[Links] 15-21 February 2017

It’s been a quiet week here at AniFem, except behind the scenes – thanks to your positive feedback to our trial podcast episode, we have recorded two new episodes already! Each one is on a show that made a big impact on anime fandom, in very different ways, and both will be coming to your ears soon.

In the meantime, let’s see what the internet’s been up to…

Beyond AniFem

20 Years of Utena Fandom with the Ultimate Superfans (Anime News Network)
A celebration of Revolutionary Girl Utena’s anniversary penned by the creators of the show’s oldest active fansite.

“You’ll find references to obtaining VHS fansubs, an absurd practice where you would send blank VHS tapes to a total stranger and hope to have them returned with the anime of your choice. You may run into mailing lists, newsgroups, and other cumbersome precursors to Tumblr, Twitter, and their ilk. You certainly will find evidence of the eternal drama that is a fandom: the trends in interpretations, the humor flirting with the inappropriate, and the constant intimacy that drives each fan to stake out a claim to their own territory.”

IGN Anime Club Episode 81 – LeSean Thomas on Making Anime
A podcast interview with director LeSean Thomas (The Boondocks, Legend of Korra, that really cool Cannon Busters pilot you might’ve seen going around) on his experiences working in animation.

LeSean Thomas Visits with the Crunchyroll Crew
And a second interview, in the same week! Some scheduling huh?

How Yayoi Kusama, the ‘Infinity Mirrors’ visionary, channels mental illness into art (The Washington Post)
Anna Fifield writes a fantastic biography of the artist and her upcoming exhibition.

“But this situation [of living in poverty in 1960s America] made Kusama throw herself into her work even more. She began producing her first trademark “Infinity Net” paintings, huge canvases — one was 33 feet high — covered with mesmerizing waves of small loops that seemed to go on and on. “White nets enveloping the black dots of silent death against a pitch-dark background of nothingness,” is how she described them.”

Lost, Terrible Celebrity Boob Anime: Abunai Sisters (Medium)
Dave@Normal Mode tells the weird, fascinating story of a lost CGI vanity project for some famous people almost no one outside Japan has ever heard of.

“The Kano sisters are (were, it seems like) Japanese celebrities who built a media presence on their curvaceous figures. In 2008 the Kanos (it is disputed whether they’re related, and they sure don’t look like it) took the step where so many Japanese celebs and entertainers flop: that first tentative push into international stardom. They did so in perhaps the weirdest possible way.”

Shōjo Manga Expert Uses Statistics to Reveal ‘What Girls Truly Want’ (Anime News Network)
In which math tries to answer an apparently baffling question. The apparent answers are…kinda depressing, actually. (And heteronormative as hell, but that’s a rant for another day).

“So what determines which type of manga girls gravitate to — shōjo or yaoi? Makita thinks it depends on their reaction to the stress they feel while negotiating the modern world. “Women’s romance manga get close to the source of stress in a patriarchal society — a man of high social status. BL [manga] runs away to a world without women. Women who like BL need an escape from the toils of being women.””

The path from animator to illustrator – Nozomi Ousaka interview (Sakugabooru)
Another interview, following a former animator turned illustrator, with great translation work by megax.

 “I loved Sailor Moon when I was in preschool.  Back then, I loved the animation director called Ando-san, so I would get excited. “Yay! Today’s an Ando ep!” I chose my favorite episodes based on animation directors. I was such an annoying kid. (sweats)

Lucky Star: A Masterpiece, for Some Reason (The Afictionado)
Alex gives a fond retrospective on the ur-2000s anime.

“What I’m trying to say is that this show is by no means perfect, and by no means a masterpiece of portrayed female friendship that defies the clinging male gaze to get to the heart of what it means to be human and a woman, but it is spectacularly nice to see a show that’s blatantly less “cute girls doing cute things” and more “ordinary girls doing stuff”.[sic]”

Why It Works: Dragon Maids and Magical Realism (Crunchyroll)
Nick Creamer defines the good old magical realism genre and how Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid fits into it.

