[Links] 8-14 February 2017

Happy Valentine’s Day to anyone celebrating! Anyone not celebrating (or not enjoying it), maybe this 2014 account of Frog-kun’s attempts to make Valentine’s chocolate like an anime girl will help. Worth a click for the photographic evidence alone.

AniFem round-up

Introducing the AniFem podcast: Chatty AF
This was our big news of the week – we finally recorded a podcast! Well, a trial episode at least. We are still looking for feedback, so please give it a listen and let us know what you would like to hear from us in the future!

[Links] 1-7 February 2017
We’re determined to keep to a schedule for these posts from now on, but you may have missed this last links post, which only came out on Sunday.

[AniFemTalk] Feminist-friendly – and unfriendly – ships
While intended as a light-hearted look at our favorite ships, this has led to a welcome discussion on what makes a romance feminist-friendly or unfeminist and how best to describe your enjoyment of the latter category (though plenty of people are still also putting in a word for their favorite ships!).

Beyond AniFem

Sailor Moon musical to be released on DVD next month, footage available online (Rocket News 24)
“Following its live run in Tokyo, Osaka, and Fukuoka from October to November 2016, the musical performance Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon – Amour Eternal is set to be released on DVD next month on March 15. The musical, which is based on the Dream arc of the Sailor Moon manga series, features all of the original scouts from Mercury to Pluto, in addition to Tuxedo Mask, Mini Moon, Pegasus, and more. To announce the musical’s release to DVD, the Sailor Moon official account on YouTube also released a three-and-a-half minute digest of scenes from the live performance.”

In super-skinny Japan, Naomi Watanabe is chubby and proud (The Washington Post)
Anna Fifield interviews Naomi Watanabe, a celebrity comedian who is part of the body positive ‘marshmallow girl’ movement in Japan. “Asked who she’d want to play her in a film, she said Arnold Schwarzenegger or perhaps John Travolta, since he can sing and dance. She told a Japanese fashion blog that her workout routine involves lying on her back, eating curry and rice while doing leg lifts.She was also named one of Vogue Japan’s “Women of the Year” in 2016, partly because she’d set clear goals and achieved them, notably going on a “world tour” to Los Angeles, New York and Taipei last year.”

Japanese women pick which anime characters they’d want as their girlfriends (Rocket News 24)
Casey Baseel reports on a poll carried out by lesbian internet portal Gachirezu. “In the interest of full disclosure, we should point out that Gachirezu didn’t disclose the methodology by which it composed its list, which makes it hard to determine just how universal its results are among lesbian anime fans. However, if nothing else, it stands as proof that even as plenty of guys are enjoying romantic daydreams about these characters, some women are too.”

26.9% of aspiring models, idols have been asked to perform sex acts for the camera: survey (Japan Times)
“It is the first survey by the Cabinet Office on sexual incidents involving young female aspirants seeking to enter show business. A government official said the results probably represent the tip of the iceberg and suggested that many of the women victimized in such incidents feel they are unable to seek help from others. “We have to improve the support system and create an environment in which victims would feel free to talk to somebody about their problem,” the official added.”

Becoming the Puppet Master: Identity in Ghost in the Shell (Shojo Power)
Anne Lee revisits the 1995 film in the shadow of the upmake remake. “One detail I had completely forgotten about is that Section 9 suspects that the Puppet Master is American. In other words, our heroes in this film are trying to protect Japan from being infiltrated by an American terrorist. That certainly puts the new American adaptation that’s headlined by a white American actress in a whole new light.”

Scum’s Wish anime receives complaints about “extreme kissing” (SGCafe)
“The Broadcasting Ethics and Program Improvement Organization (BPO) serves as a media watchdog for Japan. They recently get complaints for all sorts of reasons, and of course, they also get complaints regarding anime. Several anime have already been reported to them include Gintama, Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans, and of course, Shimoneta. Now, the latest to be added to the list is Scum’s Wish.”

