This week: pastors failing to see the irony in asking to have books removed from a banned books display, time loops as part of coming-of-age stories, and an interview with the dev and actors of Mystic Messenger.
Ariel ‘Solowi’ Nakandakare gives a career overview of the openly queer mangaka who has yet to be published in English (though Yurikuma Arashi has finally been licensed).
Jessica Engelbrecht discusses how the fluffy, domestic Fate AU stumbles by including the abusive Shinji and implicitly putting the responsibility on his victimized sister to make amends.
Caitlin, Peter, and special guest Natasha look back and try to make sense of one of anime’s most colossal recent failures.
It’s that time again—what anime stuck with you?
Both cute and bizarre (vore dragons!) with the usual caveats of an Okada anime. Remains to be seen if the director is a strong enough storyteller to make good use of her usual quirks.
Why Japanese Men Still Don’t Get It: Structural Roots of Sexual Harassment (Nippon, Muta Kazue)
An examination of the deeper societal assumptions and social pressures that remain unaddressed despite more widespread knowledge of the term “sexual harassment.”
The problem is that a disregard for the dignity and value of women is built into the very fabric and systems of our society. Japanese corporations continue to demand an open-ended time commitment from their core (management track) employees (on the assumption that someone else will take care of the home and children) while treating everyone else as temporary help. The government talks about encouraging women’s full-fledged participation in the labor force, but the percentage of female employees classified as temporary or part-time, and thus excluded from the core of the workforce, continues to rise. Meanwhile, pregnant women are routinely pushed to resign or harassed into quitting. While our leaders pledge to marshal their policy resources to tackle Japan’s low birthrate, Japanese women are being penalized for having children, and growing numbers are sinking into poverty.
In this way, the underlying systems of Japanese society continue to deny women their right to work and live. The incidents that have grabbed headlines in recent months may strike some of us as bizarre anachronisms, but until Japan’s discriminatory systems are reformed, such sexual harassment will surely continue.
Exclusive Interview With unnamed, An Online Comics Collective For SEA Creators (The Magic Rain, Yue Lynn)
The group is designed to help Southeast Asian artists reach out to a wider audience.
MEMAI: Personally, I think it’s a great way to actually talk about the unique experiences Southeast Asian creators face. There aren’t a lot of local avenues (in Malaysia, anyway) for creators to get their work out there through traditional means, but it’s a pretty daunting task to try reaching out to international publishers too, because the competition pool just got a whole lot bigger. So being able to give them a place to ask their questions and field for advice is a great start to our overall mission.
MAX: I think there’s a growing need for avenues where creators in the region can turn to for reliable advice and support, whether it’s within their home countries or a regional effort. Granted with the internet there’s a wealth of information and opportunities which are opened up to us, but it’s never framed from the South-East Asian perspective and the unique challenges we face. I think it’s safe to say that everyone in unnamed is just trying their best to help create this organic social network before aiming for something greater!
REI: There is definitely an interest in learning about the ins and outs of producing a comic, that go beyond writing/drawing. I feel like it can be very difficult – especially for a newbie in Southeast Asia – to find relevant information, since most advice is American-centric and tailored to the specific context of the Western publishing industry, and so the panels we hope to organise in the future will be that guiding light.
Maine Pastors Attempt to Remove My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness Manga from Library Display (Anime News Network, Lynzee Loveridge)
The irony of doing this in response to a Banned Books Week display was apparently completely lost on them.
Clergy members Dan Pears of Rumford Baptist Church, Justin Thacker of Praise Assembly of God, and Nathan March of the Parish of the Holy Saint sent a joint letter to the Rumford Public Library on September 6. The letter states that its writers feel the display is not “appropriate for a public library serving the families and people of the River Vale area” and mentions the nudity on the cover of the My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness manga as “risque and immodest” and that books in the display promote homosexuality. The letter goes on to say that “children should not be subjected to early sexualization” and suggests the display is abusive to children, promotes “far left political views that sees homosexuality as acceptable,” and is insensitive to the views of traditional Christians and Muslims.
The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) and Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) issued statements in support of the Rumford library’s display on Monday. NCAC wrote in its press release, “NCAC and CBLDF oppose efforts to limit a whole community’s access to books based on the personal viewpoints or religious beliefs of some groups or individuals in that community. As public institutions, libraries are obligated not to discriminate on the basis of viewpoint or sexual orientation.”
HOW PEACH GIRL CHANGED MY LIFE (Quirktastic, Destiny Bakiriddin)
An article on how the protagonist’s experience resonates with struggles against colorism.
I remember it like it was yesterday, binge watching from the middle of the day to the middle of the night. I never thought I would find an anime with a girl who looked like me. That also wasn’t a bad stereotypical caricature. Momo wasn’t black–in fact, her skin was so tan because she was on the swim team. (Her hair was orange from the chlorine in the pool.) But she dealt with colorism along with self hate all throughout the show. To show the severity of her body issues, she bathed herself in sunscreen, and quit the team all because the boy she liked didn’t like girls with dark skin.
I felt shocked as I rewatched the series as an adult, and realized why 14 year old me loved this show so much. I was Momo. Constantly wanting to change myself whether it was because I wanted someone to like me or I was tired of constantly being judged for being who I am. I didn’t fit in the mold of the “typical” black girl and was ridiculed. Along with toxic adolescent friendships that was fueled by “good” intentions Momo and I were walking down the same path. To me, she was right to feel the way she felt.
America, England, Canada, Ireland, and New Zealand all argued that this move would make Japanese businesses more competitive worldwide.
The viewpoint said the lack of legalized equal marriage disadvantages companies in Japan as they are forced to take special measures to attract LGBT talent and face obstacles in offering benefits to LGBT couples such as housing and spousal health insurance.
