[AniFemTalk] Black fan magic

As we reach the end of Black History Month in the US and Canada, let’s celebrate and signal-boost the contributions of black fans in English-speaking Japanese pop culture fandom. Which are your favorite images from #28DaysofBlackCosplay? Which black creators do you think everyone should be following on social media? Which black artists create fanart and/or anime/manga-influenced art you love? Which black writers in western fandom create articles you want to see read more widely? Which posts about the experience of being black in Japan and/or in western fandom do you recommend? Are you a black fan who wants to promote your work, recommend resources for other black fans, or simply share your experience in the comments? (Shout out to Minami Sakai, an independent manga artist who gave us an interview shortly after we launched!) Please credit all creators and link to their own sites and/or social media accounts! Image from Crunchyroll co-production Children of Ether from creator LeSean Thomas   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! 

[Podcast] Chatty AF 2: Revolutionary Girl Utena Retrospective

I’m very pleased to announce that our trial podcast episode received such positive feedback that we’ve decided to make it a regular feature! Podcasts will be fortnightly to begin with, and will increase to weekly as soon as we can pay our editor, currently a volunteer, $15 an hour. Editing a podcast twice a month is already a big favour; doing it weekly becomes a job and deserves to be compensated just as our writers and administrators already are. We can justify a weekly podcast once we reach $900 in Patreon pledges and can spare at least $120 a month in editing fees. We are, at the time of writing, just $52 away from this goal.

[Throwback] Revolutionary Girl Utena

One of our objectives on launch was to become something of a hub for content of interest to feminist fans of Japanese pop culture. I think we’re doing a decent job of this for recent content, not so much for the content that pre-dates us. So, starting today, we’re taking part in Throwback Thursday to post some of the great feminist content on anime, manga and other Japanese pop culture from the days before we existed and invite our readers to do the same. Most of the time this will be a link to a single older post with some commentary on why it stands out for us. Sometimes, like today, it will be a collection of links around a theme. This Throwback Thursday we’re celebrating the 20th anniversary of iconic, seminal classic Revolutionary Girl Utena. There are hundreds of articles out there about Utena, so we’re showcasing those written by our own team to get the ball rolling. From Vrai Kaiser: The Consulting Analyst – An Introduction to Revolutionary Girl Utena (Fashionable Tinfoil accessories) Vrai’s Consulting Analyst series breaks each episode of a show down to provide detailed critical commentary. Utena was a great choice for this format. Not only is it the second major project of auteur director Kunihiko Ikuhara (who also directed Sailor Moon) and share quite a bit of Evangelion’s creative staff, but the show is nothing less than a work of art both visually and narratively. It plays to classic shoujo sensibilities and undermines them, conjures fairytales and questions them, creates characters who are both heartrendingly young and thematically timeless, and packs an jaw-dropping wallop of a feminist allegory. From Dee: Utena Watch Party (Josei Next Door) Dee wrote posts directly responding to Vrai’s analysis, and invited everyone to join in. Part of the goal of this Watch Party is to increase Utena visibility; for all that it’s a hugely influential work and (I would argue) one of the best and most important anime out there, it hasn’t seen the level of popular exposure that many of the other ‘90s anime greats (like Evangelion, Cowboy Bebop, or Sailor Moon) have seen. And this is a shame, because it’s a uniquely excellent series, full of dynamic, layered characters, a great blend of humor and drama, gorgeous music, and artwork both beautiful and meaningful, packed with imagery and allegory. It’s also one of my favorite feminist narratives in any medium, anime or otherwise, as important if not more so than its predecessor, Sailor Moon. From Frog-kun: Froggy’s Top Anime: #9 Revolutionary Girl Utena (Frogkun.com) Honorary team member Frog-kun took a look at Utena from a more personal perspective. Utena is undeniably a rich show for analysis, but what made Frog-kun specifically connect with it? When I was a teenager, I always imagined myself as a white knight – like the prince Utena idealises. I never really understood the preoccupation young people have with darkness and edginess. White knighting was totally my chuunibyou. As I’ve gotten older, I have come to realise that this ideal is short-sighted, but it hasn’t dulled my sense of justice. In that sense, I have a great deal in common with Utena. Like her, I realise now that knights and princes aren’t the only arbiters of justice. Instead of aspiring to a particular form of masculinity, we can challenge the harmful stereotypes and make it easier for everyone to take control of their own lives. From Caitlin: Utena and the Four Horsemen of the Patriarchy (Heroine Problem) Finally, Caitlin took a fascinating and explicitly feminist approach to analysis in her four posts on Utena: Saionji and Violent Control Through Abuse Miki and the Virgin/Whore Complex Juri and Internalized Misogyny Touga and Gender Essentialism   What’s your favourite Utena commentary out there, be it a post, podcast or video? Link to it in comments below!   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! 

