[Links] 22-28 February 2017

In this week’s links: Evangelion, female AniTubers, Gabriel DropOut, and fandom diversity.

AniFem round-up

[Discourse] “I Am Not a Doll”: Rei Ayanami, Escapism, and Objectified Images of Desire
A discussion on Rei as a literal constructed image of a man’s ideal woman, and her (and fandom’s) struggle against that.

[Throwback] Revolutionary Girl Utena
The first post in an ongoing series rounding up older AniFem-relevant essays and critiques.

[Podcast] Chatty AF 2: Revolutionary Girl Utena Retrospective
Three of the staff’s Utena geeks spent an hour chatting about the cultural and emotional impact of Ikuhara’s magnum opus.

 

Beyond AniFem

Fiction, Reality, Fandom and Adulthood: a media academic and CSA/incest victim’s account (Medium)
A discussion of how fandom culture and culture at large have normalized abusive relationships between adults and children. Content warning for graphic discussions of rape and child abuse.

“So when someone says “It’s okay to portray abusive relationships in fiction”, what they should be saying is “It’s okay to portray abusive relationships in fiction if you frame them as abusive.” Because not everybody in the audience will have the knowledge to interpret that regardless of framing. Appropriate framing enables the target audience to easily draw the conclusion you want, and if that conclusion is “abuse is bad” we probably don’t have a problem.”


16 Female AniTubers You Should Subscribe To
 (Yatta-Tachi)
A suggestion list for those who want to hear more women’s voices on anime but aren’t sure where to start, including a wide variety of subject matter from first impressions to cosplay tips.

“What is also rare is the lack of a spotlight for female AniTubers. This baffled me. Why aren’t they trending? Why are they so hard to find? So I took it upon myself to try to locate as many of them as I can, so we can make sure these gals get the recognition they deserve.”


Head Space – “Gabriel DropOut” Virtuoso of Villainy, Satania
 (Crunchyroll)
An ode to Satania, who embraced her role as a villain while her fellow cast members struggled with their given roles in (the after)life, by our own Peter Fobian.

“In this narrative dynamic, it may be tempting to say that Satania comes out on the short end for working so diligently but finding the same amount of success as people who are actively avoiding their obligations but, in a story focusing on failures, I argue that Satania stands head and shoulders above her peers. A spectacular tragedy that shines brighter than all others. Where Gabriel and Vigne are unable to perform their duties because they can’t reconcile themselves with their roles in the world, Satania fails entirely on her own terms and embraces what she is. Satania is an unparalleled villain in her heart.”

Japan’s wild, creative Harajuku street style is dead. Long live Uniqlo (Quartz)
A post-mortem, of sorts, on how corporate influence irrevocably changed Harajuku’s fashion culture.

“But Harajuku has changed. That frenetic signature image has been co-opted and commercialized by corporations, celebrities, and attention-seekers, and ultimately replaced by one more conservative and less unique among Tokyo’s style-conscious kids. These days, they’re more likely to wear mass-market clothing from Uniqlo and other international clothing chains.
Aoki says there are no longer enough fashionable people who fit the look to put out a magazine every month, and so he’s shuttering FRUiTS, marking the end of an era. Depending how you define it, that era may have actually ended some time ago.”

Japan Moves to Curb LGBT Bullying (Human Rights Watch)
News on a draft of an upcoming bill that will hopefully protect LGBTQ+ students in Japanese schools.

‘“In order to prevent bullying toward students based on their gender identity…or sexual orientation/gender identity, schools should promote proper understanding of teachers on…sexual orientation/gender identity as well as make sure to inform on the school’s necessary measures regarding this matter,” the current draft reads.”

Who are anime fans, really? Our ties to the alt-right (Otaku Journalist)
Our own Lauren Orsini responds to Buzzfeed’s article “Here’s Why There’s Anime Fan Art Of President Trump All Over Your Facebook” in which she was quoted, with a more nuanced look at how anime fandom and white nationalist politics came to (in places) intertwine.

“In other words, watching anime has long required a higher computer literacy than most Internet use requires. And its pirate legacy means the fandom has somewhat seedy origins, too. So I think anime fans are more comfortable than most people about hanging out at forums others might consider an online underbelly. The kind of places that alt right recruiters might go to spread their messages on the down low.”

