[Links] 4-10 October 2017

Premieres. So very, very many premieres….

AniFem Round-Up

[Review] Black Clover – episode 1

A by-the-numbers shounen with a particularly irritating lead.

[Review] JUNI TAISEN: ZODIAC WAR – episode 1

It’s total garbage of the murder game variety, and it’s good at it.

[Review] SENGOKU NIGHT BLOOD – episode 1

Everything you shouldn’t do when adapting an otome game.

[Review] URAHARA – episode 1

Visually stylish but has a hard time selling why you should stick around (for characters or stakes).

[Review] Infini-T Force – episodes 1-2

A CGI crossover that isn’t interested in welcoming newcomers and features heroes who’re mostly unknown to western fans.

[Review] KONAHANA KITAN – episode 1

A “cute girls doing things” (and maybe yuri) series that’s soured by assault “comedy” and fanservice.

[Review] TsukiPro the Animation – episode 1

A show about and voiced by idol groups that’s mostly interested in selling you product.

[Review] Just Because! – episode 1

A promising slice-of-life about leaving high school that might end up being very crush-focused.

[Review] King’s Game – episode 1

It’s too sleazy to be good gore trash and too bad to be anything else.

[Review] Kino’s Journey – the Beautiful World – episode 1

Replicates the original’s mix of contemplation and suspense. Hopefully CR fixes the subs regarding Kino’s pronouns going forward.

[Review] Girls’ Last Tour – episode 1

An “innocents in a terrible world” story that’s a little too cutesy to land.

[Review] Recovery of an MMO Junkie – episode 1

A cute rom-com about a 30-year-old NEET woman, but its somewhat shallow handling of gender and sexuality might be a deal-breaker for some folks.

[Review] DYNAMIC CHORD – episode 1

Basically TsukiPro, but messier and therefore more fun.

[Review] TWOCAR – episode 1

An Obscure Sports Anime about girls being friends; could stand to ease up on the butt shots.

[Review] Code: Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~ – episode 1

How you definitely should adapt an otome game. Featuring a dapper steampunk corgi.

[Review] Land of the Lustrous – episode 1

Body horror, excellent CG, and a nonbinary cast of sentient rock people. Vrai and Peter’s pick of the season.

[Review] The Ancient Magus’ Bride – episode 1

The premiere features a lot of red flags that Dee promises are treated respectfully as the story goes. A favorite among at least half the team.

[Review] Dies Irae – episode 0

Hey, don’t make a show in 2017 that turns a real historical Nazi into a handsome bishounen. It doesn’t matter if he’s technically a villain.

[Review] GARO -VANISHING LINE- episode 1

The good stuff gets buried under its total contempt for all its female characters.

[Review] BLEND-S – episode 1

Somewhat uncomfortable since the main characters are high schoolers, but also captures the feeling of working in the service industry well.

[Review] Anime-Gataris – episode 1

Focuses on the enthusiasm of otaku in a kind way; shame about that one walking stereotype.

[Review] A Sister’s All You Need – episode 1

It’s even worse than you’re thinking.

[Podcast] Chatty AF 26: Fushigi Yugi watchalong – Episodes 1-7

The start of a new multi-part series! Dee and Caitlin adored this show growing up. Vrai… slightly less so.

[AniFemTalk] Your summer 2017 favorites

A look back at last season before we plunge fully into the new one.

 

Beyond AniFem

Women Discuss Diversity in the Cosplay Community (Mic)

A Twitter thread/video featuring cosplayers of color discussing their struggles (and also featuring their kickass costumes).

The intersex rights movement is ready for its moment (The Washington Post)

With discussions over pronouns and identity in Kino’s Journey and Land of the Lustrous this season, it feels important to highlight the real-world push for recognition of gender diversity. Particularly for intersex folks, who are often surgically “normalized” as infants before they can make the choice regarding their own bodies.

Even setting aside the most dramatic cases, many children who have early surgery will need more operations later, leading to additional nerve damage and scarring in one of the body’s most sensitive places. These follow-up operations can foster “a medicalized experience of one’s own genitalia,” says Lih-Mei Liao, a psychologist who specializes in intersex patients. “Especially if there are complications, people can have difficulty thinking about their genitalia as a body part they can enjoy, that really belongs to them.”

The struggle between activists and the medical establishment shows no signs of abating. In 2011, a number of activists were invited to serve as advisers for a National Institutes of Health-funded research network on intersex medical care — but feelings toward the project quickly soured. The advocates resigned en masse in 2015. Medical historian Alice Dreger spoke for many when she wrote at the time, “I am fed up with being asked to be a sort of absolving priest of the medical establishment in intersex care.”

