[Links] 5-11 April 2017

A boatload of premieres means a slow week for news. Your Name takes the US by storm, BL has some real bad habits, and ’90s nostalgia rears its head.

AniFem Round-Up

[Review] Alice & Zoroku – episode 1

A potentially promising slice-of-life occasionally fighting for screentime with its fantastical premise.

[Review] The Laughing Salesman – episode 1

Dark morality plays of people getting exactly what they wished for, with a particularly mean-spirited tonal edge.

[Review] Frame Arms Girl – episode 1

If Angelic Layer explicitly sexualized its tiny robot girls and also made them mentally ten years old. Do you feel gross yet?

[Review] Akashic Records of Bastard Magic Instructor – episode 1

A new teacher comes to a magical school, walks in on his female students fondling one another in the locker room, and stares harder. Iiiiiiiiit’s that sort of show.

[Review] The Royal Tutor – episode 1

Shenanigans involving trash boys and their pint-sized teacher. A bit of an Ouran High School Host Club air, with an unimpressed outsider cutting through put-on archetypes.

[Review] Sakura Quest – episode 1

A girl who wants to be a queen winds up as an ambassador for a rundown rural tourism program. A sweet-looking found family story with a nuanced female lead.

[Review] KADO: The Right Answer – episodes 0-1

An alien first contact story that might be promising if it can figure out its tone and pacing. And tell us more about those “coworkers.”

[Review] Tsuki ga Kirei – episode 1

Might be for you if you’re looking for sweet, low-key romance, but it’s currently low on stakes.

 

Beyond AniFem

Osaka the first city in Japan to certify gay couple as foster parents (The Japan Times)

Up to now queer adults hoping to raise a child had to apply as single parents (couples aren’t prohibited from applying but tend to be turned away), making this a small but important step forward.

There is no law excluding same-sex couples from being foster parents. But as of March 1, 2015, the 3,704 foster homes nationwide comprised 3,216 married couples and 488 single-parent households, government data shows.
Compared with other countries where it is more commonplace to see gay and lesbian couples fostering children, Japan lags because many LGBT applicants are turned away at the door.

Illustrator Yuko Shimizu on starting a creative career in your 30s and keeping home and work life separate (Creative Boom)

A really fantastic piece on getting started as an artist late in life and still feeling a little insecure even after you’ve “made it.”

“I am still not sure if I can make a career out of it. Ok, I guess I have made a career out of it, as I paid all my bills with illustration for longer than the number of years I had spent doing corporate PR. But seriously, when no potential client emails me for like two weeks, I often feel ‘this is it, my career is over!’ And I don’t think I will ever shake off this insecurity. I speak with peers in the field, or other fields who also work under their own name, most of them say the same. The fear never goes away, but then, that fear keeps you in check. I would worry more if I ever started to feel like ‘my life is set!’ Nothing is ever set in stone, and that is life.
“You know one of the most famous pieces of literature from Japan, The Tale of Heike? It is from the 12th Century during the unstable period of warrior culture. We learn and memorise the opening lines in high school. It says: ‘The proud ones do not last long, but vanish like a spring night’s dream. And the mighty ones, too, will perish like dust before the wind’.
“Everything we need to know was written already like 1,000 years ago.”

What We Learn Through Body-swapping: The Subtext of Torikaebaya and Your Name (Fantastic Memes)

A translated article underlining the philosophy of Your Name, which is less about mining comedy from gender-bending and more finding empathy in being forced to share someone else’s experience.

I’m glad that I read Watanabe’s columnit helped me appreciate why the body-swapping in Your Name is no gimmick. Shinkai evidently took care to write a body-swapping story where gender differences were beside the point. I think that’s why people found the love story between Taki and Mitsuha so affecting despite the fact that they only interact directly, like, once in the entire film. They learned to see the world through each other’s eyes, and isn’t that the most important thing?

