[Links] 11-17 July 2018: Repeating the Atrocities of 1940s Internment Camps, Fandom’s Slavefic Problem, and Kase-san

By: Anime Feminist July 17, 20180 Comments
Karen from Starlight Revue in Takarazuka costuming, spotlighted with her hands on her hips

This week: how internment camps for immigrants repeat the atrocities the US committed against Japanese-Americans during WWII, fandom’s problem with sexualizing slavery, and a Kase-san OVA review.

AniFem Round-Up

[Review] Late Night! The Genius Bakabon – Episode 1

A classic anime trying to chomp Mr. Osomatsu’s reboot flavor, but it’s hard to tell if this premiere will characterize the whole show.

[Review] Holmes of Kyoto – Episode 1

Might interest you if you like antiques and their history; a few hints the central dynamic might turn into a teen/adult, boss/employee romance.

[Review] Angolmois: Record of Mongol Invasion – Episode 1

A slow but passable “ragtag group against the invaders” historical anime, with the same caveats that often come with these sorts of anime (dehumanizing the opposing force, etc).

[Review] Lord of Vermilion: The Crimson King – Episode 1

A pretty typical Square Enix project, with young adults angsting against the apocalypse and probably a bigger cast than the run-time can handle.

[Review] Grand Blue Dreaming – Episode 1

An ugly emphasis on humiliating its characters and tricking them into drinking themselves sick; YMMV depending on whether you watched the consequences of those kinds of parties in real life.

[Review] Happy Sugar Life – Episode 1

Yuri pedobait hiding behind the excuse of “but horror!” while failing to execute the necessary horror parts with anything like grace. Plus bonus misogyny.

[Review] Revue Starlight – Episode 1

A lovely, surreal premiere dramatizing the contradictions of the performance world.

[Review] Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs – Episode 1

A throwback to 2000s-style harem shows; better than the modern trends but still largely predicates its fanservice on showing women’s bodies without their consent.

[Podcast] Chatty AF 62: Den-noh Coil Watchalong – Episodes 1-6

The team starts its new watchalong of a show with a gender-balanced cast, nonsexualized adolescent leads, and a very prescient snapshot of augmented reality tech.

[AniFemTalk] How should we change our website?

We’ve got a professional designer working on a new layout, and we want to know what you’d like to see most on the new site.


Beyond AniFem

I Know What Incarceration Does to Families. It Happened to Mine. (The New York Times, Michiko Kakutani)

A must-read article paralleling the incarceration of Japanese-Americans during WWII with the current imprisonment of immigrants.

The removal of people of Japanese descent from their homes and their incarceration in camps were executed with the same sort of political calculus of fear and bigotry that Mr. Trump is using to redefine American immigration policy. Laura Bush wrote that she was reminded of the World War II-era internment of Japanese-Americans by the images today of migrant children being sent to mass detention facilities as a result of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy on the southern border.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor of the Supreme Court pointed out “stark parallels” between the court’s ruling last month to uphold Mr. Trump’s ban on travel from several mainly Muslim countries and the court’s 1944 Korematsu ruling, which upheld the internment of Japanese-Americans. Both effectively sanctioned “a discriminatory policy motivated by animosity toward a disfavored group, all in the name of a superficial claim of national security,” Justice Sotomayor wrote.

Bigotry and conspiracy thinking lay behind the internment of Japanese-Americans and the 1944 Supreme Court decision on Korematsu, as Richard Reeves reminded us in his important 2015 book “Infamy.” In the wake of Pearl Harbor, there were newspaper editorials with headlines like “Crime and Poverty Go Hand in Hand With Asiatic Labor.” Representative John Rankin, Democrat of Mississippi, declared, “I say it is of vital importance that we get rid of every Japanese, whether in Hawaii or the mainland.” Never mind that thousands of Japanese-Americans served in the United States Army’s highly decorated 442nd Regimental Combat Team — including my mother’s cousin, Mitsuo Nitta, who served with that team in Italy while his family was incarcerated in a camp in Arizona.

What Fandom Racism Looks Like: (Not-So) Sexy Slavefic (Stitch’s Media Mix)

A discussion of slavery as a device in fanfic and romance, and the harmful effects of sexualizing slavery.

 The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade was so brutal and wide-spread that it literally changed the way that people were enslaved from the moment of its inception. It changed the way that people around the world thought of Africans and to this very day, Black people can be subject to violent and dehumanizing anti-Blackness that can actually be directly traced back to our ancestors’ enslavement and the messages about us/it that white people carried around the world.

And that history, that anti-Black racism that permeates societies worldwide, is going to make it into your work unless you work for it and well… most of the people writing sexy stories about “real” slavery?

They aren’t doing the work because it’s not about exploring life while enslaved, it’s about sexualizing slavery for their audience.

Many of those writers don’t seem to think that Black people even have the right to bring up their discomfort with how much folks like turning slavery into something sexy for commodification and consumption.

In conversations like this, many people like to bring up the way that other people were enslaved across history and that Black people weren’t the only slaves as a way to derail, but the enslavement of Africans and their descendants literally changed history. It changed the way that other human beings would be subjugated in the future and has influenced the continuing negative treatment of Black people in countries where they once were slaves.

Crunchyroll Hosts “LGBTQ+ in Anime” Panel at Anime Expo 2018 (Comicsverse, Kristine Don)

A summary of the panel held at AX.

