This week: NHK and LGBTQ+ representation, Netflix and piracy, and #BlackGirlMagic…
The team held a number of mini-roundtables to discuss our takes on the season so far.
Vrai analyzes the representation of queerness in the context of the most recent addition to the Devilman franchise.
After 10 instalments, this rollercoaster of a watchalong has finally reached the end!
Crunchyroll’s Anime Awards are still open for voting, and we want to know where you stand… on such important matters as “Is Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju the best, or not?”
January 2018 Update: Ethics in Anime Journalism (Fantastic Memes, Kim Morrissy)
A glimpse behind the scenes of the process Kim goes through writing news and features for Anime News Network and Crunchyroll.
The latest This Week in Anime column had a vocal minority of people accusing the website for being “insulting and derogatory” because the writers used the word “heteronormative” in an opinion piece.
Of course, there is more to ethics in journalism than picking the “right” side in the culture wars. So I would like to dedicate today’s blog post to some of the ethical concerns I deal with as an anime journalist on a day to day basis.
Piracy is an ethical problem that’s hard to treat, as details of this crackdown demonstrate.
Specifics cited in news reports claim that two of the suspects are a 24-year-old female research student and a 25-year-old female graduate student. They were arrested for translating a manga series and character dialogues for a video game. Japanese police are looking into other translations of copyrighted works the suspects are liable for, as they are part of an online group that has allegedly translated over 15,000 manga items without authorization.
Why Netflix Making More Anime May Not Be a Good Thing for Fans (Forbes, Lauren Orsini)
On the flip side, Lauren looked into why Netflix’s increased involvement with anime leads to its own ethical quandaries.
When Netflix artificially defers a release for later, anime creators lose out, too. According to numbers from The Association of Japanese Animations, overseas anime distribution made up a larger portion of revenue in 2017 than ever before. If most American fans are not pirating and therefore are not excited about a show while it’s coming out, they’re less likely to support the show either by promotion through social media channels or by buying merchandise.
Abusive Relationships in Shoujo Manga by the Numbers: Week 16 (Heroine Problem, Caitlin Moore)
Caitlin’s excellent series continues, this week with a little introspection inspired by a piece on AniFem.
The fact is, there’s never just one “correct” way to read a story. Sure, it’s possible to wildly misread a story, but there’s a lot of room for interpretation in the truth. We all have a huge collection of lenses and frameworks that contribute to how we think of things. Many of the series I’ve been the most harshly critical of have been huge bestsellers, so clearly a lot of people find something of value to them, even if it’s just entertainment. Others find them to be a safe way to explore dangerous fantasies, or as a launching pad to explore concepts like masculinity, class struggle, and so on.
Coming Out of Your (World’s) Shell: Growing Up and Breaking Free with Cocona and Utena (The Afictionado, Alex Henderson)
AniFem contributor Alex on the representations of adolescence in queer fan favorites FLIP FLAPPERS and Revolutionary Girl Utena.
Adolescence is weird. This is why, I think, we’re so fascinated by coming-of-age stories, and why we so enjoy framing them through magic, adventure, and metaphor, to make sense of this strange time of life while also exploring it in fun and interesting ways. The growth from the familiarity of childhood to the strange new realm of adulthood is often portrayed as a physical journey, but today I want to discuss when that growth is portrayed as an escape.
Day 2 – Jacque Aye (#28DaysofBlackAnime, Destiny Senpai)
As part of the activities around Black History Month, Destiny has set up a blog to spotlight Black people in anime and the industry. You should check out the whole blog, starting with last week’s interview with CEO Jacque Aye of Adorned By Chi and Candy Coated Curls.
DS: What do you foresee in the future with anime and black community? For example the fandom, storylines, animators etc.
JA: I definitely see more Black creators tackling the anime art style and format along with more diverse story telling in all genres of anime. With shows like Neo Yokio and Cannon Busters (which I’m SO HYPE FOR) I see us gaining more representation in parody/mecha/action anime but I want a Black magical girly girl.
