This week: how Akita halved cases of suicide, a biography of Nobuko Yoshiya, and the implications of the new imperial era Reiwa.
An adaptation of a famous erotic visual novel with a completely loathsome protagonist.
A sweet comedy about a girl with social anxiety written by the series composer of A Place Further Than the Universe.
A harem series with a fairly likable lead and love interests, but the preview promises skeevier stuff on the horizon.
A eurofantasy action series about the protagonist trying to chase down her now-antagonistic childhood friend, with two compelling female leads.
A beautiful reboot of the shoujo classic for old-school fans and newcomers alike.
A clunky “bishonen solve supernatural cases” series that might cross over into “so bad it’s good.”
A slow but promising start to a sports series by an established mangaka who was never brought to English-speaking readers.
A bright, creative space comedy dragged down by a scumbag protagonist.
A surefire shonen hit with an appealing focus on empathy.
We might not review shorts, but we love to hear about good ones.
The Beloved Japanese Novelist Who Became a Queer Manga Icon (Atlus Obscura, Sabrina Imbler)
A biography of Nobuko Yoshiya, whose novels were a bedrock influence on the yuri genre.
In 1919, shortly after Flower Tales, Yoshiya wrote one of her best-known—and most scrutinized—stories, ”Yaneura no nishojo” (“Two Virgins in the Attic”). Many critics read it as quasi-autobiographical, as it follows two students, Akiko and Tamaki, who feel like outcasts in their dormitory. They spend all their time in a triangular attic, where they develop a romantic longing. They spy on each other in the bathroom and smell each other’s scent of “lily magnolia”—all culminating in a kiss. Urban Japanese architecture has a notable lack of attics, yet they commonly appear in modern-day shōjos—a lineage almost directly traceable to Yoshiya.
Many manga scholars consider “Two Virgins in the Attic” to be the first prototype of yuri manga, the modern extension of shōjo that is more explicitly focused on lesbian romantic and sexual relationships, according to Hiromi Tsuchiya-Dollase, a professor of Japanese at Vassar College. Though yuri is now considered a genre in its own right, some of the most popular shōjo mangas of all time, including Sailor Moon, have subplots that veer into yuri.
The photographer’s goal was to capture the many different lived experiences of mixed race individuals outside of existing stereotypes.
“There are many who feel isolated because of their appearance or parent’s nationality, despite growing up Japanese,” Miyazaki said.
The project features a total of 120 individuals spanning 98 nationalities and all genders, ages, ethnicities and places of residence to present the full experience of what it means to be hāfu.
Each portrait in the 152-page book is shot in black and white, with a question printed at the bottom of each raising different topics, such as “How many places do you call home?” or “Do you think the problem of discrimination is improving?”
Masaki predominantly voiced adult visual novels but withdrew significantly due to harassment.
Immediately after that incident, however, Masaki wrote that she had to deal with unwelcome messages. Her Skype ID was flooded with calls of people “breathing heavily,” as well as “disgusting” videos and photos. Masaki quit cosplay and stopped interacting with fans for a while. She also admitted that she stopped enjoying her voice actor work and other otaku activities.
The incident touches on why Masaki chose to stay within the indie scene for so long. She explained that voice actors these days can’t make a living just through their roles. They have to cultivate a personal following by showing their faces and attending events and concerts. But she found it hard to live like that.
In the world of indie voice acting, Masaki managed to get by without revealing her face and built a fanbase who followed her just for her voice. She became successful at ASMR, which involved using her voice to relax listeners and put them to sleep. As a result, she gained fans who loved her voice, but also fans who loved her voice so much they would profess romantic feelings of love towards her.
‘Cowboy Bebop’: John Cho, Mustafa Shakir Among Four Cast in Netflix Live-Action Series (Variety, Joe Otterson)
The main four are now fully cast.
Cho will star as Spike Spiegel, described as an impossibly cool bounty hunter with a deadly smile, a wry wit, and style to spare. He travels the solar system with his ex-cop partner, Jet, pursuing the future’s most dangerous bounties with a combination of charm, charisma — and deadly Jeet Kune Do.
Cho is known for his roles in the rebooted “Star Trek” film franchise as well as the “Harold and Kumar” films. He will also appear in an upcoming episode of the “Twilight Zone” reboot at CBS All Access. He is repped by UTA, 3 Arts Entertainment, and Morris Yorn.
Court says father sexually abused daughter but not guilty of charge (The Asahi Shimbun)
The man was let off on a technicality under the argument that the girl could have potentially fought back, despite the prosecution arguing that she had been a victim for many years. (CW: sexual assault, incest)
“It is difficult to determine that the accused had complete control over her and they were in a strong subservient relationship,” the court said. “There is reasonable doubt that the victim was in a state of not being able to put up resistance.”
Masako Chiku, deputy chief prosecutor with the Nagoya District Public Prosecutors Office, said in a statement: “We will carefully examine the ruling and make an appropriate response by consulting with a superior public prosecutors office.”
You’re allowed to grow out of your terrible opinions (The Otaku Journalist, Lauren Orsini)
If you’ve been on the internet long enough you’re probably embarrassed of your old posts, and that’s okay.
“At their best, my old blog posts needs a good editor. At their worst, they’re just plain offensive… I don’t owe anyone to store my posts in an unchanging, museum-like archive. This is my blog and I can run it however I want.”
The internet is forever, but we don’t have to be. I am forever evolving, becoming a better writer, a more intersectional feminist, and a more empathic member of our fandom community. My husband John and I make it a habit to remind each other, “You don’t have to be the same person you were yesterday.” Even if yesterday I overslept and said something dumb on Twitter, it doesn’t mean I’m the kind of person who can never get up in the morning or ever apologize for a stupid comment. Unless I double down, my mistakes do not have to define my permanent identity.
Gatekeepers, listeners, tax money: How Akita, once the prefecture with highest rate, halved suicides (The Japan Times, Elaine Lies)
The effort encompasses training individuals to talk to suicidal individuals without making things worse, and paying particular attention to vulnerable populations.
Akita also has an ever-growing network of “gatekeepers” — people trained to identify those contemplating suicide and, if needed, put them in touch with help. Anybody can undergo several hours of training from Akita public health personnel and take part.
“Basically, everybody is part of community suicide prevention. It’s everybody’s business,” Motohashi said.
Japan’s national barbers’ association has called on its members to get training, though few have volunteered to get involved so far. But 3,000 people in Akita have been trained since 2017 and the goal is 10,000, or one for every 100 people, by 2022.
Dororo is a Trans Icon (Fanbyte, Sinclair August)
A positive take on Dororo’s handling of its titular character thus far.
Dororo’s gender is never brought into question by anyone — including characters who can sense life energy — until he falls ill with a fever and is nursed by a Buddhist nun who comments to Hyakkimaru that “it must be difficult, traveling with such a young girl.” After Dororo has recovered and they leave, the thief realizes that his clothes have been washed — meaning the nun must have undressed him — and awkwardly asks Hyakkimaru if she said anything about him. It’s clear that he’s perfectly aware of his situation and that he presents male because he chooses to, not because he doesn’t know any better. This perfectly sidesteps one of the most frustrating tropes present in the manga.
Thread: News about Hiromi Takashima’s upcoming appearance at The Toronto Comic Arts Festival.
Thread: On the new imperial name “Reiwa” and its potentially concerning implications
Bonus: A video of Brian David Gilbert performing the Poke Rap
There’ve been some great titles coming out in the last few years, and it’s great that people are sharing them.