[Links] 10-16 January 2018

The premiere season is wrapping up, plus idol culture and unhelpful dictionaries.

AniFem Round-Up

[Review] DamePri Anime Caravan – Episode 1

A great protagonist and some fun trash boys in another surprisingly good otome adaptation.

[Review] Maerchen Maedchen – Episode 1

The interesting premise is undermined by the amount of nudity and leering framing.

[Review] How to keep a mummy – Episode 1

Cute, healing, and full of adorable pets.

[Review] After the Rain – Episode 1

Some Woody Allen bullshit made to appeal to older men who want to date teenagers.

[Review] Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody – Episode 1

Power fantasy isekai reaches new levels of dull.

[Review] Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens – Episode 1

A stylish ensemble crime mystery that’s probably going to victimize a lot of women for drama.

[Review] Killing Bites – Episode 1

It should be dumb fun but comes off sleazy. The best way it can recommend its protagonist is “he’s not a rapist.” 

[Review] Violet Evergarden – Episode 1

Beautifully framed and heartfelt with a lot of potential.

[Review] Hakumei and Mikochi – Episode 1

More soothing sweetness in a pastoral storybook vein.

[Review] DARLING in the FRANXX – Episode 1

Technically impressive mecha series marred by sporadic fanservice, casual sexual harassment, and a queer-erasing premise.

[Review] Beatless – Episode 1

A robot girlfriend series that could challenge its inherently skeevy premise, but probably won’t.

 

Beyond AniFem

Coming-out Narratives in Comics (Pop Matters, Hans Rollman)

An examination of three modern comics about coming out, including My Brother’s Husband and My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness.

Her account also offers a powerful and positive portrayal of sex workers. Her first (and second, as she explores in a bonus chapter for the English edition) sexual experience is with a lesbian escort agency, and the sex worker’s kindness and empathy played a huge role in her positive (albeit also challenging and difficult) experience.

Her parting chapter’s worth of advice — love yourself, and do what you love — rings with the power and personal honesty of her own experience, so honestly captured and explored. It’s impossible not to shed tears while reading this work; Nagata’s unflinching honesty is courageous, but the reason it resonates is because it parses experiences many of her readers have, but have never been able to give voice to. Nagata gave voice to her experience and that has allowed her readers to realize they are not alone.

“PARASITES” IN DARLING IN THE FRANXX (AND ROBOT NAME FLOWER MEANINGS) (Atelier Emily)

An analysis of the (extremely overt) flower symbolism in FRANXX.

Hiro and Zero-two pilot the Strelitzia, which is named after the bird of paradise flower. A native plant of South Africa, the bird of paradise flower’s name unsurprisingly comes from the bird of paradise itself since it is brightly-colored like its namesake. It carries a meaning of joyfulness and paradise. This is in contrast to Hiro’s internal monologue of of the jian bird, which he says shares its wings — a direct reference to the fact that he failed out of his piloting program. However, when he pairs with Zero-two, the two seem to be complementary partners. Her hot-blooded nature makes up for his lack of it, and his more demure attitude makes up for her harshness. In other words, Zero-two’s non-conforming pistil — she is called an “ugly sight” and a monster by one of their overseers for devouring her partner — is perfect for Hiro’s untraditional stamen.

Recovery of an MMO Junkie: In Defense of an Anxious Protagonist (Black Nerd Problems)

On the value of Moriko as an awkward, anxious female protagonist.

But it’s never assumed that Moriko can’t be a romantic love interest despite her introversion and social anxiety. And Moriko — and this is the important part — isn’t pressured to change at any point. When she does decide to make some changes in her life, it’s because she chooses to do so — and she’s still the same person from beginning to end. The show is loyal to its characterization of her and her anxiety throughout; it’s a short series and doesn’t have many major plot developments, but the action progresses slowly in keeping with Moriko’s anxiety-induced inertia but also to makes room for her to grow beyond her own insecurities and fears.

One thing MMO Junkie proves is that “anxious” does not count as a personality type, or rather, it’s too reductive of a view of both the affliction and the people it affects. It also proves that there are many different ways to live in the world; Moriko can grow while still being an “MMO junkie.” She can feel empowered to create her own online identity and nurture her online relationships and use those as the means to her own happiness and evolution.

Top Japanese Dictionary Includes the Term ‘LGBT’, Carelessly Misdefines It (Nijiiro News)

The definition for LGBT and other related words are slanted by bigoted phrasing.

The definition was written as “individuals whose sexual orientation differs from the majority.”

Netizens pointed out that the definition only describes the ‘LGB’ portion of the acronym which refers to sexual orientation, as the ‘T’ refers to sexual identity.

The Iwanami Shoten Editorial Department stated that in response to information gathered by Asahi Shimbun, it is “looking into revising the definition.”

Last January, Kanazawa University Associate Professor of Gender Studies Iwamoto Takeyoshi and his team found over ten troubling entries in the dictionary, including one defining ‘love’ as “a feeling of yearning between a man and woman,” implying that love is limited as only being between heterosexual individuals. In the 7th Edition, the definitions for the terms for ‘love’ (ai, koi),placed “between a man and woman” in parentheses.

IN J-POP, TEEN DREAMS BECOME NIGHTMARES (Bitch Media, Catherine Komuro)

An article on the dangers idol culture poses to its purposefully manufactured young stars.

