Vlog Rec for Animorphs Fans (or any fans of nostalgia and casual literary criticism)
So I used to be fairly into video review series a few years ago, a frequent viewer of Channel Awesome shows, but have by and large fallen out of the medium for a while. One of the only exceptions is a review series that I started watched in 2009 and am still watching today: “The Opinionated Animorphs Book Guide” by Poparena.
Years ago, Poparena set out to review, dissect and discuss every one of the “Animorphs” books by KA Applegate and Michael Grant: all 54 main series books, 4 Megamorphs books, 4 Chronicles books, and 2 Alternamorphs books, 64 books in all, reviewed in release order. Last week he posted the review for #52: The Sacrifice, and as this huge undertaking is coming to an end with only two books left, I felt like I needed to share a proper recommendation with Tumblr.
The Opinionated Animorphs Book Guide has been one of the largest ways I’ve indulged in my Animorphs nostalgia in the last couple years: I wrote my fair share of fic in college, but it’s been a while since I’ve thoughtfully interacted with the fandom. The Book Guide has been a good way to hear someone else’s thoughtful, composed takes on a series that meant a lot to my childhood, as well as learn some background info I never knew. Poparena is serious about his research, delving into the backgrounds of the various ghostwriters that worked on Animorphs, the state of Scholastic and the YA publishing industry at the time, or really anything that comes up in the course of the books. I will be the first to admit that his earlier reviews are rougher and I don’t tend to rewatch them a lot, but over the course of this project he’s developed a very keen and thoughtful reviewing voice and style which I find very satisfying to engage with.
As well as the Book Guide, Poparena also reviewed every episode in the Animorphs TV show, the Animorphs spin-off games, has a yearly Goosebumps review on Halloween, and reviews other sundry nostalgic works, sometimes as commissioned reviews. I donated to hear a review of the show “Knights of Tir Na Nog”, and I am eagerly awaiting that going up.
He has said he will set about reviewing the books of the Everworld series, KA Applegate’s second series, after finishing Animorphs, and I will certainly stay tuned for that. But honestly, just seeing someone commit to this long of a project over this span of time is enough to earn my viewership for a while to come. So if you like Animorphs, want to learn more about Animorphs, or just like hearing light-hearted and funny but still thoughtful and thorough reviews of a nostalgic series, I would highly recommend checking his work out.