“Opening marriage to LGBT couples would help to level the international playing field for companies in Japan,” the viewpoint said.
The viewpoint also said the legal recognition of marriage equality will provide more diversity and a productive workplace environment, while allowing LGBT employees to feel more comfortable and contribute their “full creative energy.”
Did You Get Mysterious Messages? The Mystic Messenger Cast Talk About How They Got Started in Voice Acting and More! (Crunchyroll, Nicole Mejias)
An interview with the actors and developer of the popular otome game.
Has the current anti-feminist movement in gaming in South Korea affected Cheritz at all?
Sujin Ri: Currently in Korea, the Me Too movement has been very active, and also, in a sense, it feels like the anti-feminist sentiment has been lessened for a long while or maybe possibly forever, so it feels like we’ve been more supported by people rather than being rejected or resented.
Do you think there is a major difference between a game for women developed by a female producer and a game for women developed by a male producer?
Sujin Ri: I definitely feel there’s a difference in the games. If a game is developed by a male producer, I feel like there’s an emphasis on the importance of the results of the game, but as a female producer, I think that it’s important to talk about the “whys” and getting the answers of it. And as a result, I feel that the process of getting to the result is more important than just the result itself. A lot of the games developed by male producers, they put emphasis on how quick you can beat the game or how competitive you can be. It feels like female producers tend to care more about the relationships and just having a more comfortable experience while playing the game.
Banana Fish Part 2 (with Marion Bea) (Shojo and Tell)
Discusses the second half of the series through the ending and the series as a whole.
It’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for: Banana Fish fan Marion goes on an epic rant about The Ending of the series. Seriously! What?! WHY?! Who thought this was okay!? Marion and Shojo & Tell host Ashley also discuss the role of women in Yoshida’s series, touch on the importance of found families, walk through all the ships we’re given in the end (obviously, OTP is Ash and Eiji), and ponder why Blanca has such broad shoulders. Plus: Did Ashley cry while reading the short story “Garden of Light” on the bus? You’ll just have to listen to find out.
Shincho 45 magazine hammered for apparent circulation-driven rightward shift (The Mainichi, Kasane Nakamura and Haruka Udagawa)
The magazine recently published a defense of Mio Sugita; its heavy right-wing slant seems to be in pursuit of more sales.
Hiruneko Books, a bookstore in Tokyo’s downtown Taito Ward, tweeted about the shift, “They (Shinchosha) may get better circulation and more advertisements. They may smirk and say, ‘Now we are everywhere.’ We must stop the chain reaction.” The bookstore also announced that it will stop accepting new Shinchosha publications.
An editor with more than 10 years’ experience at a major publisher says what is transpiring at Shinchosha is emblematic of a rightward shift in the on-paper publishing industry as a whole.
The editor sees Shincho 45’s moves as a reaction to the growing influence online of people promoting political correctness, such as those backing the #MeToo movement to counter sexual harassment and violence. She was instructed a few years ago to put together a book featuring criticism of South Korea and China — a subject popular among right-leaning readers. “I resisted but I was worried that they may move me out of my editing job,” she said.
Once More, With Feeling: Teens and Time Loops in Revue Starlight (The Afictionado, Alex Henderson)
An analysis of how time loops inform fears about growing up in the series (contains heavy spoilers).
Never trust anyone who says high school is “the best years of your life”.
That said, of course, it can feel that way at the time, especially in comparison to the looming threat of adulthood and all the scary responsibilities and realities it contains. While I knew even back then that year ten was not the peak of my existence, the passage of time and its implications of change struck me with deep apprehension. After a rocky beginning to my teen years, I’d finally settled in with a group of good friends, and the thought that we might have to separate due to something as mundane as graduating was terrifying and wrought with injustice. Things were good. I didn’t want to lose anyone, didn’t want anything to change, wanted to hang onto that little slice of fun carefree (ish) existence.
Would I have trapped us all in a time loop to preserve the ties of our friendship group and avoid the pressures of adulthood? A magical cryptic theatre giraffe never asked me, so I suppose we’ll never know. But a little part of me would, you know, see where you were coming from if you decided to do that.
Where is Japan Going? (The Japan Times, Hiromi Murakami)
An editorial on the entrenched resistance to change in Japanese culture that holds women and minorities back.
Our schools and media must also bear a great deal of blame. The Japanese education system is successful in producing an obedient workforce. A nail (child) sticking up will be pounded down. The schools teach children to think “inside the box” when what is needed is for them to begin to think “outside the box.” Getting an advanced degree is discouraged as companies prefer hiring college graduates, not Ph.D. holders. University faculties are not diversified and professors demand students’ submission over creativity in research.
All of our media disseminate virtually word for word the same stories, and continue to emphasize outdated social norms via dramas and news, such as women are supposed to raise kids and quit their job when they have children. Some commentators recently even justified the scandalous action of medical schools to unfairly prioritize male over female students.
One wonders why Japanese women are continually being told that they have to emphasize their “work-life” balance. Spending their life from birth in this environment, women tend not to question any awkward issues and become completely biased (or brainwashed) minor citizens in this society. It may be worse than North Korea, where the brainwashing is intentional. Japanese women often recognize this fact when they happen to live outside Japan and see how things are different elsewhere.
Let’s bid a farewell to the summer season by highlighting the best offerings.
Banana Fish is my problematic fave. But Phantom in the Twilight was a surprise gem!!
— Nikki ✨ (@jnikkir) September 24, 2018
Probably Revue Starlight or Planet With. Though Asobi Asobase was great when not bad. And the last three episodes of Harukana Receive were amazing.
— Master of Butts (@thebuttmaster) September 25, 2018