[Links] 21-27 February: Banana Fish, Internment Camp History, and Celebrating Black Cosplayers

By: Anime Feminist February 27, 20180 Comments
Ryo from Sanrio Boys holding a book in front of his face and looking embarrassed

This week: Banana Fish, the final days of this year’s #28DaysofBlackCosplay, and first-hand accounts from Japanese-American internment camps.

AniFem Round-Up

[Discourse] Shonen JUMP and the cycle of letting it slide

An examination of the lack of strong legal or professional consequences for child sex criminals in the manga industry.

[Feature] Gender Inequity in My Hero Academia

Marion Bea discusses how the women of MHA are placed in a lesser position than their male counterparts, and how Mineta is the worst everything.

[Podcast] Chatty AF 43: Kill la Kill Watchalong – Episodes 1-6

Amelia, Vrai, and special guest Miranda Sanchez dig into AniFem’s most-requested watchalong.

[AniFemTalk] What’s your favorite josei series?

Part two of our appreciation posts for works marketed toward women.


Beyond AniFem

Abusive Relationships in Shoujo Manga by the Numbers: Week 17 (Heroine Problem, Caitlin Moore)

This is getting to the end of several long running series and preparing to take on new ones, and discusses the lack of “prestige” titles aimed at women.

It irks me that men’s tastes define what makes stories “sophisticated”. What makes the excessive violence of Tokyo Ghoul inherently superior to the thoughtful geopolitics of Yona of the Dawn? How is the exuberant pulp of Black Lagoon more deserving of that designation than the wartime romance of Basara? How is the tragedy porn of Bokurano an improvement over Revolutionary Girl Utena?

It’s more than just marketing. The books published under the Signature line are noticeably nicer than their other titles: heavier, whiter paper stock, better print quality, and sturdier covers. These are the titles they hope to sell to Collectors, to market outside just the usual manga community. They have prestige. And yet again, media aimed at girls and women gets shunted to its own little label where the men can ignore it. I don’t mean to trash on Shojo Beat. The people behind it, mostly women from what I can tell, work hard to get their titles out there and I have nothing but respect for them.


A close examination of Dia’s character and their frustration at feeling good but not good enough and unable to change.

To Dia, Bort is perfection. Dia’s insecurities are exacerbated by the fact that Bort by nature is more physically perfect, despite the fact that both gems are diamonds and a 10 on the Mohs hardness scale. Roles and physical makeup of the gems are absolute (save Phos later in the series). Where Dia is treasured for being beautiful, Bort is who the gems call above all others in a fight.

This places Dia and Phos in similar positions, even if neither realizes it because they’re too busy envying the other. Arguably, Phos is just as treasured as Dia. As the youngest of the gems, Phos receives a lot of teasing and harsh words (most of which are deserved given Phos’ laziness) but no one hesitates to search for Phos or protect them in the face of danger. Phos begins the series wanting to fight, because they feel it’s the objectively “best” job. Dia begins the series wanting to change because of their inferiority complex.

Only one of them actually changes.

Now with a legal father, Saitama man, 36, ready to start own life (The Asahi Shimbun, Kana Yamada)

A man born from an extramarital relationship, whose father refused to acknowledge him on a family register, was unable to participate in even the most basic societal necessities like attending public school.

Normally in such court cases, a DNA analysis serves as solid evidence of paternity. But the children born in the father’s legitimate family refused to cooperate.

During the judicial process, the man took the stand to explain his upbringing, hoping that his testimony would be enough to warrant recognition of paternity. Records of phone calls with his father were also submitted.

The man’s father worked as an aide to a Diet member and initially sent a regular allowance to the son. But those payments eventually stopped.

The man’s family, including his sister, often moved, but they failed to report the transfer with each relocation. Eventually, the son dropped out of the administrative network and became a child with no known legal address.

His mother asked the father for help with the registration procedures by recognizing paternity. But the father refused.


A discussion and personal essay about Twin Peaks and After the Rain as safe outlets for younger viewers to work through their crushes on older men.

The nature of the self-realization that Akira needs vs. Audrey Horne is far less tied to romantic relationships. But as of the most recent episode, her infatuation with Kondou is unwittingly laying the groundwork for her own growth. After visiting the library to familiarize herself with Kondou’s favorite books (early 20th century Japanese literature – this did not help my own older man feels), a heartfelt talk with him about reading leads her to a photography collection of runners. My hope for this odd pairing is that Akira finds the strength to seek out a new place for track – or another passion – in her life, and Kondou’s feelings of irrelevance are softened at seeing the difference his compassion makes in someone’s life.

Akira and Kondou’s story isn’t finished, so there’s always the chance that I’m putting my faith in it undeservedly. All I can say is that the show has already been an encouraging presence in my life. I’m not interested in policing the feelings of young people, even when somewhat misplaced. There’s enough literature and messaging telling girls they’re wrong, or worse, at fault. I think there’s a place for stories like KoiAme and Audrey’s arc in Twin Peaksthat let young girls see their own experiences normalized while still setting examples of appropriate boundaries. It’s hard not to wonder what kind of influence this media might have had on me at a crucial moment – what they might have shown me, what red flags they might have raised. I can only hope that the lessons that came too late for me, from the rare gems in the age gap canon, are reaching someone else when they need it most.

ONLY A PHASE: DOOMED QUEERNESS IN ANIME (Little Anime Blog, Elisabeth O’Neill)

A brief overview of anime’s tendency to treat queer relationships as tragic, impossible, or inevitably shortlived.