Japanese misanthropes march against ‘passion capitalism’ of Valentine’s Day (The Guardian)
The Revolutionary Alliance of Men whom Women Find Unattractive actually has a good point about the social pressure and overly commercial nature of Valentine’s Day in Japan… but choose the worst possible way to make it. Fortunately they are a very small group, and reading their own words it’s unsurprising that they have no influence. “Amid charges of misogyny – during previous demonstrations its members railed against “housewives who decide Japan’s future” while their hapless husbands go out to work – the group mixes Marxist rhetoric with disdain for anything resembling romance. “The blood-soaked conspiracy of Valentine’s Day, driven by the oppressive chocolate capitalists, has arrived once again,” it said on its website.” [Please note that this article was from 2015 and posted in error]

Why Kodansha Comics finally licensed Chihayafuru (TheOASG)
Justin interviews a Kodansha staffer to find out what took this beloved anime’s source material so long to make it into English. “Chihayafuru has been one of our most asked-for series. We’re seeing changes in manga readership going beyond the usual shōjo/shōnen—a lot of the new digital releases we have coming have reflected and will reflect that. I expect it to do well.”

El Gee Bee Tee (Anime News Network)
If you haven’t yet heard this week’s ANNCast, with Zac Bertschy, Jacob Chapman, Erica Friedman, Jason Thompson and Valerie Complex discussing LGBT representation in anime and manga, you’re missing out. This is a substantial and thoughtful discussion about a complex and nuanced topic, and while many of us could no doubt happily listen to this discussion for hours, they cover a lot in their hour and a quarter.

Seiren is a very romantic show (Frog-kun)
Speaking of podcasts, Frog-kun wrote a post about a topic we touched on briefly in the first episode of Chatty AF. “I should stress that this anime doesn’t actually have that many ecchi fanservice tropes. I mean, sure, you do get to see the first girl in a bikini, but the camera angles are genuinely not sleazy. And when the guy gets turned on by the sight of her in a bikini, he fixates on her navel instead of her breasts. It’s not just a weird gimmick; the male gaze of the camera feels reflective of the boy’s sexuality as an individual. This makes the sexually charged scenes feel more intimate and particular to their relationship instead of just “fanservice” aimed at a voyeuristic audience.”


BONUS: We’re always keen to support other anime sites run by women, and are particular fans of Yatta-Tachi, run by the ever-lovely Katy Castillo. Yatta-Tachi is giving away Crunchyroll gift cards right now, so if you fancy watching Seiren without commercials don’t miss out!

AniFem community

When we asked you to tell us your favorite feminist-friendly – or unfriendly – ships, Elisabeth O’Neill of little anime blog linked us to her post on anime couples! There are a number of pieces like this published around Valentine’s Day, but we’d love to see more inclusive efforts like Elisabeth’s, which contains examples of straight, gay and lesbian couples. Why not give us your list in the AniFemTalk comments?


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

Thanks to our generous patrons we are now able to pay all writers! Next we need to be able to pay members of the team for their work behind the scenes, especially their time spent editing the work of paid contributors. If you appreciate our work, believe in paying people fairly and can spare just $1 a month please become a patron today

  • GreyLurker

    ?! we are getting an english release of Chihayafuru!!
    Hell Yeah Take my Money

  • SC

    The Guardian article is from 2015 while everything else is more recent. Perhaps the links could specify the dates to avoid confusion? (Or only list the things that are actually published in Feb8-14, 2017.) The piece also made me think about what part of Japanese culture gets western media coverage and what doesn’t. I mean, one local online news site reports only 15 people marched in this event.


    The same goes for the pedophiliac anime mentioned in the ANNCast. I’m glad the hosts were able to provide a broader context for this one though.

    • Ah, thank you so much for this! The Guardian link was my mistake entirely, apologies for that – other versions of the article were being posted as new elsewhere (e.g. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/02/12/national/killjoys-want-public-displays-affection-stopped-claim-hurts-feelings/) so I assumed all articles on the same topic were from the same time. I won’t be handling these posts in future, and will advise my replacement to double-check dates before posting. I have added a note on the link to clarify this.

      I also take your point about what parts of Japanese culture get western media coverage and what doesn’t (a worthwhile article topic in its own right, if you’d like to pitch!). This is something I should have been more sensitive to, as a good chunk of my degree was about putting the common western image of Japan into real life context. I still think the activities of fringe misogynist groups is worth noting, but I will be more careful to provide more context of their actual status in the intro sentence for links like this going forward. I have added in some text to make it clear that they are not representative or influential.

      One of the purposes of the AniFemTalk posts originally was for people to draw attention to blog posts and articles they thought would be relevant and of interest to our readers. If you find good news stories you think we might overlook please do link to them in the comments of those Monday posts. There are two levels of filtering going on: first, from what gets covered by western media in the first place and second, in what actually turns up in our Twitter timelines or in a Google search. Anything our readers can do to help balance out that process is much appreciated.

      Thanks again for bringing my attention to this, it’s very much appreciated.