This week: Saint Seiya on Netflix cisswaps its gentlest, pinkest male character and calls it progress; Double Decker crashes and burns, and more instances of discrimination against female medical students come to light.
Genevieve Hammang compares the book and its adaptation, how medium dictates storytelling, and the choices that emphasized fantasy in one and romance in another.
We met our goal! Amelia lays out a little more about our stretch goals—the last big one to meet is an online store for the site.
Michael Coolwood on the largely uncritical gender roles the grown-up Naruto cast conforms to, consisting predominantly of stay-at-home moms and overworked dads.
Amelia shares her crowdfunding playbook for anyone hoping to learn how to launch a successful campaign.
The team investigates whether Allen is a trashbag (he is), whether women be competin (kinda), and how the dub’s doing compared to the legendary sub.
There’s a star-studded lineup starting in January—what are you looking forward to?
DOUBLE DECKER!’S TREATMENT OF TRANS CHARACTERS LEAVES LOTS TO BE DESIRED (Anime Herald, Samantha Ferreira)
An analysis of how early season front runner Double Decker stumbled and then imploded with its treatment of two trans characters.
The episode’s climax, which explains that the girl had left town after falling into drugs, does little to really solidify the character in any regard. She’s dropped unceremoniously at that point, and made into little more than a a prop for a sappy and convenient tragedy. She received a disappointing ending, which fits perfectly into the way Double Decker! treats more loaded social issues. The series is afraid to commit to firm stances on matters of this nature, instead opting to play with viewers through queerbaiting and half-measures.
Max and Yuri live together, they’re partners, and they’re basically the definition of “coded gay”, but the series won’t take that extra step to establish the fact. The factory workers in Episode 2 are oppressed, they’re on strike and fighting the cruel owners, but it’s okay, because the head of the union is also crooked!
And so on. It’s frustrating, and it’s borderline infuriating at times. Rather than take the time to build nuance, to craft characters and situations that are memorable and interesting, while remaining true to the messages they espouse, the writers instead choose to take the easy route by dropping a bomb, then running away. Max’s friend is no different. By the time the credits roll, she’s nothing more than a spectre; a ghost who’s been swept under the rug only to be forgotten, while the underlying message falls on deaf ears. We don’t know her preferred name, we don’t have a reason to even want to know. The audience will only know her as “Max’s trans friend”, or by her deadname.
Social Justice English 001: marginalized, prejudice, problematic, unacceptable (YouTube, Masaki C Matsumoto)
A new video series focusing on explaining English social justice terms in Japanese.
One of the reasons I started this channel was because I had activist/scholar friends who struggled with English when communicating with fellow activists, researchers, scholars etc. from other cultures. I wanted to help them. Some of my past videos are directly catered to that kind of audience, but here’s my serious attempt to create a repository of social justice vocabulary for them to learn. Also, if you’re learning Japanese, I translate each key word/phrase and example sentence into Japanese following English explanations.
A suburban home becomes an oasis for fans of girls’ manga (The Japan Times, Aoi Kobayashi)
Jun Nakano and Natsuya Oi transformed their home into a library where individuals could come and read shoujo manga for free.
Upon arriving, take off your shoes and feast your eyes on row upon row of shelves that reach almost to the ceiling, all filled with shōjo manga. The collection even includes volumes that were published in Japan’s Meiji Era, which began in 1868 and ended in 1912.
At the Jomakan, visitors are not allowed to photocopy or borrow any books but they can take photos and read them free of charge. The library has cozy reading corners with chairs, cushions and tables, allowing guests to immerse themselves in the worlds they discover on paper, which Nakano describes as stories that “start with beauty and end with love.”
Oi explains how shōjo manga were initially produced and edited mainly by men. Their protagonists were “ideal girls” depicted from the male point of view. That changed when magazines directed at women began offering opportunities for amateurs to submit their ideas in order to win prizes, which helped discover a broader range of artists.
At a time when women found few opportunities in other creative fields, many set their sights on becoming shōjo manga artists. In the 1970s, they became mainstays in the world of girls’ comics and the storylines “turned into something that elder sisters wanted to tell younger sisters,” according to Oi.
On “Japanese Men Harassing Black/Mexican Women” (YouTube, That Japanese Man Yuta)
A video speaking in defense of several videos posted by the account Morena in Japan, which detailed sexual harassment she’s faced in Japan.
This is my commentary on videos that Brianna from Morena in Japan uploaded. The videos show some Japanese men who made vulgar comments to her on the street. * I chose the term “black/Mexica” woman because that’s how Brianna identified herself in the “about” section.