On Not Coming Out at my Japanese Workplace (Takurei no Room)
A personal story about teaching in a Japanese school – despite it being a private English school with a diverse staff, social pressure was still high.

“Another day, I overheard my boss and some other Japanese teachers talking about scheduling. With big group lessons for kids they like to have a mix of men and women, and the numbers were uneven. Then I overheard my boss say something to the effect of “well (gay coworker) is basically like a women anyway, it’s fine”.”

Double Mints Boys-Love Manga by Dōkyūsei’s Nakamura Gets Live-Action Film in 2017 (Anime News Network)
After the heartfelt, quiet (consensual! look how consensual, BL genre!) love story in Nakamura’s last manga, we’re excited to see where this darker thriller is going.

“The manga’s story begins when Mitsuo Ichikawa hears the domineering voice of someone on the phone saying, “I killed a woman.” The man was his classmate in high school who had the same name as him. The voice brings back old, forgotten memories of the man, which revive old passions. Both Mitsuos reunite as accomplices, and their relationship, which had always been one between master and servant, begins to change into something new.”


Five Gundam Series, Including Gundam Wing, Hit Hulu On 2/20/2017
 (Anime Herald)
Exciting news after the long drought of Gundam availability, for anyone (in the US, anyway – sorry, international readers!) who’s looking to try out or revisit an older Gundam series.

BONUS: Super Gals! (Crunchyroll)

It’s been almost 20 years since the manga for this shoujo classic debuted, and after a temporary release under the now defunct ADV films, the whole series is on Crunchyroll.

Community

We asked you which black creators, art, and resources in our fandom you liked and would recommend. At the time of writing, this question has been retweeted and liked, but not answered by a single person. This says a lot about our community, both as anime fans and as AniFem readers, none of it good.

If you don’t follow a single black anime fan or creator, here are some you can start with: @Arekusandoria@DevJackRan, @LeSeanThomas, @OhHeyDJ@princessology, @sakaimii, @Unmeischoice@ValerieComplex.  Look at who they follow/who follows them and expand your network. Go to websites like Black Girl Nerds or use search engines to find black writers and creators producing work you appreciate then share the results. Look through the #28DaysofBlackCosplay hashtag and promote your favourites.

Diversity in a community doesn’t just happen. It is cultivated, by members of that community making an effort to seek out and signal-boost the work of marginalized people. Celebrating the contributions of black members of our fandom doesn’t end with Black History Month, and we will continue to actively recruit black writers to pitch to us in the hopes that we can diversify and enrich our community.

 

Comments are open! Please read our comments policy before joining the conversation and contact us if you have any problems.

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  • Blusocket

    Great roundup! It’s not specific to anime, but this piece on Medium about fandom dynamics around shipping and how we as fans treat survivors in our communities is a deeply important read: https://medium.com/@theangryvictim/fiction-reality-victimhood-and-adulthood-a-media-academic-and-csa-incest-victims-account-70e9e1fa7ce5#.r8ept2rfd It’s titled “Fiction, Reality, Fandom and Adulthood: a media academic and CSA/incest victim’s account” and comes with the trigger warnings implied there–there is extensive discussion in detail of the author’s experiences with childhood sexual abuse, incest, rape in general, physical and emotional partner abuse, and self-harm. It’s a very difficult read, but a necessary one.

    • We agreed – it’s first in our Beyond AniFem list!

      • Blusocket

        Oops, my bad! Glad you included it.

  • ImaniToo

    Woo, that Medium article was a doozy. I extend massive massive appreciation for the insight into some fandom behaviour even though I hate the reasons that prompted her analysis in the first place.

    I’ve watched anime since I was a kid but was a casual fan up until late last year when I subscribed to Crunchyroll and started to participate in online fandom. I remember finding the Angelo + Nero ship (91 days) particularly irksome but didn’t have my dislike properly contextualised until now. I couldn’t understand, in light of the story, the extreme efforts persons exerted to show how in love they were by citing the show as evidence! (Didn’t engage with the shippers about it, just blocked the tumblr tag.)

