[Links] 15-21 January 2020: Wandering Son Retrospective, Gabe Kunda Interview, and PreCure Producer Interview

By: Anime Feminist January 21, 20200 Comments
Somali blissfully holding a jackalope

AniFem Round-Up

A Destructive God Sits Next to Me – Episode 1

Chuuni comedy that feels somewhat meanspirited.

In/Spectre – Episode 1

Paranormal action series with a charming disabled heroine.

ARP: Backstage Pass – Episode 1

Male idol series only for those already invested in the preexisting VR idols.

A3! Spring and Summer – Episode 1

Dull mobile game adaptation about saving a theater.

Winter 2020 Premiere Digest

All the premieres in one place with updated content warnings.

Chatty AF 107: Panels Podcast

Caitlin joins special guests Megan, Zack, and Rinny to talk about creating convention panels.

[AniFemTalk] What are your favorite light novel adaptations?

It’s a wide spectrum of highs and lows. Which do you like?

Beyond AniFem

Confessions of a Tokyo Local: Is My Skin Too Dirty? (South Sonder)

An interview with an aspiring magazine editor about the colorism in Japan’s beauty industry.

 To add on to that, Bihaku (美白) means “beautifully white” in Japanese and was popularized in the early 90s when skin whitening cosmetics and products became more well-known. This is not just an issue exclusive to Japan, however, as brown and dark-skinned Asians have been excluded and constantly overlooked by the media and society for years. The global skin-whitening market was valued at $4.8 billion in 2017, according to Global Industry Analysts, and is anticipated to reach $8.9 billion by 2027, with Asian countries making up a major segment. When asked if Tomoko felt like she needed to go out of her way to ensure that her skin remained light in complexion, she answered “because I was born with a darker complexion than the majority of Japanese people, my grandparents would tell me that they didn’t like my skin colour and that my skin looks “dirty.”” However, for her, she says that she doesn’t really care about making her skin look lighter, so she’s been living with her natural skin colour ever since she was a child. But, she acknowledges the fact that because she’s not as light in complexion as most Japanese guys want, they don’t find her attractive. She often hears from Japanese men how they prefer girls with lighter skin tones because it looks “clean and beautiful.” Regardless of all of that, she has never felt like she needed to make her skin lighter because it “doesn’t look healthy” in her opinion.

Shimura Takako’s Wandering Son: Conflicting Thoughts on a Life-Affirming Anime and Manga of the Decade (Otaquest, Alicia Haddick)

A retrospective on the series’ crucial importance as a trans text and also the ways it’s aged poorly.

In spite of this, the legacy of Wandering Son precedes these issues, placing the story at the forefront of discussion for trans representation in anime and manga both for better and for worse. In Japan, the Wandering Son manga was recognized by the Japan Media Arts Festival in both 2006 and 2013, while the English-language release of the manga was nominated by the Young Adult Library Services Association in its 2012 list of Great Graphic Novels for Teens. In a special issue of Eureka magazine discussing the impact of mangaka Shimura Takako’s work, multiple guest essays focused on a discussion of the romantic elements of the story as well as its impact on the LGBT community at home and internationally.

The work is much-loved and much-remembered as something which undoubtedly had a positive impact on the lives of many people, myself included. It’s a little disappointing, however, that the anime and manga industry has yet to fully move past this series, especially internationally, even after many years have passed since the series came to an end. Any discussion of transgender identities will inevitably prompt discussion of this story, most often as the sole example of trans representation in anime which many people will cite. Considering the work is created by a publicly-cisgender mangaka in Shimura Takako, the problems with this reverence are that it can overshadow other stories about trans identities both for, and in some cases, by, members of the transgender community.

HIV carriers laud openly gay counselor at Osaka hospital (The Asahi Shimbun, Ogawa Yusuke)

Okamoto Gaku has become a well-regarded staple of the hospital over the last 13 years.

His courage to stand up for his identity has made Okamoto a much sought-after counselor at the National Hospital Organization Osaka National Hospital, where he now has counseled 2,000 individuals with HIV or AIDS.

Word of his good reputation has become so widely known that “when in trouble, visit Gaku-chan,” is a common refrain among those in the city battling the illnesses.

Despite the fact that AIDS is no longer an epidemic and can now be treated and controlled with drugs, there appears to be no end in Japan to cases where hospitals refuse to examine people with HIV or employers cancel decisions to hire them for no explicable reason.

Yuri Manga and “Problematic” Art (Okazu, Erica Friedman)

A discussion of impossible breast physics for the male gaze in yuri and how liking problematic art requires allowing others to critique those elements.

Yes, it is absolutely okay to like problematic things. But equally super important is recognizing that to other people that “problematic” thing might feel like an assault on their existence, so their *completely valid* reaction is strongly negative. For instance, when I write below about the ridiculous way in which women’s breasts were being depicted by a manga creator, I understand that there are people who enjoy that aesthetic. I do not feel attacked by absurdly drawn breasts, but I *understand* from many years experience, that the men who defend and demand that kind of art are exactly the kind of men who blame women for their own failures and who aggressively deny misogyny. As a result I do not believe that art deserves a place in Yuri Manga, a point I will get to.

So, let’s talk about tits. Tits do function a bit like water balloons, this is completely true. BUT WE HAVE UNDERWEAR. Women’s bras are specifically designed to offer support – which is to say, minimizing jiggling. Not to rob men of the pleasure of looking, but because breasts bouncing up and down hurt. Large breasts hurt more. They pull on back and chest muscles. Women with large chests need more support, more minimizing of movement. Active wear for women is specifically designed with this in mind. (In relevant news, the three women who invented the sports bra are being inducted into the Inventor’s Hall of Fame.)