Young, queer love is shown deluded in this way, convinced that it can fix the damaged world around it. Such is the case in From the New World, in which same-sex love is pure yet unstable succour in a world of monsters, and in No. 6, set in a future post-war dystopia concealed behind the walls of the Utopian cities. Shion lives a charmed life in the city No. 6, until he harbours a fugitive from outside the walls and falls into disgrace. When the fugitive, Nezumi, returns to liberate Shion from the city’s illusion, they become one another’s only comfort in a hopeless world. Their relationship itself becomes what exposes them to their world’s true sickness, especially in sheltered Shion’s case. As hard as they might try to make some difference, rescue their fellow outcasts into the parasitic wastes, death becomes their reality. Through their choices, they are bound to one another in that reality, regardless of their hopes or feelings.

44% of freelancers go back to work within month after childbirth, Japan survey shows (The Japan Times)

Freelancers lack even the most basic protections afforded to company workers and many return to work a week to two months after delivering.

Companies are legally barred from having women return to work in the eight weeks after childbirth, but there are no such rules for freelancers.

Female corporate employees are eligible for child care benefits and exempted from paying social insurance premiums while on maternity leave. As no such benefits are available for freelance workers, many see the need to go back to work shortly after giving birth, according to the group which conducted the survey.

The group plans to urge the government to make female freelancers on maternity leave eligible for the allowances and free from insurance burdens.

Exploring Banana Fish’s Violent, Bizarre World (Otaku She Wrote, Marion Bea)

A basic overview of the plot and the content warnings audiences might need for the upcoming Banana Fish anime (or if they’re lucky enough to find the manga).

Banana Fish it’s queer, undeniably problematic and certainly a product of its time. It’s dark, gritty and tragic: it features gangs, drugs, murder, several instances of rape, child abuse, mind manipulation, political corruption, and so on… And it doesn’t always handle them in the best way. There’s much to question about Yoshida’s depiction of the messy, violent 80s New York, most suited to be considered a fantasy world, and it’s absolutely not safe from racist stereotypes. The more I read, the more bizarre and ridiculous the pacing and the stakes got, and the series will often ask for your suspension of belief… but I was never not entertained. It can get repetitive both with relatively harmless and with its worst elements, and it’s probably longer than it should be. But at its heart, is so full of raw, visceral emotions, and incredible characters. Which means that even if some scenes were quite over the top, it was never not fucking me up (in good and bad ways).

#28DaysofBlackCosplay Week 4: Black Cosplayers Been Out Here, Fam (Black Nerd Problems)

A compilation post of some great Black cosplayers (and don’t forget to check out the previous weeks as well!).

Here we are. The last week of February. #28DaysofBlackCosplay (created by Princess Mentality Cosplay) is almost at the end. It’s been a marvelous month, full of impressive builds, beautiful needlework, and dizzying wigs. I have my final week of some of my favorite Black cosplayers, so please enjoy. Remember to check out the hashtag on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can also share your favorite Black cosplayers EVERY SINGLE DAY OF THE YEAR. Celebrate and uplift all these amazing creatives!!!!!


The limited-run series will cover the experiences of Japanese-American citizens during World War II using historical first-person accounts.

Order 9066 will span eight episodes through July, and will culminate in three, hour-long national radio specials. Sab Shimono and Pat Suzuki — veteran actors and stage performers who were both incarcerated at Tule Lake and the Amache camp in Colorado — will narrate the episodes.
The series will cover the racist atmosphere of the time, the camps’ makeshift living quarters and the extraordinary ways incarcerated people adapted; the fierce patriotism many Japanese Americans continued to feel, the 33,000 who served in uniform in the U.S. military, and the ways incarcerees were divided against each other as they were forced to answer questions of loyalty. It will also cover the movement for redress that eventually led to a formal apology from the U.S. government, and much more.
By hearing audio and first-person narratives from the Smithsonian archives, listeners will experience a nuanced account of this dark chapter in our country’s past… and maybe even consider what your own actions might have been at the time.

Rurouni Kenshin Creator Fined For Child Pornography Possession (Kotaku, Brian Ashcraft)

An update on Watsuki’s arrest. He was fined only 200,000 yen and will face no prison time.

Last fall, Rurouni Kenshin creator Nobuhiro Watsuki was charged with possession of child pornography. Today, Nikkan Sports reports he was fined 200,000 yen ($1,870) for violating the country’s child pornography law.

Debuting in 1994, Rurouni Kenshin has sold over 70 million copies and went on to spawn a hit anime and several live-action films.

Kotaku previously reported that investigators discovered several DVDs that showed nude under-15-year-old girls at Watsuki’s Tokyo office. Similar DVDs were also reportedly found at his house. Watsuki was quoted as telling authorities, “I liked girls from the upper grades of elementary school to around the second year of junior high school.”


AniFem Community

The parameters of josei are broad and deep, and these series definitely deserve more love. Find something new today!

There's a short yuri called Pieta that's just one of my favorites of all time. It's a story of two girls connecting as they struggle with mental illness and deals with suicide and abuse- it just touched me on a deep and visceral level. Very smartly written. Double House (a yuri with a trans woman iirc) by the same author is also good, so I guess Nanae Haruno is a favorite. On the anime front, I'm really fond of Michiko e Hatchin (an awesome lady and awesome little girl on the run from the cops in South America!), Chihayafuru (the irrepressible Chihaya pursues Karuta) and Kuragehime (nerd girls befriend a crossdressing boy, jellyfish ensues).


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