[Links] 29 November – 5 December 2017

Women leading the industry, gift guides, and trans rights violations.

AniFem Round-Up

[My Fave is Problematic] Kare Kano

Jacqueline-Elizabeth Cottrell on the good (perseverance for abuse survivors) and the bad (romanticizing adult/child relationships, abuse of women) of Kare Kano.

[Feature] Love, power, and safety in The Ancient Magus’ Bride

Jessica Engelbrecht on Magus’ Bride‘s delicate approach to a problematic premise and respect for its lead’s journey.

[Podcast] Chatty AF 33: Fushigi Yugi Watchalong – Episodes 35-40

The low point of the series, where every conflict involves sexual assault.

[AniFemTalk] 12 Days of Anime

What anime are you talking about from 2017?

 

Beyond AniFem

Re: Trap (Andrea Ritsu)

Because we still have to explain this, apparently. A breakdown of the language origins of otokonoko and trap, and the latter’s connection to real-world violence against trans people (particularly trans women).

It doesn’t matter if a character is known to be transgender, such as Futaba Aoi from You’re Under Arrest, featured both here and here under a lists of “Trap Characters in Anime”. It’s worth noting that Aoi is not the only trans woman on these lists and some characters have no connection to gender non-conformity, such as Totsuka Saika, who has a feminine face but still dresses like any other boy and is only “mistaken” for a girl in his first appearance before being referred to as a boy from that point onward.

To this day, trans women, assigned male at birth x-gender people and crossdressers are bundled in under this label. A label that suggests that they wish to entrap innocent people into having sex with them by tricking them about their gender. This idea is not a joke but a genuine fear people have, in particular about trans people. It’s what leads to politicians pushing for bathroom bills and more.

It’s the idea that trans people only “pretend” to be a gender in order to rape innocent people.

Trans Deaths

The idea breeds more than just fear, it leads to the killing of trans people. In the United States of America there’s been over twenty-five trans women murdered this year alone, with more dying all over the world from violence often related to the fact that they were transgender, not for anything they had actually done. But it’s not just that trans people are murdered, it’s the nature in which they are murdered and how the perpetrators are given softened sentences that shows how the idea of trans people inherently being at fault is still alive.

In 2013, a man named James Dixon murdered a trans woman named Islan Nettles. He turned himself in and explained that he had murdered her in a “blind rage” after learning that she was trans. He says he had no control over his actions because of the panic he felt over the idea of having had sexual attraction to someone he considers to not be a woman. James Dixon was not charged with a hate crime, he was not charged with murder. James Dixon was convicted of manslaughter and was considered to have not been fully at fault because of “trans panic.”

Japanese Translator Explains Why Otome Games Fail in U.S. (Anime News Network, Jennifer Sherman)

One translator’s theory on why otome games (or at least a specific subset of them) fail to sell with western audiences.

Continuing, Gene said the American market demands “strong heroines.” She noted that the male characters in otome games are often unkind, cold, and selfish, and American players think of such characters as “jerks.” The problematic characterization of both women and men are not what the American market desires in romance games.

As an example, Gene said that Japanese scenarios sometimes feature wives who are ordered around the house by their husbands and then discover their spouses’ extramarital affairs. To get revenge and combat loneliness, the wives start their own affairs with attractive men. Although such game stories may be popular in Japan, they do not sell well in America.

No, Marvel, Promoting a White Guy Who Faked a Japanese Identity Is Not Normal (The Daily Beast, Clara Mae)

A postmortem analysis on the revelation that Marvel Editor-in-Chief C.B. Cebulski (who is staying in that position) previously wrote for the company under the pseudonym “Akira Yoshida.”

And that’s the thing: we don’t know conclusively if Cebulski’s actions caused Asian freelancers to be passed over. But we do know that Cebulski was first hired by Marvel in 2002 for his expertise on manga and Japanese culture(earning him the nickname “C.B.-san”); one wonders if any Asians were ever up for the position. We also know that an anonymous creator of color approached Geek.com on Wednesday alleging that they pitched a miniseries while Cebulski was an editor that ultimately went to “Akira Yoshida” to write. And if you believe ex-Marvel editor Gregg Scheigel’s thinly-veiled podcastversion of the story, he similarly hints that Cebulski may have plagiarized pitches from the very talent he was in charge of scouting.

This is all, suffice to say, a very bad look for Marvel.

