This week: elderly women in prison, fandom demographics, and realism in School Babysitters.
Katriel Page looks back on how her relationship with Utena has changed since its cast first helped her through the hardships of being a teenager.
Caitlin breaks down FRANXX‘s eighth episode, “Boys x Girls,” and how boys’ sexuality is framed as active and desirous while women are meant to be passive and looked at.
The watchalong gets to some solid shenanigans and also The Worst Scene.
You might find somebody new you want to follow!
What the “School Babysitters” Anime Gets Right About Child Development (Crunchyroll, Caitlin Moore)
Actual preschool teacher (and AniFem staffer) Caitlin analyzes how accurate Babysitters’ child characters are.
It turns out that Kazuma wasn’t afraid because he didn’t recognize his father, but rather because he thought his father was the kidnapper he played in the last movie they watched of him. Toddlers are still figuring out the divide between reality and fantasy, and Kazuma didn’t understand that the bad guy he saw on the screen was only a fantasy, while the reality was actually his loving father. That trouble finding the dividing line comes up again in the fifth episode, when Kirin decides to try out being a witch. She and Taka fight over whether their Sentai show or witches is real, demonstrating an oft-misunderstood part of child development. It’s not that children don’t understand that there’s no difference between fantasy and reality. They start playing pretend around eighteen months, imitating the things they see the adults in their life do, and their dramatic play only gets more elaborate from there. It’s that they don’t always know what is real and what isn’t. Faced with denial that witches are real, Kirin decides to prove it by flying on a broomstick herself and, when taking off from the ground doesn’t work, she decides to try starting by jumping from a high place. If you accept the premise that witches exist, Kirin’s logic is sound – the only problem is that she hasn’t grasped that flying on broomsticks is reality, not fantasy, even as she understands that Sentai is fantasy.
A call to raise funds to localize this award-winning webmanga.
It’s set in a world where animals live like human beings. Although it is a peaceful world at a glance, people live under the threat of the mysterious “Sky Golems”. The main characters are Eiden, an aspiring painter who got caught up in the great destruction caused by the Sky Golems and can’t paint anymore because of the shock…
…and Dakini, a mute warrior with mysterious fighting abilities on a mission to defeat the golems. While traveling together to challenge the menace that threatens their world, they face their traumas and their past while pursuing their mission and hopes.
Through this work and its two heroes, I would like to depict the following themes: a bond that’s a little different than being lovers or friends, mission and choice, the richness and threats coming from imagination.
20th anniversary Revolutionary Girl Utena Manga: Beautiful Thorns (少女革命ウテナ20年記念日新作) (Okazu, Erica Friedman)
A summary of the latest Utena anniversary chapter, focusing on Juri.
Jyuri experienced three things in this chapter that never actually happened to her. We know that. She did not fight Ruka in the championship bout, she did not see Shiori drown, and…Shiori did not leave her for Ruka. Not 20 years ago. Not now.
It calls into question everything we know about her. What if Shiori never did any of the things we thought she did? The Black Rose arc was clearly feeding off of participants’ dark fantasies. What if Shiori wasn’t ever a master manipulator and was – and always has been – Jyuri’s closest friend who wants what was best for her? We may never truly know.
As I have been saying repeatedly, Saitou-sensei’s art has really grown in 20 years. The aesthetic here is even more gorgeous than we remember it. And I’d be okay with an artbook of Jyuri playing dressup. ^_^
FINDING MEANING IN ‘A GIRL ON THE SHORE’ (All Hail Haruhi)
Analyzing a story by the author of Goodnight Punpun, exploring dysfunctional adolescent sexuality.
These practices and his relationship with Sato are further mired by the remnants of his brothers presence. With no healthy father figure in his life he falls to the trappings of male-coded violence, learning to extinguish feelings from the tips of his knuckles. He is a boy who constantly fights away the emotions he finds uncomfortable, yet in a show of relatable hypocrisy, is keen to condemn others for running away from their own problems.
In between all this commotion is ultimately a scenario is which two people escape themselves by projecting onto others. The fact that this is only natural of youth navigating a world they weren’t prepared for makes the undertone tenderly tragic and wistfully moving. It presents a side to the teenage social arena that we are often quick to downplay or ignore.
Whether the story of Isobe and Sato is actually common or not isn’t really the subject A Girl of the Shore wishes to debate. Rather it draws from the cannon of today’s news articles and autobiographies, weaving a tale that is unquestionably fiction, while simultaneously defined by human experience.