Little Witch Academia and “A Big Bad” (Or Lack Thereof) (Atelier Emily)

On how a series that’s often been without a central antagonist creates and defines conflict and stakes.

Akko was always a stand-in for a young animator who underestimated how much hard work, practice, and yes, dull repetition, transforms a person with raw passion into the best in their field. In the words of Yoh Yoshinari, “Akko’s like someone who joined the industry out of passion but without actual technique, so she can’t draw clean lines for in-betweens. Yet she has that egocentric confidence about being able to draw good key frames despite that.”
Solving the problem of magic dying isn’t something that can be accomplished by one person alone. Magic cannot be saved with an attitude like Finnelan’s, nor the wishy-washy agreeable nature of Holbrooke, nor solely relying on technology like Croix. Like any art, learning tradition is important but not everything. Using new techniques or technology isn’t everything.
Even passion isn’t everything.

Lina and Deedlit Walk Into A Room: An Interview with Lisa Ortiz (Anime Herald)

A nostalgic look back at the ’90s landscape of anime fandom through one of the most prominent voice actors of the time.

Anime Herald: I have to lead off, honestly, because the world needs to get this on record: Your bio states that you have an interesting origin story for getting into voice acting. So how the heck does grand theft auto lead into a voice acting career?

BL Tropes: Sudden Death Ending (Queer Fudanshi)

Hey, you know what’s exhausting? The boggling amount of queer media that ends with one or both characters being killed off! Let’s talk about it.

This time it was a BL drama that I recently watched that ended in a way that I wasn’t too happy about. Guys, gals, and those all around, I am not a fan of the “sudden death ending” trope. BL has a lot of tropes in them such as the constant “no means yes seme” trope in yaoi manga. That said, the sudden death one is one of my least favorites.

When the talent gets religious (The Japan Times)

A spotlight on a trend of Japanese actresses joining religious groups and cults, possibly because they feel like they need to for their careers.

Industry gossip states that many actresses don’t actually believe what they claim to worship. They are said to join the groups because their friends and bosses have done so and they don’t want to miss out. And there are a lot of perks to being part of a popular religious cult: These women will have access to roles and jobs, the spiritual angle is great for publicity and, most important of all, they will be protected from the cruel winds of the press. In the tricky, volatile world of the Japanese media, a woman needs to kneel at the same altar with her best and most powerful allies, or she may find it hard to survive.

Newest boyband out of China has gender-bending twist, hundreds of thousands of adoring fans (Rocket News 24)

FFC-Acrush is a new idol group whose fans refer to them with agendered pronouns. Not unlike Takarazuka performers, they’re proving a huge hit with young women in particular.

The group FFC-Acrush was introduced to the world at a “husband exhibition”, where the term “husband” is a word that female fans generally use for their favorite male pop idols. However the group prefers the term 美少年, which may use the same characters as bishonen (“beautiful boy”) in Japanese, but is pronounced meishaonian in Chinese and means something closer to a more general “handsome youth.” This helps the group avoid using gendered pronouns, plus the girls are forbidden to disclose their own sexual preference.

Ghost in the Shell: Japanese Response to Remake is More Positive (Screen Rant)

The Hollywood GiTS remake is enjoying some mild success in Japan, highlighting the issue that it’s more often members of the Japanese diaspora impacted and hurt by issues of whitewashing than viewers in Japan.

This response perhaps shouldn’t be the most surprising. THR reported last November that the trailer for the film exceeded Japanese fans’ expectations, and so far that goodwill has apparently carried over to its theatrical release.
However, in interviews THR conducted with four Japanese actresses earlier this week, Ghost in the Shell was universally dismissed for many reasons, including the misrepresentation of the Japanese culture and most prominently, Johansson’s casting.

 

AniFem Community

While we’re still bogged down reviewing premieres, we’d love to hear how the new season has been treating you. Got any favorites in the making? Trainwrecks you couldn’t look away from? Is anyone actually paying for Anime Strike?

 

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