Pokémon Sword and Shield Is Secretly About Climate Change—and My Weezings Are Here to Prove It (Gizmodo, Yessenia Funes)

Pointing out some of the commentary laced into Galar’s pokedex (never mind its narrative proper).

And while they may look like a bong or a top hat to some, Weezing’s new form looks a lot like a smokestack to me. And it took on that form not because it hit the weed too hard but because of pollution.

“Long ago, during a time when droves of factories fouled the air with pollution, Weezing changed into this form for some reason,” its description in the Pokedex reads.

That sounds a lot like what’s happened here on Earth as fossil fuel companies have turned our atmosphere into a garbage dump for carbon pollution. That makes them the root cause of climate change.

I’ve caught a handful of Weezings and have given them names to honor some real-world polluters given the obvious parallels between the game and Earth. Meet BP, my current girl.

Tokyo ward to let sexual minorities pick their school, work uniforms (The Asahi Shimbun, Kokumai Ananda)

Minato ward is pushing toward inclusive ordinances, including discussions of marriage equality.

According to a Minato Ward survey of sexual minorities who were 18 or older and living in Tokyo in 2018, 13 percent of respondents had suffered from bullying in school.

Moreover, 22 percent of the respondents said they had considered suicide.

Ward officials are proposing a revision to the gender-equality ordinance to clearly state that individual freedom of gender expression should be respected at school, work and other places.

Female views on Japan TV against women-only train carriages reignite sexism debate (The Mainichi, Nakagawa Satoko and Makino Hiromi)

After a variety program aired interviews of women saying they hate riding in women-only train cars, the backlash questioned the framing of the comments and exclusion of issues like harassment.

But why did these TV shows air features attacking women-only cars almost simultaneously? It appears that it all started with an article on the information site “J townnet.” At the end of 2019, it published an email from a male reader criticizing women who don’t ride in the cars.

J townnet next put out a series of reader response pieces which became points for wider discussion. One, published on Jan. 7 was entitled: “Women who don’t ride in women-only cars speak openly: ‘Using them is scary,’ ‘It’s better to be buried in among middle-aged men.” Another on Jan. 13 was called, “Is the women’s carriage smelly and dirty? Riders reveal the reality: ‘It’s scattered with face oil blotting paper.”

Following the continual reports of behavioral infractions and conflicts on the carriages, people took to Twitter to defend the schemes, saying, “I’m afraid of traveling on trains after experiencing sexual violence. Women-only cars are helpful. They are malicious reports.” Another wrote, “Conflicts between passengers happen on other carriages too. Are they trying to make these problems a women’s issue?” Another voiced their concerns, “This could lead to reductions and abolition of the carriages.”

Amid strong criticism of the reporting, hashtags saying that the cars were necessary and a shelter for women also proliferated, and voices speaking out about the reality of being victims of sexual violence spread.

Episode 99- Gabe Kunda Interview (Getting Animated, Destiny Senpai)

A podcast interview about the actor’s history and work as Roc Loc in My Hero Academia.  

VIDEO: Review of the BL manga Liquor and Cigarettes

THREAD: Translation and discussion of comments by a PreCure producer about wanting to create safe spaces for minorities

AniFem Community

Good adaptations are a challenge no matter what medium they start from. It’s good to have recs!

As the heading picture shows, I enjoyed the 12 Kingdoms anime adaptation! I did see it first of course. The light novels have a lot more perspective on what Youko and the other characters are going through, but I still loved the anime.

I also loved the original Kino's Journey adaptation, much more than the more recent reboot. It felt so much more different. Reboot was all guns blazing(literally) and surprise twists, but the original adaptation was a lot more low key about it with a much quieter vibe. And of course, I loved the addition of Kino telling people not to call them a boy or a girl. It didn't happen in the reboot and did a lot more to imply that Kino was AFAB(aside from the backstory of course). I guess after the reboot, I became less into the series itself since it was closely following the novels. I now mostly have strong feelings for the first anime, since it helped me on the path to discovering I was nonbinary. I also know that for the reboot, the episodes that were adapted were voted most popular by fans, which maybe also why it didn't strike as much of a chord with me. There was a lot more action, though I did enjoy seeing Kino's master featured this time around when she was younger. That was cool.

Oh! I also loved Mouretsu Pirates(or uhh Bodacious Space Pirates), but I wasn't able to read the light novels. Maybe one day...
The only LN I've ever been able to (legally) get my hands on was All You Need Is Kill (which btw has a fantastic English translation), so I've mostly seen LN stories as the anime adaptation with no source material context :shrug: regardless...

My favorite LN adaptation is probably Another, because it was the anime that made me go "oh wow, this medium [anime] has stories that I can't get anywhere else". I haven't rewatched it since I first saw it like 8 years ago, so I don't know how my opinion would change if I did rewatch it, but I do remember the twist being very, very good. I think that having good source material is the core of a good LN adaptation. It's not always the case (hello, Tokyo Ghoul manga vs anime!), but it's harder to fail when there's a good story to work with, and not, ya know, yet another deeply problematic isekai power fantasy.

I'm also a big fan of Durarara!! and Boogiepop (2019). This is probably more due to my own taste than any LN trends, but I really enjoy anime that show stories from multiple POVs, building up the story for the viewer gradually until it all clicks together.

Oh, and Violet Evergarden is just really damn pretty. Like...wow.

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