This week: in memorium to Meowth’s original English VA, how The Promised Neverland’s anime fails Krone, and the stigma against homelessness in Japan.
Anthony Gramuglia highlights the importance of this sweet romcom in expanding the BL genre beyond erotica and helping to normalize queer relationships
Erica Scassellati explains her love for this campy battle royal series and why it has charm in spite of its poor treatment of some very heavy topics.
Peter, Dee, and ANN’s Gabriella dive into this beloved shoujo fantasy series.
As anime makes its way into more theaters, what older titles deserve their time in the sun?
Catherine: Full Body reported to be ‘adjusting’ its transphobia after backlash—but is it enough? (The Daily Dot, Ana Valens)
Underlining the importance of uplifting Japanese trans voices, who are the first and hardest hit by this kind of bigotry.
“Is she a positive character? I think that depends from person to person,” Hashimoto told the Daily Dot. “At the time I thought it was positive, but the game treats her as dishonest and paints her in a horrible light so it’s hard to argue she is good with that intent in mind.”
While Western gamers have called the pushback against Full Body“manufactured outrage,” this is untrue. Queer Japanese gamers have been speaking out about the game’s handle on Erica online for quite some time, Hashimoto told the Daily Dot. In one case, a blog post compared Japanese and Western reactions to the remake, concurring that Full Body’s content is transphobic even if “the ‘intent’ was good on behalf of the creator.”
“There are more unhappy responses this time around than there were when the original released,” Hashimoto said. “This is probably due to the accessibility granted to us by the internet, so it’s hard to say if people are more upset now or if they always have been and are only now having the chance to speak about it and be heard.”
The Promised Neverland Episode #08 Review (Animation Infinity, JetZeroInfinity)
A discussion of how the anime adaptation fails to pick up on several of the manga’s themes, and how it fails Krone in particular.
In order to give you an idea of what exactly it is I’m getting at here, I’m gonna need to step back a bit and talk about Sister Krone’s arc as a whole. I’ve made no secret that I’m not a fan of the anime’s choice to remove the characters internal monologues in favor of having their thoughts conveyed purely through speech or visual direction, and the consequences of that choice is most clear in how Krone is presented in the anime as opposed to the manga. While Krone is fairly flamboyant and over the top in both the anime and manga alike, she is generally treated as a much more serious threat in the latter, and as most of her scheming there is done in her own head as opposed to the whole talking to the creepy doll thing, she comes off as competent and calculating rather than emotionally unstable, and that makes it easier for readers to understand how she’s continued to survive in the dog-eat-dog world of the farm system.
This ends up playing pretty heavily into how her backstory is handled in the manga as well, as we learn through one of her internal monologues that she had been taught by a very young age by Grandma that the only way for her to survive through this world was to compete against others. It means that for her, obtaining a position as a Mom isn’t just a means for her to live a comfortable life, it’s a matter of life and death. This revelation in her mindset not only works in parallel to her dynamic with Isabella, who enjoys the position of privilege and security that she’s after, but Emma as well, as Krone sees that Isabella is grooming Emma to someday take the Mom position rather than her, and that eliminating both is the surest means of her own survival.
The Inspiring Story of the Trans Actress Behind Your Favorite Pokémon’s Voice (Them, David Levesley)
A tribute to the late Maddie Blaustein, the original English voice of Meowth.
At the time, a small group of actors collectively voiced nearly all of the anime dubbed for Western audiences in the late 20th century, but most of their work was done independently. “We’d come into the booth and it’s the director, an engineer, and an actor, and the actors basically just pass each other in the hallway,” says Eric Stuart, the voice behind Pokémon characters Brock and James. Because Stuart also worked as a director on some series, including Pokémon, he was able to spend more time with actors, and it’s during this time that he got to know Blaustein. “She had an incredible range,” he adds.
In a eulogy written after Blaustein’s death in 2008, Aaron McQuade, a friend of Maddie’s, claimed that her decision to transition and come out to her co-workers was inspired by an episode of Pokémon. In “Go West, Young Meowth,” we learn the story of how Meowth learned to speak like a human: He fell in love with another Meowth, and decided to learn English and to stand upright to impress her. It failed horribly, and the female Meowth called him a freak. “Meowth,” explained McQuade, “was a human trapped in a Pokémon’s body.”
