This week: the casting call for the live-action Cowboy Bebop, a new Twelve Kingdoms novel, and catholic schoolgirls in yuri stories.
Dee spotlights an animal edutainment manga that both breaks gender norms and includes trans representation.
Aimee Hart explores her complex relationship with Dragon Ball, its positive message of friendship and perseverance, and its issues with sexual assault.
A poorly made, unfunny, transphobic dumpster fire that brings nothing to the table.
We’re recording a Q&A on Wednesday—what questions do you have?
A throwback-feeling shoujo series likely to appeal to middle-grade viewers.
Magical Girls Are the Superheroes We Need (VRV, Latonya Pennington)
An ode to the variety of varied gender representation and sexuality offered by magical girls series.
With its combination of girl power and queer representation, Sailor Moon made a profound impact on comic books, animation, and fandom in Japan and abroad. In its country of origin, Sailor Moon’s influence can be seen in more recent magical girl anime such as the Pretty Cure franchise, Shugo Chara, and Madoka Magica. In America, Sailor Moon has influenced a plethora of magical girl works that are inclusive and representative of the generation who grew up watching and reading Sailor Moon.
One of my favorite magical of these works is Brianna Lawrence’s novel Magnifique Noir, featured in the header image of this piece. Combining prose with anime-influenced illustrations and comics, it tells the story of quirky college-aged Black girls who become part of the titular magical girl group. It features young women dealing with experiences like street harassment and family problems even as they also fight monsters, hang out, and date. Most importantly, the entire main cast of the novel embody a spectrum of queer identities and body types.
‘Cowboy Bebop’ Changes the Game for Asian Casting in Anime Adaptations ( The Nerds of Color, Mike Manalo)
A look at the recent casting call for the live action Bebop, particularly Faye and Spike, which specifically calls for Asian and mixed heritage actors.
In my opinion, as an Asian American male, it’s nice to have some form of lead representation in a series based off of Asian pop culture source material (shocking I know). While I’m disappointed it’s taken this long for us to get to this, I’m glad at least studios like Netflix are starting to learn from the atrocities that were the whitewashed casting decisions behind that god awful Dragonball Evolution movie from 2009, the horrendous Ghost in the Shell (2017), and the aforementioned Death Note example.
I’m assuming it has to do with all the nasty letters I sent them after Death Note. In any case, while time will tell what this show looks like, or whether the studio follows through with the above casting requests, I’m hopeful that this will be the first of many successful anime/manga adaptations that rightfully puts Asian leads in the center spotlight. God knows, the last thing we need in this industry is Finn Jones playing Spike.
12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS #4: REFLEXION, ALLEGRETTO, YOU. (Isn’t it Electrifying, illegenes)
On Liz & the Bluebird and how it resonates with high school crushes and the transience of that age.
Many will say that the film is good, but what makes Liz and the Blue Bird so personal to me is my own high school life, and falling in love with my own best high school friend. It’s also straightforward, and clumsily poetic: she was a shy, quiet girl, new to the public school, just like me. And I, being incredibly passionate and chatty, instantly felt deep connected with her. We bonded pretty quickly after that. She introduced me to Studio Ghibli. I showed her Indian food and got her into Fringe. We both loved books, and attended Literary Club. Study activities were held at my house as we both attempted to pass AP BC Calculus.
1st New Twelve Kingdoms Novel Story in 6 Years Slated for 2019 (Anime News Network, Rafael Antonio Pineda)
The series has been running since 1992 and currently has 12 volumes out.
Ono originally planned to publish the new work in 2016. Publisher Shinchosha reported that year that the new work’s manuscript was already over 1,000 pages long.
The Twelve Kingdoms depict a fantasy world inspired by classical Chinese literature, where a girl named Yoko Nakajima finds herself after being transported from Japan. She becomes embroiled in the politics of the kingdom of Kei, as well as the other kingdoms.
Japan ranks 110th among 149 nations in gender equality (The Asahi Shimbun, Yu Yoshitake)
The rank is higher than last year but still lowest among the G7 countries.
Japan’s ranking was four notches higher than last year, but still the worst among G-7 nations.
Iceland topped the list for the 10th straight year, bolstering its image as a country where gender equality is the most advanced. Yemen was at the bottom of the list, as it was last year.
The annual report ranks countries based on 14 indicators in four categories: economic participation and opportunity; political empowerment; educational attainment; and health and survival.
Kalanchoe「カランコエの花」 [Film Review] (Nijiiro News)
A review of a film that debuted at a festival last year and is currently in limited theatrical release.