One surgeon, who spoke on the condition of anonymity so as not to convey any bias to patients, told me, “I think the fight is getting worse, and I don’t know why they’re turning it back into a fight.” Increasingly, advocates have argued that there can be no compromise with what Dreger (borrowing from ethicist George Annas’s work on conjoined twins) termed the “monster ethics” of intersex surgery: the idea that the ordinary rules of morality don’t apply to these children, and that nearly anything can be justified to make them “normal,” acceptable and, therefore, fully human.

An essay about JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and queer masculinities (Medium)

An excellent academic-leaning article on how the open emotion and framing of bodies and fashion creates a subtextually queer space in JJBA.

As the series developed, so did its masculinities. Parts 1–3 all contained exceptionally burly body types, being inspired by Fist of the North Star’s and the bodybuilder and fitness craze of the 1980s. Jonathan and Dio Brando, Joseph and the pillar men, Jotaro and DIO, all of them were massive. Part 4 and 5 featured slimmer, more toned-down, self-involved, and pretty men. Having slid down the more feminine end of the scale, part 6 was Araki’s first attempt at putting women in the spotlight. He got scared of that so in part 7 and 8 returned to feminine men, starring Johnny Joestar as an incredible disabled character and Josuke 2 as a cute sailor boy and probably the first-ever character with canonically four testicles.

Even as the series went on and it began to drift toward more androgynous areas, Araki never changed the way he conceptualised manliness. When masculine bodies are exposed, becoming the exposition according to the rules of a straight male gaze, this disrupts heteronormative prescriptions of looking. It creates a masculinity that is subject to vulnerability, while not being vulnerable per se. Above all, it engages itself in its erotic potentiality, achieving an incredible, equalising effect. The masculine and the feminine, following the same standards! How about that. It’s clear that JoJo’s locus of queer masculinity resides in the ostensible permission for masc body types to partake in typically feminine (sometimes even misogynist) tropes of choreography and drama. What is shown is a manliness that is queer, safe, and sexual.

JoJo characters are allowed to be who they want to be — as such, they embrace their own hyperpersonal style. But it also means that they cry a lot, or are extremely sensitive about their hair. Traits that mascs have to avoid, because of the fragilility of straight masculinity. This abstract ideal instills a suffering by shuttering off emotional parts that prevent productive, self-caring release. Patriarchy is a bastard.

URAHARA and the Current Climate of Street Fashion in Harajuku (Crunchyroll)

On URAHARA as a snapshot of Harajuku and its once-individual, now threatened by consumerist, fashion culture—a way for young people to stand out in a conformist culture.

Above all else, Harajuku fashion was, and remains, transient. These designs and outfits were often of the day they were worn only. The next day, various pieces would be repurposed into an entirely new outfit with a different theme or aesthetic.

Perhaps the wearer was a high school student who felt stifled by societal pressures and the monotony of their everyday life. In Harajuku, they could shed their school uniform, a uniform that tied them to a specific institution as its student—which brought with it the reputation of the school itself—and put on an outfit that stood out.

Dressing differently, after all, is the easiest way to establish yourself as an individual, especially in a society that values homogeneity. This is the essence of Harajuku street fashion.

“Much in the same way that language differentiates between two groups,” Aoki said in a 2012 interview with The New Yorker. “Fashion was born from the desire to create a clear distinction between oneself and others. The act of people wearing clothing has value as art, and it has become my life’s work to document this phenomenon.”

Murasaki Shikibu: The Japanese lady who created romance (April Magazine)

A biography of the world’s first novelist, writer of The Tale of Genji.

Murasaki circulated each chapter of the novel to her friends, who copied it and distributed it in their circles. The self-published novel’s popularity spread like wildfire – or the scent of incense – and Murasaki Shikibu ended up getting invited to the court to serve the Empress.

It was predictable that the Japanese would love this new sensational literature. As mentioned above, it has all the elements. What is surprising, even by today’s standard, is how Murasaki exceeded the direct description of her peers and succeed at analyzing universal psychologies in specific environments. Start with the prince, Hikaru Genji. The series of relationships with all sorts of women could have remained superficial, but his character goes through the agony of first love, obsession over his wife, guilt, and vanity from power, all the layers that make a character multi-dimensional.

Then there are the women, more interesting characters than the title role. The character of Murasaki no Ue may seem problematic, but the motif of ‘a woman sculpted as a man’s ideal’ is not that rare. It is rare to see such character goes through the pain of a wife who is beloved by the husband but does not have a child and the agony of raising a child of your husband and another woman. For the gravity of challenges and the depth of character, it is not farfetched to say Murasaki no Ue is a better-developed character. How did Murasaki Shikibu create such characters in a novel? She couldn’t learn from the precedent since she was the first.

