Chatty AF 21: Wandering Son Retrospective (WITH TRANSCRIPT)

By: Anime Feminist September 3, 20177 Comments

Vrai does a deep dive on the anime and manga of Wandering Son (Hourou Musuko) with special guests Associate Editor of Anime News Network Jacob Chapman, YouTuber Cayla Coats, and manga scholar and professional translator Rachel Thorn.

[Please note that Rachel began to use this name after the recording of this podcast and is therefore referred to as Matt throughout this episode.]

SPOILERS: for the entire series of Wandering Son

0:00:00 Intros
0:03:16 Personal experience with Wandering Son
0:14:01 American publication process
0:17:06 Author research into subject matter
0:20:03 Perceptions of different genders crossdressing
0:24:06 Narrative focus on trans themes vs nontrans characters
0:27:06 Differences between anime and manga
0:34:35 Western vs Japanese reactions to the series
0:37:48 Differences in trans representation between America and Japan
0:42:10 Use of pronouns in the manga
0:43:24 Nitori vs Mako
0:50:26 Saorin love
0:55:37 Director’s intention
0:59:16 Representation in anime
1:02:00 Shimanami Twilight and trans politics in Japan
1:08:25 Outro

Recorded Saturday 15th July 2017

Music: Open Those Bright Eyes by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This episode was recorded before Rachel Thorn changed her name; while what is now her deadname is referenced in the transcript, please keep any mentions in comments to her current chosen name.

VRAI: Hello and welcome to Chatty AF, the Anime Feminist podcast. My name is Vrai Kaiser. I’m a contributor and editor for Anime Feminist, and with me for this particular episode, I have three guests. Jacob, if you want to go first?

JACOB: Yeah, sure. So, I’m Jacob Chapman. I’m the Associate Editor at Anime News Network and I’m a trans man, so if that…if we’re mentioning our pronouns and stuff like that, which means I’m a dude, so, you know, “he,” all that stuff. And yeah. Mostly I run editorial for Anime News Network. Any reviews or interviews or that sort of thing, as you go up onsite I probably had my finger in it to some extent doing copy-editing, or producing the piece, or whatever may have you. And, yeah. Happy to be on the podcast.

VRAI: Cool, cool. Cayla, how about you?

CAYLA: Hi. I’m Cayla Coats. I run a YouTube channel called “ceicocat” where I do anime, video game, and other stuff analysis. I am a trans-feminine woman-ish nonbinary-ish, so “she” and “they” are my preferred pronouns. Check out my twitter. There’s a lot of really bad memes. [Laughter]

VRAI: And Matt, how about you?

RACHEL: Hi. I’m Matt Thorn. I’m an Associate Professor in the faculty of Manga at Kyoto Seika University. And I’m also I guess a longtime translator of manga. And I’m also a trans woman who doesn’t transition, which can be confusing for people, but my preferred pronouns are “she” and “her,” thank you.

VRAI: Wonderful. And I always forget to mention it, but I personally am nonbinary, use “they/them” pronouns. The reason…These are all just great, accomplished people who I’m happy to be talking to, but we especially wanted to gather together trans individuals to talk about our subject today, Wandering Son, which was a manga that ran from 2002 to 2013, and an anime adaptation which aired in 2011 and had 12 episodes, although the television version actually edited two together and aired 11.

The story involves a group of students as they go through grade school all the way up to high school graduation, and centers around Shuichi Nitori, who is described as “a boy who wants to be a girl,” so, a trans girl, and Yoshino Takatsuki, described as a “girl who wants to be a boy,” and their friends and struggles of self-identification and awkward middle school feelings. It’s a slice-of-life, basically. And I wanted to give a heads-up that, as per usual with our series retrospective episodes, there will be spoilers, both for the anime and the manga.

So, first of all I wanted to start with all of you. What are your personal experiences with the manga? Matt, it might be most germane to let you go first, seeing as you were heavily involved in the translation effort.

RACHEL: My…Are you asking specifically about Wandering Son, or manga in general, or…?

