This week: manga with queer and trans characters, Anime News Network revamps its forum rules, and the beginning of premiere season.
Angely Mercado compares two portrayals of mental illness: one used for villainous shock value, and the other treated as part of an empathetic character study.
Zeldaru examines MiA’s preferential treatment of disability toward characters able to speak and care for themselves, but also the anime’s humanization of Mitty relative to the manga.
The team writes up their favorite anime of the past season.
Dee, Lauren, and Peter talk about the Spring series and carryover sequels (except FRANXX, which’ll get its own episode).
An impenetrable mess with a terrible subtitle track and not much love even among hardcore Fate fans.
An unimpressively presented mystery series with an explicitly adult protagonist hitting on (and in one case apparently sleeping with) female characters who look about twelve.
What caught your eye this past season?
A sports anime with promise and fairly minimal overt fanservice if you can handle the fact that these girls desperately need sports bras.
Wondering if a premiere’s been reviewed yet? Check this handy chart!
Introducing Anime News Network’s New Forum Rules (Anime News Network, Zac Bertschy and Lynzee Loveridge)
ANN has introduced new forum rules in order to crack down on hate speech and make their forums a more welcoming place for marginalized individuals.
Anime News Network is a community brought together by our love of and interest in anime, manga, and video games. All people regardless of their age, religion, race, ethnicity, nationality, culture, gender, sexual identity and sexual orientation, and physical and mental ability are welcome to come here and enjoy fandom together.
Towards these ends, we do not allow hateful speech that denigrates an individual, or group of individuals based on their identity. This includes, but is not limited to, any speech that suggests that any person or group is in any way inferior due to their age, religion, race, ethnicity, nationality, culture, gender, sexual identity and sexual orientation, and physical and mental ability. We also consider hate speech to include any suggestion the rights of an individual should be limited due to the above mentioned identifiers or that their personhood is in some way unethical.
Our rules already forbid hateful speech, so we would like to remind you that any attack on any age, religion, race, ethnicity, culture, gender, sexual identity or sexual orientation will be immediately dealt with by our moderators.
Requiem of the Rose King Nails Transmasculine Dysphoria–at a Cost (Fashionable Tinfoil Accessories, Vrai Kaiser)
A dissection of the Shakespeare-inspired manga and the pros and cons of its decision to have an intersex Richard III as its protagonist.
Richard’s monologues about his hatred of his body, the way those around him code it, and the ways it limits his social interactions are raw and ugly in a way that rings startlingly true. It isn’t a nice or positive emotion, but there is something powerful in seeing your dark thoughts on the page in a way that expurgates them and makes you feel less alone. Richard struggles with his bisexuality, and whether his partner’s gender will change how others think of him. And his temporary triumph of being able to wear a dress for plot reasons while still confidently knowing himself to be a man is strangely uplifting.
Kanno even puts the usual hurtful rhetoric that tends to show up in these kinds of stories—“I know you really wish you could be a woman” and “Richard will never love you because you’re a woman (and I perceive him as one)”—into the mouth of a blustering idiot who spends his entire screentime with no idea what’s going on before blundering into death and making everyone’s lives worse. Again, I truly cannot tell if these are moments of surprising self-awareness or simply luck. But they are appreciated, whatever the reasoning.
Female TV Anime Directors Summer 2018 (Onna no Kantoku)
This season’s lineup features seven shows directed by women.
A few years after directing her debut work of the TV anime Free! and its sequel in 2013 and 2014, Hiroko Utsumi finally returns to the directors seat. Beginning her career at Animation Do, Utsumi was a regular contributor to a number of Kyoto Animation projects – including Clannad, K-On!, and Tamako Market – before getting the chance to helm a series on her own. Since leaving Animation Do, Utsumi has been freelance, mostly working on Bones and MAPPA projects, including directing and storyboarding the second ED for the soccer anime Days.
With a known fondness for the boys love genre, Utsumi is hired to direct an adaption of Banana Fish at MAPPA. The original manga ran for nine years beginning in 1985. The story follows Ash, the leader of a gang in New York City, investigating the last words of a dying man.
Women’s university in Tokyo to accept transgender students (The Japan Times)
Ochanomizu University will now accept applications from trans as well as cis women. It is the first all-women’s college in Japan to do so.
The school issued a statement saying it intends to accept “transgender students who hope to study at a women’s university based on their gender identity.”
Women’s universities in Japan have restricted applicants to those registered as female under the family register system.
Many of the schools, including Tsuda University and Japan Women’s University, both in Tokyo, are considering modifying their qualifications as similar moves have been taken by universities in the United States in recent years.
A MOTHER’S LOVE; FILLING THE GAPS IN THE MIDORIYA HOUSEHOLD (Isn’t it Electrifying?, illegenes)
An essay on Midoriya’s mother and her unique status among shounen moms.
What’s one of the subtle but more astonishing things to come out of this story however, is not just Midoriya’s development to become a Quirk-based hero. It is his relationship with his mother, which changes over the course of the next few episodes. She goes out of her way to make the proper healthy dinners he requires for his training and verbally encourages him to follow his dreams, wherever he goes. When he receives his U.A letter of acceptance, she cries on his behalf, and sends him off with a smile. There is no doubt that Midoriya’s mother is the constant support of strength and love that he has needed. Though it may have been misplaced in the past, the fact that their relationship has improved speaks volumes as to how families can overcome stigmas regarding success and merit through understanding and love.