Japanese school explains why it won’t let cold schoolgirl wear tights under her skirt (Japan Today, Casey Baseel)
The girl was told that she couldn’t wear tights because being cold would help her “concentrate.”
One of the ostensible reasons for schools requiring uniforms is that they’re supposed to help students concentrate. Without having to spare mental energy deciding what to wear or comparing their clothes to those of their classmates, the hope is that their young minds will be able to focus entirely on the vital educational content their teachers and textbooks are presenting.
However, @hanacoppy argues that the school’s policy on tights is completely backward in terms of helping kids learn. “In my entire life, I can’t recall ever being able to concentrate while I was thinking ‘My legs sure are cold,’” the frustrated mom said. “Haven’t the administrators ever heard of zukan sokunetsu?” she went on, referring to commonly held Japanese belief that translates literally as “cold head, warm legs” and holds that it’s the healthiest combination to keep your body in.
Other Twitter users were quick to poke a few more holes in the school’s logic.
Film to honor 1st Japanese female doctor after med school scandal (The Asahi Shimbun, Kenichi Shindo)
The film is set to pointedly draw comparisons between what Dr. Ogino faced at the time and discrimination against applicants now, according to the lead actress.
“Discrimination against women remains as rampant in medical circles as it was in the Meiji Era (1868-1912),” she said. “Now is the time for encouraging a broad audience by having them learn about the strength and kindness of Ginko, who stood up on behalf of women in an age of male chauvinism.”
Ogino was born in present-day Kumagaya, Saitama Prefecture. She was married into the family of a village head at the age of 17, only to get a divorce after contracting a venereal disease from her husband.
The humiliation she experienced when she was examined by male doctors, albeit for treatment purposes, motivated her to aspire to be a medical practitioner herself. She was 34 when she became the first woman to obtain a public medical license.
Ogino got remarried to a Christian missionary and went to the northern island of Hokkaido, a frontier of development at the time. She settled in Imakane to establish a utopia, called Immanuel Village. She moved to Setana on the Sea of Japan and set up her own “Ogino clinic.”
9 Gifts for the Black Nerds On Your Holiday List (Black Nerd Problems)
A list of online shopping suggestions predominantly spotlighting Black creators.
We know what time it is. IT’S SHOPPING SEASON, FRIENDS! Time to buy gifts for the Black nerds on your list. Honestly, we are moving out of Fun Shopping Season into Panic Shopping Season. Everyone who’s easy to shop for, we’ve covered it. Right now we’re in the sweet spot where we’re still looking for that special little thing before we just give up and buy everyone a Home Depot gift card. (What? Home Depot gift cards are hella useful!) Here’s our list of special things, many by Black creators, all nerd friendly, that may just be perfect for someone on your list. Or even yourself. Because you deserve it.
Netflix Remakes Saint Seiya And So Far, The Fan Reaction Is Not Good (Kotaku, Brian Ashcraft)
The production crew claimed to want to add more female representation to the show…and chose to do so by cisswapping the gentle, pacifist male character who wears pink armor.
Inclusiveness is great! The sensitivity to the current climate is admirable. Viewers who aren’t familiar with the series, especially younger viewers, will probably be oblivious to the change. However, for Saint Seiya fans, the decision overlooks the character’s essence and what makes him special.
Here is an excellent Twitter thread by Tales of Nothing co-creator Fanny Rodriguez that explains why:
Video: Handsign, a new music group that incorporates sign language into their performances
Sometimes YouTube’s algorithms are good at introducing me to new artists and finding really good MVs
I got recommended this the other day, the major debut single from a group called Handsign who incorporate sign language into their performances https://t.co/pavKoiIcLH
— Alicia Haddick/アリシア (@socialanigirl) December 5, 2018
Link: A Japanese article revealing more instances of discrimination against prospective female medical students.
Another Japanese medical school was found to have manipulated entrance exam scores. Juntendo University has deducted points from all female applicants during interviews, which they say was “necessary since women have higher communication skills than men.”https://t.co/iU1S7klwXL
— Eimi Yamamitsu | 山光瑛美 (@eimiyamamitsu) December 10, 2018
So many good upcoming manga, so little time…
The fact that there is so many new yuri series, in different genres from different publisher, coming out next year is super awesome!
I'm also really looking forward to Shimanami Tasogare, Snow White with the Red Hair, and Witch Hat Atelier
— Patricia Baxter (@Swirly313) December 12, 2018
There are so many I'm looking forward to! But I think I'm most excited about Asumiko Nakamura's Maiden Railways
— jess (@jessinbooks) December 11, 2018
Snow White with the Red Hair! I'm so excited.
— Hanna Paquette (@HannaPaquette) December 11, 2018