Dracula by Bram Stoker is one of the most influential books of horror ever written. It’s October, and right now, that’s what we’re about. Claire begins with an overview of vampire legends across the millennia. Next she focuses in on the real life conditions and circumstances that led to such widespread belief in the bloodsucking monsters. James takes a look at the life of the notoriously private and secretive author, Bram Stoker. He then considers the particular influences in contemporary literature and folklore that helped Stoker give birth to the character of Dracula. Our hosts conclude with their thoughts on the book and what’s so compelling about vampires. This episode features an ad from the Dear Murder Street podcast.
We’re following up our episode on Mobile Suit Gundam with another one of the most pivotal anime ever made– Neon Genesis Evangelion. Claire starts by exploring why giant robots are such a huge part of Japanese culture, including the powerful idea of the samurai. She then goes through the different genres that make up Neon Genesis Evangelion. James explains why it was unlike the other critically acclaimed anime that came before it. He also discusses creator Hideaki Anno’s career and psychological themes. Our host’s conclude with their thoughts on the inner lives of the characters, the show’s fan service and how the series is a response to its era.
When Mobile Suit Gundam came out in 1979 it changed Japanese pop culture and the perception of what Giant Robots could be. The team at DSRA couldn’t be more excited to delve into one of the most beloved animes. James starts off by going through all of the different genres that led to creator Yoshiyuki Tomino creating the first real robot mecha. Claire then talks about why Gundam is such a popular work and the themes that Tomino explored in the show. Our hosts conclude with their thoughts on how the series holds up today, and how it pairs with our next episode on Neon Genesis Evangelion.
Die is a comic book created by writer, Kieron Gillen and artist, Stephanie Hans, about five adults in our world compelled to return to the horror of a fantasy world that they barely escaped in their youth. The series is published by Image Comics and was released to rave reviews in 2018. James uses this opportunity to tackle a set of questions about the role of fantasy that came up in our discussion of The NeverEnding Story: Why do people enter imaginary worlds? How does it change them? And why does this activity cause some to fear? He begins by discussing the paracosms (detailed imaginary worlds) created by children. Claire jumps in and describes Gillen’s collaboration with Stephanie Hans, the revelation that sparked the series, and how his fears, about the life lost in his youth to role playing games like Dungeons & Dragons, shaped the characters and world of Die. Our hosts conclude by discussing the shared themes of The NeverEnding Story and Die, and how a love of imaginary worlds has shaped their own lives.
This year marks the fantasy film’s 35th anniversary, and it’s a great opportunity for us to talk about escaping to magical lands. The NeverEnding Story is about a grieving, bullied boy named Bastian Balthazar Bux and his heroic alter ego Atreu’s quest to save the land of Fantasia, a world made of hopes and dreams. Claire begins our show by looking at how and why modern fantasy stories have so often been dismissively viewed as escapist and without literary value. James picks up by talking about the director Wolfgang Petersen’s adaptation of author Michael Ende’s German bestseller, the decorated design team behind the special effects, and why Ende was so passionately against the final product. Our hosts conclude with their thoughts on how the film holds up all these years later. They also take a moment to consider how it may connect to Die, the Image Comics series by Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans, and our next story of real world people entering magical lands.
We are so thankful to have published one hundred episodes! Thank you to all of our listeners! We’ve had the pleasure of discussing so many great pieces of nerd history and we’re looking back at some of our favorites and why they’ve had such a lasting effect on us. In addition to responding to listener feedback, Claire and James discuss takeaways from Black Panther (episode 64), The Big Book of Science Fiction (episode 15), Journey to the West (episodes 89/68), Princess Mononoke (episode 80), Avengers: Infinite War (episode 69), Black Mirror (episode 63), and Blade Runner 2049 (episode 55). Check out our social media for our 100th Episode Giveaway!