Marriage equality, Alita’s big eyes, and the apparent horror of women doing things alone.
Caitlin talks with the author of Full Moon O Sagashite about her influences and body of work (including fanart!).
Marion Bea shares how YoI helped her confront her internalized homophobia and eventually come out herself.
Dee, Peter, and Vrai discuss Satoshi Kon’s penultimate film, its tackling of the socially marginalized, and some bad translation choices.
Let’s talk ill-advised or plain baffling choices in bringing over anime for English speakers.
2 Tokyo wards drop gender info fields from job applications (The Asahi Shimbun, Taichiro Yoshino)
This move is partly in consideration of trans applicants who haven’t been able to change the gender designations on their family register.
“When your gender in your social life is different from your gender on paper, that makes it difficult to identify yourself in health care, elections, real estate transactions and other areas,” Kamikawa said. “How your gender is represented in official documents can be a matter of your life.”
The governments of other municipalities in Japan, including Echizen, Fukui Prefecture, and Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, have also dropped gender info fields from their job application forms.
However, most of the employees of the 23 Tokyo ward governments, including clerical workers, are being recruited through unified tests of the “special wards personnel committee,” and the corresponding application forms retain gender information fields.
Japanese model Rinka wants women to know there’s no shame in aging (The Japan Times, Mai Yoshikawa)
The famous, longtime model discusses her approach in her family life and as a businesswoman.
“Japanese culture embraces what’s young and cute so there haven’t been as many options for older models and I’ve always felt uncomfortable with that,” says Rinka, who admitted the difficulty she has faced in keeping a sense of freshness throughout her 25-year career.
“I’m tackling the idea of how to express the beauty of a woman and each layer of her story that shows in her features, but it’s hard to beat the kawaii culture. I guess it has to do with the Lolicon boom in Japan,” she says in reference to what’s known as the Lolita complex, or a sexual attraction to young girls typically by older men.
According to Rinka, there are two types of models, like there are two types of Barbie dolls — the original 1959 version with its too-good-to-be-true beauty, and the 21st-century version that comes in various body sizes, some with cellulite, acne and stretch marks.
She was quick to point out she belongs to the latter category, and she is not ashamed to show her body on social media to let women know what’s realistic when it comes to shape, size and skin.
Neon Genesis Evangelion + My Gender Narrative Part 1 (Subtitled Anime)
A video essay exploring the author’s relationship with gender by way of Shinji Ikari.
Live-Action Princess Jellyfish Series Casts Koji Seto as Kuranosuke (Anime News Network)
Casting has just been revealed for the gender-nonconforming AMAB character.
The official website for the live-action television series based on Akiko Higashimura‘s Princess Jellyfish manga announced on Thursday that Koji Seto (Kamen Rider Kiva) will play the lead male character Kuranosuke Koibuchi. The website revealed images of Seto in Kuranosuke’s typical women’s clothing.
Anime and Cartoons Help Me Write Through Bad Times (The Writing Cooperative, Angely Mercado)
On how cartoons have helped Mercado bounce back from hard times as a freelancer.
A pitch isn’t accepted in the same week that I find out I didn’t get a fellowship I had hoped for after making it to the final round of interviews. Emails aren’t responded to during the same week that a story I worked on is killed. Those weeks I ask myself what’s the point of even trying to freelance if I’m just going to be disappointed.
After asking that, I give myself a day to pretend I don’t care about anything. I binge watch something in bed (recently it was Anohana and Yuri!!! on Ice). After that I take long walks to nowhere while staring into the distance like a post breakup scene in a problematic romantic comedy.
A few days later I’m up and writing again, filled to the brim with mint tea, optimism, and ideas. Lots of ideas. The kind of idea usually depends on what I watched on my “off” day. And that’s because one of the few things that has helped me stop stressing over deadlines, jobs, and catching over 8 colds this year, has been watching cartoons and anime.
How “Recovery of an MMO Junkie” Redefines What It Means to Be an Adult Nerd (Crunchyroll, Natasha H)
On the new normal MMO Junkie establishes by portraying nerdy hobbies as a thing that help start and strengthen real-world relationships.
We see this played out through a variety of interactions in the show. The main character, Moriko Morioka, is a 30+ year old woman who battles anxiety and restlessness with a lackluster life by immersing herself in a video game. Through the game, she’s able to channel a more positive image of herself: a character capable of overcoming battles through help and easily making friendships with other characters online. This kind of perspective is common – a glorified image of the NEET life, one that dissociates the hardships of reality with positive escapism. For Moriko, though, the NEET life is all about being discreet. She can’t share her hobby outside of her room – and why would she when it’s a hobby looked down upon by so many others?
