We’re six months old! Celebrate by answering questions with us and checking out our Winter 2017 recs. Also: Japanese feminist blogs, and not all fanservice is created equal.
We got some fantastic questions in honor of AniFem’s 6 month anniversary, and we’d love to hear your answers to them too!
Recommendations from the team from the last season (hint: Rakugo; we all really, really liked Rakugo).
Self Introduction (Otaku Girl and Proud)
An introductory post on what will hopefully be a series of essays from a Japanese feminist and media critic.
Our co-authored book “Otoko No Karada Ha Kimochi-Ii” (Males, enjoy your sexualities) is a casual approach for gender studies through Pornography in Japan. One of my co-authors Hitoshi Nimura is a famous game-changing adult movie (=porn) director. The other, Junko Kaneda is a sociologist/feminist and the most trustworthy expert of the Yaoi/Boy’s Love field. We three also interviewed a couple of gay people living their real lives in Japanese society.
You might know Lauren as part of the AniFem team, but she also has a truly incredible breadth and depth of work out there talking about anime and fandom. The interview also links to some of her resources on how new bloggers and aspiring journalists can get started.
I wrote Otaku Journalism and Build Your Anime Blog because I noticed I sent a lot of emails to aspiring people who wanted to do what I do. I thought, “I can write a book about this,” and I did. I wrote two.
You want to report on things in ways people can understand without getting into the weeds, but don’t act like the Jane among the gorillas. Don’t be like, “Ah, look at this primitive culture.” I think that’s where a lot about our fandom in journalism goes wrong, and you can tell if that person is not involved in our fandom because they are acting like it is the weirdest curiosity ever.
Is This Feminist or Not? Ways of Talking about Women in Anime (Heroine Problem)
Asking for a rubber stamp of approval on whether a series is Approved Feminism is pretty reductive. This slideshow from a recent Sakura Con panel is an intro to approaching the subject with more nuance.
STUCK IN THE MIDDLE WITH YOU (Wave Motion Cannon)
An argument in favor of “social television” – shows that provoke reaction and conversation, even if they have as many low points as high ones, over shows that are competent but not necessarily memorable.
Is this a good thing, though? Setting aside the facts that more people can be critics and that critical analysis in and of itself is subject to the same gulf in quality as the works it examines (like some sort of social media Ouroburos), I’m not sure. Were I asked to recommend either Elfen Lied or ACCA-13 to someone, part of me, the more clinical part, would say ACCA because it is the better show. But another part would say Elfen Lied because it is the more memorable of the two, for better or worse, and I did quite enjoy ripping it to shreds on the podcast.
Harlequin Violet & Harlequin Pink: Manga Romance Fusion! (Women Write About Comics!)
Did you know there were manga adaptations of the well-known Harlequin brand romance novels? Us either! This post looks at a volume from the imprint’s Pink (12 and up) and Violet (16 and up) lines.
To tell the truth, the thing that’s made me decide I would buy these, instead of carrying them round a shop for a little while and changing my mind out of preemptive buyer’s remorse, was one little detail on the back cover of A Girl in a Million. It was this:
Pink ink! On romantic, feminine art full of floating flowers, doily snowflake backgrounds, glittering eyes and dates that non-diegetically sparkle. That’s a gimmick in a million, frankly, a visual shift that not only spices up the monotone printing of tankobon that one gets used to but actually enhances the thematic aesthetic of the storyteller’s choices. Pink! I like to look at it. Why are all manga printed in black anyway? If coloured lines are a boon to lithograph comic sales, why would they be a drag to manga’s?
Revolutionary Girl Utena Episodes 1-2 (Anime News Network)
If you read our Throwback post and are still hungry for more Utena analysis, Jake Chapman’s started his own newbie friendly rewatch of the series.
While Utena clearly speaks to its fans on a powerful level, and its influence on the anime industry is undeniably massive, people who don’t “get” Utena often fall back on a reasonable question: “If this story is so important, couldn’t it have been told in a more approachable way?”
No. The short answer is “no.” At the same time, this short answer helped lead me to my long answer of what I could contribute to Utena analysis after so many words have already been written over the last twenty years.
A breakdown of the rose-tinted view of Japan, pointing out the ways in which western romanticization of Japanese culture does more harm than good.
I’d like to emphasize that there’s nothing wrong with being enthusiastic about the media that Japan creates. If your stepping stone to learning more about Japan stems from your excitement of its media, that’s fantastic, and I encourage you to explore it. Japanese media isn’t bad in and of itself, at all. But it only offers a small taste of what Japan is like: a place that, as it stands, clings to racial purity and remaining culturally homogenous.
Man Service (Otaple ½)
On the difference between the sexualization of male vs female anime characters, and how those portrayals are far from equal.
However, within the medium of anime, female characters are much more likely to be sexualized than male characters. To illustrate this I want to take a look at the first cour of Uta no Prince-sama and The iDOLM@STER, two shows that are intended to provide 2D harems for the viewer. Both shows are from the same studio, came out at the same time, and are both based on games about idols. More specifically, I want to compare the beach episodes from these shows. The girl characters of The iDOLM@STER are more sexualized than the boys of Uta no Prince-sama despite the shows being developed under such similar circumstances.
How An NPC Preventing Suicides Helped Breath of the Wild Feel Alive (Let’s Play Video Games)
Tiny details like this are touching to see in media, and potentially helpful for players all over the world who suffer with suicidal ideations.
Brigo, a middle aged man who can be found on Proxim Bridge most in-game days, is aware of the downfall of the world in Breath of the Wild. He acknowledges that the end of days is likely approaching, and seems fairly preoccupied with the doom and gloom of a world where, at any time, a giant pig ghost could destroy the land. He’s certainly no stranger to the depressing reality Hyrule finds itself in.
However, if Link climbs up onto the edge of Proxim bridge, Brigo’s demeanor and attitude quickly change. Brigo is hanging out on the bridge because, seemingly, it’s a frequent suicide spot in the end of days. He has dedicated his days to talking jumpers safely back down onto the footpath.
☆ INTERVIEW ♡ Tavuchi of Spank!☆ (yumeholic)
An interview with influential fashion designer Tavuchi.
Recently I was able to interview Tavuchi, the mastermind behind Spank! and the godmother of fairy kei fashion! She is known by fashion fans around the world, and has even designed costumes for Kyary Pamyu Pamyu♪
She runs a famous resale & remake store in Nakano Broadway called Spank!, which boasts a unique, 80’s aesthetic. She has been running it for over 10 years, and it is thanks to Spank! that fairy kei was born.
We’re asking you to share your answers to the reader-submitted questions we got this week. Meanwhile, one of our readers was kind enough to share one of their favorite manga critics.
— Derek McGrath (@dereksmcgrath) April 24, 2017