    This is the level of awareness I’d love to see more of in the (Western?) fujoshi community. (I’m a newb; maybe it’s there.) We love to shut down arguments by describing “problematic” stories as fantasy. Yet there’s one BL manga that’s popularly praised for being a “realistic” story about “flawed” characters. What it is an abused man who in turn abuses his partner, victim blames him, dumps him, then moves on to find redemptive love in the arms of the “right” man who gives him the kind of love he needs–and he never abuses him. Not even once. *silently screams*

    I also appreciate the links to black anime fans. I do have friends who are into anime and cosplay but we first met and interact in person, not online, so I had no links to share. I’ll ask if they have an active anime online presence ^_^.

  • Black Emolga

    While that post on “Fiction, Reality, Fandom and Adulthood” makes some good points there are some problems with it. The writer makes it seem like there are no abuse victims participating in these discussions on abuse in fan fiction when many of the most vocal people I have seen in these discussions are abuse victims. There is an assumption that unless a person tells you upfront that they were an abuse victim they must never have been abused. The problem with this is many abuse victims do not want to go into detailed discussions of their most traumatic experiences on the internet with anonymous strangers. Another problem is even if someone is willing to tell their experiences of abuse that doesn’t mean they will be believed since many types of abuse aren’t seen as real or legitimate. There is also an assumption that if your a “real” abuse victim you will say certain things act certain ways hold certain beliefs and if this isn’t the case you haven’t really been abused. Not everyone has access to the ability to tell their stories of abuse and being believed.

    Another problem is much of the conflict over abuse in fan fiction is motivated by discomfort with the subject matter itself not just how it’s being portrayed. Very often no distinction is made between a work that condemns abuse and one that glorifies it. Both involve abuse and therefore both are seen as bad within some online circles. I have seen people get stalked and harassed because of this belief. It’s not as simple as you right a work with a clear message and then everyone interprets that work exactly the way you wanted them to interpret it. Most people consume fiction with preexisting biases and expectations. They aren’t going to let something like “authorial intent” get in the way of that. The writer also makes a false equivalence between reading fiction about abuse out of curiosity and actually abusing people which is a blatant “Hitler was a vegan argument”.

    No one consumes media in a vacuum. Everyone views media with preexisting biases that they have been raised with since birth. Nor can a single work of fiction eradicate all of these biases. Discussions of media effects tend to be bogged down by arguments over does it have an effect or does it not have an effect. But the reality is that media effects aren’t straight forward, obvious, or predictable. Two people can consume the same piece of media and come out with totally different interpretations of what it means. Even if the the original creator was actively trying to avoid that. And that’s a fact that gets ignored in a lot of these discussions.

  • SC

    To add a few:

    – Akiko Higashimura (Princess Jellyfish) was featured in the recent issue of two book magazines in Japan (February issue of Da Vinci and March extra edition of Eureka), as one of her ongoing hit-series, Tokyo Tarareba Musume (Tokyo Tarareba Girls) is adopted to live-action drama series and currently airs on TV. Tarareba stands for the wishful but unsubstantiated “if” talks, as in “If I lose weight, I can find a great date,” and the series explores the three 33-year old women’s bumpy quests for love an marriage. The first volume is now available in English, and as a 30-something woman myself, I highly recommend it! It’s both funny and insightful. You can read the first chapter for free on Kodansha website.

    http://kodanshacomics.com/series/tokyo-tareraba-girls/

    – A great new film opened last week in Japan, one which tells a story of a transgender character and won the Teddy Special Jury Award at the Berlinale last month.

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/culture/2017/02/22/films/film-reviews/close-knit/#.WLfjKoXdRQY

    Upon receiving the award, Director Naoko Ogigami (Kamome Diner) commented that she wanted to make a film about an ordinary trans woman who falls in love, holds a job and leads a regular life (and not a kind of film in which a trans character only suffers). The original title of the film is Karera ga honki de amu toki wa (when they knit in all seriousness).

  • Alicia

    I’m only going to leave this comment (which you will not unscreen) because for some reason I appear to still hope this website will become, you know, good.

    This post is toxic. Your guilt-tripping is toxic. Your list reads like “Black friends! Get your very own special black friends here! Two for the price of one! Strike now!” None of this is social justice. You need to reevaluate your choices.

    • What do you think would make this website good?

