[Links] 26 September – 2 October 2018: Miss Sherlock, Being Black in Tokyo, and Hardships for Working Mothers in Japan

By: Anime Feminist October 2, 20180 Comments

This week: Miss Sherlock, a documentary about Black expats living in Japan, and a lack of opportunities for working mothers in Japan.

AniFem Round-Up

[Interview] Japanese LGBTQ+ fans talk about the legacy of Banana Fish

The respondents discuss the resonance of the central love story and the then-unheard-of frank handling of sexual assault as unambiguously monstrous.

[Feature] “The Courage to Speak”: Mental illness and recovery in Natsume’s Book of Friends

Caitlin Donovan discusses the show’s parallels between seeing yokai and living with mental illness, and how the narrative centers self-acceptance and healing.

[Review] RErideD: Derrida, Who Leaps Through Time – Episode 1

A competent but extremely predictable sci-fi setup.

[Review] Forest of Piano – Episode 1

A character drama potentially addressing serious issues that’s somewhat undercut by bad animation and simplistic “villains look ugly, heroes look beautiful” designs.

[Podcast] Chatty AF 71: Summer 2018 Wrap-up

The team looks back on the summer shows and carryover series.

[AniFemTalk] What Fall premiere are you most excited for?

The new season is rolling out—what looks good?

[Review] Xuan Yuan Sword Luminary – Episode 1

A rushed fantasy premiere with too many characters and awkward visuals, but potential in its female leads.

[Review] The Girl in Twilight – Episode 1

An isekai/parallel universe sci-fantasy with a throwback feel and potential to focus on female friendship.

[Review] That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime – Episode 1

A few yellow flags, but mostly much more innocuous than the average modern isekai offering.


Beyond AniFem

New Documentary Explores What It Means To Be Black In Tokyo (Travel Noire)

The director sought out expats from many different backgrounds in order to explore the many different facets of Black culture around the world.

In following the varied truths of these characters, Nwosu says she arrived at a very important truth: “through the film … I really realized how powerful black culture is in shaping pop culture all over the world.”

Too, she began to wonder why people around the world don’t have a chance to engage with the varied viewpoints of black people from diverse experiences more often.

To give people that chance, Nwosu created Melanin Unscripted, “a visual platform that shows the unscripted and real-life perspective of creatives around the world.”

“We are in a time where we need to shape narratives in real life because we can’t wait for the media to do that for us,” Nwosu says. “It’s time we create our own content, create our own spaces and be apart of shaping the world around us on a larger scale.”

Japan’s Mothers Go Back to Work, but Find the Opportunities Lacking (The New York Times, Michael Schuman)

Part-time work still puts enormous stress on parents working and caring for children, and older women are often not valued for their experience when starting new jobs.

Under pressure at home to maintain their child-rearing responsibilities, many professionally minded mothers are opting for part-time work. In Japan, that means accepting meager benefits, little job security, few opportunities for advancement and pay that is often so low that women’s rights advocates have described it as exploitation.

Only one in four mothers in Japan was employed full time in the last fiscal year.

“Every company thinks that opening doors and hiring women is the end goal,” said Kaori Sasaki, chair of the Committee for the International Conference for Women in Business. “But actually, that is the starting point.”

Pixiv, Ura Sunday Contest Seeks Writers for Women’s Isekai Stories (Anime News Network, Lynzee Loveridge)

The contest is for “reincarnated in another world” stories, but this time aimed at women.

Interested writers need to submit their work using pixiv‘s “Novel” posting function with the tag “裏サンデー異世界マンガ原作コンテスト” (Ura Sunday isekai manga gensaku contest). The submission can be submitted as either a short story or longer but should be at least 10,000 Japanese characters in length and include a summary caption of at least 400 characters. The winning work will be adapted into a manga for the Manga ONE app.

The Japanese anime tackling workplace bullying (BBC, Mary-Ann Russon)

A think piece on why Aggretsuko resonates with so many young working viewers.

Sanrio says while it did not set out to highlight gender discrimination, it is pleased that so many people experience catharsis from watching Aggretsuko.

“It really feels like women can’t get angry. I’m constantly worried that I will be perceived as too pushy or bossy for speaking my mind, so I don’t talk much,” says Amanda Howell, a 29-year-old software automation engineer in Franklin, Tennessee.

“When Aggretsuko goes to sing death metal, that’s basically the mask slipping. That’s what I feel like when someone says something crappy to me at work or when I’m working late again when everybody else is gone.

“I just want to scream.”

Why you should watch Japan’s answer to Sherlock Holmes, now on HBO (Polygon, Kristina Manente)

Miss Sherlock restages the premise with both Sherlock and Watson cast as women.

