[Links] 13-18 September 2017

By: Anime Feminist September 19, 20172 Comments
A young woman in glasses with neat dark hair sits in profile close to the camera; behind and to the left of her, another young woman with long brown hair leans forward, head tilted to the side, smiling slightly as she watches the woman in glasses

Women in animation, voice actor activists, and Japan’s sex industry.

AniFem Round-Up

[Feature] As Told by Saena: Skip Beat! and the infinite variety of women’s stories

New contributor Shelby Strong explores the importance of telling different women’s stories and her connection with a character chastised for not being traditionally feminine. Please mind the content warnings.

[Feature] Adding Salt to Sweet Vanilla: The complex women of ToraDora!

Returning contributor Alex Henderson revisits ToraDora and how it complicates and deepens the expected one-note high school rom-com tropes.

[Podcast] Chatty AF 23: Netflix Death Note Drinkalong

We got drunk and disappointed by the myriad ways the new adaptation wasted its potential.


Beyond AniFem


A wonderful piece on how magical girls can speak to people of all genders, and how different series hit different points well.

At the same time, Revolutionary Girl Utena also brought my femmephobia to light. After watching Utena, I started to consider feminine magical girls like Sailor Moon “too girly” and their cute attacks “too immature”. Earlier this year, I realized I had to acknowledge and work through my femmephobia in order to come to terms with my gender identity.

As it turns out, my femmephobia was the result of my inability to relate to the gender binary and narrow representations of Black womanhood. Despite not identifying as a Black woman, I still had a femme side that I wanted to embrace. Some things that have helped me do that are Black magical girls that have become part of the magical girl genre.

The Old, The New, The Frank, The Untrue: Changing Faces of Japan’s Sex Industry (Otaku Lounge)

A snapshot of trends in Japan’s sex industry from the 1990s to today.

Female masturbation, usually something of a taboo topic, is in fact the main topic at Love Joule, a bar in Tokyo’s trendy and bustling Shibuya district. Behind the counter are not rows of liquor bottles, but rather a proud and colourful display of vibrators. This first “love and sex bar dedicated to women” opened in July in 2012, and aims to have customers “experience a pleasant place in which they can openly discuss masturbation.” Frequently visited by women in the sex and porn industries, Love Joule is seen as a safe space in which women can drink and openly discuss sex and masturbation without judgement – or unwanted male company. The bar prohibits single men from entering, (although any men accompanied by women are apparently welcome).

“It’s a Safer Space” – Interview with Jamie McGonnigal (Heroine Problem)

Longtime voice actor (he’s currently Brock from Pokemon!) and activist McGonnigal talks about conventions and working to help LGBTQ youths.

JM: My husband and I are in the process of adopting in the foster system of DC…

CM: Congratulations!

JM: Thank you very much! We don’t have a call yet, we’re still licensed and waiting, but there was something that I’ve been upset about from very early on that kids in the system can’t identify as LGBTQ until they’re 14. That was strange to me. I said, “What if a ten year old comes up to you and says, ‘Hey, I’m gay.’” They said, “We put it as questioning.”

CM: We have a four year old at the program where I work that has decided she’s trans, and a lot of kids figure it out really early.

JM: I figured it out watching He-Man at five years old. I was like, “I like that, I don’t like that.” I think we don’t give enough credit or power to kids to know themselves, so I think certainly showing up at a place where you can’t say “gay” unless it’s 18+… My main panel that I do is called “Pokemon, Musicals, and Gay,” and I’ve been to several cons where they put it after 8:00pm.  They don’t necessarily say it’s 18+, but they don’t put it at an hour where parents are going to bring their kids to it. I find that really problematic.

Women in Animation (Twitter)

A short VRV video highlighting women in the anime industry (since Yamamoto already had a video dedicated solely to her work, she’s not featured here).

Meet the Woman Behind The Ancient Magus Bride (Crunchyroll)

Another Yamazaki interview, this time from Crunchyroll.

Frau Faust will soon be coming out in the United States. Are there any connections between the two stories or ways you feel Frau Faust contributed to The Ancient Magus Bride?

I’m so happy! They’re completely unconnected, but since they both come out of the same factory, that is, me, the messages may be similar.

The Ancient Magus Bride is shonen but Frau Faust is josei. Were they meant for different audiences?

The Ancient Magus’ Bride started out targeting the female audience more, but it has readers of all age groups and all genders. Faust is written for women, but I haven’t really changed my position much in that regard.

