[Links] 13-19 February 2019: Japanese Gay Couples Sue for Marriage Equality, Alita as Dysphoria Narrative, and Remembering Angel Sanctuary

By: Anime Feminist February 19, 20190 Comments
A dodo in a captain's hat flapping its wings and squawking at a large stuffed bug

This week: thirteen gay couples in Japan sue for marriage equality, an essay on how Alita: Battle Angel resonates with trans narratives, and looking back on Kaori Yuki’s Angel Sanctuary.

AniFem Round-Up

[Feature] Fruits Basket’s Tohru Honda and her path to self-acceptance

Ariel French analyses Tohru’s character arc and her journey to valuing herself and learning to set boundaries with others.

[Feature] Lady Leads & Sidekick Lads: Flipping the script in Team Rocket’s “Training Daze”

Dee highlights a Team Rocket’s “how they met” story and the ways it plays with and outright rejects traditional gender roles.

[Podcast] Chatty AF 83: Winter 2019 Mid-Season Check-in

Dee, Peter, and Vrai talk about the Winter season as shows round the halfway mark.

[AniFemTalk] Which manga do you like better as an anime?

Whether it’s smart writing changes or creative direction, some stories just look better in adaptation.


Beyond AniFem

Voice Actress Hiroko Konishi Shares Her #MeToo Story (Anime News Network, Kim Morrissy)

Active in the 90s, Konishi was quietly blackballed from the industry after refusing to perform sexual services for director Akitaro Daichi (Fruits Basket 2001, Jubei-chan The Ninja Girl).

Konishi remarked that these tendencies have been exacerbated when anime became a subculture “targeted at adults” rather than simply a past-time for children. “These days, there are more voice actors aiming for the popularity of an online idol. They do gravure shots in magazines, sell CDs, and do performances at anime and game events. Rather than aiming to be actors, they aim to be idols.”

This shift has not come without consequences, Konishi warned. “Their success has hinged on the demons hidden within the industry.”

She shared a personal story she heard from a friend in the industry, whose husband had been having adulterous affairs with numerous voice actresses at the time. This was such an open secret that one of the voice actresses involved in the affairs even told her, “This is how things work in the industry.” Upon confronting her husband about the issue, the friend was physically abused. They divorced, and Konishi’s friend now works and raises their child as a single mother.

Konishi also recounted another story where a manager physically struck one of the voice actors he worked with because he was angry at her for being late to a meeting. When the incident was reported to the head of the agency, the manager claimed that he acted within his means, and the head let him off without any punishment. Konishi felt uneasy about this resolution, and eventually quit the agency because of it.

One of Anime’s Biggest Voices Accused of Sexual Harassment (io9, Beth Elderkin)

The article includes multiple accounts stretching over a decade and confirmation from Mignogna that several stories are true (though he attributes consent to the women with whom he interacted).

Last summer, Mignogna went into a studio and told a small group of people that silence gives consent. It may have been in response to a query about his performance, but voice director Donald Shults told io9 that it eventually became something else. When others in the room tried to push back, including Shults saying that the phrase doesn’t reflect today’s values, Mignogna didn’t drop the subject. He clarified.

“If I’m a jerk and you don’t tell me so, then you’re consenting to me being a jerk. See how that works?” he said. “If somebody is doing something you don’t approve of and you don’t say anything…the implication is that you must be okay with it.”

They’re not silent anymore.

#NOiRHistory: Gerald A. Lawson: The First Black Pioneer Of The Gaming Industry (YouTube, Noir Caesar)

A mini-biography of Lawson and his biggest contributions.

Today’s #Blackhistorymonth tribute belongs to Gerald Lawson; the first Black pioneer of the video gaming industry, and integral in the consoles we play today.

Otaku parenting: Loving mom shocks daughter out of bed cosplay-style (SoraNews24, Casey Baseel)

The cosplay in question was Crazy Diamond from Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure—the pictures are a pretty amazing sight.

“I usually have a really hard time getting up in the morning,” tweeted @mew_xxx_6 with the photo, “but even I jumped right out of bed when I saw this.”

Yes, rather than welcoming her daughter to a new day wearing a motherly apron and a warm smile, @mew_xxx_6’s mom burst into her bedchamber in full cosplay mode, dressed as Crazy Diamond, one of the ghostly Stand manifestations of power from anime/manga Jojo’s Bizzare Adventure. @mew_xxx_6 doesn’t mention whether or not her mom skipped the traditional “Good morning” in order to awaken her with Crazy Diamond’s Stand Cry of “Dorarara!” (this is the franchise with anime’s most creative sound effects, after all), but she does say that her mom spent roughly three months putting the costume together, apparently without @mew_xxx_6 knowing about it.

Why Japanese women rebel against Valentine’s day, but still buy chocolate (CNN, Emiko Jozuka)

Women are pushing back against pressure to buy “obligation chocolate” for male coworkers rather than just themselves and loved ones.

The number of people without a Valentine in Japan is also growing.

In 2015, a record 23% of men and 14% of women were unmarried by age 50, according to the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research.

As a result, even the practice of giving heartfelt chocolates could take a beating. Eriko Yoshida, a Japanese food writer based in Paris, says that consequently a new trend is emerging: that of giving friendship chocolates, or “tomo choco.”

