This week: the fight for legal protection of trans individuals, Azur Lane Korea’s removal of an artist’s work after accusations that she supported feminist causes, and a discussion of Inside Mari.
Grant looks back on the ’90s OVA that, underneath the busty cat girls, told the story of a woman redefining an archaic, counterproductive male police force.
Alex Henderson compares the mutual respect and deepening closeness of Camp to the static gimmickry and predatory lesbian failings of Noodles.
Part 3 of the watchalong discusses the only male head writer on one of Yamamoto’s shows (to date), issues with representation in casting, and how the series’ men perceive women.
Since our previews don’t currently cover shorts, we want people to be able to shout out their faves.
Interview: Legendary Anime Screenwriter Mari Okada (Anime News Network, Kim Morrissy)
Okada discusses her autobiography, her process, and the themes of her work.
You first “came out” about your truant past in a screenplay you wrote for Tetsuro Amino. At that time, he told you to dig deeper into the mother’s character. Was that something you thought about when writing Maquia?
I didn’t set out to write Maquia about the mother’s character. As a director, I focused more on the indelible bonds and relationships between people. For example: a married couple can cease their union, but a child can’t erase their relationship with their parent even if they want to. That’s why the characters in the film, like Maquia, can’t let go of their family. It’s because she doesn’t want to part ways with Erial that she wants to be a mother, to be family. Looking at it from another perspective, she doesn’t specifically need to be a mother, which is why I didn’t particularly think of my own mother as I was writing Maquia.
So the theme is “bonds” rather than motherhood?
Right. It’s about people influencing each other. There’s a cloth called “hibioru” in the film, which people weave their feelings into. But now that you mention it, even though I wasn’t consciously thinking about parent and child relationships at the outset, I suppose it was something that naturally colored the film as I was writing it. Rather than my own mother, I thought about the mothers around me: my friends and people I’d met in the past. My perspective of my mother as a child also came into it as well.
This is a statement regarding Azur Lane Korea’s take down of my illustration (Evernote, Nardack)
Artist Nardack discusses her art being removed, and the company’s insistence that her work would be reinstated if she tweeted that she did not support the “anti-social cause” of feminism.
I am truly horrified by this incident, and I find myself asking the question: “Do we truly live in 21st century?”
I strongly disagree with Azur Lane Korea’s appalling response, and I require a formal apology for their handling of the situation, which falsely portrayed me as a member of an anti-social organization.
Going beyond just the false accusations, I ask you this:
Is the stance taken by a part of the Korean internet, “feminism is anti-social,” a legal and social agreement made by members of our own community?
If not, then it’s only company’s stance, and as a person who has the right to freedom of expression, I have right to disagree with the company’s stance.
I do not participate in, nor agree with any anti-social ideology, and I strongly oppose coercive and illogical verification of belief as well.
An Autobiography in Anime (Electric Literature, Elaine Castillo)
A recollection of Sailor Moon, Evangelion, and Fushigi Yugi, and how they shaped the author’s childhood.
Director and creator Hideaki Anno described Misato as a loser girl-woman, an adult Tsukino Usagi — which is to say, an adult version of the main protagonist of Sailor Moon. Katsuragi Misato is what happens when the magical girl, the beautiful soldier and messiah (all epithets by which Sailor Moon was often described throughout her eponymous show) becomes an adult. Has to navigate problems that aren’t about saving the world, but surviving in it: day to day, meal to meal, missed connection to made connection. In fact, in the Japanese versions of Evangelion and Sailor Moon, Katsuragi Misato and Sailor Moon are played by the same voice actress, Mitsuishi Kotono. But PBS showed the English dub, so we couldn’t have known.
It was weird, admittedly, that Sailor Moon was blonde. At the time, we didn’t know anything about the postwar aesthetics of anime in Japan, or about the country’s own reckonings with war, whiteness and America. Consciously or not, we had been seeking out universes that might be populated by people like us, and Japanese anime seemed as good a place to land as any, so we took the yellow and orange-haired protagonists the way a realist takes on life, bad with the good. Though over the years we learned, as young Filipinx morenos in the Bay, that people like us was both far more and far less mutable than we imagined: we’d all been told that Filipinos weren’t “real” Asians, always from the mouths of the more middle-class, light-skinned East Asian kids in school, who as I remember were some of the first people I ever heard refer to Filipinos by the n-word
TCC Book Club – Inside Mari (Youtube, Trans Culture Club)
A roundtable discussion of the often intense manga about themes closely twined with trans identity.
