This week: a My Love Story!! retrospective, Visual Kei fandom, and the power of visibility through cosplay.
Chiaki interviews the new mangaka about their work, including a story featuring an x-gender (nonbinary) protagonist.
Katie Gill sheds light on the beloved children’s franchise and how it breaks gender roles among its cast.
We’re talking about Yona on the podcast, but there are plenty of other heroines who deserve a shoutout.
A discussion of DBZ’s importance to the Black community, and the racial politics of the show itself.
Dragon Ball Z is arguably the most ubiquitous anime to ever hit the United States. Sure there’s Sailor Moon and Gundam, but you just can’t deny Dragon Ball’s influence in the US. That anime block on Toonami changed the game for a lot of people, but the impact in the black community is beyond comprehension.
#MeToo allegations roil U.S. anime conventions (The Japan Times, Roland Kelts)
A current summary of the Mignogna accusations that includes discussion from con organizers about going forward.
Jinnie McManus, founder of We Run Anime Cons, a private Facebook group for con runners worldwide, believes that the Mignogna storm marks a day of reckoning for U.S. convention organizers, who may be guilty of looking the other way to maximize attendance and profits.
Previously, she says, rumors of bad behavior “were just unsubstantiated enough that conventions could look past the ugliness,” or else they were “excused by the adoration — and frankly, badge sales — shown to the difficult guests by the fans. Those days appear to be over.”
Still, selecting and running background checks on every guest may be too much to ask of convention staff, many of whom work on a partially volunteer basis with neither the time nor resources to conduct thorough screenings.
Female Staff in CG Industry Discuss Gender Gap at SIGGRAPH Asia 2018 (Anime News Network, Kim Morrissy)
Each of the four main speakers highlighted different issues faced by women working in the industry.
The first speaker was Yan Fan, co-founder and Chief Technical Officer (CTO) of Code Chrysalis, a “boot camp” that teaches coding and web engineering skills to people of all levels of expertise. Fan works at the Tokyo school.
She said, “Why am I the only female CTO in Japan?” referring to the lack of female business leaders in tech. She said that she worked in Silicon Valley and came to Japan because she saw an opportunity there due to the lack of female engineers.
Fan stated that if another 5 million women entered the workforce, then Japan’s GDP will increase by 15%. She also pointed to data from the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2017, which puts Japan at 114th place out of 144 countries. She noted that Japan has been falling in the rankings every year.
Tiger & Bunny: Fear is Often Greater Than the Danger (The Consulting Analyst) (Fashionable Tinfoil Accessories, Vrai Kaiser)
A dissection of Blue Rose’s character episode and the way the show fails its female characters.
But Karina’s complaints are not given that same weight of importance. When she gets scared because someone is firing a sub-machine gun at her, it’s played first for comedy in the moment and later as a petulant excuse to her manager, never mind the legitimate complaint that she is easily the least armored hero with just about all her vital spots fully exposed. Her actual elemental skills might be off the charts, but nowhere is she proclaimed to be faster than a speeding bullet.
Her costume, likewise, is remarked upon in the context of her father not liking her revealing clothing, but Karina never brings up anything about it. We know she has feelings on the subject, since it’s one of the first things we hear from her in the party scene in the first episode. But she never complains here, not to her managers, not to her mother (who is not an authoritative figure here but more of a fretting orbiting body compared to the men in Karina’s life), and not even in her head while she’s alone.
My Love Story!! (with the Manga Mavericks Podcast) (Shojo and Tell)
A full series discussion of the fluffy romcom.
Just how subversive (or not) is this story about an unconventionally attractive hero (Takeo Gouda), his best friend (Makoto Sunakawa), and his cute girlfriend (Rinko Yamato)? What’s up with its purity politics? How does it fit into the rise of shojo with male protagonists? How pleasant is it to see a story about characters in a relationship through 97.892749% of the story, instead of having a series of miscommunications preventing them from dating? (This number is an estimate.) And just who IS the better boy in this beautiful manga, Takeo or Sunakawa? (Hint: It’s Sunakawa.) Shojo & Tell host Ashley discusses these topics and more with the hosts of the podcast Manga Mavericks. (This actually isn’t an episode of Shojo & Tell! It’s an episode of Manga Mavericks. If you already listened on their feed, you don’t need to listen again here!)