While Choo says that this trend is in some ways positive, as it moves away from patriarchal practices, for chocolate companies it simply represents a shift in marketing.

Tokyo to ban parents from physically punishing children (The Mainichi)

The ruling comes in the wake of a recent child abuse case that resulted in the young girl’s death.

The Metropolitan Government decided to compile the ordinance on child abuse prevention after 5-year-old Yua Funato died in March last year in Tokyo’s Meguro Ward, revealing shocking details of abuse and neglect she had suffered by her parents despite her desperate pleas for them to “forgive” her and stop mistreating her.

A Tokyo government panel reviewing the case concluded in November the child welfare centers in Kagawa Prefecture and Tokyo failed to liaise sufficiently on the family when they moved and were slow in checking the safety of the girl.

Nine of Japan’s 47 prefectures already have ordinances on child abuse prevention.

Tokyo’s envisioned ordinance bans physical punishment and other actions by guardians that inflict physical and mental suffering on children. It also urges parents to go through medical checkups for pregnant women and children.

Gay couples seek marriage equality in Japan in Valentine’s Day suits (Kyodo News)

Thirteen couples have filed charges across Japan arguing that their inability to marry is discriminatory on the part of the Japanese government.

The damages suits were jointly filed by the couples who are in their 20s through their 50s, and include Japanese and foreign partners, at the district courts in Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka and Sapporo.

“We are starting a long fight to pursue marriage equality through the courts. We would like to fight with all the sexual minorities in the country and their allies,” said Kenji Aiba, a 40-year-old plaintiff, in front of the Tokyo District Court.

Angel Sanctuary – A Very Incest Valentine’s (Trash & Treasures)

A podcast retrospective on the OVA version of Kaori Yuki’s infamous shoujo incest series.

Happy belated Valentine’s Day! As is our tradition, we’ve spent the occasion watching another trashy romance anime. This year it was the grandaddy of incest, the forebearer that….still looks good compared to OreImo, to be honest, the series that led to many many exhausting online arguments where people equated queerness with incest and thought they were being helpful: Angel Sanctuary.
What happens when you take away the gorgeous art that the manga coasted on and cram more than half a dozen volumes into less than 90 minutes? One of the worst trainwrecks of the era, that’s what. And we’re old, we’d know.

Love Isn’t War: The Storytelling of Kaguya-Sama (Crunchyroll, Kara Dennison)

An article on how the series underlines the unreliability of its protagonists and their “love is competition” worldview.

By contrast, look at scenarios that happen naturally. Kaguya wants to meet Miyuki “by chance” on the way to school, loses the opportunity, then really does meet him by chance—the pair share a frantic, but ultimately sweet, bike ride to school. Similarly, there’s Miyuki being set upon by the razor-tongued Betsy Beltoise, and Kaguya stepping in to defend him in equally colorful French.

None of the situations, engineered or otherwise, results in the confession that both characters are so desperate for. However, the random, natural occurrences are shown in a much sweeter, happier light. Plus, to the audience, they’re as good as a confession, because it’s obvious to anyone outside the pair that they genuinely do like each other. Showing the “battles” as comically bad, and the natural situations as heartwarmingly good, is our biggest cue that the pair’s beliefs on the nature of love are inherently skewed.

Performance and Selfhood in ‘Alita: Battle Angel’ (Medium, J. Rosenfield)

An essay on how the story of Alita speaks to dysphoria and the search for a “true” self and body.

Our selves are what we show to other people. They are how we choose to express, the decisions (or lack of decisions) we make about the physical forms we reside within. Alita becomes Alita over the course of the film. It takes the acquisition of a more fitting body for her to fully realize who she is, and who she wants to be. For Alita to be Alita, she must present herself the way she feels she must. She can’t be herself in the wrong body. Alita: Battle Angel is as moving an exploration of body dysphoria as I’ve ever seen. Salazar’s performance so profoundly understands the awkwardness and pain that come from being disassociated from your physical form, and the euphoria that comes when your body begins to match how you feel about yourself for the first time.


AniFem Community

As always, y’all have brought the goods on anime recs!

An unusual choice, but I greatly prefer the Ouran High Host Club anime over the manga. This is in large part due to its shortness more or less removing a lot of the romance/harem stuff from it. In the end, to me, the anime felt more like a show about friendship among people who were all very different from each other in terms of class standing, orientation, gender, and so on. I feel that Haruhi ultimately accepting that, yeah, she really does like Those Damn Rich People as her friends was a good enough finale. I don't need a harem of the boys vying for her affections and her learning to embrace femininity and removing her agency. ALSO, big one is Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid. Don't get me wrong, the anime has some REALLY REALLY NOT GOOD STUFF still, but it very much decreased the amount of THAT STUFF. When it was fully off the rails in things like the Christmas Play episode or the Apartment Hunting episode, it was truly at its best. And oh dang that finale episode. Kobayashi was turned from a gag and perv comic into an incredibly sweet story about found family and queer romance with a pretty heavily autistic coded main character. I just really hope that as we're getting a season 2 it'll just stray further from the source material and reduce, or outright drop, the crappy elements that held the show back.

Well, Usagi Drop is better as an anime, simply because it only covers about half the material of the manga and leaves out the massively problematic stuff in the back half.

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