Stuart estimates that he directed Blaustein in over 300 episodes of TV, including eight seasons of Pokémon. “It wasn’t easy. I was one of the few people who followed what name and pronouns she wanted to use, and there were many, many times where people wouldn’t do it, or they’d forget, and it was hurtful,” he recalls. “There were times that I could see that this wasn’t the easiest thing for her to deal with — in her career choice and with her family. But she didn’t take it out on us, on her work, or on me. Instead, she came into work and tried to find ways to steal the show. And in many ways, she did just that.”
Next Paralympic Anime Short Focuses on Visually Impaired Judo (Anime News Network, Lynzee Loveridge)
Info about the upcoming short and links to previous shorts in the series.
“Anime x Para: Who is Your Hero?” is an animated series aiming to increase interest parasports ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Kawai is responsible for the original story of the upcoming episode. He said he wrote to Rio de Janeiro Paralympic Games bronze medalist in judo Junko Hirose. Hirose won Japan’s first ever women’s paralympic medal in the sport. Junko trained in the sport beginning in fifth grade and eventually lost her vision due to adult onset Still’s disease.
The episode will premiere on the BS1 channel on March 3. A 30-second trailer is currently streaming on the series’ official site. Previous episodes have focuses on vision-impaired soccer, wheelchair tennis, goalball, and wheelchair rugby.
Complete List of English Otome Games for PS Vita (Chic Pixel, Anne Lee)
A list of games released on the now sadly defunct Vita.
Perhaps you’re like me and loved the PS Vita for its extensive range of otome games, even in English. Or, maybe you’ve been on the fence about getting a PS Vita and want to know if it’s worth the purchase just for the English otome games available. To help you on your quest, no matter what it may be, I’ve compiled a list of all English PS Vita otome games, both physical and digital!
Since PS Vita games and PS Vita systems will only get harder to find as time goes on, it’s a good idea to pick up any otome games you want before it’s too late. Digital games probably won’t be made unavailable anytime soon, but in order to keep this list as comprehensive as possible, I’m including them here. (Digital PS Vita games will be available for purchase as long as the PSN store is kept up and running on the PS Vita.)
YURI MANGA 101 (ICv2, Brigid Alverson)
A helpful (though not exhaustive) list of ongoing and completed yuri series currently available in English.
Much of the yuri manga published in North America fits in the shojo category, that is, manga for teen girls. Series like Kiss and White Lily for My Dearest Girl, Bloom Into You, and Sweet Blue Flowers share some common tropes: They are set in private girls’ schools with elaborate uniforms, and as in other shojo romances, the emphasis is on emotions such as attraction, jealousy, and uncertainty, with little explicit sexual content. There are plenty of other types of stories, though, including workplace romances and dark fantasy stories aimed at older women. And a number of yuri titles fit into the seinen (young men) demographic, including the comedy Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid and the cyberpunk comedy Pandora in the Crimson Shell: Ghost Urn.
Taste, Disability, and Metaphor: De/humanization in Kamen Rider OOO (Coherent Cats, Karleen)
A post on the series’ disability metaphor and how it resists typical “cure” narratives.
As someone with congenital anosmia, it means a lot to me for Ankh to not be “cured” or “made whole” as is often the case with (metaphorically or otherwise) disabled characters. I admittedly relate to those characters, but the connection ends when we don’t have disability in common anymore. I’ll never have a sense of smell, and I’ve accepted that. It doesn’t upset me that I’ll never experience the world the way some other people do, because it’s not like I’ll ever know the difference. Being anosmic isn’t without its issues, from fear of unnoticed gas leaks to insecurity over my own scent, but it’s my life and I can’t imagine it any other way. What truly upsets me is when others suggest I’m somehow lacking because of my anosmia. It’s not that I dislike being treated differently, since I appreciate when people inform me of a smell knowing I’m unaware of it, but that people assume my life is inherently sad.
