This week: all the premieres you may have missed, masculinity and cooking in Fate, and online attempts to find new ways to help the anime industry.
A work comedy about an evil corporation that doesn’t know where it wants to target its absurdity, and that expects way too much sympathy for its rich, middle-aged corporate protagonist’s struggles.
A gacha game adaptation with too many characters and no heart to back it up.
An isekai harem with slavery. Need we say more?
Functional, but with extremely telegraphed twists and little to no time spent building up audience investment in its characters.
A pulpy crime thriller from the 1980s notable for its central queer romance. Also comes with a laundry list of content warnings for interested viewers.
Has some fanservice but takes its characters and their sport seriously.
An absurd comedy with a great protagonist but some irritating and distracting boob nonsense.
Abysmal as effective horror but absolutely A+ gold as camp.
The other gacha-inspired anime, with at least a basic grasp on developing some endearing characters and giving its (still unnamed) protagonist some agency.
Mostly set-up right now, but bizarre and promising as all get-out.
A pretty run-of-the-mill idol show with a really, really creepy manager.
Not as awful as Demon Lord but still has a very patronizing “little sister/child” hierarchy for all the female characters.
An adorable edutainment show that sometimes falls into gender stereotypes with its active/passive roles.
A comedy determined to allow its high school protagonists to be awful and un-cute; your mileage may vary on if some of the jokes (about weight, etc.) are too cruel.
The Good Otome Anime of the season, with an active heroine, both an important female friend and adult role model, and some good supernatural boys.
It’s good at contrasting cutesy art with gory slapstick for effect, but otherwise it’s paper-thin.
Dee, Caitlin, and special guest Miranda Sanchez look back on TRIGGER’S Netflix hit.
The isekai harem offerings this season are terrible, so let’s look back on some good stuff.
A prolific Japanese blogger held a seminar about Internet trolls. Moments later, one killed him, police say. (The Washington Post, Allyson Chiu)
Kenichiro Okamoto was stabbed by a troll who’d left harassing comments on his blog; the killer then turned himself in.
According to Asahi Shimbun, police quoted Matsumoto saying, “I held a grudge against him over Internet (exchanges),” and “I thought I would kill him.”
While authorities say the pair never met in person, they are investigating a possible online connection, the newspaper reported.
In his blog, Okamoto wrote about his repeated encounters with an Internet troll he called “Teino Sensei,” or “Mr. Half-wit.”
On May 2, he wrote that the user had slandered him online and once harassed him seven times in one day.
“People who, like me, are accustomed to abusive phrases, do not have a problem,” he wrote. However, he noted that many other people would be scared if they were verbally attacked without warning.
How a Not-So-Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom: On Privilege and Hubris (Fantastic Memes, Frog-kun)
An examination of the fantasy trend wherein a protagonist brings modern advancements to the “primitive” society he (because it is usually a he) finds himself in.
I’m reminded of an occasion in university when a friend of mine told me his belief that monarchy is the ideal political system, but only if the monarch was enlightened and had the best interests of the people in mind. That way, they could enforce top-down measures quickly without being obstructed by the trappings of democracy. A benign tyrant, if you will.
That’s the kind of leader you see in Realist Hero.
I can’t blame the novel for its appeal. For all the problems of the modern world, life is better now than it was for the people of the past. The idea that someone with today’s knowledge would be considered the wisest of kings seems like a comfort. But that way of thinking is rooted in privilege and the unfounded belief that the knowledge of our society is something we achieved for ourselves.
After all, it is privilege that deludes us into believing, even for a moment, that if only we were made into kings we could fix the problems of the world.
Swords and Saucepans: Domesticity, Masculinity, and Emiya Shirou (The Afictionado, Alex Henderson)
A brief analysis of gender in Fate and its recent cooking spinoff, Today’s Menu for the Emiya Family.