We’re here, we’re queer, and we’re taking over this whole school! Somebody gave a bunch of trans millennials microphones so of course they started a podcast. We’re here every week talking bout everything until the student council finally find a way to shut us down.
Forced surgery, sterilization: Japan’s trans community faces uphill battle (NBC News, Daniel Hurst)
Japan’s laws are still discriminatory to trans people in particular, who are required to have sterilization surgery as part of a legal gender change. Advocates do believe they’re making progress compared to a decade ago.
“The forced sterilization clause is equivalent, in my view, to torture,” Kanae Doi, the Japan director of Human Rights Watch, told NBC News.
“Because of this forced sterilization clause, there are a lot of people who cannot change their legal gender into their own identity,” Doi said. “But also there are some people who sterilized themselves against their will. There is a lot of pressure.”
People who wish to apply for a legal gender change through Japan’s family court must also be at least 20 years old, unmarried and without any children who are minors.
“You have to be single, which means that if you are married you have to divorce,” Doi said. “This is also a violation of privacy and identity and all sorts of things in which the government should not intervene. This law is obviously outdated and it should be revised as soon as possible.”
OUTSIDER STORIES IN CONTEMPORARY JAPANESE FICTION (Global Literature in Libraries Initiative, Kathryn Hemmann)
Short blurbs about five translated works dealing with marginalized identities in Japan.
Editor’s note: Even in 2018, many conversations about Japan begin by mentioning the nation’s homogeneity before going on to discuss a group or individual who appears to be an exception. Japan is filled with such “exceptions,” however, and even the tiny percentage of Japanese fiction published in English translation reveals a wide range of identities. The stories of people occupying marginalized positions can serve as doors opening onto a rich and varied landscape of human experience, and Japanese writers and artists are exploring new territory in their narrative representations of what it means to be an outsider even in a new global age of rapidly shifting cultural boundaries. Prolific blogger and George Mason Professor Kathryn Hemmann describes five such works.
Manga Answerman – Does Buying English-Language Manga Releases Support the Mangaka? (Anime News Network, Deb Aoki)
Accomplished industry writer Deb Aoki takes up a column answering manga-related questions.
How much of that $12.99 from the sales of Tokyo Ghoul Volume 1 that was sold in a N. American bookstore or comics hop actually shows up in Sui Ishida‘s monthly (I think?) royalty checks? Well, I don’t know exactly how much, but it’s safe to say, it’s a lot less that $6.50. But it’s a lot MORE than $0.00 that Ishida would get from people reading Tokyo Ghoul from a scanlation site.
So while we may never really know exactly down to the last yen how much money Japanese manga creators make from overseas sales of their manga (or at least I haven’t really dug deep enough or knocked on enough doors to get reliable, apples-to-apples numbers to compare), AND we can safely conclude that their overseas sales will generate much less than what they make from sales in Japan, it is real money that really goes to real manga creators. It’s real money that also goes to real people like translators, editors, production artists, bookstore and comic shop employees in Japan, N. America and beyond.
It’s this real money that pays for publishing super-successful, top-selling manga, AND it also supports a manga publishing economy that allows publishers in Japan and worldwide to take chances on publishing new or lesser known comics creators, or picking up riskier, maybe more niche genre titles that may or may not sell thousands of volumes. It’s this cycle of constant creation that’s fueled by manga sales that allows the Japanese publishing industry to pump out new manga series at a mind-boggling rate.
The Finance Minister said “there’s no such thing as a sexual harassment charge,” in response to reports that one of his top employees harassed female journalists.
The sexual harassment allegations have become yet another headache for the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which was already shaken by multiple scandals that have led to declining public support.
Aso, a close ally of Abe, has often made controversial comments.
In August, Aso came under fire for comments that seemed to defend Adolf Hitler’s motives for the genocide of Jews by Nazi Germany.
“Hitler, who killed millions of people, was no good even if his motives were right,” he said. Aso later said he had meant to give an example of a bad politician but also retracted the remark.
An interview with former adult film actor Emiri Okazaki about her work and how it affected her personal life.
Japan’s largest LGBT parade held in Tokyo (NHK World)
A short video report about this year’s Tokyo Pride parade.
The organizer says a record 37 organizations, including companies and embassies, supported the 7th annual event.
A 26-year-old bisexual woman who joined the parade says people waved to them and gave everyone a warm welcome.
She says thoughtful consideration for others will help to create a better society.
Let us know where those great shorts are, AniFam!
Encouragement of Climb! pic.twitter.com/gQCA2SE0wk
— Marina 🗻🍜 (@animebnb) May 8, 2018
— marion (@eccentricmarion) May 8, 2018