Panelists also discussed, in length, about which titles had the greatest impact on them. Series such as REVOLUTIONARY GIRL UTENA, MAGICAL KNIGHT RAYEARTH, GRAVITATION, KAIBA, and WANDERING SON were all given a moment in the sun for their portrayal of queer stories. Despite the great strides made in creating queer media, there’s still a severe shortage of stories that go beyond queer-baiting.

In lieu of quality representation, many of the panelists found themselves picking apart heavily coded characters to create meaning within mainstream media. Chapman and Batrez spoke candidly of the impact that James from POKÉMON had on them. They found solace in the beloved Team Rocket villain who canonically dressed in womenswear several times throughout the series. The other panelists found similar solace in characters from popular titles such as CARDCAPTOR SAKURA, SAILOR MOON, and NARUTO.

Netflix’s ‘Terrace House’ is a Quiet Start to Humanizing Reality Television (Black Nerd Problems, Tayo Omisore)

The reality show is quiet and focused on naturalistic, non-meanspirited interactions between its cast.

Another interesting facet of Terrace House is how it uses camera angles compared to its American counterparts. Their decision to often use close shots that prioritize speaking characters is the opposite of the common practice of American reality television, that opts for impersonal wide shots or shaky handheld shots that make the audience feel like a “fly on the wall” rather than an invisible cast member. This difference shows the basic mission statement of both formats; being intimate vs. being invasive.

As Eater columnist Jenny Zhang wrote:

“The show is a quiet study in human behavior and how we relate to one another, from “nice to meet you” to cooking together to holding hands to tearful goodbyes. Since the whole series revolves around those small moments and nuances sprinkled throughout everyday routines, you might find yourself becoming hyper-aware of the tiniest shifts in dynamics and behavior. It’s captivating in the way nature documentaries often are. You’ll grow to root for these people, not just in their romantic lives, but also as they pursue their professional goals, find independence, and grow as adults.”

Free housing to be offered to impoverished LGBTs in Tokyo (The Mainichi)

The housing will help those put out of their homes; LGBT folks in Japan are often turned away from already-existent homeless housing projects.

The group plans to offer a temporary home to LGBTs and help them become self-sufficient, as many become homeless after being assaulted by family members or partners or quit their jobs due to workplace harassment.

“In the United States, 40 percent of young, homeless people are said to be LGBTs,” said Tsuyoshi Inaba, a member of the organization and a specially appointed associate professor at the Rikkyo University. “I want to raise more awareness (in Japan) about this issue.”

Pokémon episode skips US air for the first time in 16 years (Polygon, Allegra Frank)

The episode involves Ash/Satoshi dressing up like a Pokemon, including painting his face black.

That kind of gag definitely doesn’t fly in America, no matter how it fits into the context of the episode. It’s also an issue Pokémon has faced and handled before; the last episode outright excluded from the dubbed version of the anime dealt with a character in seeming blackface as well. The series’ 250th episode starred the Pokémon Jynx, whose original design saw her with an entirely black-colored face and appearance reminiscent of offensive African-American caricatures. She’s since been updated to have a purple face instead, but the original episode remains unchanged. As such, it’s not only one of the few episodes to never leave Asia, but also part of a small group of Pokémon cartoons that have been banned from re-airing.

Yuri Anime: Asagao to Kase-san OVA (あさがおと加瀬さん) (Okazu, Erica Friedman)

A short review of the recent Kase-san OVA.

Yamada and Kase-san have been dating for a while, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things that need to be dealt with. Jealousy and self-esteem, sexual attraction, and possessiveness all get a moment or two in the spotlight, but in 58 minutes, the one thing that really was sidelined was fanservice. Service that existed in the manga was stripped out for this anime, which suited me just fine. It was such a pleasure and a visceral relief that we could enjoy a Yuri romance with the all the truly sexy and appealing things about love and attraction, without any of the tiresome visual cues that sad people replace for love and attraction. There were kisses, and when Kase-san kisses Yamada’s wrist, I was like, now this was written by someone who has actually had a relationship.

Again, I ask you to consider the choices made here – this was a Yuri romance anime not made for the lowest common denominator. Not one scene, not one decision was a shrugging consideration that we have to rely on the creepy, the sexually immature, the dysfunctional or unimaginative viewer for success. While the Kase-san series is itself a nice, sweet and realistic young love story, this OVA is a masterwork of polite middle fingers to people who can’t watch Yuri without needing sloppy kisses, and unhappy faces.

EDITORIAL: Japan still has long way to go in embracing sexual diversity (The Asahi Shimbun)

An editorial on the work Japan still has to do to protect sexual minorities (the general umbrella term used for LGBTQ folks in Japan).

In 2015, the year the education ministry issued its directives to schools across the nation, Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward created a system to recognize a quasi-matrimonial partnership for same-sex couples.

The cities of Fukuoka and Osaka, as well as other municipalities, have since followed suit, and other local governments are also preparing to do so.

But in some countries outside Japan, the rights of same-sex couples are better guaranteed by law, such as in their right to wed legally. Of the Group of Seven major economies, Japan is the only country that has yet to recognize same-sex marriage or partnership under the law.

Summer 2018 Anime & Where You Can Watch Them (Yatta-Tachi, Katy Castillo)

A list of this season’s shows (full length, shorts, and OVAs) and where you can get them legally.


AniFem Community

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[Editors Note: The heading and overview were updated after publication to correct an error.]


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