This week: Ghost in the Shell, gender-bending, Naoko Yamada, and more!
A piece examining the erasure and backlash that black anime fans and other fans of color experience while trying to make space for themselves in the Western cosplay scene.
A discussion of how moe can work as a positive influence, potentially offering heroines with relatable everyday traits and insecurities.
This week’s conversation starter was on the accomplishments of women creators in anime, manga, and other Japanese pop culture.
Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju Season 2 – Episode 9 (Anime Evo)
I mentioned last week that we’d entered a kind of narrative twilight between past and present, “saved” and “lost,” as we waited to see which direction the characters (Yakumo in particular) chose to travel. This week we may have taken a step away from that crossroads and into a specific direction, and it may ultimately be a positive one. But it comes at a steep cost, and I ain’t just talkin’ about my poor heart.
Wake-Up Girls! Yutaka Yamamoto Criticizes Attacked Idol (Anime News Network)
Walks and talks like some pretty disturbing victim-blaming.
“For people who work as idols (and similar professions), carelessly blocking a fan is a bad idea,” Yamakan asserted. “And you can’t help how it looks when you return a present.”
By zeroing in on the experience of one individual, this video discusses the real effects of what it means to have representation ripped away by mass media.
In an interview with io9, Tom and May said their video was designed to show the real emotional weight behind whitewashing. They said it’s inspired by their own experiences growing up, as well as those of their friends and community. It’s really effective. It’s one thing to read a blog about why changing the name of the lead character from Mokoto to Mira is a bad thing, especially after promising to keep her as “The Major” to avoid controversy. It’s another to watch a young girl, alone, searching for one thing she can call her own… only to see it stolen away years later by outside forces. It’s an empathetic, real-world examination of what’s sometimes viewed, and dismissed, as a hypothetical problem.
The Art of Being Self-Aware (The Afictionado)
Having characters be aware of the kind of story they’re in, especially in love stories, can have all kinds of ripple effects on how the story’s told….provided the writers make good use of it. Behold one successful and one failed example.
It’s all very well knowing the genre you’re working in and toying with some meta humour—but for me at least it can be a lazy trick to either get the audience on your side or cover up the flaws in your project. It can be clever and funny, and make you question your ingrained expectations of a certain genre (see Nozaki-kun, the rom-com where no one ends up with each other despite how much it looks like it’s heading there). Or it can be dumb. Saying “I’m aware that what I’m doing is clichéd!” doesn’t actually remove the cliché or excuse it, it just makes you kind of an asshat because it means you knew but you did it anyway.
Anime Films With Award Recognition (Reticent Retreat)
Sometimes it’s just nice to see good work get some recognition – going all the way back to the late ’50s.
I won’t just be listing films that won, but any that received a nomination. Of course, there are always films that don’t get the recognition they deserve, so I’ve referenced a bunch of awards (and a couple lists cause I like to bend my own rules) to hopefully lessen the chance of that happening in this post. If I’ve missed an important award, just lemme know!
British journalist Stacey Dooley debated character designer Takeshi Nogami on this extremely controversial issue.
According to the various Tweets from Nogami, he had an interview session with BBC’s Stacey Dooley for roughly 3 hours for her documentary on young sex workers in Japan. He noted that their stances during the interview were polar opposites; Nogami thinks that all humans inherently have ‘dirty desires’.Whilst Dooley’s stance is that humans have no ‘dirty desires’ but are corrupted to have such thoughts through media depicting sinful material such as erotica, pedophillia and gore.
Japan’s gender-bending history (The Conversation)
A look at Japan’s history of cross-dressing and gender presentation, particularly in the context of modern Japanese citizens choosing more varied gender expression.
Although the gender-bending look appeals equally to young Japanese women and men, the media have tended to focus on the young men who wear makeup, color and coif their hair and model androgynous outfits. In interviews, these genderless males insist that they are neither trying to pass as women nor are they (necessarily) gay.
Clements: This reminds me of something you said about K-ON!, that you and your staff treated the cast as if they were real people. Like if someone drew a girl’s skirt too short you’d ask why, wouldn’t she get cold? I think this empathy could be the secret.
Yamada: Yeah I do look at my characters like people. They’re not drawings but living beings, that is why I’m interested in them to begin with.
Art in bloom: Mika Otani turns disaster into beauty (Japan Today)
A profile of an artist who was moved to make a change after the devastating tsunami and earthquakes that hit Japan in 2011. Otani runs a home studio meant to preserve the art of ikebana by passing it on to the next generation.
“I wanted to convey the beauty of ikebana to younger people and to foreigners, but the number of students in the ikebana world is going down. Younger people have a stereotype image of ikebana. They love more of a European type of flower arrangement. Their idea about ikebana is that their grandma was doing it at home.”
But Facebook, Instagram, and a talent for photography have come together to form the perfect tool for turning the tide.
Despite being seemingly sincere in its efforts to treat demi-humans as an allegory for disability, Monster Girls struggles and stumbles with respectful handling of one character in particular.
The seventh episode, “Succubus-san is Inquisitive,” features Sakie Satou, a succubus trying to live in the mainstream as a teacher despite how she involuntarily arouses men simply by existing, and Detective Ugaki, the police officer who has been tracking her for most of her life. Because of the poorly-handled inclusion of real-life issues such as covert photography and train molestation, this is easily the most awkward and uncomfortable episode yet.
We’re more than a little terrified that the combination of JJBA and Takashi Miike will rip some kind of hole in space-time.
— AniFem (@AnimeFeminist) 7 March 2017
In recognition of International Women’s Day we asked our community to celebrate the achievements of women behind the scenes in Japanese pop culture. Here are just some of the responses we had:
@AnimeFeminist Hirasawa Yuna and Chii are also two amazing mangaka, both having made self-biographical manga about being trans women.
— Anpria律Reventon (@andrearitsu) 7 March 2017
— Dre (@dre_lasana) 7 March 2017
— Janne J. (@Endoperez) 7 March 2017
— Canipa 🐧 (@CanipaShow) 7 March 2017
— Katy Castillo (@HarleyGin) 7 March 2017
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