This week: the release of The Expression Amrilato, allegations of crunch abuses at Rooster Teeth, and the real villain of SARAZANMAI.
Celeste Seifert looks back on the CLAMP classic and how it pushes back against the supposed nobility of self-sacrificing empathy.
Zeldaru spotlights two series that depict the isolation that comes from having an invisible disability and the importance of a supportive community.
We all have that one series that changed our lives and is almost impossible to recommend anymore.
The Expression Amrilato — Project Manager’s Corner (MangaGamer, Komi)
A word on the translation approach to the newly released yuri visual novel, which teaches the player Esperanto.
An early proposal and breakdown of what we had is shown above, which ultimately led to a few key decisions.
First, we wanted to accurately portray that Rin, a young Japanese woman, was lost in the Juliamo world and was struggling to understand the language.
Second, we wanted to use real world Esperanto as much as possible, as it was quite intuitive for English speakers and increased the overall educational value of Kotonoha.
Finally, we wanted to bring it to Ren’py so it was available to as many people as possible, on whichever operating system they utilized, so they could access this valuable resource.
A half-hour history lesson on the colonialization of the Ainu people.
In this episode, republished from the Meiji at 150 Podcast, Dr. Katsuya Hirano (UCLA) underlines the racialization and dispossession of the Indigenous Ainu inhabitants of Hokkaidō during Japanese settler colonization of the island during the Meiji Period. We discuss the role of capitalism and infrastructural development in Japanese imperial expansion, the impacts of the Meiji Restoration on the Ainu population, conditions for Ainu today, and the ongoing challenges of cultural commodification.
Rooster Teeth Glassdoor Crunch/Overtime Accusations #AnimatorsFirst (Tumblr, RwbyConversations)
A wave of anonymous employees have come forward alleging toxic crunch culture at the company, which have thus far been verified publicly by one-time Rooster Teeth collaborator Georden Whitman.
From June 11th this year, from an employee who has been working at the company for five years:
– Extremely poor management (Some of it is negligence, some of it is just accidental from the sheer amount of work. Upper management is also extreme bro/friends club.)
– Insanely high expectations (animate a 10-14 min episode in 2 weeks) – Very low compensation (I’ve worked here for years and make entry pay. Some people have gone MULTIPLE years with no raise)
– No overtime pay (Every season of RWBY and GL gets about 1/3 or less made for ‘free’ because no one gets paid over time and it’s not uncommon to work hundreds of hours of overtime)
– Toxic work environment (there are a lot of cliques, complaining and even making fun of other people and depts here. It never gets punished so it always happens. Not professional)
– You know something is going right when after many complaints HR reminds everyone you have “unlimited” mental health doctor appointments… I could honestly go on and on like an emo on Myspace in 2007 but I’ll reign it in. I’ll leave it at this since I’ve seen many fans read these and be skeptical. It’s not great. You can deny it but there is a lot of evidence if you just accept it. And the reason you work here is cus you get stuck and are promised “It’ll get better”. The work is low quality (hard to get jobs elsewhere), pay is low (can’t save money) and life/work balance is a joke. We have a bit of balance now but it’s only for a couple months out of the year when production isn’t in full swing. Then it’s back in the meat grinder.
Women top men in fair exam for Juntendo’s medical school (The Asahi Shimbun, Seiko Sadakuni)
The results from the first exams without a points penalty to female applicants ended with notably higher success among women over men.
Of the 1,679 women who took the fiscal 2019 exam, 139, or 8.28 percent, passed. Among the men, 170 of 2,202 applicants passed the exam for a success rate of 7.72 percent, Juntendo University said on June 17.
It was the first time in seven years for women to have a higher pass rate than men at the private university in Tokyo.
“This is a result of abolishing the unfair treatment of female applicants and repeat applicants,” the university said in a statement.
In 2018, a number of medical schools were found to have manipulated the exam criteria to give first-time male exam takers an advantage over female applicants and those who had previously failed the exam.
#126: Gwynevere (Anime Origin Stories, Lauren Orsini)
This 26-year-old fan shares how anime helped her realize she was trans.