[Discourse] “I Am Not a Doll”: Rei Ayanami, Escapism, and Objectified Images of Desire

SPOILERS: for the Evangelion franchise Twenty-six episodes, two movies, a yet-to-be-completed remake/sequel(?) film tetralogy, and a whole lot of fan-wank later, Neon Genesis Evangelion continues to reign as one of anime’s most lucrative, most groundbreaking, and most perplexing works. There are a million-and-one ways we can interpret Evangelion, but as you’ve probably guessed, this article will be looking at it (the original series and The End of Evangelion) from a feminist standpoint. Girls, women, and female-aligned celestial beings play central roles within the series, threading issues of motherhood, female ambition, and sexuality throughout.

[Links] 15-21 February 2017

It’s been a quiet week here at AniFem, except behind the scenes – thanks to your positive feedback to our trial podcast episode, we have recorded two new episodes already! Each one is on a show that made a big impact on anime fandom, in very different ways, and both will be coming to your ears soon. In the meantime, let’s see what the internet’s been up to…

[AniFemTalk] What exclusive content shall we give our patrons?

This week Team AniFem is thinking a lot about how to give back to our readers, and particularly our patrons. Response to our trial podcast episode has been so positive we’ve already recorded two more. We’ve also been considering ideas for panels to host at anime conventions, and asking for your ideas. Whether our panel ideas go ahead or not, we are planning to have an AniFem presence at some conventions this year, hopefully with live podcast recordings and/or meet-ups. The more we progress with activities like this, the more feasible it is for us to offer a good mix of exclusive content for patrons. We wrote our patron tiers before we had any patrons, have at times struggled to meet those obligations, and it’s about time we revised them to reflect a) what we can really offer, and b) what our patrons – and would-be patrons – really want from us. Today we would like your help to refine what we offer to make it as rewarding as possible for our supporters. If you are not a patron, what would persuade you to become one ? If you are a patron, what would persuade you to go up a patronage tier? (e.g. from $1 to $5) If you are a $20+ patron, what will convince you to stay there? What perks do other Patreons offer that you think we could adopt? Our initial ideas include: patron-only meet-ups at cons we attend, Q&A sessions through Google Hangouts or similar, mini podcast episodes, full season reviews of the anime or manga of your choice, the opportunity to listen to our podcast as we record it and ask us questions afterwards. We’re open to other ideas too though, please give your suggestions below!   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! 

[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.

[AniFemTalk] Feminist-friendly – and unfriendly – ships

It’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow! To celebrate, we want to hear about your favorite ships, including the most progressive and the most problematic romances Japanese pop culture has to offer. What is the most feminist-friendly ship you support? What is your guilty pleasure, the least feminist-friendly romance you can’t help but love? Which ship most closely represents your view of an ideal relationship? Which ship does fandom love but seems so unfeminist you can’t get behind it? What are your favorite and least favorite anime/manga romance tropes? What is your favorite Valentine’s Day episode of anime/chapter of manga?   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! 

[Links] 1-7 February 2017

We are now four months old, the winter season is well underway, and it is time we got back into the swing of things! To keep these posts regular they will be under new management effective immediately, so you can expect them every Tuesday without fail… starting next Tuesday. To give the new owner a clean slate to start from, here are the links from the first week of February only:

[Discourse] Why aren’t problematic translations fixed?

When the first episode dub of Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid came out, fans were quick to notice a problem: lines which had been accurately translated for subtitles had been revised for the dub. This is not unusual; lines must be expanded or trimmed to synchronise with lip flap movements, and jokes in particular can fall flat if not overhauled. But that’s not what happened here.

[Feature] The Powerful Women of Trigun

Yasuhiro Nightow’s manga Trigun is most assuredly defined by its tagline: Deep Space Planet Future Gun Action! Even so, those words also make the series damn near impossible to truly fit into a genre. It has a heavy science fiction origin, a Spaghetti Western backdrop, themes and symbolism from Christianity, and is also fiercely environmentalist, anti-nuclear, and anti-war, while utilizing violence to address these themes. It is fitting then, that the women in this singular series, which was mainly ignored in its native country and wildly popular overseas, can’t be neatly categorized either.