VRAI: Well, we should get to Wandering Son eventually, but if you want to give us a little bit of an idea of how you got into translating, that would be cool.

RACHEL: Oh, okay. I started translating in 1990 for what was then called Viz Comics, and I’ve been doing it ever since. I got into manga because when I was, I think, 22, I read The Heart of Thomas by Hagio Moto, which you may know is about boys in love with boys, but that kind of blew my mind away, and, I suppose, changed my life. If I hadn’t have read that, I wouldn’t be here. Literally I would not be in this country, probably.

I’ve been translating manga for a long time, and particularly trying to get shoujo manga or women’s manga out there into the English world. But I took a break from translating about ten years because we were so busy with making our manga program at Seika. But now I’m back into it, and, as you know, I was translating Wandering Son for Fantagraphics and unfortunately, as you know, sales were not so great, which is a topic in itself. So we had to stop after volume nine.

VRAI: Yeah, I know that you did an interview with Amelia, so I don’t want to get too deep into the technicalities of things that you also discussed in that podcast, but I do want to come back to that, definitely. Cayla, what about you? Your personal experience with the manga or the anime or both?

CAYLA: Sure. I’d like to preface this by saying that I do own all nine volumes of the localized manga.

VRAI: Expensive hardcover manga.

RACHEL: Thank you.

CAYLA: They’re so beautiful.

RACHEL: Expensive, but gorgeous.

CAYLA: Yeah, and your translation is impeccable. So, I transitioned in 2011 when…Well, I started my transition then. So, right when the anime was airing. I’ve been a huge fan of anime and manga since I was in elementary school, actually. And this was the first time I had watched something where any sort of character that was transgressing gender boundaries wasn’t relegated to a position of villainy or used as a joke. It’s also one of the first times I had seen gender-transgressing individuals who were treated realistically and didn’t have some sort of magical aspect tied to their gender-transgression, i.e. Fish-Eye and those characters from Sailor Moon.

So, it was really sort of serendipitous that I watched the anime right as I had started taking HRT, and it was a very emotional few weeks for me as I was watching this. But Shuichi’s coming to terms with her identity was…really, really sort of mirrored my experiences. It was a pretty special thing. And after I finished watching the show, I went out and sought out the manga and read the entire thing.

VRAI: Jacob, how about you?

JACOB: So, I actually have not read the manga, unfortunately, but I have seen the show. My reaction to it…I believe I saw part of Wandering Son around the years that it came out, long before I had come out. I started transitioning in 2015. I remember there’s a big gap between when I actually started transitioning and when I told people, so I think it was 2015 when I actually did. And…Lost my train of thought. Right. So, I had seen the show many years before and I hadn’t really finished it. I think at the time I thought it was very interesting, but it was a little too slow-paced for me. I think I was more into things that had a little bit more punch to them and were less slice-of-life.

So, I came back to it afterwards, basically when I was going to interview the man that directed Wandering Son, Ei Aoki. So, in preparation for that interview, I watched the whole show. And my reaction it was, of course, a lot of familiarity, but there was also some alienation to it because of the cultural differences in how people perceived and treated their ideas of gender dysphoria in Japan, and also what they expected of it. I guess the biggest thing to me is the way the anime concludes is very different from the manga, I assume. They sort of come to full terms with their gender dysphoria and their identity and then they resolve to: “Well, okay, but I’ll have to grow up ‘normal.'” To some extent. “I’ll have to accept that this dream is a dream and it’s not unreal because of that, but I have to put it up against the reality of reality,” because they talk about transition in terms of surgeries–expensive surgeries.

And, you know, hormone treatment doesn’t come up. The nuances of what we know about gender dysphoria now don’t really come up. But it doesn’t make any of the pre-stuff, any of the childhood feelings, any less relatable. And all that stuff was extremely familiar and relatable, even though they don’t spend a whole lot of time on the trans male character. So, it wasn’t one-to-one with my experience, but the other stuff that I noticed throughout, not just with the two trans female characters but also some of the other characters who either enjoy crossdressing or you even have this one guy who’s the closest thing to a villain in the show who’s sort of a future chaser, I guess you could say.

