This week: Aggretsuko’s newly released Christmas special, the practice of holding arrested suspects without presumption of innocence, and thoughts on Akane in light of Gridman‘s finale.
Alexis Marigold discusses how JK Haru attempts to engage with the unfair treatment of women in modern isekai stories, but ultimately falls into replicating many of the harmful tropes.
Danni Wilmoth shares how tomboy Rin’s decision to wear a dress spoke to her as a non-traditionally feminine trans woman.
A fun, pulpy supernatural action series, with a few undercurrents about traditionalism worth keeping an eye on.
The team answers your listener questions and talks a bit more about fundraising goals.
Any annual traditions on your watchlist?
A well-researched article on the business break-up and the prospects for the two companies, and consumers, in its wake.
Here’s what’s likely gonna happen: they’ll be an inital spike in revenue from people purchasing subscriptions, followed by an eventual drop once people realize how bad those services are. Before that drop, it’s likely they’ll be more companies selling and buying other companies. This is followed by more changes and more spikes and drops.
From a consumer standpoint, it’s killer. And as far as markets go, we’re a fairly inflexible audience. We don’t like change. These revenue spikes are superficial and unsustainable. Nobody benefits from this split. Good indie companies get swallowed up by the money-hungry big boys. What’s worse is they need the big boys in order to get necessary funding and exposure. Business marketing is a tricky balance and a difficult game of chess–it always has been– but the real problem is that these companies are beginning to disrespect their target audience: they’re not putting in the fundamental research and analytics. Or maybe they are, but they’re just not doing it with any real care, and that is a very big, very real problem for our market.
Ghosn’s detention puts Japan justice system under microscope (The Asahi Shimbun, Associated Press)
Japan’s legal system does not include a presumption of innocence and arrestees can be held and interrogated for months before trial.
Under such a system, those who insist on innocence end up getting detained longer. Once the rearrest processes run out and a suspect is formally charged, bail is technically possible but often denied until the trial starts because of fears about tampered evidence.
“It is good that the world will learn how wrong Japan’s criminal system is through the case of this famous person. It is something even many Japanese don’t know,” says Seiho Cho, a lawyer in Tokyo and an expert on criminal defense. “Countless people have gone through horrible experiences.”
A famous case is Iwao Hakamada, a professional boxer, who served 48 years in prison, mostly on death row after he signed a confession under questioning and was convicted of killing a family of four. He was freed in 2014 after DNA tests determined blood at the crime scene wasn’t Hakamada’s, and a court ruled police had likely planted evidence. Boxing champions had rallied on his behalf.
20 Years of KareKano (Anime News Network, Caitlin Moore)
A production history of the troubled but triumphant shoujo classic.
The series uses copious on-screen text and internal monologue to depict Yukino and Arima’s intertwined but ultimately separate character arcs. Yukino, the product of a loving middle-class family, finds joy and growth in searching for her true self. While before she always held everyone at arm’s length in order to maintain her constructed image, she starts developing interests and making friends. Her arc is the heart of His and Her Circumstances, as she bonds not only with Arima but his friend Hideaki Asaba and a number of other girls in her school. Her relationship with Arima is important, yes, but she also becomes a better-rounded person capable of thinking and acting on her own. Atsuko Enomoto, in her debut role, delivers a charmingly weird performance as the temperamental, newly uninhibited Yukino through all her trials and victories.
Anno’s writing of Yukino may have been informed by interviews and by Tsuda’s manga, but his treatment of Arima feels much more personal. Arima, as a survivor of severe childhood abuse and the black sheep of his family, does not blossom as a result of facing his inner self; to the contrary, he turns inward and does not like what he finds. He is forced to face his own mental health problems – self-loathing, a fear of abandonment, and severe depression. While Yukino’s internal monologues are full of bright colors and exaggerated facial expression, Arima envisions himself in stark black and white, haunted by memories of his childhood. Anno’s own public struggles with mental health informed much of Neon Genesis Evangelion, and there are echoes of Shinji Ikari and, in turn, Anno himself in Arima’s internal monologue.
12 Days of Anime: LGBTQ Anime Panels, Then and Now (Coherent Cats, Karleen)
A retrospective on the change and growth of LGBTQ panels at cons, from 2010 to now.
I still remember examples at the panel included the gender ambiguity of Hideyoshi played for laughs in Baka to Test, the arc about lesbian Kanbaru Suruga and her unrequited love in Bakemonogatari, and same-gender ship teasing between the personified countries in Axis Powers Hetalia. I may be forgetting some, but I wouldn’t say the examples have queerness as the focus or count as “positive representation.” At the time, it was all we had. That, or an untranslated manga about transgender youth before it was localized as Wandering Son by Fantagraphics or adapted into an anime. After the brief overview of releases, the panel turned to discussion. I was extremely nervous and didn’t know anyone there, so I simply listened to what the room shared about their favorite LGBTQ characters in anime.
Rakugo Shinjuu + Gender and Drag: 12 Days of Anime (YouTube, SubtitledAnime)
A short video looking at Kikuhiko through the lens of early queer theory.
