Video Interview With The Stranger by the Shore’s Josh Grelle, Justin Briner, and David Wald on the Importance of Queer Anime
"This is flat out, cards on the table, a queer love story."
Spoilers for The Stranger by the Shore
CW: discussion of homophobia and suicide
I haven’t exactly been subtle about how much I adore The Stranger by the Shore and its themes of love, acceptance, and how you can’t move forward until you’re able to come to terms with who you are. I’ve also talked about how amazing it is to see a production like this in regards to queer anime and how we absolutely need more of this, please, and thank you.
Recently, I got the chance to talk to three of the cast members of the anime. You can check out the full interview below.
Note: bring tissues.
Second note: I fangirl a whole lot because I’ve been a fan of these actors for a while now so yeah, sorry for the squeeing (I’m not really sorry).
Josh Grelle is the voice of Shun, the young novelist who, after an incident in his past, is still grappling with internalized homophobia. This all comes to a head when he meets Mio (Justin Briner), who is dealing with the death of his mother, but after taking some time to himself he returns to Shun and nonchalantly declares his love for him – much to Shun’s surprise. David Wald worked as the ADR Director while voicing Shun’s father.
What stood out to me with the anime was the overwhelming sense of not being able to embrace the positivity around you when you’re still stuck in your own head. Shun is a character who is living in a beachside paradise, surrounded by warm, loving people (some of which are queer themselves), but he still wonders if there’s something “gross” about him having feelings for another man. That’s what internalized homophobia can do to a person.
The anime does more than show the struggle, though, which is something I’m eternally grateful for. I’m so used to the struggle narrative when it comes to marginalized characters, so it was wonderful to see Shun learn how to love himself by accepting his love for Mio. Not only that, but our two protagonists spend a lot of time talking to each other, taking their time, and having quiet moments where they can just exist next to each other.
I’m so glad the anime took the time to show the joy of acceptance, both from others and from yourself.
The Stranger by the Shore is available over at Funimation.
(Image: Kii Kanna/SHODENSHA-Etranger partners)
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