Demands on idols to appear “accessible” and “attainable” cultivate a sense of entitlement in fans that reinforces the use of chastity clauses despite the Tokyo District Court’s 2016 judgment that such terms are unconstitutional. Men in fan forums (some of whom are significantly older than the objects of their devotion) frequently state that they would not support idols with whom they didn’t think they had some “chance.” The entertainment industry depends on the vast amounts of money these men spend on lottery tickets for meet and greets, multiple pressings of cds, photo books, and other merchandise. While the idol contracts forbid them to date fans, these men nurse the hope that they can be the exception to the rule. They react to any threat to this fantasy with extreme hostility, accusing idols caught dating of “cheating on their fans” and “betraying” them.

This hostility goes beyond nasty comments on the internet. In 2014, a man attacked Anna Iriyama and Rina Kawaei of AKB48 and a staff member with a handsaw at a meet and greet, leading to increased security measures at future events. In 2016, a fan-turned-stalker flew into a rage and attacked Mayu Tomita of the group Secret Girls after her agency returned a gift he had mailed to her. The multiple stab wounds she incurred left her with vision problems and difficulties speaking, bringing her career to a premature end.

Uramichi Oniisan Manga Explains Problems of Illegal Distribution Sites (Anime News Network, Jennifer Sherman)

A summary of the special chapter is included along with the raw scans.

The special chapter of the manga begins with Uramichi standing on the stage of his kids’ show. He begins to speak, apparently to the reader, about problems with illegal distribution of manga. He explains that the existence of illegal distribution sites it common knowledge, and the number of people using such sites in excess is increasing. Meanwhile, creators and publishers largely remain silent about the problem. Uramichi believes they let the problem continue by not openly acknowledging what is wrong with illegal distribution. He also acknowledges that people that understand the illegality of these websites will continue to use them.

The children around Uramichi start speaking to him and ask him what he’s talking about. He tells them that there are ways to read manga magazines and full compiled volumes for free. At first, the children are excited to find out that something like that exists. Uramichi then asks the children what will happen the manga creators, publishers, and book sellers who rely on money from manga if the unauthorized free distribution persists. The children realize that those people could lose money and their jobs. Uramichi explains that manga would stop being produced because people who distribute manga illegally continue even if they are told to stop.

Abuse in Shoujo by the Numbers: Week 14 (Heroine Problem, Caitlin Moore)

The longrunners are still up to their usual nonsense but some new additions to the list fare better in consensual romance.

The Sho arc of Black Bird draws to a close and Misao returns home. Kyo apparently hypnotized her parents into thinking she was only gone for a night, when really he had spirited away their daughter for months. This strikes me as remarkably scuzzy, and I don’t think it was every explained previously exactly what he was doing and how he was isolating her. She also has been out of school all that time and is terribly behind on her schoolwork, so of course Kyo — ahem, Mr. Usui — has to tutor her. None of her friends seem particularly concerned about her months-long disappearance either. “Isolating from family and friends” is a major sign of potential abuse and, though Misao chose to go with Kyo voluntarily, she was effectively cut off from everyone outside Kyo’s tengu clan, with no one to support her if things went sour.

The arc ends about halfway through the volume, and most of the remaining pages are filled with quick little side stories. These side stories are dominated by small, petty jealousies, such as Misao’s father getting mad at his wife for drinking and chatting at home with Kyo, or Kyo getting upset at Misao for buying Zenki a glasses cleaning cloth. They’re little things, but they betray a lack of trust in pretty much every relationship in the series. No matter how many times Misao assures him that he’s the only one she’s ever loved, he gets mad if she slows the slightest sign of affection or gratitude to another man.

Trans TV Personality Vexed Over Top Sumo Referee’s Troubling Apology (Nijiiro News)

The referee got drunk and came onto a minor, then linked homosexuality with pedophilia in his apology.

According to the broadcast of Viking, Shikimori explained that he “was drunk and has no recollection of the incident” and said, “I’m not a homosexual, so I have no idea why I would do such a thing.”

IKKO confessed that she was shocked when she heard Shikimori’s excuse, saying, “What exactly does he mean when he says, ‘I’m not homosexual’?”

IKKO went on to point out Shikimori’s apparent lack of understanding of sexual minorities, and said, “It sounds to me that he is implying that homosexual individuals prey on minors. He completely lacks understanding.”

Debate continues over mothers taking their babies to work (The Japan Times, Alyssa I. Smith)

A round-up of recent articles discussing whether women should be allowed to bring their children to work with them, and what options should be made available to them if they can’t.

On Jan. 5, BuzzFeed Japan published an interview with Mariko Oi, a Japanese BBC World reporter, that focused on her experiences as a working mother who brought her two young children to the studio when she covered U.S.President Donald Trump’s visit to Japan.

On the day of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Trump’s joint press conference, Oi went into the BBC’s Tokyo bureau with her 3-year-old daughter, 3-month-old son and mother in tow. When she wasn’t live on air, she was holding her son and writing articles on her smartphone.

Oi noted that while increasing the number of nursery schools and providing adequate maternity leave and child care options are are vital steps in supporting working mothers, it’s also necessary to acknowledge the unique needs and values of individuals in terms of child care. As such, she says, “a policy system created by the government will not necessarily solve all problems.”

 

AniFem Community

Thanks for sticking with us through our technical issues, everyone! We really appreciate it. Things should hopefully stay stable from here on out.

 

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