VRAI: He’s just kind of a dick.

JACOB: He’s kind of a dick and he’s characterized as somebody who’s sort of awakening to an attraction to trans women, which is certainly a thing. And basically a lot of nuance. There’s a lot of different characters to talk about. It’s not just a character study on one or two people.

So, anyway, that’s the long way of getting around to saying I didn’t…It wasn’t…My reaction to it wasn’t the “Oh, this is me” sort of thing because that wasn’t me so much as it was a familiarity with the many different types of people that the show was exploring. And the issues. And basically how Japan’s attitudes toward that might differ from how we would treat the story.

VRAI: Yeah. It’s definitely a story about–somewhat frustratingly, sometimes, I think…You can chalk some of it up to cultural difference and also the time when it was made because it did run for over a decade and the anime ended two years before the manga actually finished. But also there’s a heavy, heavy emphasis on “presentation is clothes” that I think is interesting. And as far as…Boy, do I want to come back to the trans-masculine characters. Oh, boy, do I wanna come back to that. But, personally speaking, I get what you’re saying, I think, because this is very much a prestigious manga…”It’s the trans one.” It’s “the trans-issues manga,” and that can be…I think a lot of people who watch it do have at least points of “Ah, yes, that is me.” But it can also be very intimidating in terms of, “Oh, is this just going to be a Very Special Episode in long-page format?”

So, I kind of read it on a fluke at home visiting my local library. I picked up the first three volumes of the very nice translation, and sat in a reading room and promptly broke down crying in public very unexpectedly. It’s one of the things, actually, that frustrates me about the anime, is so many of the things that I found very raw and touching about the manga are things that are alluded to or skimmed over entirely in the anime, which is unfortunate.

Sadly–

RACHEL: [Crosstalk] I haven’t actually even…I was just gonna say, I’m the reverse of this and Jacob, because I hadn’t seen the anime. I’m kind of surprised to hear how it’s been described. I didn’t realize it was that different from the manga.

VRAI: Yeah, yeah. The anime solely covers the middle-school portion, and, of course, it aired before a lot of the high-school stuff was wrapped up. But it alludes to some of their grade-school things, but doesn’t cover them, and only very occasionally has flashbacks, even. A lot of it is in dialogue.

JACOB: Yeah, to elucidate the differences very directly, it begins at the start of middle school. They kind of say…They mention elementary school, but it is…There’s not even a full flashback. It’s just…maybe they’ll mention something that happened. And then it ends with the middle-school play, the second one, where Shuichi plays the lead. The “I Am a Girl” play. It ends on that performance. She steps out on the stage, and the curtain falls.

So, that’s pretty much the entirety of the anime. So, that’s what I’m familiar with. So this should be interesting.

RACHEL: There’s a lot of drama after that, and before that.

VRAI: And honestly I think there is a good conversation to be had in terms of not just what the anime chooses to cover but what it chooses to leave out specifically. But first I do want to touch a little bit on the fact…You mentioned, or you alluded to, unfortunately, the manga is no longer being published in English because of low sales. And I…The hardcover editions are beautiful, but I am so often frustrated by that fact because this is a niche–a very long niche series–that unfortunately has a very high price tag. That often saddens me, because it makes it hard to…When it was available, it made it hard to recommend to people.

So, if you could shine some light on the process of publishing it and bringing it over and decisions that were made, I’d love that.

RACHEL: Yeah, the price point pretty much was most of Fantographics books. They have really low-print runs. Each volume will sell only a fairly small number. And in order to make any kind of profit, they have to have a price proportionally high per unit. That’s just the way it works.

In Japan, you’ve got massive publishers that are…that can put out really cheap paperbacks because of the volume. They put out so many that they can have really low price for each volume. For each copy.

So, that’s what we are stuck with. And Fantographics tries to compensate for that with quality. Trying to make things really good. But, of course, the irony is that trans people are famously poor. [Laughter]

VRAI: We’re all extremely broke.

