Yuri!!! On Ice, hafu support networks, and updates about John Leigh.
Kageyama, a former volunteer at Aokigahara who lives with their own mental illness, spoke with us about Japan’s attitudes toward mental illness and how that’s reflected in anime.
Caitlin, Vrai, and Dee discuss the intersections of power dynamics, legal rights, and real-world abuses when contending with fictional age-gap romances.
A bonus addition to the FY watchalong that includes some good character feels and some really, really rage-making subplots.
We want to be a resource for readers of all sorts, including parents who want to find quality content to show their kids.
Hi, We’re The Staff of Yuri!!! On ICE [Yamamoto, Kubo, Hiramatsu] (Industry Interview) (Yatta-tachi, Katy Castillo)
An interview with the director, writer, and character designer of Yuri on Ice.
Yamamoto: You could say that Kubo-san, Hiramatsu-san and every staff member on Yuri!!! on ICE are people that I respect. It’s very rare to end a production and say, “Let’s work together again!” During production, we are putting in our best and have nothing left over at the end. I’m very happy that I can still talk to my colleagues and say, “I’d love to work with you again!”
Kubo: For me, I think I can recall from grade school days some of my anime inspirations. Since I’m not much of an anime follower, a lot of my influences came from my brother. I would bring up names such as Hayao Miyazaki, Katsuhiro Ôtomo and Toyoo Ashida. I’m pretty certain there’s no need to explain Miyazaki or Ôtomo, but Toyoo Ashida directed a show called Madō King Granzort. In it, there’s a character named Rabi, and I really loved his character. I think the impression I had of him lingered on, and Rabi is very close to Yurio in terms of character. Come to think of it, Rabi was also a skater. A roller skater.
Hiramatsu: I actually was an animator on Granzort when I was younger.
*everyone gasps, especially Kubo*
Kubo: Other characters also have influence from Rabi, like Minami’s facial features. However, just mentioning this sort of influence behind Yurio might give the wrong impression to overseas viewers and readers that I tend to favor Yurio, but that’s not the case. Yuri Katsuki is the one character that was created without any role model or influence. That’s the very revolutionary part for me, and the character that I’m most fond of. I hope that gets conveyed.
Millennium Snow (with Caitlin Moore) (Shojo and Tell)
A shoujo manga podcast, this week talking with AniFem team member Caitlin about Hatori Bisco’s pre- (and post-)Ouran manga.
In the 10 years between the publication of the second and third volume of “Millennium Snow,” Bisco Hatori went off and wrote this little-known manga called “Ouran High School Host Club.” How did that affect this short and sweet four-volume manga? How does this vampire and werewolf love triangle compare to the infamous Twilight Saga? (Hint: It’s much better.) How does it handle the themes of morality and time? Ashley and Caitlin discuss all that, and much, much more.
JAPAN’S SCHOOLS ARE IN TOTAL DENIAL OVER DIVERSITY (GaijinPot, Victoria Vlisides)
Discusses discrimination against “hafu” (half-Japanese) students and the efforts of the Hafu2Hafu Project to provide a support network.
Public school students who possess “foreignness” are frequently and unfairly assumed to have perfect English-language ability, or on the flip side, forced to sit through the same lessons as their classmates when their English is already grade-levels higher than the average. Physically, they may be made to fit in with the majority at school — even when it goes against their genetics. One on-going example is an Osaka student with an American grandfather who is suing her high school for forcing her to dye her hair black because it is naturally brown. Ironically (or not in Japan, a land of conundrums), the school’s edict for the student to color her hair is in order to comply with a “no hair-dyeing” school policy.
When it comes to discrimination that is often accepted as cultural preservation, this confusing and illogical process goes beyond the usual “Oh, Japan!” moments. Look further into this and you’ll discover that some Japanese schools have brown hair “registries” — essentially, kids with non-black hair have to prove the natural color of their locks. All this just to fit in?
‘Little idols’: Japan’s dark obsession with young girls (Japan Today, Harumi Ozawa)
A discussion of the fetishization of underage girls through idol culture and other avenues.
Japan’s battle against paedophilia is well documented. The number of minors abused in child pornography has risen five-fold in the past decade, according to official figures.