The premise of the film is simple. One July morning, a class of second-year high school students receives a lecture about sexual orientation and gender identity by the school health teacher.
However, the teacher’s intention to create awareness and understanding backfires when she mentions that an LGBT person might even be in their class. A few students cling to this idea and begin to speculate about their classmates, which leads to a gay witch hunt.
‘Return my body that can bear children’: Testimony begins in Osaka eugenics case (The Mainichi, Fumie Togami)
The government has announced it tends to fight against the victims’ demands for compensation.
According to the suit, the woman from the Kinki region, also in western Japan, contracted the brain infection Japanese encephalitis when she was a third-year student in junior high school. She was left with lasting damage from the aftereffects of the disease, which causes inflammation of the brain. After graduating from high school, she was taken to an OB-GYN, and was subjected to sterilization surgery with no explanation. She married in 1973, but her husband died without ever knowing the truth.
The woman came to court on Dec. 12 in a wheelchair, and gave her testimony while reading from a sheet of paper. “I was taken to the hospital by my mother,” she said. “A surgical knife was inserted, and it hurt a lot.” Recalling her husband who always wished for children, her voice shook as she said, “Because of the operation, I was unable to bear children, and it was a big shock.”
Why Is It Always Catholic Schoolgirls in Yuri? (Okazu, Erica Friedman)
A short essay on that persistent recurring theme in schoolgirl yuri.
Girls’ literature of the early 20th century in Japan focused on these relationships, presenting them as passionate, yet platonic bonds of sisterhood. Intense emotional relationships between older students and younger were transformed into sisterly feelings. Japanese girl’s magazines were filled with letters and stories of these heart-pounding feelings for older or younger “sisters.”
While some Japanese feminist writers were working in the context of social change, in magazines and literary publications, like Seitō (Bluestocking) other feminist writers, such as Yoshiya Nobuko took their work to popular culture outlets including these girls’ magazines, and wrote “Class-S” stories to create a literature by and for women and girls.
Yoshiya’s 1920 novel Yaneura no Nishojo established many of the tropes we still see expressed in literature and manga. It takes place in a boarding school, run by a religious organization. The protagonists are sharing an isolated attic room, there is a piano duet, and a moment when they choose to leave that protected world and go “outside.”
[TEN] TO MY YOUNGER SELF, IN DEFENSE OF REI HINO — SAILOR MOON (Atelier Emily)
A retrospective in praise of Rei’s character.
Somewhere between envying Usagi’s powers of friendship and somehow wanting to end up with Makoto, I missed the many, many nods to the fact that Rei is just as, if not more, hapless than Usagi at times. Like Usagi, she frequently cannot contain her overeagerness, be it for Tuxedo Mask/Mamoru Chiba. Rei really only reigns it in if Usagi is present so Rei can prove just how much more mature she is than Usagi. She is petty. Rarely cruel, but certainly willing to lord her latest victory over Usagi’s head. Fights with Usagi devolve into the two young women sticking out their tongues and making weird noises, jostling each other while the rest of the sailor soldiers try to ignore them both.
What I never realized as a child was that Usagi draws out this dorky side of Rei because of how deeply they grow to care about each other. Rei puts up emotional walls to block out most people, and Usagi smashed through them all with ease. I don’t buy into the saying that those who fight the most truly love each other the most, but in this specific case, it’s Rei meeting Usagi where she is, finally letting that guard down and allowing her to be her immature self.
Deaths of 174 foreign trainees reported over past 8 years (The Asahi Shimbun, Osamu Uchiyama)
The deaths overwhelmingly involve young, healthy individuals and reportedly suspicious circumstances.
When trainees die, the organizations that employed them are required to report the facts to the ministry in writing.
The ministry showed documents created from those reports. The dates of the deaths, the nationalities and causes of the deaths were written in a short format.
Opposition parties singled out a case where a female trainee who worked at a women and children’s clothing factory drowned in January.
Opposition members pointed out that at the time of her death there is little likelihood that someone would be swimming in the ocean or a river.
We’re looking forward to answering your questions! Thanks for chiming in.
If you could give any one manga a quality adaptation, which would you choose?
— Lauren V. (@Wonderweeb91) December 19, 2018
The contributors and the AniFem staff write such brilliant and insightful pieces so I was wondering if you, as writers and editors, think an MA or MFA in Creative Writing is worth the time and money to pursue a career in anime writing (or any kind of nonfiction writing career)
— Assad (@Doctor_Whodunit) December 18, 2018