This week: eugenics, workplace discrimination, and the cost of piracy for manga artists.
A rom-com that plays right into the excuse that Nice Guy otaku prefer 2D women because real girls were just so mean to them, and a love interest who’s Not Like Other Girls.
A slightly depressing indicator, at least from a longtime fan’s perspective, that the series is sinking back into lazy mediocrity made exclusively for straight men rather than trying to build on bolder previous iterations.
A political fantasy series with promise but also a grimdark reputation, which probably means a lot of victimized women.
A sweet comedy with one out-of-place character and a lot of Great Cats.
By-the-numbers as a sports story but executed gorgeously.
Refreshingly down-to-earth about the realities of being an athlete, but with a slightly thin premise.
Wallows in the physical and emotional abuse of its young heroine with sickening glee and detail.
A charming found-family story with a lot of heart in spite of the often misused premise.
Briefly threatened to be interesting and use vampires as a metaphor for predatory men hiding in plain sight, but crashes and burns into victim blaming and assault-as-titillation.
A kid-friendly sports story with great female characters—who should definitely be the protagonists instead.
Wavers between earnestly relatable and cute-girl cliché, with a major stumbling block around one of its characters being pushed into drawing erotica against her will.
Feels more like an esports match than a premiere, with almost no time to get to know the characters.
A functional premiere with a lot of promise, but it could stand to lighten up a bit.
Not the place to start with the historic franchise, hamstrung by making its fanservicey protagonist a minor and using queerness as either a threat or a punchline.
Possibly the best-directed ATLUS adaptation to date, but hard to get into if you’re new to the story.
Still works as a tongue-in-cheek comedy, but needs to find its heart among the new cast dynamic.
A paranoia thriller headed by yet another asshole genius protagonist.
It is indeed a great story with rare representation of a marginalized indigenous group, but it’s hampered by some truly abominable CGI.
New versions of classics are all over the place this season. Pitch us yours.
Vrai, Amelia, and special guests Lizzie Visitante and Jacqueline-Elizabeth Cottrell talk about Sayo Yamamoto’s directorial debut, its depiction of Brazil, and whether it captures the struggles of brown and Black women.
Announcement of the Application for the 12th Japan International MANGA Award. (Japan International Manga Award)
A call for submissions which is open to international contestants.
The application period for the 12th Japan International MANGA Award is from April 2nd 2018 to June 15th 2018.We are looking forward to entries from MANGA artists all over the world!
Guidelines for Application
1. Purpose To spread MANGA culture overseas and promote international cultural exchanges through MANGA.
(1) The Gold Award of the Japan International MANGA Award will be given to the best MANGA work and the Silver Award to three other excellent works.
(2) The Gold Award and the Silver Award winners will be invited to Japan on the occasion of the award ceremony for around 10 days as a supplementary prize (the fine work winners are not entitled).
‘They stole my life away’: women forcibly sterilised by Japan speak out (The Guardian, Daniel Hurst)
Testimonies from women who were unwillingly operated on under the Eugenic Protection Law.
Between 1948 and 1996, about 25,000 people were sterilised under the law, including 16,500 who did not consent to the procedure. The youngest known patients were just nine or 10 years old. About 70% of the cases involved women or girls.
Yasutaka Ichinokawa, a sociology professor at the University of Tokyo, says psychiatrists identified patients whom they thought needed sterilisation. Carers at nursing homes for people with intellectual disabilities also had sterilisation initiatives. Outside such institutions, the key people were local welfare officers known as Minsei-iin.
“All of them worked with goodwill, and they thought sterilisations were for the interests of the people for whom they cared, but today we must see this as a violation of the reproductive rights of people with disabilities,” Ichinokawa says.
After peaking at 1,362 cases in a single year in the mid-1950s, the figures began to decline in tandem with a shift in public attitudes.
Anime Boston 2018: Aniplex of America or How NOT to Run An Industry Panel (Anime Herald, Samantha Ferreira)
A panel report on efforts to pander to fandom’s lowest common denominator.
Then came the next trailer, which advertised the upcoming Blu-Ray release for Eromanga Sensei. I won’t go into the details, but it’s another sibling-love rom-com. Following the promo teaser, the host actually started pleading with the audience to watch it. “It’s a great show!” they began, “You just have to look past the (coughs) questionable stuff!”
Note that, if you have to beg people to look past some genuinely ugly things in a show, it’s probably not worth their time.
But anyway, it was at this moment that someone three rows behind me decided to yell “INCEST IS WINCEST!”, again, leading to a not-insignificant amount of laughter from the crowd. The host did nothing to shut it down, did nothing to really address that we had a creeper in our midst. They just smiled and continued.
Things came to a head shortly afterwards, during which Owarimonogatari’s third volume came up. It was at this point, that the host began unironically calling for waifu wars between the attendees, causing the crowd to erupt in chants for their “best girl.”
At that point, I was done. Without a word, I shut my laptop, rolled my eyes, and walked right the hell out. I might have missed something during this, but I didn’t give a rat’s butt at the moment. I’m here to work, not to deal with some industry rep elevating some of the very worst elements of our fandom from behind a table.
Japanese couple apologise for ignoring work pregnancy timetable by conceiving ‘before their turn’ (The Telagraph, Danielle Demetriou)
Women are being shamed in the work force for not conforming to childbearing timetables meant to be convenient to company nurseries.
