of a workday, or it may be that those whom Chippa meets belong to the dregs of an indifferent society, people who are so invisible that they cannot help but allow Chippa such free rein.
There is a great conceit at the heart of the film directed by Pete Docter and Kemp Powers, namely the concept of the soul and its transcending worlds.
The central myth of the goddess and her lover is portrayed in a hand-drawn style reminiscent of “The Princess Kaguya”. At this song-and-art juncture, The Pearl Studio and Netflix produced film begins to seem promising.
As an adult who has often desired a different childhood, shows such She Ra and the Princesses of Power feels both, like tackling a messy landscape with no answers as well as dipping a toe into a kinder, better past. It does not shy away from complex characters, violence and its implications, and really does so without the moralism or innocence of commonplace children’s shows (better known as family TV). While at the same time, the art and the storytelling impart a sense of ease, assuring us of the possibility of a resolution.
Tiktok may be a space for subversive, non-normative and queer content as well as dissent, but the idea that Tiktok’s popularity can be accorded to a pop-culture from below, simply accessed and not mediated, does not stand scrutiny.
Back in school, a classmate of mine left for three months, and her closest friend would write little notes every single day of her absence and slip it into the desk. When the absentee friend returned, her desk was full of little coloured scraps of paper—full of anecdotes and jokes, notes about missed homework, and admissions of love.
As montage, everything appears as a series of windows, all of them just frames, one after the other. The form is predetermined. I only meet my friends when we say goodbye or when I have to pay my dues. Then it falls apart.
Time and place are significant—not too old to be called primitive and ‘revisionism’ and not too new to be assimilated into a global wave—queerness is explored at a point where the ground shifts, and the ruling Raj settles into a political takeover by the Empire and the crown.