This is a rough week for news, folks. Content warnings for sexual assault, child abuse, homophobia, suicide, and racism.
In last week’s piece on sexism in shonen, we discussed how My Hero Academia seems aware of the problems female characters usually suffer from in shonen tournament arcs. My Hero Academia is doing some things well, others less well (ugh, Mineta), but shonen stories have such a history of treating female characters as lower tier that we celebrate any time a popular series challenges this narrative.
This week we’re continuing our watchalong series with special guest Miles, started recently with Shirobako. Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
The success of My Hero Academia can be attributed to many factors, but most prominent among them, at least to me, has been Horikoshi’s immense familiarity with both western superheroes and mainstream shonen genres, utilizing the strengths of both while showing a willingness to break from tradition to create a truly unique story. One such example is in his handling of female characters in that shonen staple: the tournament arc.
Best and worst (pictured) dads, genderqueer students, and ethical fandom practices.
If you’re on Twitter, you couldn’t help but notice it was Father’s Day in a few countries yesterday. Our timelines were full of good anime dads and some great discussion, so let’s gather some of that here!
This week we’re continuing our new watchalong series with special guest Miles, started last week with the first six episodes of Shirobako. This episode digs deep into the nature of careers and seniority for women in particular, let us know your thoughts in the comments!
This week Anime Expo, the biggest anime convention in the English speaking world, put a call out for volunteer interpreters. Anime Expo is far from a new event, and had over 100,000 attendees last year. How did they fail to account for the cost of professional interpreters when budgeting? If they can’t afford to pay interpreters, what hope do any of the smaller cons have? Let’s be real: they didn’t fail to account for it, and they can afford it. AX is a big enough event in the fandom calendar that they could have bumped ticket prices up by under a dollar each to bring in the necessary funds. If for some reason that wasn’t an option, they’re a big enough name that they could even have crowdfunded it. There’s no good reason not to pay every single interpreter for their work. There are, however, a couple of bad ones.
Life outside gender roles, 60s drag life in Japan, and South Korean women still looking for justice.
Last week Dee wrote a piece on how Chihayafuru handles main character Chihaya’s experience of femininity. We are here taking ‘gender non-conforming’ in the broadest sense possible to allow us to discuss a spectrum of presentations, from simply appearing as a ‘tomboy’ as Chihaya is in her childhood, to switching between gender presentations like Kuranosuke in Princess Jellyfish, or presenting fully as another gender as Isabella does in Paradise Kiss. The purpose of this post is not to discuss how characters do/don’t/might identify, but on how characters who visibly challenge social norms of gender presentation are meaningful to you.
Two mostly unspoiled newbies and one superfan watch six episodes of a series at a time, then record a discussion on them before watching the next six. This is Chatty AF’s new watchalong format, looking at completed anime through a feminist lens. Shirobako is a show patrons have been asking us to look at since launch. Praised for its portrayal of adult women in a mixed workplace and criticised for its ‘moe sameface’ character designs, it provides a number of interesting starting points for feminist discussion. We hope you’ll join in the conversation via comments below.
Chihayafuru is one of my all-time favorite anime series, so you can imagine my surprise and delight when Kodansha announced they’d licensed the manga for an English-language digital release. While devouring the first volume, I once again fell in love with this endearing, intense, emotional rollercoaster of a sports series about three friends in the world of competitive karuta—and was also struck for the first time by how insightfully Chihaya’s childhood arc depicts the plight of the “tomboy.”
Sometimes wrenching but ultimately inspiring, Chihayafuru’s first volume quietly challenges traditional gender norms and offers the hope of a supportive community to anyone who’s ever felt like they didn’t quite fit society’s gendered expectations of who they’re “supposed” to be.
Twitter is in fine form today, plus A Silent Voice and a Pride Month round-up.
You almost certainly heard about the women-only screenings one cinema chain in the US held for newly released Wonder Woman. Predictably, some manbabies kicked off, only to be dismissed, ignored and outright mocked. Since then, those who attended the screenings have talked about how empowering it felt to watch this film about powerful women in a room full of women.
The second part of our Q&A responding to questions from our Twitter followers! (You can find the first part here.) This time the questions are all about anime. Listen to us talk about our favourites, disappointments and guilty pleasures from the Fall 2016, Winter and Spring 2017 seasons and beyond.