Day 8 of 12 Days of Anime is on Rakugo Shinju and how gender functions in the series. Using gender theorist Judith Butler’s gender performativity and her theories on drag can we understand Kikuhiku’s identity. The text’s used for this video are the book ‘Gender Trouble’ as well as ‘Imitation and Gender Insubordination’ which is a scholarly article. If you have any questions or maybe want the text I cited I am accessible on Twitter @SubtitledAnime
Helping workers in sex industry find respectable daytime jobs (The Asahi Shimbun, Ryunosuke Kanayama)
Somewhat shaming headline aside, the group Grow As People is dedicated to helping sex workers who wish to diversify their resume or feel they are too old to continue with sex work.
The group offers opportunities for these women to work as interns at its partner companies and elsewhere, allowing them to build careers while continuing to work part-time in the nightlife industry.
“I thought it was important for them to be able to be engaged in a line of work that they could openly speak about,” said GAP founder Junichiro Kakuma, 35.
With the help of GAP, the 28-year-old woman did clerical work for six months at a nonprofit working on child welfare. She quit the sex industry and is seeking employment in a pet-related business.
“The program gave me confidence to change my way of life, and I felt I have become a responsible member of society,” she said. “That I could build the foundation for the next step is very significant for me.”
The Aggretsuko holiday special is a heartwarming end to a heartbreaking year (Polygon, Allegra Frank)
A short spotlight of the episode recently released on Netflix.
That heavy Instagram plot point — as noted by our friends at The Verge — makes We Wish You a Metal Christmas feel more timely than timeless, as all good Christmas special should be. This isn’t a knock against it, however; if anything, Aggretsuko’s best qualities come from how well the show and character speak to us budding spinsters in the year 2018. Aggretsuko’s Instagram is full of posturing to attract the anonymous cute guys that she hopes follow her. She delicately positions wine glasses to hide the fact that she’s dining alone in the lead-up to the most romantic holiday of the season. Her Instagram suggests a lonely woman self-conscious about her image, because that image is so manufactured that it’s easy to point out the flaws.
Ladies & The Law: The Murder That Resulted in Japan’s Anti-Stalking Act (Savvy Tokyo, Vicki L Beyer)
Shiori Ino was murdered after months of harassment and abuse from her ex, in which police refused to interfere. A journalist bringing the story to light succeeded in agitating for the creation of a law.
Under the Act, two kinds of behavior are prohibited: “pursuit” and “stalking.” Pursuit is any act pressuring another person to go out or in revenge for being rejected, while Stalking is repeated acts that cause the victim to feel endangered.
One hurdle imposed by the Act is that the victim must file an actual criminal complaint in order for the police to act. While this doesn’t sound so difficult, neither is it straightforward. It is a longstanding police practice in Japan (and many other countries) to stay out of domestic or inter-personal disputes, instead urging the parties to resolve the problems themselves or to accept personal responsibility for whatever is happening to them. It is therefore regrettably common for the police to ask victims intimidating questions or making assumed statements such as, “You must have done something to cause this” or “Are you sure you want to file a formal complaint?”
A spoiler-heavy analysis of the two young women in light of the series’ ending.
These types of ending sequences so frequently occupy a nebulous place between meaning something to the emotional narrative but not actually taking place within the scope of the series itself. The post-processing Instagram-ready filters of “youthful beautiful” along with Rikka and Akane’s close relationship — unlike anything in the series to date — seemed to be in this same undefined space, the place of ending sequences like Kiznaiver‘s “Hajimari no Sokudo” or Darling in the Franxx‘s many ending themes.
Now, after the SSSS.Gridman finale, Nakamura’s storyboarding of “youthful beautiful” means so much more. It’s not only about Akane finding friendship, but finding peace with herself.
ANALYSIS: Sexism behind exam rigging against females (The Asahi Shimbun)
Juntendo University has also admitted to rigging the application process against female applicants.
Trying to justify the practice, Juntendo University officials insisted, “Women’s communication skills are higher and there was a need to help male applicants.”
The school’s excuse has sparked criticism that the claim not only lacks evidence but also even the idea behind the justification is typically sexist.
On Dec. 10, Juntendo University President Hajime Arai and Hiroyuki Daida, dean of the medical school, held a news conference at the university to discuss the scandal.
They said they believed the school’s treatment of female applicants was “based on objective data” and simply designed to “balance out and correct the discrepancy” between men and women.
Thanks for telling us your holiday faves! Lots of good stuff in there.
Toradora! It's a tradition.
— Jisu (@SecretIStudio) December 25, 2018
Gundam 0080 War in the Pocket!
Appreciate families of all kinds.
— idango (@wantstobeapanda) December 25, 2018
Tokyo Godfathers. Best Christmas Movie!
— Tofu Nerdpunk (@TofuNerdPunk) December 25, 2018
I'm putting on the Boueibu Christmas Special as we speak :3https://t.co/pe9SVY925y
— Josei the Jaeger (@joseinextdoor) December 25, 2018
[Editor’s Note: This article was edited after publication to remove a thread]