But as we gradually discover more and more of Moriko’s internet life, we see that her friends openly defy the idea of associating a private hobby with shame. While they respect privacy and choosing to keep one’s personal life dissociated from the internet one, they still invite friendship and venting out personal problems from that life if need be. For the show, this is a sign of maturity – acceptance without intrusion. Kanbe, the guild leader, is a perfect example of this. He eventually comes to learn about Moriko’s real-life identity (and knows about Sakurai being Lily in-game) but respects the identities of both individuals while sharing his passion for gaming with them. In real life, he’s a part-time worker at a convenience store, but even after coming to know Moriko in real life and in the game, he freely keeps up conversations about Fruits der Mer with her. This kind of generous mentality can be extended to nearly all of Moriko’s guild – at heart, they are a family of nerds that all love indulging in the game, whoever they are.
The death of innocence: how Hiroshima haunted anime (Little Anime Blog, Dominic Cuthbert)
A discussion of several works that grappled directly with the bombing of Hiroshima, both those written by survivors and subsequent generations.
A whistle as the bomb descends. Silence. And the explosion. The clock face reads 8:15. Bodies mutate and disperse, vaporised as the impact spreads. A mother crumbling into ash throws her failing body onto what’s left of her baby. The buildings quake and fall. People are pierced by glass and buried under rubble. The mushroom cloud is animated with power and clarity. Japanese identity is burned from the earth, and in fire the Showa era is ended.
In 1979, Barefoot Gen became the first fully independent manga series translated and published in English. It has since become a critical keystone of literature and wartime history, but proved controversial in its native Japan. The narrative was all but shunned by mainstream publications when it first appeared in the early seventies, with its author left an outsider. In this modern Japan, the bombings were a spectre seen but never spoken of. But an undeterred Nakazawa has spent his career exploring and making sense of his wartime experiences through the art of manga and animation. It’s interesting to note that he places the blame for the horrors of Hiroshima less on the American forces than the Japanese military, whom he said started the war.
LGBT advocates push for nationwide recognition of same-sex marriage (The Japan Times, Keiji Hirano)
While several cities have legalized marriage equality, it remains illegal in the nation overall—making Japan the last G7 nation without marriage rights for LGBTQ+ couples.
Takeshi Shiraishi, a public school teacher in Tokyo who has lived with his male partner for 25 years, agreed.
Shiraishi said in the past he and his partner were charged double when renting an apartment as they were not considered family, adding, “We could not apply for a bank loan when we bought a house.”
“We hope we can continue living together in peace . . .,” Shiraishi told a recent symposium in Tokyo. “In that case, we expect the remaining survivor to legally maintain what we have generated together. . . . It is an issue regarding the constitutionally guaranteed equality before the law.”
The symposium, organized by the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, drew more than 100 people and was broadcast in several cities through the JFBA network.
Shiraishi, who is in his late 40s, said he had been hesitant to come out to his parents and his colleagues, but decided to join the event “as I want people to know that we are here, and I want to be a role model for young people.”
Why Alita Has Big Anime Eyes And How The Internet Is Reacting (Kotaku, Brain Ashcraft)
An explanation from Rodriguez on their design choices and a roundup of internet responses.
While talking to IGN Brazil, Sin City director Robert Rodriguez explained the decision to give the character these peepers, saying, “The manga anime eyes that we’ve seen since the 30s and Astro Boy has never been done photorealistically. So, usually when we see an anime translated, it doesn’t feel like that.”
Continuing, he adds, “The early artwork I saw that Jim [Cameron] had, before it was even technically possible, had that in her [Alita]. It was so striking and so arresting, I thought, ‘My god, we have to do that. We have to be the first to bring a true manga and anime character to life.’”
Women unimpressed with advice on how to spend time alone (The Japan Times, Alyssa I. Smith)
Japanese Twitter responds to an article about how to deal with the apparent tragedy of being a woman alone at the movies.
Twitter user @yuka, meanwhile, found the notion disturbing. “A woman’s magazine that makes women cower by shamelessly posting articles on the assumption that it’s depressing for women to engage in solo activities,” she wrote. “I want to call it the ouroboros phenomenon, where the snake eats its own tail. I thought Ginger was supposed to be a magazine that mature readers can enjoy without having to hang out with other people.”
In response to the backlash, online women’s magazine Joshi Spa! conducted a survey of 200 women, aged 25 to 39, to find out what kind of activities women do alone. The web magazine also asked them to identify the occasions they might feel self-conscious about being by themselves. According to the magazine, 42.5 percent of respondents said they had gone to a movie by themselves. What’s more, just 12 percent of respondents said they might feel awkward about doing this.
Keep your responses coming, and don’t forget to come back and continue the conversation next week!
(For context, the following tweet thread refers to Yuri!!! on ICE.)
He said "恋人" if I recall that doesn't necessarily mean girlfriend.
— Louise Ashley Yeo Payne (@YeoPsmith) December 11, 2017