It is so, so important to have male heroes who embrace traits usually classed as “feminine” and to have the story they’re in celebrate this rather than make it a quirk or a joke. This has always been an understated but crucial part of Shirou, and so in many ways Today’s Menu for the Emiya Family is a very logical next step in the portrayal of his character. While it might seem like a jarring juxtaposition next to the frightening and gory Heaven’s Feel films, really it just makes sense: story-wise, the supernatural battlefield and the kitchen have always been places where Shirou is equally at home. That’s just who he is, and that’s fine. In fact, that’s consistently been a really positive thing.
Sometimes heroism means defeating a great evil, sometimes it means making something delicious to serve to the people you care about. To the world at large, sure, maybe the first one seems more important, but both have always been equally important to Shirou as a character, and it’s really great to see a whole spinoff shining a spotlight on this, whether for that important social commentary or just for the simple enjoyment of watching a refreshingly compassionate young man prepare tasty-looking food.
Shining the Sports Spotlight on Girls in Hanebado! (Crunchyroll, Noelle Ogawa)
In celebration of the recent badminton anime and the way it allows its female leads to embody traditionally male sports tropes.
When girls do get the spotlight, even that’s a mixed feeling because the majority of what ends up being showcased is more of a “soft” type of sports. In a good chunk of anime and manga depicting girls in sports, there’s a large focus on how cute the girls can be. They’re meant to be appealing to the audience over being deep or sympathetic, so even in the middle of harsh physical activity, they’re sweet and soft. This ends up feeling somewhat abstract, as the first impressions while watching sports tend to not be on how cute the players are, but on their performances. That isn’t to say that these types of stories can’t be entertaining, but they rarely feel like sports. Rarely are you focused on being cute when you have a competition to win. It’s also important to note that male-centric stories don’t have this paradox— it’s only when women take the lead.
Hanebado doesn’t fall into these traps. It starts out moderately cute, but quickly evolves into the core of sports anime: drama and intensity. The Kitako City badminton club is failing at the start, with many people resigning from the club. They can’t go into competitions if they’re short on members, plain and simple. Their captain, Aragaki, is suffering from having her confidence shaken by losing a match to someone younger than her. The club needs to be revitalized and find more talent. Hope comes in the form of a newcomer Ayano, who is surprisingly resistant to the idea of joining the club, even with her wild talent in badminton. The need to get this newcomer into the club in order to succeed becomes a necessity, and thus begins the journey.
“Helping the Industry”: Otaku Coin, The Flying Colors Foundation & You (Anime News Network, Callum May and Zac Bertschy)
An examination of recent online initiatives trying to find new ways (with varying degrees of ethics and success) to support the anime industry.
The extensive media coverage of these garbage conditions opened up a wave of much-needed sympathy and understanding from the fan community at large – and also a new avenue for potential exploitation. In recent months, a whole bunch of new initiatives have popped up, all claiming to help you support the industry directly in a variety of creative ways. They range from things that seem perfectly trustworthy – like legitimate crowdfunding initiatives by trusted creators – to things that seem to raise more questions than they answer, like the Flying Colors Foundation’s recent data-gathering survey. Even cryptocurrency is being invoked as a solution for the anime industry’s problems, if only you’d buy in. It can be confusing to know which avenues will support creators, which will support the anime industry at large, and which ones will only support whoever’s asking you for money (or data) in the first place.
In this editorial, we’re going to examine a few of these recent initiatives – some of which are still ongoing, some of which have already shut down – in order to help illuminate some of the questions we should consider asking any organization claiming it needs our money, data, time or resources to help “save the industry”.
For HIV-positive individuals who might be looking to move to Japan.
Can I get reductions in medical expense of HIV?
Yes. At first, if you have health insurance, which you can get if you have a status of residence for 3 months or more, you only pay 30% of your medical costs. In addition, you could also apply for disability certificate, by which you receive reduction of the self-pay burden of HIV medical expense (for example, you will pay up to JPY5,000-20,000 per month according to income levels). Please consult a professional beforehand because you need to be careful when you apply for disability certificate.
A Brief History of Punk Rock in Japan (Yatta-tachi, Bill Curtis)
On the music and social scene of Japanese punk musicians.