‘ME AND THE DEVIL BLUES’: THE FATHER OF BLUES MUSIC HAS HIS OWN MANGA (Noir Caesar, Jacqueline-Elizabeth Cottrell)
A review of a loosely historical seinen manga about influential musician Robert Leroy Johnson.
Many instinctively recognize the name Robert Leroy Johnson as belonging to the man who is credited with being The Father Of Blues. Robert was a prophetically gifted Bluesman that old lore states him as having once made a pact with the devil in exchange for the talent he would later become famous for.
What many don’t know much of is that of his past, which has long since been mired in such mystery, that only two authenticated photos of him are said to exist, with another’s authenticity being called into question as early as November 2017 by the New York Times.
In the award-winning seinen manga, Me and The Devil Blues, creator Hiramoto Akira (also famous for the infamous series, Prison School) creatively fills in the blanks by weaving a dramatic tale that balances a variety of supernatural elements with plenty of psychological horror thrown into the mix.
Abusive Relationships in Shoujo Manga by the Numbers: Week 20 (Heroine Problem, Caitlin Moore)
Includes a rundown and discussion of the upcoming spring anime marketed toward women.
A Devil and Her Love Song takes a dark turn this week by combining Maria’s trauma bubbling to the surface to her and Shin finally being able to level with each and confess their mutual feelings. The way this is handled, which I’ll get to in a minute, is especially disappointing because leading up to that, there are some great scenes, including Shin and Maria getting into a fight. The two are both so frustrated by their lack of communication and mixed messages that it all comes pouring out.
The fight is actually a great moment for their relationship. I’m not of the opinion that fighting every night is normal and healthy for couples, but sometimes other forms of communication break down and it’s the only way to get things out. The fight had no name calling, no accusations, no physical element – just good old-fashioned yelling their frustrations and calling each other out. There’s no power imbalance or weeping and begging forgiveness. It clears the air, and the relief the two feel is palpable. I honestly can’t remember the last time I saw a real fight like this in a shoujo manga, but it was fantastic.
Tokyo court denies Syrians’ bid to overturn refugee ruling (The Asahi Shimbun)
Two refugees seeking asylum were denied, continuing Japan’s ongoing issues with providing rights to refugees.
Lawyers said Youssef had the right to stay in Japan, under a humanitarian status that allows residency but not full refugee rights. It was not clear if the second plaintiff would appeal.
Immigration and asylum are sensitive subjects in Japan, where many pride themselves on cultural and ethnic homogeneity even amid a shrinking population and the worst labor shortage since the 1970s.
Youssef, a Kurd from the north of Syria, had applied for asylum in Japan in 2012, after saying he was persecuted for organizing pro-democracy demonstrations.
The Japanese government rejected the claim a year later, saying he lacked proof of his involvement in protests in Syria.
Japan’s Prisons Are a Haven for Elderly Women (Bloomberg, Shiho Fukada)
Includes stories from incarcerated women, many of whom feel as though they have no support system from family or society and find themselves feeling freer in prison.
Why have so many otherwise law-abiding elderly women resorted to petty theft? Caring for Japanese seniors once fell to families and communities, but that’s changing. From 1980 to 2015, the number of seniors living alone increased more than sixfold, to almost 6 million. And a 2017 survey by Tokyo’s government found that more than half of seniors caught shoplifting live alone; 40 percent either don’t have family or rarely speak with relatives. These people often say they have no one to turn to when they need help.
Women behind the camera often get overlooked, and we like to try and correct that whenever we can. Maybe you’ll find some new work to follow with these great suggestions.
I love Rie Matsumoto! But it's not a competition; anime has lots of talented ladies. Looking forward to Mari Okada's new movie: https://t.co/H7NJlKbmGg
— Agent Aggretsuko! (@Ahavah22) March 20, 2018
Sayo Yamamoto! Her story of struggling against the status quo and her relentless perseverance in everything she works with are an inspiration! I admire her commitment to explore complex and unique topics that most would deem unappropriate or unfit for commercial anime
— Li㋐ of the Rebellion (@liaciferlawliet) March 19, 2018
Shoutout to Eunyoung Choi 😀 her wonderful space dandy ep is the most I’ve ever cried about plants https://t.co/fPyQA5HC2L
— Jenny Y㋐ng is JOPPING 🛫 SD (@jennyyangat) March 19, 2018