In this week’s links: Evangelion, female AniTubers, Gabriel DropOut, and fandom diversity.
[Discourse] “I Am Not a Doll”: Rei Ayanami, Escapism, and Objectified Images of Desire
A discussion on Rei as a literal constructed image of a man’s ideal woman, and her (and fandom’s) struggle against that.
[Throwback] Revolutionary Girl Utena
The first post in an ongoing series rounding up older AniFem-relevant essays and critiques.
[Podcast] Chatty AF 2: Revolutionary Girl Utena Retrospective
Three of the staff’s Utena geeks spent an hour chatting about the cultural and emotional impact of Ikuhara’s magnum opus.
Fiction, Reality, Fandom and Adulthood: a media academic and CSA/incest victim’s account (Medium)
A discussion of how fandom culture and culture at large have normalized abusive relationships between adults and children. Content warning for graphic discussions of rape and child abuse.
“So when someone says “It’s okay to portray abusive relationships in fiction”, what they should be saying is “It’s okay to portray abusive relationships in fiction if you frame them as abusive.” Because not everybody in the audience will have the knowledge to interpret that regardless of framing. Appropriate framing enables the target audience to easily draw the conclusion you want, and if that conclusion is “abuse is bad” we probably don’t have a problem.”
16 Female AniTubers You Should Subscribe To (Yatta-Tachi)
A suggestion list for those who want to hear more women’s voices on anime but aren’t sure where to start, including a wide variety of subject matter from first impressions to cosplay tips.
“What is also rare is the lack of a spotlight for female AniTubers. This baffled me. Why aren’t they trending? Why are they so hard to find? So I took it upon myself to try to locate as many of them as I can, so we can make sure these gals get the recognition they deserve.”
Head Space – “Gabriel DropOut” Virtuoso of Villainy, Satania (Crunchyroll)
An ode to Satania, who embraced her role as a villain while her fellow cast members struggled with their given roles in (the after)life, by our own Peter Fobian.
“In this narrative dynamic, it may be tempting to say that Satania comes out on the short end for working so diligently but finding the same amount of success as people who are actively avoiding their obligations but, in a story focusing on failures, I argue that Satania stands head and shoulders above her peers. A spectacular tragedy that shines brighter than all others. Where Gabriel and Vigne are unable to perform their duties because they can’t reconcile themselves with their roles in the world, Satania fails entirely on her own terms and embraces what she is. Satania is an unparalleled villain in her heart.”
Japan’s wild, creative Harajuku street style is dead. Long live Uniqlo (Quartz)
A post-mortem, of sorts, on how corporate influence irrevocably changed Harajuku’s fashion culture.
“But Harajuku has changed. That frenetic signature image has been co-opted and commercialized by corporations, celebrities, and attention-seekers, and ultimately replaced by one more conservative and less unique among Tokyo’s style-conscious kids. These days, they’re more likely to wear mass-market clothing from Uniqlo and other international clothing chains.
Aoki says there are no longer enough fashionable people who fit the look to put out a magazine every month, and so he’s shuttering FRUiTS, marking the end of an era. Depending how you define it, that era may have actually ended some time ago.”
Japan Moves to Curb LGBT Bullying (Human Rights Watch)
News on a draft of an upcoming bill that will hopefully protect LGBTQ+ students in Japanese schools.
‘“In order to prevent bullying toward students based on their gender identity…or sexual orientation/gender identity, schools should promote proper understanding of teachers on…sexual orientation/gender identity as well as make sure to inform on the school’s necessary measures regarding this matter,” the current draft reads.”
Who are anime fans, really? Our ties to the alt-right (Otaku Journalist)
Our own Lauren Orsini responds to Buzzfeed’s article “Here’s Why There’s Anime Fan Art Of President Trump All Over Your Facebook” in which she was quoted, with a more nuanced look at how anime fandom and white nationalist politics came to (in places) intertwine.
“In other words, watching anime has long required a higher computer literacy than most Internet use requires. And its pirate legacy means the fandom has somewhat seedy origins, too. So I think anime fans are more comfortable than most people about hanging out at forums others might consider an online underbelly. The kind of places that alt right recruiters might go to spread their messages on the down low.”
On Not Coming Out at my Japanese Workplace (Takurei no Room)
A personal story about teaching in a Japanese school – despite it being a private English school with a diverse staff, social pressure was still high.
“Another day, I overheard my boss and some other Japanese teachers talking about scheduling. With big group lessons for kids they like to have a mix of men and women, and the numbers were uneven. Then I overheard my boss say something to the effect of “well (gay coworker) is basically like a women anyway, it’s fine”.”
Double Mints Boys-Love Manga by Dōkyūsei’s Nakamura Gets Live-Action Film in 2017 (Anime News Network)
After the heartfelt, quiet (consensual! look how consensual, BL genre!) love story in Nakamura’s last manga, we’re excited to see where this darker thriller is going.
“The manga’s story begins when Mitsuo Ichikawa hears the domineering voice of someone on the phone saying, “I killed a woman.” The man was his classmate in high school who had the same name as him. The voice brings back old, forgotten memories of the man, which revive old passions. Both Mitsuos reunite as accomplices, and their relationship, which had always been one between master and servant, begins to change into something new.”
Five Gundam Series, Including Gundam Wing, Hit Hulu On 2/20/2017 (Anime Herald)
Exciting news after the long drought of Gundam availability, for anyone (in the US, anyway – sorry, international readers!) who’s looking to try out or revisit an older Gundam series.
BONUS: Super Gals! (Crunchyroll)
It’s been almost 20 years since the manga for this shoujo classic debuted, and after a temporary release under the now defunct ADV films, the whole series is on Crunchyroll.
We asked you which black creators, art, and resources in our fandom you liked and would recommend. At the time of writing, this question has been retweeted and liked, but not answered by a single person. This says a lot about our community, both as anime fans and as AniFem readers, none of it good.
If you don’t follow a single black anime fan or creator, here are some you can start with: @Arekusandoria, @DevJackRan, @LeSeanThomas, @OhHeyDJ, @princessology, @sakaimii, @Unmeischoice, @ValerieComplex. Look at who they follow/who follows them and expand your network. Go to websites like Black Girl Nerds or use search engines to find black writers and creators producing work you appreciate then share the results. Look through the #28DaysofBlackCosplay hashtag and promote your favourites.
Diversity in a community doesn’t just happen. It is cultivated, by members of that community making an effort to seek out and signal-boost the work of marginalized people. Celebrating the contributions of black members of our fandom doesn’t end with Black History Month, and we will continue to actively recruit black writers to pitch to us in the hopes that we can diversify and enrich our community.
Thanks to our generous patrons we are now able to pay all writers! Next we need to be able to pay members of the team for their work behind the scenes, especially their time spent editing the work of paid contributors. If you appreciate our work, believe in paying people fairly and can spare just $1 a month please become a patron today!