[Links] 21-27 August 2019: Politics in Dark Souls, an Anti-Groper Stamp, and a KyoAni In Memoriam

By: Anime Feminist August 27, 20190 Comments
A tiny orange cat doll sat on a traditional Japanese porch, raindrops are on the camera lens

AniFem Round-Up

[Feature] Virtually Feminist? The pros, cons, and possibilities of virtual idols

Julia Mascetti peers into the world of virtual idols, the drawbacks of digital perfection, and the potential to celebrate humanly imperfect voice actors.

The Demons Are in the Details: Disability representation in Dororo

Mitch Finzell breaks down the good, the bad, and the messy issues around the narrative use of disability in the newest Tezuka adaptation.

[AniFemTalk] What helps make a good idol series?

We aren’t the biggest experts on the genre, so here’s to learning something new!

Beyond AniFem

Victims Speak Out After Canada’s Anime Revolution Con Allows Serial Harasser, Convicted Sex Offender to Attend (Anime News Network, ANN Interest Team)

Both individuals had previously been brought to trial by the victims and convicted, but were still allowed to purchase convention passes and attend the event. Several survivors share their stories.

While concerns regarding Kleiman were growing, attendees also were concerned about another man, Alex McMullen, at the convention. Ngo stated that McMullen attended the event on Saturday but left due to posts regarding his attendance on social media. McMullen was listed on Anime Revolution’s website as a “personal sponsor,” a badge tier that lets attendees access priority badge pick-up and awards them a t-shirt, and mention on the convention’s website. Ngo affirmed that McMullen did not sponsor the event in the traditional sense, he merely purchased the equivalent of a VIP ticket.

McMullen has a prior conviction sexual interference from 2012. “Sexual interference” is described under Canadian Law as “every person who, for a sexual purpose, touches, directly or indirectly, with a part of the body or with an object, any part of the body of a person under the age of 16 years.”

At the time of the offense, McMullen was 21 and the victim was 15. The victim, Olivia (not her real name), told Anime News Network that she first met McMullen at J-Fest convention (since renamed Harumatsuri) in 2010 when she was 13.

Single mothers face prying questions for child allowance (The Asahi Shimbun, Misako Yamauchi and Maiko Ito)

The questionnaire is required in order to receive governmental financial support, and individuals in anything defined as a common-law marriages are not eligible.

The 41-year-old woman started receiving the allowance six years ago after she got divorced, and says she becomes despondent as renewal time approaches each year.

“Do they really have to ask such personal questions?” she said. “It feels like I’m being punished for becoming a single mother.”

The woman lives at her parents’ home while juggling a day job as a systems engineer and working at a restaurant two nights a week to raise her two junior high school-age sons.

The list also includes an entry whereby she agrees to “consult city employees promptly if she becomes pregnant.”

The woman said that until several years ago, staff members themselves asked her whether she was pregnant.

A child-care allowance is provided to help single-parent households realize a stable livelihood, with the amount varying depending on the number of children and household income.

For example, individuals who earn 3.65 million yen ($34,760) or more in annual income are not eligible to receive the allowance.

Rainbow Releases: Spring 2019 (Coherent Cats, Karleen and Malia)

A list of newly released or completed anime and manga available in English with LGBTQ+ representation.

In 2018, we introduced an anime convention panel called Rainbow Releases to highlight LGBTQ-related anime and manga coming to the United States in English. We plan to continue hosting this panel so long as there are LGBTQ titles to discuss and conventions will have us, and thankfully 2019 has plenty. Thank you to everyone who attended at Chibi Chibi Con 2019 and Sakura-Con 2019!

Last year we transcribed our midyear panel as a single blog post, which left out unprecedented works later in the year such as Zombieland Saga. This year we plan to keep a simple list of all releases on a Rainbow Releases: LGBTQ Anime and Manga of 2019 blog page, with in-depth blog posts looking back on each season as we move through the year.

Detainees stage hunger strikes to protest Nigerian man’s death (The Asahi Shimbun, Rei Kishitsu)

Immigrants who overstay their visas can wind up detained in immigration centers for long periods of time without being allowed back into Japan or sent to their home countries, often without explanation.

According to supporters familiar with the case, the man was transferred to the Omura center after first being taken into custody at the Osaka Regional Immigration Bureau about three years and seven months previously.

He began the hunger strike in spring to protest his prolonged incarceration and request provisional release. He was alone in his cell in the days leading up to his death.

Many detainees incarcerated for long periods either have families in Japan or have applied for refugee status.

Even though the detainees face deportation, Japanese immigration authorities are loathe to send detainees back to their home countries if they have no visible means of support. As a result, detainees often endure long stays in an immigration center.

There were 111 detainees at the Omura Immigration Center at the end of July.

Anti-groping stamp sells out; need black light to reveal ‘chikan’ (The Asahi Shimbun, Tomohiro Yamamoto)

The test batch for the easy-to-use stamp quickly sold out.

When applied to the skin of a groper, the stamp leaves a circular mark showing a palm. The stamp can be quickly used in crowded trains and other places because it doesn’t have a lid or cover.

However, the company took into account the possibility of false accusations or nefarious usage concerning the stamp.

The mark is colorless and cannot be seen in natural light. The victim would have to shine a black light, which comes with the device, on the groper’s skin to show others that he can’t keep his hands to himself.

The ink can also be washed off.

The company said it plans to listen to the opinions of users to improve the device.

How Pokemon Sword and Shield Could Tackle Brexit (Fanbyte, Cian Maher)

A theory post on how the new game’s UK-inspired visuals could also influence its themes.