      • Anna

        Uhm… Can I chime in? “Guilt-tripping” is exactly the word that came to my mind when I saw that not one, but two articles this week essentially shamed the AniFem readership for not having replied quickly and numerously enough to the latest AniFemTalk prompt:
        “This says a lot about our community, both as anime fans and as AniFem readers, none of it good” and later “initial response was disheartening.”

        That first comment was written just one day after the AniFemTalk post went live. It’s not as if these Talk posts are usually super busy and attract dozens of comments within the first couple of hours! The previous post had garnered seven comments over the course of a week or so.
        (Come to think of it, why did the Links post move from the end of the week to Tuesday?)

        Please also take into account that the week before, you asked for feedback and suggestions in the AniFemTalk post. You received replies, but never really acknowledged any of them. I think it is unfair to complain about people not responding to your prompts when you have the habit of ignoring them when they do respond. Other people probably don’t care so much, but I admit that I felt a little discouraged?

        Oh, and please don’t think I’m saying that the anime community doesn’t have any racism! Just that… it’s an awkward approach to the topic, to basically ask your readers to prove they aren’t part of the problem by listing the names of black fans. I mean, that probably wasn’t your intention, but that’s kinda what it felt like to me… not initially, but after these two follow-up posts.

        (BTW, do you still plan to cover manga alongside anime, or are manga posts gong to stay the exception?)

        • Hi Anna,

          Thank you for commenting, I really appreciate you bringing this stuff directly to us and giving me a chance to respond.

          It’s probably harder to see from the reader side of things, but to receive no response at all in comments, on Twitter, on Facebook or on Patreon, despite being liked and shared as many times as our Talk posts usually are, was noteworthy. It was distinctly out of the pattern of response we have come to expect, and the most obvious reason is that our (largely white) user base just didn’t feel like they could contribute. You mention listing names of black fans, but I specifically provided ways for people to contribute even if they weren’t personally aware of any black creators, e.g. by picking out costumes they liked from the #28DaysofBlackCosplay hashtag on Twitter. The fact that not one single person went even that far when multiple people will usually comment in some way through at least one channel within 24 hours does, I think, say a lot about our community. You’ll remember that we had a previous post on anime characters of colour which received a positive response, so it’s not like I’m saying our readers are racists who are reluctant to support black people, but it seems fair to say that there’s apparently a knowledge gap which no doubt costs black creators a higher profile, bigger fan base and greater earnings. I’d call that disheartening.

          As I mentioned in the post, diversity does not just happen, and if we as a community are not actively seeking out and promoting the work of black creators then of course their contributions are going to be overlooked and sidelined. As a feminist website we have an obligation to address this problem when we see it reflected in the very young community we are building, and I genuinely don’t feel that two posts in a week holding our readers accountable for seeking out and signal-boosting black creators is in any way excessive (especially when one of those was almost entirely a personal account about my own experiences with race in fandom, with just a single line about the Talk post).

          I should also note that this isn’t the first time we have posted on topics which we expect will make people uncomfortable, including people we like very much. The most obvious example is of course the post on problematic translations, despite multiple members of our team working with Crunchyroll and being on good terms with CR and Funimation staffers myself, but there are other examples in our back catalogue and will be many more in our future. Feminism involves challenging people, and I am regularly challenged myself by people with excellent points highlighting my bias, privilege or harmful assumptions.

          At this point I should acknowledge one way in which I definitely did mess up: your point about responding to comments is a valid one, and that’s entirely on me. I didn’t ignore the responses at all, I promise you I never do, but for the Talk post on exclusive content for patrons I specifically didn’t want to lead anyone into thinking that I would definitely be following their suggestion. I had intended more to ask the question, spark some conversation, then mull over the points made with the team and come back to the post later when we come to revise our Patreon tiers. However, I didn’t communicate this at all, and it didn’t even occur to me that it would come off as if this input was being ignored, though that seems obvious now. That was a misstep on my part, and I apologise for that. I will make a point of responding or at least acknowledging consistently the next time we specifically ask for feedback on something to do with AniFem, and again, I appreciate you bringing this to me to give me a chance to respond and make it right.