Police have failed to stamp out so-called JK (joshi kosei, or high school girls) businesses, which offer men services such as going for a walk with a teenage girl so the customers have a chance to negotiate for sex.
Quasi-pornographic chaku-ero, or clothed eroticism — images of small children posing in tiny swimsuits — are easily found on the internet, slipping through a legal loophole.
Lawyer Keiji Goto, who campaigns for minors’ rights, says the problem is a social one.
Many Japanese think that sexually objectifying young girls is not taboo but rather “just falls into a gray zone,” said Goto.
Japan is far from being the only place with a problem of sexualising children.
In America, concerns have been raised about the hyper-sexualisation of children appearing in beauty pageants, as well as on reality shows such as “Toddlers and Tiaras.”
And the French parliament in 2014 adopted a ban on “mini miss” competitions for girls younger than 13, prompted by controversy over a 2010 Vogue magazine photo shoot featuring provocative images of a 10-year-old.
But in Japan, there has been little public debate of the issue.
An update to an issue we mentioned several weeks ago: the definition has been updated (though this doesn’t cover other issues mentioned in the previous dictionary article).
In the LGBT entry, Kojien failed to distinguish lesbian, gay and bisexual from transgender, defining LGBT as collective term meaning “people whose sexual orientations are different from the majority.”
Lesbian, gay and bisexual describe sexual orientations, but transgender refers to people whose gender identity differs from their sex at birth.
The revised entry defines LGBT as, “in broad terms, people whose sexual orientations are not heterosexual or people whose gender identity does not match the sex they were identified with at birth.”
The revision was prompted by LGBT advocates who demanded a correction.
Ichikawa Haruko Interview on Houseki no Kuni – Translation (Japanese Translation)
A 2016 interview with Ichikawa about her philosophy and reasons for writing Land of the Lustrous.
Yes. Most people I know are always complaining about their job, but they still do it properly anyway. Not just for the sake of money, but I think there’s also a feeling of wanting to be recognised, a desire to be approved. I’m writing this manga as I have a strong feeling to find whether this is true or not.
– So you think this might not be the case?
Yes. I also feel that maybe it’s all right just to live. The gaining of prestige and fortune through work is not necessary if you just want to live, but it is if you want to live well. What makes someone rightfully human, I want to write about this through the theme of ‘work’; I just want to know.
– The protagonist Phos also has another motivation. The wish to save Cinnabar, who lives isolated and away from everyone else. This wish was something I felt connected thematically well with your previous works.
The act of saving someone is incredibly difficult. Expressing support; providing them something to help may only cheer them up temporarily, but saving someone by completely turning their life around is probably something no one can do.
Then just what is salvation? Can someone in the truest sense save another? But people, for some reason, can’t let go of this mysterious feeling of wanting to be of help to others. I have always found this to be very mysterious. It’s mysterious, and it’s for this reason that I want to know.
And the Loser is: Anime (Brian Hates This)
An analysis of why anime tends to get snubbed at the Oscars based on the requirements for getting in.
Putting it simply, the majority of the Academy membership are colleagues for the major studios, who all have a vested interest in their work, and their friends’ work, being represented in their category. If you have to watch 20 of the 26 eligible features to vote in the category, which 20 are you going to watch — the films made by major studios and created by your friends and colleagues (many of which you’ve probably seen already), or the foreign and independent productions, created by animators and artists for whom Academy membership is less important?
There’s a lot more to discuss here, but I’d be here all week. The Oscars are a way for the employees of major studios like Disney and Universal to congratulate each other’s work and occasionally those of a foreign and independent production — provided they pay the upfront cost of submission, have it screened at the right theaters, and buy ads in the right places. It is intentionally hostile to outside productions, especially in the Animated Feature category, which is relatively new in the Academy’s history.
Anime Matsuri’s John Leigh Lawyers Up to Silence Fashion Vlogger (Anime Herald, Mike Ferreira)
An expanded, updated article on Leigh’s attempts to silence Tyler’s discussion of sexual harassment charges brought against Leigh by those who’ve worked with him, including teenagers.