At first it’s hard to justify why Wato-san stays with Holmes, especially as she’s belittled and treated as little more than a child. But her need for emotional connection as she struggles with PTSD of her time in Syria prevails; this Holmes and Watson eventually find each other in friendship. Sherlock’s emotional arc begins right off the bat, there’s no fooling around here. She needs Wato-san, and though it takes her most of the season to fully realize that, she does. That’s the important thing.

Miss Sherlock is Sherlock Holmes through and through, but it is a very Japanese Sherlock Holmes, which makes sense, as the country is no stranger to the character, lore, or DNA that goes into making a perfect adaptation.


A look back at a 90s review of Sailor Moon S in a Japanese magazine.

The author manages to say both a lot and nothing at the same time, which makes it a bit difficult to interpret. Ultimately, though, I think the takeaway that you can get from this article is that if one of the biggest Japanese anime magazines was talking so frankly about the relationship, it’s fair to say that the general consensus among anime fans at the time was that there was some sort of sexual relationship between the two (even if some people chose to read into it in a Freudian manner).

OPINION: Hanesaki Quitting Badminton is the Ultimate Ending for HANEBADO! (Crunchyroll, Peter Fobian)

An argument that the most satisfying ending would be to have its protagonist leave the sport behind.

Some truly untouched ground in sports anime, typically cast with endlessly passionate athletes, are players who quit due to lack of motivation. Injuries and life circumstances can and have driven characters out of sports series in the past, but telling the story of a player who fall out of love with their game, or realized they never loved the game to begin with, is as valuable as it is revolutionary, especially in the case of a character like Hanesaki, who has displayed world-class talent at badminton. You can have the skill to conquer the world, but whether or not that amount of success is worth the investment of time and effort into something you’re not passionate about is a personal decision. You only live once, and fame and fortune may not match up against pursuing another path you might be able enjoy on its own merits.


An analysis of the meta element of the series finale.

These expectations are shaped by a variety of societal factors. The top star system and toxic cycle isn’t the audience’s fault per se, but the audience is complicit in perpetuating it to some degree. It’s an exchange system between the production company marketing and system that is directly affected by social mores. One of founder Kobayashi Ichizou’s ideas behind the revue was that the revue would teach women to be good wives and mothers so that, upon leaving the revue stage, Takarasiennes would settle down and have a family. This hasn’t always worked as intended (in the best way, with some incredibly talented women choosing to stay in the theatre or move into production, acting, etc.) but it was one of the core tenets of the revue that still affects the system to this day.

BANANA FISH fans share their thoughts on the anime (1er cour) – Part I (Otaku She Wrote, Marion Bea)

The first part of a fandom survey asking how manga-readers and anime newbies are reacting to Banana Fish so far.

First, some quick explanations. The questions you’ll see here are the same questions I did in the form. However, I also asked for some additional data in order to get a better idea of who are these fans. Allow me to elaborate.

I asked for ages and whether or not they have read the manga, because I wanted to know if they were younger fans that are just getting into the series, if they have been around for longer, etc. Since this is a show that has LGBTQ+ character and/or characters from different cultures, I also asked from what country they come from and if they consider themselves part of the LGBTQ+ community.

I debated whether or not I should include the few people in the 14-17 age range who answered, but I ended up deciding to do it because most of the main characters in the show are around that age. This is also based on a work that was originally published in a shojo magazine, whose target demographic is around that age as well. Most importantly, no personal data was disclosed. When I asked for names, I clarified that they could use pseudonyms or remain anonymous, and most did that.

Yayoi Kusama’s extraordinary survival story (BBC, Cath Pound)

An artist profile detailing Kusama’s struggles with failure and mental illness before finding support and success.

Unsurprisingly, Kusama began to think of a means of escaping her stifling home environment. A great admirer of Georgia O’Keefe, in whose fantastical, dreamlike depictions of nature she saw a kindred spirit, she took the extraordinarily bold step of writing to her for advice. “I’m only on the first step of the long difficult life of being a painter. Will you kindly show me the way?” she asked.

She must have been ecstatic when O’Keefe wrote back, even if it was to warn her that “In this country an artist has a hard time making a living.” All the same, she advised Kusama to come to the US and show her work to anyone who might be interested.

At the time Kusama spoke very little English, and it was prohibited to send money from Japan to the US. Undaunted, she sewed dollar bills into her kimono and set off across the Pacific determined to conquer New York and make her name in the world.


AniFem Community

Another season, another crop of shows. Let’s all cross our fingers for some new gems.

the new season of jojo!

I was excited about the return of JoJo and Space Battleship Tiramisu, and hopeful about Double Decker, The Girl in Twilight, and Karakuri Circus. I've already seen three of them and have not been bitterly disappointed yet.

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