[Links] 26 April – 2 May 2017

Josei is on the rise, Japan fails its LGBTQ students, and another exhausting week of whitewashing.

AniFem Round-Up

 [Feature] The Josei Renaissance

As manga marketing goes digital and readers and their tastes age, josei manga is finally finding a foothold in North America.

[History] Ahead of The Pack: How Trixie in Speed Racer broke gender barriers

While other women in 60s anime were only really allowed to be mothers, love interests, or damsels, Trixie got to be an equal part of the racing team.

[AniFemTalk] What’s on your josei wishlist?

Now that more josei titles are getting released, what would you like to see translated?


Beyond AniFem

Amazon’s Big Anime Platform Is Hard To Love (Kotaku)

Let’s all take a moment to slow clap for Cecilia’s amazing article on the practices Amazon’s employed since the Winter 2017 season.

When I browsed through the winter anime selectionScum’s Wish, a brilliant show about lovers who love other people, caught my attention. It was only available on Amazon Strike. So, I typed “Scum’s Wish” into Amazon’s search bar. Buried among the original Scum’s Wish manga volumes and t-shirts—facets of Amazon’s world domination scheme—was the “Amazon Video” search result. I signed up for a 7-day free trial for Amazon Prime, which of course bled into a yearly subscription, to check out the show. So, yeah, I will have paid $160 to watch Scum’s Wish, because it is exclusive on Amazon Strike.

Netflix Whitewashed Its Death Note Remake, and That’s Not Even the Only Reason It’s Problematic (Cosmopolitan)

Every bit of news about the new Americanized Death Note film gets steadily worse. Some of us already lived through “Light is right” hell once, thanks.

By resetting Death Note in this “all-American” context, there’s a serious racial justice issue to deal with, or Light Turner could easily end up looking like a white supremacist. That’s a speculative worse-case scenario, sure — the footage released so far is just a glimpse of what’s to come, but the signs are as ominous as the trailer is, again, bad. This could have been a chance to reframe the morality issues that made the original Death Note so popular and offer nuanced discourse of race relations in the United States. Whitewashing the primary cast and amping up clickbait stunt scenes, though, suggests the end product is going to be quite the opposite.

Why Netflix’s Upcoming ‘Journey to the West’ Adaptation is Making Chinese Fans Angry (NextShark)

More whitewashing news. In this case it comes with the additional problem that the original Journey to the West is rooted in an important event in actual Buddhist history.

It may also be noted, that while the show is based on the Chinese classic, it will be more of a remake of the hugely popular 1970s Japanese series called “Monkey Magic”.
The version, which has been known for taking liberties with the characters and story arches, even precedes the Chinese-produced TV shows based on “Journey to the West”. This may explain why this new show looks unfamiliar since it is following the approach of the Japanese show and may even be a complete departure from the original epic. 

How Trans Role Model Casil McArthur Learned to Express Himself Through Cosplay (W Magazine)

Trans-masculine costumes are big in the cosplay for cosplayers of many genders; it helped this model figure out his identity.

Plus, there are similarities. For me, modeling has always been in a way exactly like cosplaying: I dress up, I put on makeup, I take photos. That’s why it never affected me too much when I was younger and modeling as a girl—it was always just like a character to me. Anyway, I’ve never really thought of clothing being boys’ clothing or girls’ clothing. Now that I’m a man, I have a few different styles, which range from punk grunge all the way to princess. Some days I like being really pretty and I’m made up and wearing pink and flowy shirts, dresses, and floral shawls, and others I’ll just wear ripped jeans, combat boots, and a T-shirt. It just depends on the day.

Coming Out to My Twin Brother Ruined Our Relationship (Vice)

A sample from an upcoming slice-of-life manga by acclaimed ‘gei comi’ mangaka Gengoroh Tagame.

The story follows Yaichi, a terse single father, and his bubbly, inquisitive daughter Kana. When Yaichi’s estranged twin brother dies, his husband, a mesomorphic Canadian named Mike Flanagan, arrives at Yaichi and Kana’s doorstep. His twin’s husband brings with him new and subversive ideas, like marriage between two men (in Japan, same-sex marriage is still illegal), that challenge Yaichi’s more traditional values. 

Video Explores Scifi Trope of Women Who Are ‘Born Sexy Yesterday’ (io9)

You’ve seen the trope in countless anime – women with a childlike mind who need the protagonist to teach and protect them, but sexualized adult bodies. This video misses the mark on a few specific examples but does a great overall examination of the trope.

Of course, there are examples of male characters who fall into the trope of naive newcomer (Buddy from Elf comes to mind), but oftentimes it’s played for laughs, and the woman ends up serving as a sort of motherly surrogate… which is far from sexy, although it probably depends on who you ask. In any case, it’s far more likely to be a male fantasy, and that can result in female characters who are basically Manic Pixie Dream Girls with fewer pairs of giant headphones and more surprising karate moves.

Japan’s Missed Opportunity to Support LGBT Children (Human Rights Watch)

We got wind of this issue some weeks ago, but this is a proper writeup in English, with larger societal context. This omission by Japan’s school system will likely harm queer Japanese children for years to come.

The Japanese government has missed an opportunity to introduce information about sexual and gender minorities to classrooms during a once-in-a-decade review of its national educational curriculum. Instead, the government said in March that including information about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) lives is “difficult” because “the public and guardians have not accepted” this topic yet.
This is patently untrue.

SAKURA QUEST AND SINCERITY (Atelier Emily)

On the one hand, Sakura Quest has some wonderfully nuanced and real-feeling characters. On the other, it sure loves romanticizing country life at the potential expense of nuance.

That being said, when compared to the rest of PA Works’ oeuvre, I can’t help but think that there are more than a few strings visible behind Sakura Quest. Many of their series have dealt with returning to the country from the city and finding that it isn’t so bad after all. The story of Hanasaku Iroha‘s Yuina Wakura sticks out as a particularly bad example, where her mindset changes very quickly from hating the idea of staying in her town and running her family’s hot springs, to finding her passion for it. I’m not saying that Yuina’s motives — in her own words, trying to add fun and adventure into her life — weren’t selfish, but Hanasaku Iroha didn’t even allow her to live in Tokyo for a time to find out.

Thoughts on the Future of Yuri, 2017 Edition (Okazu)

Yuri/GL manga have started to carve out their own little niche and achieved a bar of “pretty okay actually but not really pushing any boundaries.” So, where can it go from here?

I’ve written at length over the years about the history of Yuri. How we got here, from the literary roots of “S” stories of the early 20th century Japan, to mid-century exploration of sexuality and gender by the Year 24 Group.  In addition, in 2013, I wrote a short Yuri Needs List. In the years since that list, we haven’t quite gained any of the elements that I had hoped for, but in some ways we’ve gained something more critical – validity as a genre. Bookstores in America and Japan are starting to recognize Yuri as a genre within the medium of manga, although there is much left yet to do. Publishers are willing to  invest in Yuri because now there is a market for it.

Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro – The First Miyazaki Movie (Trash & Treasures)

A history of what was once one of the only bits of the Lupin franchise western fans had access to; including Miyazaki’s efforts to portray a more active, equal Fujiko than a lot of the franchise bothered to, and the potential roots of moe with Clarisse.


AniFem Community

We might be getting new josei titles in the US, but unfortunately not every anime fan is so lucky.


And if you haven’t done so yet, be sure to check out Lauren’s Anime Origin Stories project! There’s some amazing archival going on.

 

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