[Links] 7-13 November 2018: Survivor’s Guilt in Orange, the Legacy of Cardcaptor Sakura, and Japan’s First Uterus Transplant

By: Anime Feminist November 13, 20180 Comments
A realistic-looking Jigglypuff on a bar table, angry that the man at the booth has fallen asleep

This week: survivor’s guilt in Orange, what makes Cardcaptor Sakura an enduring series, and the first uterus transplant to be performed in Japan.

AniFem Round-Up

[History] Banana Fish and the real-world racial politics of 1980s America

ThatNerdyBoliviane traces the parallels between the plot of BF and real-world atrocities visited on communities of color in 1980s America—in how the manga resonates, in how it slips into upholding white supremacism, and how the anime failed in its updates.

[Feature] The portrayal of Jewish and Jewish-coded characters in anime

Stas Livre gives an intro history of the Jewish diaspora in Japan, select examples of the portrayal of Judaism in anime, and at least one infamous case of replicated anti-semitism.

[Podcast] Chatty AF 76: Fall 2018 Mid-Season Check-in

Dee, Caitlin and Peter check in with the season halfway through.

[AniFemTalk] Which series should get a reboot or reimagining?

Several new versions of established shows are coming in future—what other new takes would be cool?


Beyond AniFem

Welcome to Hip Hop’s Anime Moment (VRV, Luke Winkie)

A profile of the rise of anime influence on modern hip hop.

There wasn’t anything unconventional about SahBabii’s rise. He was hyped in the way that young rappers are often hyped—through SoundCloud snippets, viral YouTube clips, and timely cosigns, adding up to that strange internet ubiquity familiar to everyone from Lil Peep to Jai Paul. More specifically, that means SahBabii didn’t attract the disposable virality that has historically infected anyone with the temerity, to, say, rap about Naruto.

“Anime World” isn’t a depressing, hucksterish Facebook video swerve in the “Epic Rap Battles of History” tradition. It also doesn’t belong to the wave of “nerdcore” in the early 2000s, where white men taped up their spectacles and unleashed referential, corny pent-up gamer id over innocent chiptune beats. Instead it’s very comfortable being a rap song, an equitable reflection of SahBabii’s identity, and definitive proof that in 2018, hip-hop and otakudom aren’t antithetical forces.

Sincerely, Orange (Anime Herald, Lydia Rivers)

A discussion of the themes of suicide, grief, and survivor’s guilt in Orange (includes spoilers).

That actually seems more likely; re-living my pain through the characters would be an excruciating, cathartic punishment. I’d welcome it, because in a small, dark corner of my mind, I will always hate myself for my brother’s death.

Orange, however, is nothing like I expected. The show’s approach to suicide was so systematically thorough and complete that I willingly watched it over and over again. It did hurt, and it was cathartic, and it did seem to address me personally at every turn. But, instead of toxic drama, I found honest words of kindness. And my favorite thing? The show did not once call my brother a coward. I’ll do my best to explain it all; so sit back, relax, and let me break down for you.

Newest Cardcaptor Sakura Museum Asks: ‘Why is CCS Being Rediscovered Now?’ (Anime News Network, Kim Morrissy)

An exhibit that includes responses from marginalized fans about the series’ enduring appeal.

Several key voices in Japan offer their own take at the exhibit. Mitz Mangrove, a TV personality and openly gay crossdresser, wrote: “The relationships and love in the series are not based on the patronizing assumption of ‘everyone being the same.’ The characters’ love for each other is genuine and free.

“There are only men and women in this world, but unfortunately, everyone is different to some degree or other. There are all sorts of men and there are all sorts of women, too. Some men like men and some women like women. There are men who like men and like to dress as a woman, while there are also women who like men but were born in a man’s body. Despite this diversity, people today are obsessed with idealized and fantasized images of men and women – very complicated but that also makes them more interesting.”

“Those who immerse themselves in the world of fantasy know the harshness and emptiness of the routines of the real world. We need fantasies because all fantasies are prayers – prayers for the meaningless but valuable real world.”

Illustrators use social media to highlight the minutiae of everyday life in Japan (The Japan Times, Patrick St. Michel)

Twitter in particular has become a way for artists to share comics about overlooked professions and daily lived experiences.

It’s a genre also highlighted by creators such as @horahareta13 and @aomuro, who mix stories about their kids with fairly ordinary topics. Others bring more unique situations to their digital panels, such as a comic focused on the challenges of a Japanese mother raising a baby while in Seattle (featuring bonus commentary on American culture). Moving beyond toddlers, these funny takes on the benign cover everything from raising sneaky cats to enjoying meals, complete with recipes.

The prevalence of such ho-hum observations was once one of the biggest criticisms leveled at social media — namely, “Why would I want to see what someone ate for lunch?” (In 2018, however, I imagine many users these days go so far as to wish their feeds were actually filled with pictures of Instagram-worthy sandwiches.) Online comics offer Japanese netizens something equally easy to digest, with plenty of humor thrown into the mix.