Many commentators were critical of the nursery, claiming such rules are a violation of human rights – although some were sympathetic to the challenges faced by childcare centres due to widespread staffing shortages.
Japanese women have long had a tough time in the workplace, due to widespread gender discrimination, with the nation slipping to 114th place out of 144 countries in last year’s World Economic Forum global gender equality rankings.
Maternity harassment – known as “matahara” in Japan – is also a major issue, with a 2015 government survey revealing that half of the nation’s working women suffered some kind of harassment after becoming pregnant, with one in five dismissed from their job.
The Mommy Track: Motherhood in Sailor Moon (Shojo Power!, Anne Lee)
A discussion of the assumption of mandatory eventual motherhood in Sailor Moon in contrast with its other feminist themes.
Moreover, this was the time the economic bubble of the 80s burst, and the Japanese economy went into a recession. Young women were seen as a bright hope for the Japanese economy–but the expectation for marriage and babies was still there. (Sugawa-Shimada, Page 185)
It’s surprising to me that those involved with the anime felt the need to connect Sailor Moon’s superhero status to motherhood–after all, we know Sailor Moon goes on to marry Tuxedo Mask and have a child. What more do you need? Well, maybe a bit more considering what happens in the manga.
As I’ve written about previously, the concept of shōjo is the time period between puberty and marriage. In the Sailor Moon universe, we know that Usagi can no longer transform into Sailor Moon once she gets married and births Chibiusa. But what about the other sailor guardians? What does their future hold? In the manga, we see the guardians in their sailor uniforms. I think this strongly implies they are not married and they do not have children.
Ep. 3 of “The All-Women Panel On Manga” is on “My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness”! (The Black Manga Critic)
Exactly what it says on the tin: a video roundtable discussion about MLEWL.
Internet piracy taking major bite out of Japan’s famed manga culture (The Japan Times, Shusuke Murai)
A breakdown of the current cost of piracy on the manga industry.
Manga creators aren’t being compensated fairly because no royalties are paid for content that is distributed without the consent of the copyright holders.
A Tokyo-based manga creators’ group, Manga Japan, has expressed concern that the comic book industry may eventually perish if manga piracy continues unabated on the web.
While some legitimate services let visitors read e-comics for free, they are contracted to pay royalties to creators, unlike piracy websites, Manga Japan says. The group is urging readers not to access such websites.
Piracy websites “only care about making money. They don’t care about how they will affect the future of manga creators. They are not manga fans. They are just exploiting it,” the group said in a statement.
Another group of content creators, the Japan Cartoonists Association, says that while it is “truly wonderful” that more people can enjoy manga on computers and mobile phones, the business ecosystem that nurtured Japan’s manga culture has been devastated by “some thoughtless companies.”
A video essay on how CCS subverts the tired women-in-competition (especially over a boy) narrative.
Voice Actress Atsuko Enomoto Shares Her “#MeToo” Story (Anime Herald, Samantha Ferreira)
A translation of Enomoto’s tweets on her experience with harassment in the anime industry.
Rough Translation: I want to say this right now, because the number of children who aspire to be voice actors has increased. Anime is like a sparkling dream, but it’s human beings who make it, and there are problems everywhere, and it’s not possible to remain a princess.
May I continue to work in an industry where we protect the youngest children. May the adults show more concern. I wish for everyone to enjoy their work.
A majority of guide dog users have reported being denied entry to certain facilities despite laws banning such discrimination.
But an Eye Mate official said improvement has not been achieved, citing the fact that the number of people denied entry rose 1.0 percentage point in the latest survey, the third of its kind, compared with the previous one conducted between February and March last year.
In a multiple-choice question about facilities that declined to provide services because people were accompanied by guide dogs, 78.7 percent cited restaurants, while 28.0 percent pointed to taxis, 21.3 percent said accommodation facilities and 13.3 percent cited supermarkets or convenience stores.
Asked how they responded to such discrimination, 68.0 percent said they explained their situation to gain service providers’ understanding, while 26.7 percent said they demonstrated that their guide dogs were gentle and would not cause a disturbance.
After such efforts, 50.7 percent said they were able to enter facilities while 28.0 percent said they were still not allowed to do so.
Bonus: A list of groups that will be marching in Tokyo’s annual pride parade.
May 6th, the last day of our 2018 event, will be the pride parade! ????
The total of 37 groups, will take the streets in Shibuya and Harajuku. ????
— 東京レインボープライド #TRP (@Tokyo_R_Pride) April 10, 2018
There’ve been a HUGE number of suggestions, and it doubles as a list of classics to check out!
HOW THE HELL DID I FORGET PETSHOP OF HORRORS?
While the OVAs have their moments, a series as pretty as PSOH deserves a take that is both as spooky and lavish as the original manga itself and doesn't neglect D & Leon's dynamic.
— Brainchild129 (@brainchild129) April 10, 2018
Bubblegum Crisis. Update the themes for a 21st century feminist context, make some of the cast queer, and it'd be amazing. pic.twitter.com/40dSus9x1b
— ???? James 'Reaf' Miller ???? (@WCReaf) April 10, 2018
Also a remake for Basara 🙁
My favorite manga of all time?? A 20+ volumes saga of overthrowing a government getting lackluster 12 episodes anime?? I'm sad 24/7.
— vins @ Hiraeth (@apocalypselatte) April 10, 2018