What does this say about Marvel’s views on diversity and authenticity? Amanat defends Cebulski’s stint as Yoshida by saying that he “very much associates with Japanese culture.” She goes on to say that Marvel’s foremost goal is promoting more characters of color, rather than necessarily hiring diverse creators: “of course we want cultural authenticity and to make sure we’re casting those people behind the scenes, but the primary goal is getting those kinds of characters out there.” She cites the successful run white author Brian Michael Bendis had with writing Afro-Latino character Miles Morales, saying Bendis felt a deeper connection to the character because he “happens to have a daughter who’s African American.”

ANIME’S FUTURE: YOKO KUNO (Sakuga Blog, kVIN)

A profile of up-and-comer Kuno, who works in multiple mediums and most recently directed, boarded, and contributed substantial animation for Land of the Lustrous’ ending theme.

Because of her desire to express herself in a multitude of ways I don’t think we’ll ever see Kuno sticking to a single avenue, hence why you can still find her drawings comics and providing animation to fields beyond the standard anime space. That being said, at this point it’s obvious that her progression within the industry is unstoppable: she’s needed no time whatsoever to earn everyone’s trust and admiration, plus she’s shown interest in the possibilities of professional anime production. This year she’s participated in two major projects that showcase her versatility. Her contribution to Shin-chan: Invasion!! Alien Shiririspeaks of those aesthetic preferences of hers that we’ve been going through here, as well as her skill as an animator. She was in charge of the design work for the most adorable extraterrestrial ass being you’ll ever come across, plus she got to animate a gorgeous scene that contains all her child-like wonder. On the other hand, Land of the Lustrous taps into her potential as a director. She’s part of the very small crew of directors – 3 people plus Takahiko Kyougoku as the chief – and although she’s the newcomer learning the ropes, her output is notable as well. Kuno is studying under the veteran Shinichi Matsumi by acting as his assistant director, and the work they’re putting together rightfully belongs in such a fantastic show; within a series with immense emotional heights, a lighthearted moment like this managed to stand out just as much through simple, brilliant tempo.

She’s fighting for recognition as a Japanese street artist, and paving a path for other women (The Lily, Anthony Rivera)

A portrait of artist Shiro as part of a snapshot of Brooklyn’s street art scene –somewhat heavy on narration over the artist’s own words, but enough to be a starting place.

None of that really matters though because Gold says the secret mission of her company is to empower women. Shiro, who is dabbling in fashion as well, is on a similar mission. She wants to focus her art into a viable business that speaks to girls like her, who’ve been dismissed in some way.

For Shiro, the slights are sometimes subtle, but often not. When she’s at paint jams, for example, “sometimes people say, ‘oh, whose girlfriend are you? I’m like, no, I’m graffiti artist,’” she says. Those moments motivate her. “I’m like, ‘f— — you. I’ll show you how strong I am.’”

She says other street artists have swiped her spots to paint. And when she first came to New York, a group of kids pulled a gun on her in Queens and tried to steal her spray paint, she says.

Calls for same-sex marriage legalization growing in Japan (Japan Today, Keiji Hirano)

While several local municipalities have legalized marriage equality, discrimination still exists at a state and national level.

Still, he said, the introduction of a same-sex partnership system in Sapporo and other municipalities, including the Tokyo wards of Setagaya and Shibuya, combined with legalization of same-sex marriage in other countries, “have brought about positive knock-on effects to society.”

Such moves have raised public awareness about LGBT rights and contributed to changing discriminatory attitudes, while helping raise LGBTs’ self-esteem, he said. “The existence of LGBTs had been ignored, but these developments have gradually led the public to recognize us.”

Underpinning his comments, several cellphone operators, life insurers as well as hospitals treat same-sex couples as family, while the city of Osaka officially recognized two men as foster parents this year.

Suzuki also believes the introduction of same-sex partnerships or marriage will be the first step toward changing the conventional family system and generating “diversified forms of family.”

Abusive Relationships in Shoujo Manga by the Numbers: Week 12 (Heroine Problem, Caitlin)

Including a discussion of the dearth of pre-2000 shoujo work in western spheres.

A long, long time ago, in the strange era knowns as the “80s and 90s”, manga was first starting to come to the US, but it was a far cry from what we know today. The industry was controlled by comic books guys and intended to appeal to other comic book guys, so most of what came over was what was already in their wheelhouse: seinen and shonen. And while they imported many classics in that time, such as Maison IkkokuAkira, and Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, attitudes toward shoujo ranged from “inconsequential fluff” to “unmarketable.” It wasn’t until the late 90’s, when Sailor Moon became a modest success, that companies started considering teenage girls a viable audience. And when Tokyopop, for all the things they did wrong, embraced that audience, they ushered in a manga boom that would change the face of the US manga industry forever.