          Finally, to your point about manga. We are just now settling into a regular posting schedule as follows:

          Monday: Talk
          Tuesday: Links
          Wednesday: Feature
          Thursday: Throwback
          Friday: Feature

          I would ideally like those features to be split evenly between anime and manga. However, the fact is that we simply haven’t received anywhere near as many pitches on manga, so this may not be as 50-50 as I would like for a little while. That said, we have a number of posts in the works which do focus on manga, and we’re considering internally how we as a team can top this up to make it closer to 50-50, e.g. through manga reviews, manga-themed podcasts, interviews with manga-relevant people, etc. Again, diversity doesn’t just happen, and if we want our content to be more diverse than just anime – which we do – we have to make an effort to get it there. We are putting in that effort behind the scenes right now with a 50-50 target in mind, and I hope you’ll stick with us while we work towards that.

          Thank you again for this, I know you have been a long term commenter and I am really sorry that my actions made you feel discouraged. I hope my answer has satisfied some of the concerns you had, but please feel free to approach me with any more questions or feedback.

          • Anna

            Thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed reply.

            Like I said, I don’t think that the topic doesn’t deserve extra attention or that it isn’t important. But I don’t really think that these two “call-outs” were the best way to address this, or change it … I probably wouldn’t have had as much of a problem with it if you had also somehow acknowledged the people who did comment. That’s really why I got a bit of an uncomfortable vibe from the whole thing. YMMV, of course.

            Anyway, I am glad to hear that manga isn’t off the table entirely. It doesn’t surprise me that you aren’t getting as many manga pitches … Western or English-speaking anime/manga fandom in general seems to prefer anime over manga. To be honest, that’s also the impression I get from AnimeFeminist, since you’ve been reviewing every new anime but haven’t done anything similar for new manga releases. XD Maybe that’s also a reason why you aren’t getting many manga submissions? AniFem really seems like a very anime-focused place right now …

          • Caitlin

            Hi Anna,

            Maybe I can clear some things up.

            The simple fact is, manga is less accessible than anime. We’d love to be able to review new manga releases! However, anime these days are served “all you can eat” for a monthly fee, while the majority of manga is a la carte. We are working on getting on review lists for new volumes, but it takes time to gain the sort of journalistic credibility that requires and Anime Feminist is a young site. In the meantime, everything comes out-of-pocket for us and unfortunately those pockets are not very deep.

            We appreciate the feedback and we hope to be able to review first volumes the same way we review first episodes, but that is a while coming.

          • Anna

            I’m aware of the cost of manga, and don’t get me wrong, I don’t think you should review every single new manga release on the market. But over the past few months, there was this obvious imbalance, that you were reviewing even the least-promising-looking moe anime just because it was on Crunchyroll, but wrote not once (I think?) about any new manga that you might have read and enjoyed.
            Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with that, you’re free to prioritize whatever interests you the most and if none of you read much manga, you shouldn’t force yourselves to write about manga. But it shouldn’t surprise you that you’re currently attracting more anime fans (with Crunchyroll accounts) than manga fans.

          • We’ve not been surprised at all to attract anime fans, but most of them – like us – are interested in both manga and anime to varying degrees. It’s not a matter of our readers being divided into anime fans and manga fans and aiming to draw 50% of each; most of the time anime fans ARE manga fans, and vice versa. On the team too, anyone who follows our Twitter accounts can confirm that we all read and enjoy manga, though not always what is new to market, and I actually do want to be able to review every new release of manga the way we do anime! As Caitlin said though, it takes time to build up the credibility required to do that sustainably, so it’s been a long term goal of ours since the start, with a short term goal to seek out contributors who can write features on manga specifically and plug that gap until we can review manga in the same way we review anime.

            I think you will enjoy some of the content in our pipeline right now, we have multiple manga-specific posts being written and a couple of manga-specific interviews in the works. Manga fans who read our site have had to be more patient than anime fans, for sure, but I am confident that you will be pleased with where we end up.

          • Anna

            Hmm. Well, you said that you were getting more anime pitches than manga pitches, and I just wanted to suggest a possible reason, or two. I know most anime/manga fans are fans of both anime and manga, to varying degrees, and I am sure you enjoy manga personally, but you cannot deny that AniFem, right now, is de facto an anime-focused website with very little manga-specific articles. I’m not surprised that this inspires people to submit anime-related articles first and foremost, since that is the content the website is focused on. That’s all I meant to say.