This week: anime studio D’ART Shtajio’s focus on creating diverse anime, fumbled trans representation in HuniePop 2, and the cycle of abuse in Revolutionary Girl Utena.
Ashley Glenn highlights the Kase-san manga series, a yuri rom-com that focuses on communication and follows the couple after they graduate high school.
Latonya Pennington discusses the long history of the dark magical girl in pre-Madoka Magica shoujo, and how those archetypes existed to inspire young girls to survive and believe in themselves through dark times.
The watchalong finishes up with a good dog, some excellent girls, and a final note about digital space’s ability to both keep us from moving on and connect us.
For those looking for more series like Chio’s School Road and Asobi Asobase (perhaps with a touch less homo- and transphobia), what are your recs?
Are developers taking trans people seriously? Yet again, no (The OP, Ana Valens)
HuniePop 2’s developers initially announced a dateable trans woman but, after transphobic outcry, altered the game so that the character’s gender identity is based on “player choice.”
HunieDev argues that HuniePot’s job is to “make a fun game that everyone can enjoy,” but his solution isn’t very fun for trans women. It makes trans people feel like their bodies aren’t as desirable as their cisgender counterparts. Instead of encouraging players to challenge their preconceived notions about women’s bodies and stay a little open-minded about what it means to be a woman, the game caters to straight men that view cisgender women as the only real women, stigmatizing trans women in the process.
Case in point: After immense backlash, HunieDev decided to “remove the t-bomb”from Polly’s development post. Going forward, the game won’t call Polly transgender at all, making her incredibly ambiguous and up to the player’s imagination. It’s the perfect cop out: If you think trans women are disgusting, you can just change Polly’s genitals, and suddenly she’s as cisgender as you want her to be.
THE BODY AS A BARGAINING CHIP (Tumblr, Empty Movement)
An essay comparing Revolutionary Girl Utena’s Touga and Anthy as abuse survivors and abusers, and how their similar experiences present differently based on gender norms (heavy spoilers).
Touga, on the other hand, presents himself as very masculine. Where Anthy is chaste, he’s… well… “virile.” He makes great shows of his power over the other Duelists; they dance to his tune as much as they do Akio’s, in the first arc, and even later on Touga is still the one calling the shots when it comes to getting most of the Duelists into Akio’s car. He positions himself to look like he has even more power than he actually does. Physically, of course, we see evidence of his strength; he spars with Saionji, and he fights Utena to enough of a standstill that he can manipulate her into losing. And he is active. He grasps for power, he inserts himself where he has no real business– Miki’s situation, for instance– and he constantly seeks out ways to expand his reach within the school.
All of this is very masculine, and all of it is as much camouflage for him as the Feminine is for Anthy. Touga cannot allow himself to look weak or powerless, because that would make him a target. And he is, after all, just a seventeen year old boy with no one he trusts enough to confide in and a long history of abuse. It should go without saying that he’s as vulnerable as anyone. His entire persona is built around power and the perception of power, and it’s all a distraction from his own weakness. We know this, too, because of his reaction to his defeat by Utena. He crumples into almost nothing, all his scheming gone. His defeat was a removal of the perception of masculine power, and his withdrawal was the last measure he could take to keep his own self from being vulnerable to others.
South Korea commemorates women forced into Japanese wartime brothels (Channel News Asia, Joyce Lee & Yimou Lee)
A day of remembrance was recently enacted, as well as a memorial statue; protests in Taiwan have pushed for more action from the Japanese government on the matter.
“I hope that this issue will not lead to a diplomatic dispute between Korea and Japan. Nor do I see this is an issue that can be solved through diplomatic solutions between the two countries,” South Korean President Moon Jae-in said in comments marking the first “Memorial Day for Japanese Forces’ Comfort Women Victims”.
“It is an issue that can be solved only when the world, including ourselves and Japan, deeply reflects on sexual violence against all women and human rights problems and comes to a strong awareness and learns a lesson in a way that prevents this from ever repeating again.”
Japan insists the issue was resolved by the 2015 deal, struck with a previous, conservative South Korean administration.
OP-ED: WE ARE JOURNALISTS. WE ARE NOT THE ENEMY. (Anime Herald, Samantha Ferreira)
An article addressing Trump’s statements that the free press is the “enemy of the people.”
These attacks on a free press, this destruction of our freedom to operate, cannot continue if we wish to continue as a free society.
Now, more than ever, we stand united with journalists of all stripes, to condemn Mr. Trump’s statements, and urge those around us to recognize that we are not enemies of the people. We are friends, we are neighbors, and we are family. We’re part of the communities we live in, and we are working tirelessly, day in and out, to deliver facts in a world where “fake news” has become an increasingly and depressingly common phrase.