In the wrong hands, the treatment of the Greeed could have made me feel that way. Instead, Yasuko Kobayashi’s writing of the Greeed (and Ankh in particular) resonate with me. I had never seen a work of fiction so closely match my perspective of disability before, and never expected one to do so with sense of taste specifically. While some may not consider anosmia and ageusia to be disabilities, Kamen Rider OOO nonetheless uses sense of taste to tell a story that applies to many disabilities. It presents disabled life as worth living, and dehumanization as irredeemable.
Marketing Representation in Dragalia Lost (Fanbyte, Vrai Kaiser)
Nintendo’s mobile game has been putting in new queer content, but what does that mean when it’s so nakedly tied to capitalism?
I don’t mean to bill all this as a rousing win for representation: the language is a little too safely vague, the game is quick to jump to jokes to maintain plausible deniability, and the fixed male protagonist means queer women get left out in the cold — unless you include barbarian Vanessa’s excellent pursuit of making better “friends” with Elisanne.
But it does interest me on a marketing level. Gacha games are objects of almost pure commerce. While a lot of hard work and artistic talent is poured into them, the capitalistic intent behind them is nakedly visible: they want to take your money. And the best way to do that, it seems, is to try and appeal to as many audiences as possible. It’s almost like the inclusion of three dimensional women and queer characters is an expansion pack to explore new markets once the reliable base has been secured. Moreover, this only goes as far as things that won’t scare away the “core” audience of straight men.
Regardless of this hedging, it’s understandable that queer audiences might be excited to see queer characters in their favorite games — even if their inclusion is safe and calculated. The trick is to find the balance between finding joy in those reclaimed half-measures and heaping praise on developers who are still hiding behind careful marketing tabulations.
#KuToo: A Revolt Against High Heels in the Japanese Workplace (Unseen Japan, Jay Andrew Allen)
The movement is going strong on Twitter and has a petition component to be submitted to the ministry of Health.
Last year, pin-up model Ishikawa Yumi (石川優美) made waves with a blog post (JP) about numerous incidents of sexual harassment she’d endured – from being pressured by her manager to expose herself more than she was comfortable with, to invitations to sexual trysts from TV producers. Since making waves with that post, Ishikawa has set herself a new target: the custom in companies of forcing women to wear high heels in the workplace.
Borrowing the hashtag of the #MeToo movement, Ishikawa is promoting the movement with the hashtag #KuToo – a seriously clever triple-wordplay that combines “MeToo”, “kutsu” (靴, shoes), and the “ku” from “kutsuu” (苦痛), meaning “agony”. She’s using the tag to promote a change.org petition, which she plans to submit to the country’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare in a bid to compel them to issue a binding ruling on the country’s companies.
‘No one wants to be homeless’: A glimpse at life on the streets of Tokyo (The Japan Times, Andrew McKirdy)
While there have been fewer homeless people due to recent legal advancements, there is still strong stigma from Japanese society.
Escaping homelessness can be a long and circuitous road. Even taking the step of applying for government welfare can be a fraught process.
According to Inaba, welfare officials in the 1980s and ’90s would actively try to discourage homeless people from applying when they turned up at local government offices.
Inaba describes officials using insulting, dismissive language or giving false or misleading information, and uses the phrase “mizugiwa sakusen” — a military term for the tactic of repelling invaders as soon as they reach shore.
Inaba and other campaigners teamed up with lawyers in the early 2000s to offer support for homeless people applying for welfare, forcing a change to the way officials dealt with their requests. Other issues with the system, however, still remain.
This isn’t quite recent, but UK-based AniFem readers might be interested to know that the ESSAY FILM FORM AND ANIMATION: INTERSECTIONALITY IN MOTION is still accepting papers for another few weeks.
URUSEI YATSURA BEAUTIFUL DREAMER!! It'd be a beautiful dream come true to see my favorite anime in a movie theater. 😭
— LumRanmaYasha (@LumRanmaYasha) March 5, 2019
end of evangelion criterion collection release @CriterionDaily get on it
— 𝖘𝖓𝖔𝖔𝖟𝖎𝖓 𝖘𝖔𝖓𝖙𝖆𝖌 (@kuntsuragi) March 5, 2019