[AniFemTalk] Your favorite conventions

Con season is winding to a close: Crunchyroll Expo had its inaugural outing, Otakon moved to a more spacious venue, and AnimeFest failed to account for the dedication of Yuri!!! On ICE fans. Now’s as good a time as any to step back and ask: what’s your favorite con and why?

[Review] In This Corner of the World

Otakon held a special screening of In This Corner of the World, the new feature film from studio MAPPA (Kids on the Slope, Yuri!!! on ICE), with an introductory talk from producer Maruyama Masao and animation director Matsubara Hidenori. There was also a post-screening Q&A panel with the two creators later that afternoon. The film had already drawn critical acclaim, so a good portion of the AniFem team attended both events, notepads and tissues at the ready.

Now that we’ve had some time to get our thoughts collected and our emotions under control, we thought we’d share our impressions of the film in a spoiler-free series of commentaries, similar to our team recommendations. If you’re in a hurry, the short version is that it’s excellent and we all heartily encourage readers to go see it. And if you’d like a little more detail than that, please check out the write-ups from Dee, Vrai, and Amelia below!

[AniFemTalk] Women behind the scenes

As Sayo Yamamoto, Mitsuru Kubo, and a host of other talented folks graced AnimeFest’s 2017 lineup, it became clearer than ever that this level of celebrity status is pretty uncommon for women in the anime industry (particularly in western fandom). The reasoning is twofold: the contributions of behind-the-scenes folks tend to be less obvious to a fan who isn’t industry savvy, and the big, recognizable jobs like director and head writer often go to men. That Yuri!!! on ICE is a success with women directing and writing, and that Yamamoto in particular is gaining fame when so much of her work focuses on adult women’s stories, is special indeed.

[Editorial] Otakon Convention Report

Team AniFem is out and about at anime conventions this month, with multiple members attending Otakon in Washington, D.C.; AnimeFest in Dallas, TX; and the very first Crunchyroll Expo in Santa Clara, CA. Each week we’ll be bringing you our personal accounts and impressions as informal “Con Reports,” with staff members sharing their thoughts and experiences. We’re kicking things off with our Otakon Report, where a whole lot of us were able to get together for a whirlwind three days of fans, panels, and more cool cosplay than you can shake a stick at. Dee, Lauren, Vrai, and Amelia chime in below.

[AniFemTalk] Learning from historical fiction

This past weekend, Otakon and theaters around the US held screenings of In This Corner of the World, a historical slice-of-life film about characters who lived in or near Hiroshima before it was devastated by nuclear attack. During the introduction for the Otakon screening, Animation Director Hidenori Matsubara expressed “anxiety” at bringing the film to the United States at this present time and a strong desire that the story remind audiences that we should “never repeat” the events depicted. Given both the film’s content and goals as well as current real-world events, it’s worth taking time to think about what we can learn from our media consumption. Have you watched any historically-based anime? What kinds? Is there a particular subject you’ve seen explored exceptionally well or badly? What have you learned from those films, either from the events portrayed or the way they were framed? What responsibilities should media have when telling stories based on real events?   Comments are open! Please read our comments policy before joining the conversation and contact us if you have any problems. At this stage, we have raised enough money to be able to pay for contributed posts, behind the scenes admin, and audio editing for weekly podcasts. Our next goal is to pay the editors who have worked on AniFem as volunteers since before launch, making enormous contributions for no pay. Help us pay them for their work at a rate of $15 an hour by becoming a patron for as little as $1 a month!

[Discourse] Fanservice and the Female Viewer: Abs for Empowerment

I thought I knew what I was getting into when I saw the cover art for Free!, given that it features an assortment of scantily clad young men standing very close to one another, abs on display like muffins in a bakery. I soon discovered that was only the start of the fanservice, as I found myself on a wild emotional ride that convinced me that when it comes to creating fanservice for girls, it’s not simply a matter of reversing panty flashes into brief glimpses of, well, briefs. Watching Free! with my husband, sister, and niece showed me that this show’s effort to appeal to the ladies led to an audience performance far deeper than the shallow side of the swimming pool.

[Versus] Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid vs… Itself?

Here at AniFem we talk a lot about fanservice—no surprise, given how predominant and normalized the sexualization of (mostly female) characters is in the industry. But it’s far from a cut-and-dried issue: a boobs ‘n’ butts show about adults isn’t the same as panty shots of a 13-year-old which, in turn, isn’t the same as fetishizing helplessness. And all of that can make it difficult to suss out grey zones like bawdy comedy or actual sex-positive content grounded in character agency. It’s easy to make a checklist and call it a day, and while everyone has their own line in the sand, those grey zones are worth exploring.

[Feature] How Everyone’s Getting Married tries to have it all

At times, josei manga seems to be divided between two extremes.  At one end are the socially-conscious dramas that helped to define the genre, such as the works of Kyoko Okazaki and Moyoco Anno. At the other end are the smutty Harlequin-esque ladicomi  that seem to make up the bulk of the genre (not to mention search results on many a digital manga site).  Then there are josei manga like Izumi Miyazono’s Everyone’s Getting Married.