We were able to identify a call-to-action in video “Ask Japanese Can Kiss My Ask LWLN 12 17 2017,” in which Tyler published the public business email for “Ask Japanese,” and stated “You can express your seasonal spirit at this email address to your heart’s content. Flood their inbox with a Ho-Ho-Hellstorm of cold, hard truth.”
That said, we were unable to find anything resembling call-to-action to contact Cathy Cat in any of Tyler’s videos. Many of the public comments we were able to identify explicitly condemned attacks on the personality.
“In most cases the Guests would forward the cyber-bullying messages and emails to us,” Leigh noted, ”[H]owever in the case of one particular Guest, Cathy Cat, a Youtuber who resides in Japan, the attacks had a profound effect on her.” He continued, stating that “Tyler’s video caused people to contact Cathy Cat’s employer with similar defamation messages, among other malicious acts, and Cathy Cat became physically ill as a result. This is unacceptable and tantamount to cyber-bullying.”
Tyler responded to Leigh’s comments, stating “I have roughly [7,000] subscribers. Cathy Cat has [45,000], Ask Japanese has [160,000], and John Leigh of Anime Matsuri is behind one of the top ten anime conventions in the entire country. He claims I am a bully. They’ve issued three false DMCA Takedowns, nearly shut down my Youtube channel, and threatened me with a lawsuit. They’ve tried to censor me, strong-arm me into silence, and demand a public apology. Those are bullying tactics.”
PUSH! Publication’s stance on staff wages (Twitter, Fyurie)
A freelancer’s account of how he was underpaid and then belittled for his translating work.
And finally, he starts grandstanding about how he’ll become a rich executive that will profit off of those who are too afraid or lacking in self-confidence to sell themselves for what they’re really worth. I honestly didn’t want to publish this as they had a lot of promise, but this can’t go ignored. I refuse to actively ignore something that I advocate so harshly AGAINST. I will happily take the hit to my credibility this may cause. Translators of the world: I respect you greatly, please, don’t be tricked, and push for your rights to be respected. You have all of my love. A (rough-to-read, thanks, Facebook Workplace) transcript of the full conversation regarding pay and staff welfare can be found at https://defuse.ca/b/gHKNLDYsg5i5Ez6wOFrfdg and should remain available for the following 6 months.
Yuri Anime: Citrus (English) (Okazu)
A review of citrus focusing on its extensive issues with sexual assault.
When Yuzu gets to school, somehow wholly unaware that the school has rules (rules that are commonly deployed as plot complications in every single existent form of entertainment in Japan and could be guessed at, even if she was too lazy to read the documentation,) she is sexually assaulted for not knowing the rules. The search she undergoes has nothing at all to do with “looking for a phone.” No one keeps their phone tucked under or between their butt cheeks.
Mei’s behavior is not sensible…except that nonconsensual, passive-aggressive assaults are wholly consistent with a girl who has endured sexual abuse. Mei’s sexual assault of Yuzu continues, moving from groping to a deep kiss and later forceful undressing, without any of the steps that must come before such behavior – knowing the other person consents, primarily. You know, the the attraction and affection of two people who are looking to learn more about one another. The entirety of the relationship that we cherish in the Kase-san series is completely excised from citrus. The narrative refuses to admit sexual assault or anything Mei does as a consequence of it, and so, it throws the premise of the story into unacceptable implausibility. Even more implausible is the narrative’s assumption that I will somehow root for these two to become a couple. The only thing I am rooting for is for them to both seek therapy.
Keep the recommendations coming! We’re hoping to put together a list someday—just remember that if it’s been more than a few years since you last watched something, those nostalgia-goggles can get a little bit thick.
As problematic as Rika's relationship in it is, I'd still really recommend Cardcaptor Sakura for kids because the relationships it does get right, it gets so right. I especially loved how Sakura's crush on Yukito was handled. And I liked Syaoran's crush on him too.
— The Witch Casandra🍄 (@CasReadman) January 30, 2018
You can't go wrong with Princess Tutu. For teens, I'd recc Galko-chan since it presents female friendships in a very down to earth and relatable way.
— Jenn Li (@JenKunoichi351) January 30, 2018
Last season's URAHARA was a kid-friendly show about girls fighting aliens with the power of friendship ☆
— 🐧The Afictionado🐧 (@TheAfictionado) January 30, 2018
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