“Rainbow March” Held in Sapporo After 4 Year Hiatus (Nijiiro News)

The march was reinvigorated by a college student, who revived the event after the previous administrative board collapsed.

Hinata Keiko (35) a stylist from Sapporo Nishi-Ku gave her thoughts on the event, saying “I heard that anyone could join whether they are LGBT or not, so I decided to join, and I had a lot of fun.” A male university student (26) from Sapporo Higashi-Ku said “Seeing everyone walking though the park was moving.”

Morigiuchi of the executive committee said, “I would like the citizens of Sapporo to see first hand that the [sic] are LGBT people living among them.”

A Note from the Editor’s Desk – On Removing A Post on Okazu (Okazu)

Because we previously featured the post in question here in the links, it felt important to include the ensuing information as well.

Every day in the news, we can read about “nice guys” that “everyone knew” who have a long string of victims of harassment and predatory sexual and emotional behavior. In fact, this very week, the news has two such situations – one on the larger national political scale and another in the blogging/online magazine world.  It takes a lot of effort, shame and publicity to get publishers and donors, academic institutions and employers to cut their ties from people they like, or who are successful, even after repeated stories of abuse are uncovered.

Like me, you may have read one of these stories and said, “Just fire the creep.” I have always said that, as I think most reasonable people might.

Equally, I expect most of you know I have been targeted for online abuse on and off for decades, beginning with my time on USENET and 4-chan’s years-long love affair with me. ^_^ I’m fairly impervious to trolls, attempts at harassment and abuse, but I understand others have had a different experience and people can be severely emotionally traumatized by online harassment.

Hi, I’m Atsuko Tanaka, Veteran Japanese Animator [Industry Interview] (Yatta-tachi)

Tanaka has been working in feature film since 1979’s Cagliostro, and has contributed to both Japanese and American projects.

How has the animation process changed – if at all – from the older Ghibli classics to more modern spectacles like Your Name.?

I haven’t seen much difference. However, I have seen the director’s differences. For example, with Shinkai (director of Your Name.), he doesn’t want to put so much detail into the animation; however, he is very into the timing of the music, the story, and the background. So for the animation that I did with him and his studio, I had to focus on those things. However, Miyazaki is an animator, he wants to see all the details. He wants to fix all the details. That is a huge difference.

Koike’s policies on foreign affairs and security receiving more scrutiny ahead of election (The Japan Times)

While Koike would be Japan’s first female prime minister, she’s heavily conservative-leaning and has expressed support for revoking article 9 (renouncing war) and building a nuclear arsenal.

“Washington is more comfortable with conservative parties due to their positions on security and the alliance,” Kingston said.

Skepticism, however, is growing about whether Koike’s party can build good relations with Beijing and Seoul, against a backdrop of her previous controversial remarks and actions on diplomatic and security issues.

Koike, who was elected governor in 2016, has opposed a proposal to give foreign residents of Japan the right to vote in local elections.

In 2003, she told a major daily that Japan should consider nuclear armament, depending on the international situation, even though the government has upheld since 1967 the three principles of not possessing, producing or allowing nuclear weapons in the country.

The JoongAng Ilbo, a major South Korean daily, said Koike is seen as more right-leaning than Abe, warning last month that further shift to the right would increase regional tensions.

 

AniFem Community

We got some great responses about last season’s winners (and would love to hear more).

Season 2 of My Hero Academia was the standout for my family this year - that was the show that made us all sit around the TV on Sunday nights. Personally, as the surprise I found that I enjoyed Fastest Finger First more than expected - it started bad, with some seriously misplaced fan service, but then they dropped it and the series became much more likeable. But I'm a fan of the quirky sports anime, so there's that. We also got delightfully caught up in Kabukibu. But nothing pulled us in like My Hero. At the moment my daughter and I see Kino and Infini-T as the two that we're most looking forward to each week, even though it is early days, and Restaurant to Another World as the one we are looking forward to catching up on the most. Infini-T is pretty dumb, but in an enjoyable way, and Kino started very, very well. I understood the opinions here regarding Restaurant to Another World, but we're in a different situation, as both of us really enjoy (and often need) the quiet, relaxing anime that allows us to gently sink into another world. Restaurant to Another World has been very good at fulfilling that need.

 

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  • Brainchild129

    Aces & Ecchi:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6wDPKWG-nQ&t=0s

    What starts as a review of High School DxD turns into a monologue about the problem of being asexual in a fandom where hypersexual material is the norm. It’s a little rambly (as the reviewer often tends to be), but it’s a sincere statement and a bold one, as it goes against the largely hetero norms of Youtube anime reviews.

  • Thanks for starting to include site comments!