From Shōjo to Bangya(ru): Women and Visual Kei (Academia, Adrienne Renee Johnson)
A sociological and historical analysis of female audiences’ consumption of the music genre Visual Kei.
Within this chapter, I explore the links between shōjo and the Japanese music genre/subcul-ture of Visual Kei —a ﬂamboyant, dramatic genre consumed primarily by women. After a brief introduction of Visual Kei and the theory I employ, I demonstrate how Visual Kei is linked to aesthetic trends in Japanese women’s/shōjo culture (particularly idealized masculinities), arguing that this link is vital and should be involved in future analysis of both Visual Kei and its fans’ practices.
Devilman’s Queer Representation Relay (VRV, Sinclair August)
A timeline of the ways each version of Devilman has gotten a little bit better at queer representation.
The first thing worth noting about Crybaby is that Ryo is not the only overtly queer character. Groundbreaking, I know. But as pure as their feelings for Akira have always been, there is something uncomfortable about having the only LGBT character in a work be Actual Satan. Crybaby neatly sidesteps this issue, with gay and lesbian couples as well as straight ones at the Sabbath party, as well as several anime-original characters. “Super High Schooler” track star Moyuru Koda is devastated by his boyfriend’s death at the same party where he becomes a Devilman, and Miki “Miko” Kuroda is filled with both jealousy and love for Miki Makimura, who happily returns her affections when Miko eventually realizes her feelings and confesses. Neither of these characters could be called perfect representation—Koda loses control and kills a lover during sex, and Miko and Miki’s relationship is both situated in the realm of plausible deniability and very quickly ended by both of their deaths—but it shows a certain amount of deliberation that certainly wasn’t present in the original.
THE SILENT SCREAM THAT IS COSPLAY (Wear Your Voice, TaLynn Kel)
On the power of visibility that cosplay can bring, especially for bodies that don’t fit the assumed “default.”
It was fully embracing my love of cosplay, an artistic form of expression that requires an audience, that allowed me to believe in my own humanity. Engaging with it allowed me to play with the different aspects of who I am, regardless of what everyone else says I am, or should be. I choose my identity through how I choose to interpret and present myself, as well as how I choose to interact with others while indulging in that identity. Cosplay is a safe space where I feel free to be sexy in my fat, Black body and it is such a grandiose, personal statement that I never feel as though anyone else has power over me. And while that wasn’t always the case, while there have been times that I considered no longer engaging in it, something about it continues to speak to and through me and I am not ready for that to end. When I cosplay, I feel as though I am fully stepping into my power of creation and the rebirth of many iterations of myself. Cosplay is a silent way of screaming, “HEY! Look at me!” and giving no fucks about the consequences.
THREAD: A list of titles penned by female mangaka
Happy International Woman's Day. Today I'm gonna talk a bit about women and manga, that's right, female mangaka.
I'll start with a classic manga that's really famous already, but many get surprised to know it's written by a woman.
Fullmetal Alchemist by Himoru Arakawa pic.twitter.com/bxh1DUUBha
— Lily the Panther (@NotPantherLily) March 8, 2019
THREAD: Photo thread for Black and brown women in anime fandom
Let’s start a thread of bad bitches that watch anime 🤷🏽♀️ drop your photo with your fave show pic.twitter.com/bQvAuiGPT3
— TINA SNOW (@theestallion) March 8, 2019
Lots of votes for Yoko and Yona, but there are some surprise candidates in there too!
— Roommate with Different Values (@spankminister) March 12, 2019
Yona. My second favorite is Princess Nike from The world is still beautiful. They're both badasses and are so kindhearted.
— Rinrin@The Promised Neverland (@rinrin2k16) March 12, 2019