Saori Mitsueda praises the manga’s inclusion of queer sexuality that uses an inclusive gaze.
Anthony Gramuglia digs into the famous fighting anime’s under-sung focus on giving its most well-adjusted characters lives and relationships outside the battlefield.
Caitlin, Peter, and Vrai chat about one of the most varied seasons in years.
There are definitely good manga out there, but few of them seem to make it to screen.
O Maidens in Your Savage Season and “Not Like Other Girls” Syndrome (The Afictianado, Alex Henderson)
A look at Sonezaki’s arc and the ugly internalized misogyny of “not like other girls” protagonists.
Sonezaki is an interesting and crystal-clear encapsulation of the weird vicious cycle that lives at the heart of this “bookish versus bitchy” trope. For a long time, social and fictional narratives have drawn a big dividing line between “smart” girls and “pretty” girls: the infamous “she wears short skirts, I wear t-shirts” binary. And yes, it’s understandable: a lot of young girls who liked reading more than they liked makeup, particularly at that gnarly, thorny, deeply weird in-between period where puberty is just starting to hit and everyone’s growing up (physically and emotionally) at different rates, ended up getting sneered at or felt like they were being left behind. It’s something I certainly went through, and I resented it, as I’m sure many other girls in my situation did. And this is not to say that that resentment isn’t valid. Kids and teenagers have a perhaps unique knack for crippling each other’s self-esteem, and we should definitely address that and the many, many other factors (advertising, social media, general adult influence, fiction) that warp us into little self-conscious monsters at that age.
However, it’s also important to address that that resentment can easily spiral into toxic thinking of its own. Fine, so I don’t fit in with those girls who know how to be feminine and pretty. But I’m not lame for being different, I’m special. This? This is counterculture. They’re following trends like sheep while I’m over in the library being wise and intellectual while they’re being ditzy. They are the vapid villains of every YA novel and teen movie, dressed in pink and giggling wickedly, and you know I’m the hero because I have brown hair and glasses and make a point to mention that I’ve read all the classics.
Fire Emblem‘s Depiction Of Abuse Feels Real (Kotaku, Gita Jackson)
A personal essay through the lens of three FE3H characters.
Though Bernadetta’s social anxiety is sometimes played for laughs, the subtext of those same jokes is that she is deeply afraid of other people. Usually the jokes subside when the other character realizes why she’s so nervous, which softens the edges on the game’s humor. I never felt like a joke was being told on Bernadetta. Her peers just didn’t understand her. These conversations are the journey to that understanding.
Bernadetta is afraid that they are angry at her, because her father was so often angry at her and punished her severely for not living up to his expectations. We don’t see the abuse happening, but we see the product of it. Bernadetta doesn’t just lack confidence; she expects to be abused.
When you interface with characters who have been abused in this way, it humanizes the characters more strongly than showing the disturbing acts themselves. I don’t want to see Bernadetta being berated by her father—I can already see what the pressure he put on her has done to her.
Japanese entities are taking kickbacks for foreign trainees (The Asahi Shimbun, Makoto Oda and Seiji Iwata)
Programs overseas are reported to pay money under the table in order to ensure their trainees get into the highly competitive Japanese programs—those costs then become the burden of overworked employees.
But a murky understanding of every aspect of the program on the part of trainees leaves room for dispatch companies to devise ways to charge more.
One company charges more than $10,000 per individual to ensure its own profitability as well as setting aside funds to reward the Japanese side.
Most trainees coming to Japan cover their fees paid to dispatch companies and travel expenses by borrowing a large sum of money.
As a result, trainees tend to accept they have no choice but to accede when their Japanese employers fail to pay the full amount of promised wages and demand excessive overtime.
As they are obliged to repay their debts, they tend to view their dismal working conditions as better than losing their jobs.
A Cosplayer’s Treatment at Japan’s Comiket Draws Criticism Worldwide (Unseen Japan, Alyssa Pearl Fusek)
Video of a young Chinese cosplayer being harassed at Comiket set off disgusted Twitter reactions around the world.