Not in our backyard, say wealthy Tokyo residents (The Asahi Shimbun, Satoko Tanaka and Misako Yamauchi)

The complaints center around the proposed building of a child guidance center, which would offer help to abused, orphaned, troubled, and disabled children. Residents complain it would lower property values, proving the awfulness of the rich is a universal truth.

Some residents are concerned that children in custody could escape from a temporary shelter, while others contend there is no need to construct a closed facility in an area where land prices are high, according to Masatoshi Sato, the association’s vice president.

The Child Welfare Law defines a child guidance office as an institution to provide counseling on issues concerning child care. Typically, counselors work for children who have been abused, orphaned, become delinquent or have disabilities. There are 212 child guidance offices around Japan.

When a child under the age of 18, a minor, is deemed to require custody, a child guidance office takes the individual to a temporary shelter, where officials decide whether the child should return to his or her family, live with foster parents or reside in an institution.

Tsuruko Hanzawa: the Japanese tea ceremony master living like a single flower (April Magazine, Melanie Lee)

Lee was able to accompany Tsuruko as she prepared a ceremony in Singapore, and detailed her approach to life.

As the chaji events near, Tsuruko’s mood shifts. She still smiles and slaps us playfully, but often whips out her notebook to quietly scribble. Though it is just two dinners with 15 guests per session, the elaborate nature of chaji means that there is much to consider when it comes to ingredients and equipment. She is constantly adjusting the menu as she comes to term with Singapore’s hot and humid weather. Tsuruko does not know how rapidly certain foods go bad here and about 20% of what she and her team buy at the markets has to be trashed just a day before the events. She holds early morning meetings with her staff and students to present new menu ideas and tells us they are complaining to her about these last-minute changes.

“But you have to be flexible with chaji. Accidents are not something you should be upset or sad about. They are challenges given by the gods, and these experiences make us more knowledgeable. It is, in a way, a blessing in disguise,” she says.

Tokyo Medical University to accept applicants rejected due to rigging (The Japan Times)

A review board determined 69 applicants would have qualified if not for rigged scoring, at that 55 of those were women.

A total of 101 students, many of them women, will be allowed to attend classes from the start of the next school year if they so desire. There are 32 such applicants from last year and 69 from this year.

“We were notified that we acted inappropriately on matters relating to entrance exams. We deeply apologize to everyone who was affected,” Yukiko Hayashi, who became the university’s first female president after the scandal came to light this summer, said at a news conference.

Tragedy and Healing: Why Maquia Makes Us Cry (Crunchyroll, Isaac Akers)

A review examining the emotional center of Okada’s directorial debut (contains spoilers).

Starting with such a dramatic example of motherhood is a bold choice, but it’s also a clever one because of the questions it raises. Certainly, Ariel’s birth mother displays the ultimate form of love for her child by protecting him to the death, but is that all there is to being a mother? Is that all there is to love? Maquia’s answer, happily, is no.

As the film runs on, it provides a variety of answers. There’s the practical, mundane Mido and her recognizable, relatable mothering of her two sons—covering things as simple as disciplining the boys for procrastinating on their chores to more difficult ones like being a solid rock after the death of the beloved family dog. There’s the tragic tale of Leilia, her rape and subsequent pregnancy, and the nonetheless unbreakable and life-giving bond she shares with her daughter. And there’s the beautiful sequence where Ariel’s wife, Dita, becomes a new mother with Maquia’s help, completing the circle with the delicate gesture of Maquia’s grandson grasping her finger just as a baby Ariel did.

Nintendo’s New Games Are Miserable for People With Disabilities (Medium, Mark Brown)

The heavy reliance on motion controls in recent Nintendo consoles has made those systems inaccessible for many disabled gamers.

Riley Park, 28, told Medium that he’s always loved Nintendo games. The first console his family owned was the Nintendo 64, and they kept playing with it until the Wii came out in 2006. But around that time, Park was diagnosed with essential tremors, a nerve disorder that causes parts of your body, usually your hands, to shake uncontrollably.

“Small movements really cause my hands to shake, to the point where I sometimes require both hands to hold onto a spoon,” Park said. This made gaming with a motion-sensitive controller very difficult.

“I had continual problems,” he explained. “Whenever any game required you to hold the remote in a certain still position for a time, like with Mario Party or the Rabbids party game, I often failed those. I sort of stopped playing games that were like that entirely, especially around friends.”

Keio University planning Japan’s first uterus transplant (The Asahi Shimbun, Keitaro Fukuchi)

While some uterus transplants have been performed in other countries, this will be the first in Japan.

One issue concerns ethics. In Japan, organ transplantation, for example, of the heart, kidney and liver were performed as a last-ditch effort to save a patient’s life.

The team may have to present a strong argument for organ transplantation for reproductive purposes as the recipient’s life is not in danger.

Uterus transplantation can be risky for a donor because hysterectomy can often take a long time and involve excessive bleeding.

There also are concerns about the impact on a fetus through the use of an immunosuppressive drug by the recipient, which will be administered if her body tries to reject the transplanted uterus.

The Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology, together with the Japan Society for Transplantation, will begin setting out the conditions under which the uterus transplant will be performed safely.


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