Godiva runs full-page ad asking Japanese women to stop buying so much Valentine’s chocolate (Sora News 24, Casey Baseel)
High-end chocolatier Godiva took a stand against the practice of ‘giri-choco’, the social expectation on Japanese women to buy ‘obligation chocolate’ for their male colleagues and other men with whom they have platonic relationships.
As mentioned in the ad, Godiva’s specific complaint is about giri choco, but when Japanese women pick out what to buy for giri choco, they pretty much universally opt for low-priced brands. Some companies even knowingly play up this understanding, like Pocky has done in the past with its limited-time “Giricky” giri choco packaging.
On the other hand, no one’s buying Godiva’s pricy chocolates to give as giri choco. Yes, all chocolate makers see a surge in sales in February, but in Godiva’s case, it’s from women who’re buying expensive morsels for a serious boyfriend, loving husband, or, increasingly, to enjoy themselves.
The Japanese government has strengthened their position against discrimination of same-sex couples to include certain microaggressions as well.
Refusing accommodation to same-sex couples has already been established as a violation of management guidelines, but the announcement is being seen as an attempt to directly address and clarify the Ministry’s position against discrimination.
Among the revisions made to the hotel guidelines on January 31st, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare gave specific examples of requests that should not be rejected, such as reserving a room with a double bed.
NHK tries to clear up LGBT misconceptions (Japan Times, Philip Brasor)
An in-depth piece on LGBTQ+ representation – or the lack thereof – on recent Japanese TV.
Japanese TV has always strived to uncomplicate matters, to make them easy to understand and digest. Another LGBT scholar told the newspaper that producers use onee-kei celebrity because people watch TV “to forget about their everyday lives.” They don’t want complexity, but she insists it’s the media’s job to promote understanding. In that regard, NHK is doing what it should do, but in dramatic terms “Joshiteki” is almost as two-dimensional as those problematic variety shows.
How to make more money from creative work (and free tools to start right away) (Medium, Amelia Cook)
Our editor-in-chief Amelia is setting up a new project for independent creators. Last week she published a piece on Medium explaining her motivations for starting this project, and its roots in her experiences with AniFem.
When I say “everyone gets paid” at Anime Feminist, I feel compelled to add “except me.” Like that’s something to be proud of.
I’ve been following an unwritten rule of creators: those who seem to expect money for their work do not deserve it, and will not receive it without the proper level of humility and gratitude.
Following this rule, I cannot be seen to accept — or even want — money for my work with Anime Feminist, in case people see that as a sign of impure motives and withhold their patronage.
In other words, the dominant narrative in our culture that “creators should work for the love of it” makes it a financial risk for us to be seen treating our creative projects like a business.
We need to talk about how messed up that is — and the very real impact it has on society.
We asked what you would vote for in Crunchyroll’s Anime Awards – Some answers we expected (hi there Rakugo) but apparently Re:Creators deserves a second look!
RAKUGO SHINJUU. No questions asked.
— let’s pop together (@uknmothergoose) February 6, 2018
Lustrous and Rakugo. Generally if only one of them is nominated it’s an easy vote, if both are it’s usually coinflip time.
Hate all time ranking things. Eva is pretty dope though
— Lassi Ahlberg (@l4hlborg) February 6, 2018
ACCA. no question
— ????????✨ (@JohnImadNasr) February 6, 2018
Rakugo, March comes in like a lion and My Hero Academia are my top for 2017
For all times: Yuri on Ice of course ❤️
— Cerise!!! en France ???????? (@OpaleDeFeuAC) February 6, 2018
I feel like I’m the only one who really loved Re:Creators ????it wasn’t perfect but I loved that it explores the creative process as well as toxic elements of online art consumption/community that isn’t really talked about in shows a lot. pic.twitter.com/BeeXQpRxvW
— ✨NEW YEAR????NEW TARY✨ (@teriarchibbles) February 6, 2018
(Not pictured: the chorus of responses agreeing with Teri about Re:Creators)