The rhetoric, as it stands, is both careless and dangerous. Repeated dismissals of the free press have led us down a dangerous, now deadly path, which will have even more dire consequences if allowed to continue.
We are not fake news. We are not enemies of the people. We, like you, are the people.
Make Way For Fangirls: More Japanese Women Identifying As ‘Otaku’ (Forbes, Lauren Orsini)
Almost 70% of respondents to a recent mobile survey self-identified as otaku.
In a survey of 400 women between the ages of 15 and 24, Japanese marketing research lab Shibuya109 found that nearly 70 percent of respondents self-identified as otaku.
According to Sora News 24, this survey was smartphone-based and asked respondents to estimate their level of fandom based on how much time or money they spend on their hobbies per year. By that definition, 69.3 percent identified themselves as otaku, which the survey defined as the highest amount of time and monetary commitment respondents could have.
Defectors bid to sue N. Korea for rights abuses in Japanese court (The Asahi Shimbun, Ryuichi Kitano)
Five individuals who moved from Japan to North Korea in the 2000s and were able to return recently are now hoping to sue North Korea for human rights violations. The attempt to sue from the court of one nation to another is unprecedented.
Pyongyang advertised the nation as “paradise on earth.” Many Koreans who were living in Japan at the time and their families, including their Japanese wives, decided to move there.
The five plaintiffs are aged between 57 and 77. They all defected from the nation in the 2000s.
According to the plaintiffs, the North Korean government suppressed their basic human rights, including failing to provide enough food, despite falsely claiming the country was “paradise on earth” to entice ethnic Koreans in Japan to join the repatriation program. They also said it oppressed and forbade them from leaving the country.
The group condemned the repatriation program as “an act of government-sponsored abduction.”
LGBTQ Live-Action: Otouto no Otto Television Drama (弟の夫) (Okazu, Erica Friedman)
A review of the recent live drama version of My Brother’s Husband.
The dialogue cleaves closely to the original, with one notable omission. In the beginning when she meets Mike, Kana says that it’s weird that Japan won’t allow same-sex marriage (not in those words, the line was closer to “it’s weird that they can’t here.”) This line was scrubbed from the drama, presumably as it was too close to a criticism of the Japanese government’s policies and NHK is Japan’s national public broadcasting organization funded by public fees. It is pretty amazing that NHK aired this, but….let’s also remember it aired on a pay cable channel, not one of the main network channels. I had written NHK to ask if they planned on airing this on the USA-based NHK cable network TV Japan, but they said flat out they had no intention of doing so. So I’d count this a half step, rather than a full step forward for representation on Japanese TV.
The DVD comes with a director interview as an extra. There are no subtitles, but if you’ve read the books, you can follow the dialogue without problem.
Fumiko Enchi: A critical advocate of female empowerment (The Japan Times, Kris Kosaka)
A short writeup of the three (of over 100) Enchi works available in English.
As a young woman, Enchi saw her writing come to life on the stage with several popular plays in production throughout the 1920s.
The war and further ill health sidelined her writing, but the postwar years saw her turn to novel-writing and increasing critical acclaim as a leading feminist voice in Japan. Her work focused on women and their roles in Japanese society, giving a voice to the voiceless while criticizing the guises and manipulations women employ in their own pursuits of power. Despite her impact in Japan, out of over 100 published works in Japanese, only three of her novels have been translated into English.
Ministries may have skirted disability hiring for many years (The Asahi Shimbun)
The public and private sectors in Japan are required to include a certain number of disabled workers in their workforce; since the public sector was never audited until recently.
While the private sector is subject to an audit about its hiring of people with disabilities, no such mechanism exists to verify the numbers claimed by government ministries and agencies as they are not covered under the audit.
This suggests the malpractice could have been going on for years, sources said.
Kiyomi Tsujimoto, chief of the Diet Affairs Committee of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, said her party will press for Diet discussion on the issue, although the regular Diet session ended last month.
“The central government’s handling of the matter was slipshod,” she said.
VIDEO: A short video about D’ART Shtajio, an animation studio hoping to create diverse anime in tandem with producers like Noir Caesar.
Meet the studio whose goal is bringing a variety of different stories to the world of anime! pic.twitter.com/Fg2L7cZyv1
— Crunchyroll @ Crunchyroll Expo 2018 🎉 (@Crunchyroll) August 17, 2018
Lots of great suggestions for trashlord teens—see if you find something new!
WataMote is an instance I know of a show with a crass, unlikeable main character which worked brilliantly and, depending on how the concept would be managed, it could only go really right or really wrong. I loved that show.
— fort/stay nite@MIKU COUNTDOWN 💚 (@steamedslams) August 20, 2018
Ai Mai Mi is great pic.twitter.com/JPCPSyM29j
— cobatts (@Cobatts) August 21, 2018