UPDATED: Man Threatens Shooting at Anime Expo, Authorities Notified (Anime News Network, Lynzee Loveridge)
Security for the event has been notified and the man who issued the threat is banned from the convention, but if you are planning to attend this weekend please take care and watch out for one another.
Grubbs also stated that after the threatening text messages were sent, he spoke on the phone with Rodriguez. According to Grubbs, Rodriguez requested the addresses of people he perceived had “wronged him.”
Last month, Rodriguez was brought on as a volunteer staff member at Ronin-Expo, a convention in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo district. Anime News Network spoke with Ronin-Expo chairman Danny Gonzales about the event. Gonzales stated that Rodriguez worked mostly as a go-fer who was brought on after another staff member knew staff was short-handed and that Rodriguez was in the area. Things seemed to be going smoothly until the Saturday of the convention, when Gonzales stated that two separate staff members requested that Rodriguez be asked to leave.
Tokyo Tarareba Girls & the Fear of Feeling Unwanted (The Manga Maven, Morganarhalina)
On the manga’s over-30 protagonist and the fear of being labeled undesirable if you’re “too old” and still single.
It is tempting to claim that women like Rinko, who obsess over age, desirability, and the perceived expectations of others, are silly and shallow. Indeed, it is not uncommon to see this kind of criticism even coming from other women. So it was rather refreshing to see, at the back of this first volume, Higashimura’s own beliefs about marriage — essentially, that she fell into it by accident and that she doesn’t put too much weight on its merits. She has pushed back against her friends for their own fears, encouraging them to eschew their anxieties and just live their lives…but then she has also crafted this story highlighting those very real anxieties. She cannot relate to her friends in real life, but she can understand the concerns they have enough to show readers their value.
KASE-SAN AND MORNING GLORIES: A COUPLE’S SMALL MIRACLE (Sakuga Blog, kViN)
A chronicle of the kickstarted OVA and the staff that brought it to life.
Director Takuya Sato happened to binge-read all the volumes of the manga available in the spring of 2016, immediately falling in love with the series and deciding that he wanted to make it into an anime at some point. In his excitement he recommended one of his friends and common work partners, who would go on to become the character designer and chief animation director of this title. However, that suggestion turned out to be a massive underestimation of how much Kumiko Sakai, known as Kyuta Sakai in the anime industry, adores yuri works; though the most popular titles she’s provided designs for are the likes of Re:Zero and Steins;Gate, it’s no coincidence that she handled series like Sakura Trick and Strawberry Panic as well. Whether it’s cute fluff or raunchy material, she’s always delighted to have an opportunity to draw intimate scenes between girls – we’re talking about the person who designed, supervised, and solo key animated an erotic OVA for A Kiss for the Petals after all. So of course, her reply to Sato’s Kase-san recommendation was a simple “Duh, that’s my favorite manga.” An amusing way for the core team to be assembled.
Review: Claudine (Otaku She Wrote, Marion Bea)
An overview of the recently translated classic manga.
The Magnificent 49ers also wrote queer stories, many of which are now considered as precursors of yuri and BL. Riyoko Ikeda was one of those women, and she seemed particularly fond of gender exploration and French period pieces.
Claudine is framed as a story narrated by his psychiatrist, who first met him when he was a child. Throughout the story, we quickly see Claudine growing up every time he falls for a new woman, alternating between his point of view and his doctor’s.
You can tell this was written in the 1970s: here, being queer means living in misery, awaiting tragedy. Its gender explorations, although well-intentioned, has its limitations. There’s also cheating and the occasional murder.
Still, in its own way, it tries. Although it’s not accepted by everyone, there are characters that recognize and respect that Claudine identifies as a man. His doctor considers him more a friend than a patient, and listens to him rather than trying to “fix” him.
Offering girls light on the dark city streets of Tokyo (The Japan News)
Colabo is an organization dedicated to helping teenage girls who don’t feel safe going home, particularly in hopes of helping them avoid being pressured into sex work.
Colabo offers a wide range of support for teenage girls, including walking busy night streets to find them. The organization provides consultation to about 100 to 130 teenagers facing problems every year, either face-to-face or through social networking services.
It also runs a short-stay shelter, and provides housing to help teenagers stand on their own feet. Holding seminars to better understand the situation is also an important activity.
Nito, the founder and head of Colabo, explained why she takes to the streets to search for girls: “These teenagers hesitate to ask for help. They don’t even believe they can be helped.
“I want to approach girls before they fall into the hands of recruiters for sex-related businesses, or adults who want to sexually exploit them.”
Her card states her organization’s philosophy: “Give all girls housing, food, clothing and human relationships. Let’s create a society that doesn’t exploit girls.”
Our team can’t watch every show all the way through, so we love hearing what you were excited about!
Golden Kamuy! It's the perfect mix of old style Hollywood treasure hunt-in-the-wilderness, Japanese historical grit, and goofy comedy? It's such a gem.
— Kiseki (@akilamantado) July 2, 2018
Definitely Comic Girls it ended up being a lot more fun, relatable, heartwarming, & wholesome than generally expected.
— Karin@μ’sic forever (@KotoHono_) July 3, 2018
…And then our managing editor decided to get clever, just so she could give us one last round of cute for the road:
(Hey, we never said you had to name a favorite *series*) pic.twitter.com/s9CUB0yUfq
— Joseimatsuri (@joseinextdoor) July 2, 2018