The Queen’s Gambit and what we talk about when we talk about “anime”

Prior to watching the latest Netflix thing that everyone is talking about, The Queen’s Gambit, it was pitched to me by several people as “basically an anime.” Half of the time I saw someone talking about it on social media, or heard one of my friends chatting about it, The Queen’s Gambit was placed side-by-side with an anime-style narrative. I even joked about this myself, saying that it was Shion no Ou — a psychological thriller anime series about a girl who plays shogi — with substance-abuse issues.

The Queen’s Gambit isn’t the first live-action television series that has been compared to anime, nor is it the most frequently-referenced piece of media in a side-by-side comparison. In my esports travails, “anime” often becomes a short-cut for a specific type of narrative, usually in reference to a scrappy upstart team or player making their unlikely way through a gauntlet of strong challengers. Elizabeth Harmon, the wide-eyed lead of The Queen’s Gambit, follows a similar narrative, albeit with a lot more nuance, especially when it comes to her being a prodigious woman in a remarkably male-dominated field. (Watch the show. It’s good.) The constant comparisons of The Queen’s Gambit to anime television series also offer a framework for discussing what we mean when we talk about “anime” in the west, why it’s referenced as a narrative framing device when it’s actually a medium, and maybe a bit of pleading on my part to use a different comparison.

Is The Queen’s Gambit anime?

Are esports anime?

Why ask questions with such a seemingly obvious answer?


A return to the Hidden Leaf Village — Boruto: Naruto Next Generations

A lot of people like to condemn Naruto and I’ve never understood the appeal, although its overwhelming popularity and ubiquitous presence in anime fandom at large does make it an easy target. There’s something relatable about Naruto Uzumaki’s dorky nature which translates surprisingly earnestly within the series itself.

I personally enjoyed my time in the Naruto fandom. When I became bored with the pace of the anime, I turned to fanfiction. Time passed, I became interested in other types of anime, and whenever I thought back to Naruto, I checked in with what happened in the manga, never really caring about spoilers since I was long past wanting to watch or read it immediately.

Then a friend told me that Masashi Kishimoto had begun writing a sequel: Boruto. She also told me that it was hilarious.