Team Galactic’s Cyrus in Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum is a nihilistic sociopath hellbent on warping space and time in order to rid the world of human emotions. He’s got a lot of Nietzsche in him, particularly when he says things like “Pity and compassion are products of the weak and lacking human heart,” which is something Friedrich would write at 2 in the afternoon before talking about how a day without dancing is a day wasted 15 minutes later. Cyrus has a bit more conviction when it comes to edgy moodiness though, and manages to spend the entire game convincing you he is emotionally defunct when, in fact, having the drive to do something as magnanimous as ending the world itself sounds pretty emotionally-driven to me. 

There’s much more to the vast ideologies interwoven into Pokemon. Generation 6’s Team Flare is composed of elitist big shots planning a mass genocide so they can take the planet’s scarce resources for themselves — even though a world where 10-year-olds drop out of school and set out on an adventure with their animal companion is definitely indicative of post-scarcity. And Team Skull from Generation 7 is a classic iteration of rebellious youth and anarchism (also, they’re pretty great). From 70s punk-inspired Hawaiian delinquents to a lunatic who has quite a lot in common with the man who started WWII — Lysandre literally says “only the chosen ones will obtain a ticket to tomorrow” — Pokemon draws more from real-world history than you might think. And that’s where Sword and Shield come in.

Labor ministry is a hotbed of harassment, survey reveals (The Asahi Shimbun, Tomohiro Hanada)

The labor ministry is in charge of overseeing cases of harassment in other workplaces, but is plagued with problems itself.

Forty-six percent of the respondents said, “I’ve been exposed to power or sexual harassment.” Of these, 54 percent said, “But I did not tell anyone, as I was worried it might negatively affect my job assignment,” or “It is difficult to consult the person in charge of it in my section.”

Thirty-seven percent of the respondents said personnel assignments are “not conducted appropriately,” with 38 percent of them saying, “Executives and staff members who engage in sexual or power harassment continue to be promoted.”

Meanwhile, 65 percent said, “My workload is too heavy.” Asked why, 67 percent answered, “There’s not enough staff.”

The written section of the survey included some unsettling comments, such as, “After joining the ministry, I entered the graveyard of my life,” and “I think about quitting every day.”

The Incredible Artists of Kyoto Animation: Part 1 (Anime News Network, Lynzee Loveridge and Evan Minto)

A memorial to the artists whose lives were lost in the recent arson attack on the studio.

[Sachie] Tsuda suffered from severe asthma as a child and so could not be very active. Her father told the Kobe Shimbun that she liked to draw anime characters at her desk as a kid. She went on to enter an animation technical school after finishing high school.

Tsuda was a long-time employee of KyoAni having worked there for almost 20 years, but she would always go visit her family in Kakogawa for the New Year’s and Obon holidays. Her father is recently widowed so Tsuda brought him a lunch and came to see him in May.

Her dad remembers the first time he saw her name in the ending credits for Detective Conan and Crayon Shin-chan. Finding her name was something he enjoyed doing with his wife. Tsuda worked primarily in finishing animation for final approval, making sure the sequences were clean and coloring frames as needed.

Tsuda’s dad flew to Kyoto and went to the KyoAni studio site immediately after he received news that they weren’t sure of his daughter’s status. He gave his DNA and went to her apartment and met one of her friends there. Talking with her concerned friend, her father learned that his daughter was not only kind to her parents, but to everyone.

Thread: Information on the new NHK drama with a gay protagonist

Video: Reading Dark Souls as a story of class struggle, and the inherent political nature of art

AniFem Community

Some helpful thoughts and title recs! Good work, AniFam.

In my admittedly limited experience with the genre (I've only seen the big ones), I've definitely noticed that the presence of an important male character totally shifts the tone and perspective of a female-driven idol anime. Obviously Love Live exists in a universe almost wholly devoid of men (only the protags even have fathers and we never see their faces), and generally I consider that a net positive. Even though the audience of the series is primarily male, there is a certain level of seperation where the characters are performing for each other more than the audience. Both the original and Sunshine have more in common with a sports anime, where it's about improving, and supporting one another before looking pretty and attracting the eye. They also deal with the similar struggle of failure (Aikatsu does this extremely well too). The knowledge that in a competitive sphere of entertainment, failure is the most likely outcome (Sunshine handles this better imo), and success takes extreme effort, and a lot of luck.

So having a bit of a soft spot for that franchise, I thought I'd give the next big one, Idolmaster, a shot too, and wow what a change. Instantly I'm made very aware that the camera follows not just the eye of an animator, but that of an actual protagonist. Not to overindulge in the term, but while both series are "Male Gaze-y", idolmaster makes no pretense about where it's looking.

Zombie Land Saga generally dodges this pitfall by first of all, having its protag actually be one of the idols, and second by having its main male character be so overdramatic that no guy thirsting for teenagers will relate. I think the energy of an idol anime is its greatest strength. When there are clear goals for the heroes, not their producer.
IDOLiSH7 is by far my favorite idol series. It may be the first one I've seen of the genre, but I haven't found anything that passes it in terms of how much quality was put into it. You can really tell that the series is loved by its staff by how much quality and effort was put into it.

I feel like the most important thing to make an idol series good is to have a good mix of characters and story. Characters that you can love as if you were their fans within the audience. The performance is neat and all, but I wanna know about the performers doing the performance and how they got there. Their personal growth. Basically I like something that's realistic and won't make me question "how does that even work / is that even possible".

I think that third question is really opinion based and that it depends on the person watching it. For me, as stated eariler, something that's unrealistic. Like the cast becoming stars overnight or the characters being so boring that you start questioning "how did they even become famous", etc.

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