We have good news to share about podcasts, and bad news about things happening in the real world.
When yuri anime gets made it can often fall disappointingly into being s-class or fetish bait for the male gaze. Yuri manga has many more opportunities to offer a wider range of stories, including spaces for queer creators. McKeon, a professional translator, has plenty of experiences with yuri titles of different stripes.
A little bit delayed, here’s Peter, Amelia, and Caitlin talking about what they watched last season – as well as some news about what the podcast schedule will look like from here on in.
The topic at hand can be a sensitive one, and anime doesn’t always have the best track record of handling it; all the better to discuss what shows have done well or badly.
The FREQ Show: 00.01 Whitewashing (YouTube)
Anita Sarkeesian has started a second show dealing with broader pop cultural media outside of video games, planned to be tied specifically to current cultural (intersectional, hopefully?) issues.
In this debut episode, we chart the racist underpinnings of Hollywood’s history of whitewashing, from the earliest days of cinema, when the practice was more blatant and obvious, to its more subtle but no less racist modern-day manifestations in films like Doctor Strange and Ghost in the Shell. We also examine the larger issue of why it’s harmful that people of color are so often written out of — or horribly written into — our media narratives, and why defenses of the practice are even more disappointing than The Great Wall’s performance at the box office.
Meet the First Black Idol in Japan (NextShark)
20 year old Amina du Jean grew up idolizing….um, idols, and wound up moving to Japan to study. There, she joined an idol group herself. While she faces discrimination, she’s proud to be adding diversity to the industry.
Japan’s idol industry can be a lonely place for Black people, who face prejudice or discrimination because of the color of their skin.
“More racist prejudices have been from the entertainment industry rather than everyday life,” du Jean said. “In everyday life people assume that I’m ‘athletic’ (even though I don’t have single muscle on my body) or that I can dance well or some other bullsh*t. But that’s no different than what American people say to Black people.”
About (Con or Bust)
A nonprofit dedicated to helping fans of color attend conventions.
Con or Bust isn’t a scholarship and isn’t limited to the United States, to particular types of con-goers, or to specific cons; its goal is simply to help fans of color go to SFF cons and be their own awesome selves. It is funded through donations and an online auction held annually.
Japan’s policies on uniformity of appearance include hair color and style, sometimes going beyond preventing dye jobs to forcing them.
The practice is not new. Even a decade ago, some schools required students to prove they hadn’t dyed or curled their hair. In extreme cases, schools would even require foreign-born students to dye their hair to conform to the rest of the student body as part of a forced assimilation process.
“Every week teachers would check if Nicola was dyeing her hair brown,” a Brazilian-born student named Maria told Japan Times of her sister, Nicola, in 2007. “Even though she said this is her natural color, she was instructed to straighten and dye it black. She did so once a week. But the ordeal traumatized her. She still has a complex about her appearance.”
Don’t Rein It In: The Necessary, Unrepentant Weirdness of My Horse Prince (Women Write About Comics)
In a landscape where triple-A games churn out many homogenous triple-A titles, it’s refreshing to see something dedicate to being so out and out odd. Even if the game itself isn’t any good.
But it’s [sic] weirdness, more than anything, that the gaming industry needs. We celebrate Hideo Kojima’s work because it isn’t the norm. We salivate over Death Stranding trailers because we have no idea what’s happening in them, unlike other blockbusters, where potato-shaped men clutch guns the size of toddlers and blow up meaty aliens.
A Female Animator’s Take On The Current Anime Industry Pt. 1 ([Cries in Newtype])
The first part of an interview with animator Kyoko Kotani, covering the troubles with anime production cycles and the recent increase of women hired in animation.
— Is the anime industry easy to work in after getting married or having a child?
Kotani: Marriages are usually between animators, so there aren’t any minuses. Women can also keep their maiden name as their pen name and continue with their work. The story changes when it comes to having a child.
— Can you elaborate?
Kotani: When both parents are animators, one of them has to take up raising the child. Of course, there are houses that start looking to enroll in nurseries and other procedures while they are pregnant. A lot of us animators work for ourselves, so there isn’t any special help from the production companies.
Review: My Brother’s Husband – Volume 1 (Takurei’s Room)
We linked to a preview of this comic last week, so here’s a full review now that the volume’s out for sale.
A departure from [Tagame’s] usual fare, which typically depicts hypermasculine men in erotic situations, My Brother’s Husband paints a delicate story about love, loss, and family.
Yaichi is a single father living with his elementary school-aged daughter Kana. When Mike Flanagan, the widower of Yaichi’s gay twin brother Ryoji arrives on his doorstep, Yaichi is compelled to evaluate his relationship with his late brother and come face to face with his own prejudices.
Tainted Love: Fetishizing Disability in Yaoi Manga Ten Count (The Mary Sue)
While the title is slightly misleading (the series deals with mysophobia, which affects behavior but is itself an aspect of mental illness) there are excellent points raised about the fetishizing of physical disability/the behavioral effects of mental illness in romance/BL stories.
Though Takarai makes it increasingly clear as the story progresses that Kurose’s feelings for Shirotani run deeper than just a very specific sexual fetish, this insertion just feels like an excuse. While Kurose does indeed fulfill his pledge to lessen Shirotani’s suffering, that fulfillment comes at an exploitative cost. Where there should be mutual consent, there is forced dominance and subservience. Where there should be an equal partnership, there is someone in a position of power objectifying and preying on someone else’s perceived vulnerabilities.
Love is in the air as racy play ‘Spring Awakening’ comes to theaters (The Japan Times)
Originally from Germany and staged as a musical in the states over a decade ago, the play about adolescents led to ruin because of a society that refuses to acknowledge sex or emotional struggles might find an audience on Japan’s stage.
Then, [lead actor Kurihara] that he actually attended a few readings of “Spring Awakening” in 2014, at which actors stood around and voiced several roles each, he says he believes the play is primarily about “chū-ni byō,” which literally means “junior high school second-year syndrome” — a condition said to afflict 13- and 14-year-olds living in dreamy but highly self-conscious worlds of their own.
The posters in question appeared from an unknown source but are suspected to have nationalist leanings.
It’s worth noting that Japan’s near-homogenous ethnic makeup makes it difficult to distinguish between societal and racial pride. Still, multiple online commenters felt that the posters are insensitive towards people of non-Japanese ancestry.
“This kind of thinking [exhibited on the poster] is dangerous unless you also have an understanding of and respect for other cultures as well. I hope whoever made these posters has those.”
“What a weird poster. When foreign residents of Kyoto or the city’s many overseas visitors see this, I wonder if it’ll make them feel like this country doesn’t accept their presence. It’s a very disturbing message that the posters are transmitting.”
Speaking of yuri manga, Jenny McKeon is kindly giving some away in celebration of her article! If any of the titles she mentioned strike your fancy, you have a whole week to enter.
— 訳者ですが、なにか? (@JLMKart) May 7, 2017
We’ve finally got our Tumblr up and running too, so please come and say hi.
The AniFem Tumblr is Go! https://t.co/Bredwh9nAy
— AniFem (@AnimeFeminist) May 7, 2017
And as a final note, we’re getting close to being able to pay not just our contributors but our editors, as well. So if you have a dollar to throw toward our Patreon, it’s hugely appreciated.
— Amelia Cook (@neutralfemale) May 8, 2017
At this stage, we have raised enough money to be able to pay for contributed posts, behind the scenes admin, and audio editing for weekly podcasts. Our next goal is to pay the editors who have worked on AniFem as volunteers since before launch, making enormous contributions for no pay. Help us pay them for their work at a rate of $15 an hour by becoming a patron for as little as $1 a month!