“Dragons aren’t really the point of Dragon Maid – they’re more the setup or punchline for comedy. Human characters act surprised by dragons, but only briefly, and rarely in any way that has real dramatic consequences. Problems that could theoretically be solved by dragon powers – like, say, Miss Kobayashi having to work for a living – never have draconic abilities applied to them. Overall, being a dragon never really comes across as much of a plus or minus in Dragon Maid – it’s just something about you, like your hair color or favorite food.”

Here’s why there’s anime fan art of President Trump all over your Facebook (Buzzfeed)
Ryan Broderick quotes our own Lauren Orsini in an article about the connection between the Japanese netto-uyoku and America’s far right. [Please see the comment from Kachi Sahara below correcting some misinformation in this piece]

The netto-uyoku have a couple of main modes of attack that should be familiar to Western internet users. There’s dentotsu or “phone attack,” where people flood a government agency or left-leaning media company with complaints. Sometimes they call for a matsuri, or sudden and intense posting on a messageboard thread, filling it up with a fake consensus about a certain topic. And there’s enjō, a blast of angry comments directed at a specific person or an article’s comment section.

BONUS: The Black Mass (ZacBertschy.com)
You’ll know Zac as Executive Editor of editorial content at Anime News Network and host of ANNCast, but he’s recently started a personal blog – and it is extremely personal. He put a new post up yesterday, but you should start from the beginning for what looks to be a very raw and powerful story of overcoming psychological obstacles.

The self-hatred was older than the alcoholism. Older than most of my other problems, more familiar, more insidious, woven into the fabric of my thought. Don’t feel like you aren’t trying. I floated there staring at my reflection in the dark for decades and feel like I understand, deeply, how difficult it is to even know you’re in there in the first place. There’s a cliché about being your own biggest obstacle, but nobody ever explains that you have to be willing to brutally rip through your own self-image with your bare hands. It’s a violent act.

It’s no secret that some hostile corners of anime fandom are ruled by toxic masculinity. For high profile men in our community to make themselves vulnerable and speak openly like this is something we should all support, and Zac is specifically hoping to help others who may be struggling with similar self-destructive tendencies.

Community

This week we’re working out how to revise our Patreon rewards, and asking for your input! What would persuade to become a patron, stay a patron, or go up a tier? Let us know in the comments of the post!

 

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  • Jahu

    I actually started watching Utena last week! I’m on episode 15 and I love it so far!

  • Kachi Sahara

    As a Japanese, I always get uncomfortable when non-japanese people talk about Japan with dubious information.
    In Buzzfeed’s “net-uyoku” article, the author mistook 2chan (or Futaba Channel 双葉☆ちゃんねる) with 2channel. The two websites are based on completely defferent communities.
    And there are many “weird japan” article everyday based on misinfomation which satisfy Orientalism.
    Just sad.

    • Thank you for correcting the misinformation! In the case of this article, I would say the focus is far more on neo-Nazi Americans and their uncomfortable interest in Japan than on exoticising Japanese culture in any way. To point out that Japan and the US both have bigoted online communities using common tactics in pursuit of similar goals is far from a ‘weird Japan’ article, or promoting an Orientalist point of view which encourages us to ‘other’ Japan.

    • Caitlin

      That’s very interesting to hear, because I think very few people in the west know that 2chan and 2channel are separate entities. It makes sense, since one is a major cultural force and one is a discussion board for otaku. Thank you for clarifying!

  • ImaniToo

    As a reader (especially a woman interested in lit aimed at women) I always roll my eyes at “experts” who come to conclusions about why we read the things we do without actually asking us. The manga expert’s analysis of trends in mangas was pretty interesting but the leap to concluding why women read it and what they get out of it is sooo 1851. The take on yaoi is especially odd since, as you pointed out, the relationships depicted tend to be very heteronormative…which means it would be odd for women to read it in order to escape our world, or whatever.

    Such a missed opportunity. Some persons online offer their insight on how Japanese audiences view any particular thing–it would have been nice to see a survey on what Japanese teenage girls and women engage with the material. (Maybe even the men too? Fudanshis, I see you.)

    The Buzzfeed article was a useful peek inside Japanese politics which I’m not too exposed to. Nice roundup over all ^_^.