The extreme left-wing views of many punks didn’t make it any easier. Disaffected Japanese youths, particularly LGBTQ people, the poor, and foreign nationals were drawn to the liberal politics and anti-capitalist & anti-government lyrics of punk. In America, record labels were happy to court controversy with these same themes. Rebellion sells in the West, and labels were happy to take advantage. As long as the lyrics didn’t violate FCC obscenity regulations, the punk bands would have no problem getting airplay on MTV and radio.
But in Japan, with its considerably more conservative public, you wouldn’t have a chance in hell. The record industry in Japan heavily self-censors, and will rarely record and never broadcast music that’s critical of the government. And so Japanese punks are all but forced into DIY recording and promotion.
LGBT Pride Events in Japan – Autumn 2018 (Nijiiro News)
Since summer is a rainy season, many of Japan’s outdoor Pride events are held closer to fall. There are five upcoming events listed here.
Many of you are surely aware of Japan’s biggest Pride celebration, Tokyo Rainbow Pride, which is held annually in spring. However, autumn is the season which hosts the most pride events across Japan!
Whether you’re already living in Japan or about to arrive as an ALT, exchange student, or tourist over the coming months, here are the events you have to look forward to!
Why Black Men Love Dragon Ball Z (Kotaku, Gita Jackson)
On DBZ’s masculinity, strong father figures like Piccolo, and its enduring popularity among Black men.
Emotional intimacy is something that men struggle with, black men arguably moreso than others. “So many black men live as if our lives are tombs,” Cassius editor at large Darnelle Moore wrote in an article for Ebony. “Our emotions, aspirations, longings, anxieties, complexities, mistakes, failures and imaginations are buried along with our truest selves. We are denied the ability to heal, to lead healthy relationships, to make amends for our errors, to be intimate, to be fully human, to be alive.” Although Dragon Ball Z may attract young black boys because of the flashy fights, it can also help them learn more about how to process their feelings.
“Especially as a black queer person, I never knew how to embrace my feelings,” Edwards said. He remembers turning to Dragon Ball Z when he lost a relative at a young age. In the show, characters die all the time, even Goku. They’re grieved by their loved ones, and then usually come back via some convenient plot device. In a weird way, this helped Edwards cope. He didn’t think that his dead relatives were going to come back, but he understood that death was a part of life and didn’t negate the good memories he had with them while they were alive. Two years ago, when his father died, Dragon Ball Z and its sequel series Dragon Ball Super helped him to process his grief. “It really helped me better understand how to better deal with those kinds of things. It just helped me become a better person. … Wherever my dad is, he would be proud of me and all of my hard work.”
Review: Go for it, Nakamura! (Otaku She Wrote, Marion Bea)
A light and fluffy comedy series about a gay teen trying to befriend his crush.
Syundei’s art style truly knows what I like. It shows plenty of love for the 80s aesthetic, and sometimes, it invokes shojo’s style with things like its flowery panels and the occasional full-body character introduction that overlaps the rest of the panels. Certain character’s expressions or quirks, dramatic pauses and poses remind me of Rumiko Takahashi’s style in particular (this even has what I call “getting the hell away from trouble”). However, there’s just enough personality here to make Syundei’s style feel unique.
What Nakamura wants the most is to just be able to talk to and befriend his crush. We spend plenty of time seeing just how much Nakamura likes Hirose, which is terribly entertaining, but readers might appreciate knowing that friendship is the end goal here. Still, there are just enough hints of Hirose liking boys–and he spends valuable time connecting with Nakamura–to makes us feel like all Nakamura needs to “get the boy” is some time and courage. Good luck, Nakamura. I’m rooting for you.
Let’s hear it for those great lady-led isekai series!
*just starts singing Yakusoku Wa Iranai, the Escaflowne OP*
— Ashley: Fujoshi Princess (@AshleyUncia) July 10, 2018
Red River! pic.twitter.com/7PAZ4NlZ3C
— Hanna Paquette (@HannaPaquette) July 10, 2018
Well, my *head* says 12 Kingdoms
But my heart
My heart… pic.twitter.com/Cib5EXg6NO
— Joseifuru (@joseinextdoor) July 10, 2018