The true tragedy is that the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s were a wonderful time for shoujo manga. While many series coming out now fall under the relatively safe genres of school romance and supernatural romance, there was a ton of diversity in those eras. The Year 24 group were revolutionizing the demographic with stories like The Rose of VersaillesThe Heart of Thomas, and To Terra. Cross-dressing and BL stories examined boundaries between genders. The genre was bursting with character-driven fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction, and pretty much every genre under the sun. Above all else, women were creating media for girls – something all too rare in the US at the time. Some of it made its way to US shores after the fact – Red River and Basara still line my bookshelves – but many others never made it over.

Japan urged to scrap law forcing transgender people to be sterilised before they can transition (The Independent, Harriet Agerholm)

The 2003 law was declared a rights violation by the UN, though it was initially accepted as a progressive movement that allowed trans individuals to change their gender on their family registers.

The rule was challenged earlier this year when Takakito Usui, a 43-year-old man who was born female, took his case to family court.

Same-sex marriage is illegal in Japan and he wanted to change his legal gender so he could marry his girlfriend, while retaining the ability to have children.

“I hear some people who underwent operations came to regret them,” he said.

“The essential thing should not be whether you have had an operation or not, but how you want to live as an individual.”

Mr Usui lost his case.

The Japanese Justice Ministry said the surgery requirement was put in place to avoid “various confusion” and “problems that would arise when a child was born because of the reproductive ability retained from the former sex”.

2017 Yuri Gift Guide, Part 1: Manga (Okazu, Erica Friedman)

A good run-down of currently available yuri manga with pros and cons for each title.

Holy cow, it’s already December and gift giving and getting time! It has never been easier to get good Yuri, so for once you can hand your relatives this list, smile, sit back and get yourself a pile of great Yuri.  Or pore over it looking for just the right gift for yourself, your Yuri-loving friends or relative. Some of these items are still to be released, but most will have links, so you can at least order them right now. There’s just *so* much (and this isn’t everything out in English, just some popular items) that I’m splitting the list into two. Today we’re just doing manga and comics. For all the manga available in English, check out English Yuri Manga on the Yuricon Store!

Crossplay is more than an erotic comic book—it’s also a nuanced story of cosplayers (AV Club, Caitlin Rosberg)

A review of the recent release and its positive portrayal of genderplay and the cosplay community.

The book revolves around seven friends, all attending the same convention, and Smith deftly delves into the idiosyncrasies that are very specific not only to convention life but people who cosplay professionally—or nearly so. A lot of people, including comic fans and those who regularly attend large conventions, look at the apparently impenetrable subculture of cosplay artists and their friends and respond with disbelief, if not derision; every convention season someone can be counted on to write a think-piece about how cosplay is ruining comic book conventions for everyone else. But Smith portrays these characters and their friends as rightfully sympathetic and tight-knit, a group that’s bound together by a common hobby and enthusiasm, mostly for anime and manga characters. Crossplay is an intimate look at an often misunderstood hobby that shows just how community-oriented it is, and how kind and vital these relationships are.

BONUS: My Brother’s Husband TV drama announced

 

AniFem Community

Let’s embrace all the good stuff from 2017!

The other night we dusted off my DVD of Tokyo Godfathers. It's a great Christmas movie but also one that points out a lot of things in society people try to ignore. I think it's a wonderful film for your Christmas viewing as for things from this year. Magic Circle Guru Guru is my underrated gem, it's a fun spoof of RPG tropes as a couple of kids travel their world to defeat the evil demon lord. Yes it very silly but it also is a really sweet story

I will not be forgetting Dragon Maid for a long while to come. I picked up the series with no prior knowledge of the source material and only a cursory glance at the plot description, and what I found was an adorable story about lesbians and learning how to live in a foreign environment. This show means the world to me and I personally related to Kobayashi a lot, especially with how she shows/reacts to affection. I do think that KyoAni should've done more to remove scenes that portrayed underage characters in inappropriate situations, but in spite of that, everything else about this show was top-tier in my opinion. Here's to hoping that there's a season 2!

 

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

We pay every writer, editor and administrator who contributes to Anime Feminist... but we're not yet breaking even. To cover costs, we may have to reduce the amount of content we publish. Help us avoid this by becoming a patron for as little as $1 a month!

Support Us On Patreon