[Discourse] FranXX vs. FranXY: The outdated gender politics of DARLING in the FRANXX

Studio A-1’s teenage mecha show, Darling in the FRANXX, was one of the most anticipated series of the winter 2018 season. With a post-apocalyptic setting, thick psychosexual symbolism, and mecha action scenes directed by Studio TRIGGER’s Hiroyuki Imaishi, there was a lot to look forward to and a lot of room for thoughtful exploration of adolescent sexuality and gender relations.

However, fans hoping for that thoughtful exploration were quickly disappointed, as the show didn’t seem interested in challenging expectations at all. Darling in the FRANXX purports to have something to say about sex, gender, and adolescence, but as illustrated in the “battle of the sexes” plotline in the episode “Boys x Girls,” thus far it only rehashes outdated stereotypes and an antiquated “boys will be boys” attitude.

[Perspectives] Ohtori Revisited: My 18 Years with Revolutionary Girl Utena

“Once upon a time…” Those first words of the opening monologue of Revolutionary Girl Utena captivated me. It spoke of a place far away in the familiar language of fairy tales and archetypes, but with a princess who wanted to be a prince. Whoever this girl had been, here was a story about her trying to shape her future. “So impressed was she that she vowed to become a prince herself one day. But was that really such a good idea?” In the series, the monologue gets revisited again and again as it gets interpreted and reinterpreted, and every time it repeated itself, I learned more about how stories have power.

[AniFemTalk] What’s your favorite healing anime?

Sometimes life is tough, and all you want to watch is something gentle and soothing, like a cat video in show form. Anime has a whole genre for that—iyashikei, or “healing” shows. This season in particular has a lot of iyashikei, from Laid-Back Camp to How to Keep a Mummy. Winter’s starting to draw to a close, so let’s offer suggestions for folks looking for more gentle content.

Chatty AF 45: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine Retrospective

Vrai, Caitlin, and Dee take a look back at Sayo Yamamoto and Mari Okada’s Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine! The team discusses the show’s unique place as the only Lupin property with a woman in the director or head writer’s chair, Fujiko’s uneven portrayals across time, and how the series pulls no punches in discussing sexuality, identity, and who controls women’s stories. Caitlin extols a straight relationship based on mutual respect, Vrai has a lot of feelings about their (really awful, really tragic) son, and Dee brings the thoughtful questions.

[Versus] After the Rain, Ristorante Paradiso, and the delicate art of the age-gap romance

At first glance, Ristorante Paradiso and After the Rain bear remarkable similarities. Both are anime adaptations of manga series written by women that center around a May-September romance. Both star a young woman and a middle-aged divorcee. Both even feature characters who work at a restaurant together! So why does Ristorante Paradiso leave me with the warm fuzzies, while After the Rain just leaves me feeling vaguely skeevy?

[Feature] Hyouka’s poetic depictions of normalizing otherness

Hyouka was an utterly plain series. It was easy to assume it wouldn’t stand out beside any other high school slice-of-life show. Within that plainness, however, the series presented itself in subtler ways compared to its contemporaries of more defined fantasy and slapstick comedic genres. Hyouka’s “normalcy” helped it present a very grounded take on high school life, carefully depicting the flaws and struggles of its main characters without reducing them to archetypes.

[Discourse] Catherine, Trans Identities, and Representation in Japan

In late 2017, ATLUS announced they would be re-releasing Catherine with a new addition to the cast. Her name is Rin. She’s a new love interest for the main character, Vincent, and the website heavily suggests her story will be one deeply tied into trans identities. Little is known about the character, but already the public has ATLUS under deep, and well-deserved, scrutiny.

[Podcast] Chatty AF 43: Kill la Kill Watchalong – Episodes 1-6

Part 1 of the four-part watchalong of Kill la Kill with Amelia, Vrai, and special guest Miranda Sanchez! In this first episode, the team talks about the polarizing fandom reactions to the series—and has some polarizing reactions of their own. TRIGGER slaps the audience with a bucketful of aesthetic. Ryuko is Good Actually. Too bad the series keeps embarrassing her for titillation.

[Feature] Gender Inequity in My Hero Academia

My Hero Academia is one of my favorite series in recent years. Thanks to its compelling, lovable cast and exciting world-building, it’s some of the most fun I’ve ever had with shounen and superheroes. Regrettably, though, it’s not entirely free of some of the most frustrating (and typical) shounen stereotypes that frequently undermine its strong female cast.

[Discourse] Shonen JUMP and the cycle of letting it slide

In November 2017, Nobuhiro Watsuki was arrested for the possession of child pornography. Shueisha responded by suspending publication of his Rurouni Kenshin sequel. This isn’t the first time a Shonen JUMP author has been arrested for crimes involving underage girls. In 2002, Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro was arrested for violating laws against child prostitution. He had met up with a 16-year-old girl via the internet and allegedly paid her for sex. He did so giving a false occupation, and he admitted to doing the same thing on prior occasions (the source is in Japanese; it refers to Shimabukuro being charged for paying three girls of high-school age).