Japanese Twitter users voiced a wide range of opinions. One user asked if the cosplayer was an adult porn star — AVかな? — to which another user succinctly replied, やめろや、クソが (“Fuck off, shithead”). Some expressed concern and pity for the cosplayer. Twitter user @UOOsenbiri noted that the “Yes, Cosplay. No, Touch” (Yesコスプレ Noタッチ) ethos was severely lacking at this convention, and that this type of harassment might deter other talented cosplayers from attending.
Other users, like @Amaugatsu_Kuon, went the “not ALL men” route, pointing out that this behavior is not representative of all otaku (geeks).
Foreign artists call for pulling works to protest ‘censored’ show (The Asahi Shimbun, Sayaka Emukai and Hiroyuki Maegawa)
Eleven artists in an international festival asked that their work be pulled in solidarity with the recent shutdown of a South Korean protest exhibit, which was allegedly closed due to multiple threats being sent in.
Of the 11 artists, all of whom are foreigners, two South Koreans have already shut down the displays of their works.
The letter, titled “In Defense of Freedom of Expression,” disputed the notion that the exhibition had been closed to safeguard public safety.
“We fundamentally disagree that this is an issue of ‘risk management’ and not one of censorship,” it said.
“As a public gesture of solidarity with the censored artists, we demand that the organizers temporarily suspend the exhibition of our artworks in the Triennale while ‘After Freedom of Expression?’ remains closed to the public.”
The artists also said that “as a public institution, it is Aichi Triennale’s responsibility to work in collaboration with the corresponding authorities to provide protection and security for its staff, the visiting public and anyone involved in the exhibition.”
Tokyo gov’t workers with same-sex partners apply for couples’ benefits (The Mainichi, Akira Okubo)
Tokyo does not yet have partnership recognition but does have an anti-discrimination ordinance.
The two workers — a male gay teacher at a metropolitan school and an employee on loan to an affiliated organization who was born female but doesn’t identify with any particular gender — claimed that it was discriminatory for the Tokyo government not to offer them the same benefits package as legally married and common-law couples receive.
The benefits include allowances and paid leave for getting married, attending family funerals, as well as the use of government housing.
Ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, the metropolitan government introduced an ordinance last October to protect human rights, which includes banning discrimination against sexual minorities such as LGBT. It aims to follow the philosophy of the Olympic Charter, which bans any kinds of discrimination.
OFF THE GRID: GHOST TRICK (Haywire Magazine, Allison Winters)
A spoiler-heavy discussion of the game’s themes on the importance of emotional honesty and communication. ‘
The destructive effects of lying to people and shutting them out are a major theme running throughout the game. Sissel spends the night chasing down his true identity but anyone who could actually give him a clue is either using him for a grander purpose or just too ashamed to admit what they know. Even Sissel starts doing it: he lies to Kamila about her own death, but quickly sees that it’s causing her more distress than anything. Only once he’s honest with her does she share what she knows about the mysteries plaguing him. As the cast comes back to life they all start to learn that their poor coping skills are not helping in the slightest.
Queer Cooperation (Unwinnable, Jeremy Signor)
How Final Fantasy XIV’s online MMO roleplaying fosters queer communities.
The appealing thing about games is the fact that so many queer people are into them. We can use them to escape from a world that hates us, as well as envision our own fantasies in the increasingly queer selection of titles that come out nowadays. But Final Fantasy XIV and other MMOs of its ilk has the advantage of connecting a large swath of people at once within a game. It’s very similar to how communities on social media form organically, with similar interests and demographics finding each other and forming symbiotic networks.
MMOs are special in this regard, though. Usually when you first join the game, you already have someone you want to play with. They, in turn, are usually already playing with a group of their own people that share an interest, and knowing your friend will almost always get you an invite to their group. In Final Fantasy XIV’s case, players can form Free Companies, groupings of players that play under the same banner and have their own channel of in-game chat. Before you know it, you’ve got an instant network, and for queer people, that’s invaluable. It’s also easy and natural for queer groups to coalesce since there’s so many resources available online for discovering pockets of queer to immerse yourself in.
Video: A primer for shounen fans on why they should give shoujo a shot.
Video: Celebrating LeSean Thomas’s groundbreaking new release, Cannon Busters
Yeesh, it’s rough out there. Lots of good manga but maybe…two or three universally praised adaptations in BL.