I was one of the last people in our group to figure out I was LGBT in our group (I was just an ally who cross-dressed for a while), so they were all super supportive of me. It was just sort of a natural shift and I don’t think anyone was that surprised.
In general, I find many parts of the anime community to be accepting and I don’t think I’ve faced too much transphobia at cons and the like. Cross-dressing cosplay makes my wearing women’s clothing perfectly acceptable, but I get misgendered more often because everyone thinks I’m a cross-dressing man. It’s a frustrating trade-off.
I’ve found that many trans women find solace in anime because of the differences in what is culturally acceptable in the medium. I used to and many other trans women still do think of some anime characters as “transitioning goals”, which can give us hope, but I also think instills some unrealistic and harmful ideas about what one’s body should look like.
Much worse are the negative portrays we get, especially in hentai. I still hear people at cons saying the word “trap” and “futa” to refer to trans women and it’s very hurtful and reveals that we’re simply a fetish for a lot of people.
An analysis of the toxic systems that are the true villain of the series.
As for what in particular the Otter Empire refers to, there are no small amount of societal expectations that would keep a man from professing his love to another man. It’s a different situation than what Yuri Kuma Arashi was attempting to dismantle — this idea that romantic connections between queer women are allowed up to a certain point before they’ll inevitably “grow out of them” — because there are different, but equally toxic, societal rules in place for queer men, but Sarazanmai seems to have a similar goal in mind.
It’s also no coincidence that Reo and Mabu are older than the main trio of Kazuki Yasaka, Enta Jinai, and Toi Kuji (and, by extension, Haruka Yasaka, who is even younger and has an incredibly important role to play in all of this). The future lies with them, if they can not be swayed by the same societal quagmire that ultimately trapped Reo and Mabu.
Memory Loss, Mental Illness, and Final Fantasy VIII (Medium, Kazuma Hashimoto)
A reflection on how FFVIII reflects the author’s mental struggles living with bipolar disorder.
Final Fantasy VIII may not objectively be the best Final Fantasy game within the series in any regard, opinions remain divisive even to this day. But Final Fantasy VIII is a game that focuses on the passing of time; the forming of relationships, the things we gain from them, and the memories we desperately want to keep close even as they gradually slip away. The final moments of this entry mean an impossible amount to me. I see myself in Ultimecia, desperately clawing for the memories she’s lost to the unkind passage of time. And maybe seeing a reflection of our experiences, even vaguely, in a game is enough to make a questionable entry a great one.
How Outsourcing and Overwork Have Put the Anime Industry in Crisis (Medium, Patrick Macias)
Animation director Terumi Nishii discusses the overwork and mistreatment of workers in the industry.
You tweeted that “…with the increase of the number of works in recent years, some people have broken mind and body”. Do you have more specific examples?
Two of my sempai died in their 40s and I definitely think it was because of overwork. A lot of people have had aneurysms or heart attacks because of overwork. Lots of people working on projects have to be stopped because of doctor’s orders telling them they need to rest. I know someone who was working as a project line manager who had an issue with blood clot in his leg and couldn’t walk and had to take time off. There are cases where people die, and those often make the news, but there are a lot of cases that you don’t hear about where people are overworked and have to take a break for medical reasons.
Is the anime industry looking for any solutions to these problems?
Most people are resigned to the situation as it is now, and I don’t really see a lot of people trying to fix the situation. The studios actually only have a few employees and are outsourcing and using contractors for everything, so it’s a problem that can’t be fixed by just one company alone. Everybody has to do it together. Since everything is already outsourced and in the middle of all these projects, it’s really really hard to fix the problem.
Video: Only three weeks left to sign up for the 100 Years of Yuri Tour across Japan, organized by Okazu.
Thread: How SARAZANMAI comments on the “just don’t say it” trend applied to queer male couples in anime. Please be aware scrolling down that the first tweet includes a major spoiler for episode 10.
Even if they don’t hold up, it’s worth voicing fond memories for the anime that shaped us.