‘New Game!’ and the self-taught programmer blues (Otaku Journalist)

By populating its series with cute, marketable girls and making a story about programming, New Game managed to stumble into portraying some relevant issues for women in tech.

One of the best podcast interviews I’ve ever done was for Code Newbie, where I talked about being an amateur programmer. Two years later, I wrote about the imposter syndrome I’m still struggling with. Like Nene, I’m able to do my job, well even if I put my mind to it. But I’m not that talented. I Google solutions daily and sometimes seek help from other developers. I can’t do it alone, so I have a hard time allowing myself to feel like I deserve any praise.

I was wondering how Nene’s concerns about her comparatively low skills would manifest at an all-woman company. In our world, women are few and far between in tech jobs, which adds another layer of anxiety for me—I sometimes feel like I’m constantly serving as a representative for all women. Since New Game takes place in a world without men, Nene doesn’t deal with the anxiety of being a minority. Instead, her female coworkers are the instigator she needs to excel, even if it doesn’t always feel that way to her.

A Centaur’s Life’s Low-Key Lesbian Relationships Add to Positive LGBT Representation In Japan (Anime NOW)

An exploration of the potential social commentary in A Centaur’s Life‘s three different wlw relationships.

Unfortunately, I have personal experience dealing with virulently homophobic parents in Japan. It is not a pleasant experience. Although Tama and Omaki were thought to be a heterosexual couple by passers-by, we see no indication of disapproval of those who might have seen Omaki as her rightful gender. Likewise, we see no disapproval of Akechi and Michi, and of course, none of Himeno and Ayaka.

If I were to draw a conclusion, and indeed, I have drawn one, it would be that perhaps lesbian relationships at least are even more accepted in the Japan of A Centaur’s Life than in our own. However, I also fully believe that like every other part of the series, this is a mirror. The ease with which the characters accept the various forms of affection (friendship to sexuality) plays a vital role in the growing acceptance of LGBT issues in Japan. While there has been a long history, including recently, of LGBT related bullying in Japan, there has been recent progress with official anti-bullying policies, and changes in attitudes of how parents and guardians think about LGBT children. I have also personally seen significant changes in my time in Japan, and anecdotally, I feel the situation is getting better.

Japanese citizen group stages rally to battle hate speech on Twitter (The Japan Times)

Japanese advocate groups are also fighting to protect vulnerable parties against hate speech and unchecked nationalism.

Japan’s first law aimed at curbing racial discrimination, known as the hate speech law, took effect in June 2016.

However, experts on freedom of expression said social media companies such as Twitter should establish their own standards and guidelines aside from the law. The self-imposed rules should be specific on what content is inappropriate, and at the same time the social media companies should educate users.

“It’s necessary for (social networking service) operators, including Twitter, to establish and share common guidelines. It’s desirable that each company establish its own guideline and share it with the rest,” said Shojiro Sakaguchi, a professor at Hitotsubashi University’s graduate school of law.

However, he said that it is hard to draw a clear line between hate speech and political statement.

Some political commentary could be construed as hate speech due to inflammatory content, he said, adding that eliminating such political tweets is undesirable.

Japan’s female labor force set to toss out M-curve (Nikkei Asian Review)

The “M” is the rate at which women drop out and re-enter the work force over their lifetime. Recently, it’s become more of a curve as middle-aged women return to work outside the home.

The biggest factor behind the trend is that many companies are now making concerted efforts to prevent their female employees from quitting. These efforts include child care leave and other benefits.

In Japan, more than 80% of working women take child care leave after giving birth, although the figure has been trending down a bit.

Some companies are getting creative.

Tsukui, which operates care services and facilities, in February opened a new kind of center — a nursing home with an on-site child care facility for employees’ kids. It is located in Tokyo’s Suginami Ward.

Women make up 75% of Tsukui’s workforce, and the company hopes the setup can help it to attract and keep workers. “I feel secure because I can go to the day care center during a break to see how my child is doing,” a female worker said.

‘Death Note’ Director Receives Death Threats, Forced to Delete Twitter (NextShark)

And as a closer—while media can and should be critiqued, even critiqued harshly, sending death threats is reprehensible.

Wingard’s exit from the platform followed death threats he received even before he finished writing the script for “Death Note”.

“I understand people’s passion about it,” he told Yahoo Movies last month. “I really don’t take it personally when people send me death threats, or go tell me to go f*** myself…on Twitter.”

It is unknown if Wingard is ever returning to Twitter, but for the time being, opting out seems to be his best possible option.


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