CAYLA: I can attest to this.

RACHEL: Right? Trans people are famously poor because, you know, the expenses of transitioning, discrimination in the workplace, on and on and on. So, it’s not anything that I can do anything about. I don’t think there’s anything to really do about it.

VRAI: No, no, absolutely not. I don’t mean to imply that. It’s just disappointing, is all.

RACHEL: Right. It is just really a bitter irony that there’s this work out there that is really not accessible, at least in our format, for a lot of trans people.

VRAI: Yeah. I actually had wondered if they had considered any kind of digital output, because it feels like a lot of manga distribution is heading that way.

RACHEL: I’m not sure. I’m sure there are economic reasons for this, but Fantographics is really reluctant to go digital. And I’m sure they have their reasons, but I haven’t really heard their reasons in detail. You know, so…I mean, it seems like the obvious choice, but…

VRAI: Yeah, ’cause it would be great to have those last six volumes, which is largely the stuff past what the anime covers.

RACHEL: [Crosstalk] Right. I–

VRAI: [Crosstalk] ‘Cause the anime covers…I was self-correcting. I think the anime covers through volume 11, but please, continue.

RACHEL: I was just going to say that it’s after that. It’s really late in the series, frankly, that Shimura starts to do some research, because I’m sure…You probably felt this as you were reading it, but she was really basically winging this for more than half the series, and then, finally, I think she starts to do some research. And she finally, at the end, puts in a really realistic trans character, who isn’t just a beautified pretty child, and…

VRAI: That is definitely frustrating. That’s one of the great cuts from the anime, is that they cut Yuki meeting Shuichi and Yoshino, whereas in the manga, it’s this horrific moment of, “Oh, the trans woman is a sexual predator. Why have you done this? Why have you done this in this otherwise sweet trying-to-be-good manga?”

RACHEL: Oh, I am…Yeah, yeah. I wasn’t talking about Yuki. Although, Yuki is realistic, I think. Yuki is realistic. I was thinking of…I forgot her name.

CAYLA: I know who you’re talking about.

RACHEL: The married-with-children person.

CAYLA: And she has a daughter, right?

RACHEL: Right, right, right. That’s a very real portrayal of a trans woman coming out late in life. And it’s messy. And it’s not pretty. [Laughter] But that character, I thought, was important to introduce, you know.

CAYLA: May I cut in for just a second?

VRAI: Please do.

CAYLA: I haven’t reread the manga in a while, but I do remember once we got to that character, the middle-aged trans woman, I remember having the sense that, while she was pretty well-rounded, it felt almost like she was being used as this sort of narrative tool to make Shuichi a little bit scared of transition, right? Like, “Oh, no, this is what I could become. I could become this sort of ridiculed….” I don’t wanna say it because I don’t believe it, personally, but, “ugly person.”

RACHEL: Right. But, you know, that’s the reality, right? I mean, that’s what a lot of us say and have to think about. So it’s realistic, I think, to have Shuichi have to confront that sort of possibility. Because for most people it’s a big one. It’s not something you can just ignore. I mean, I suppose if you have such extreme self-confidence, but if you really don’t care at all what really people think, it wouldn’t bother you.

VRAI: Yeah, it’s…To rope in the anime a little bit, just so we can all throw in our two cents, that is, I think, one of the most effectively harrowing scenes, is when Shuichi decides to come to school in her female presentation. And that is a gut-wrenching moment.

CAYLA: Oh god, yeah.

RACHEL: Yeah, that’s…And then she’s sort of traumatized for two volumes, I think, after that. As…And that was, I think, realistic, too. And it was different from when Takatsuki did it, and that’s simply the reality of different perceptions of a so-called “girl in drag” and a so-called “boy.”

JACOB: And I think that’s the first time that Shuichi has really–’cause Shuichi is a child–it’s the first time she’s really come to terms with that reality, is when she shows up to school, and it’s like, “Well, I don’t understand. Takatsuki did this every day and everybody thought it was cool. And Takatsuki has gender dysphoria, but the cool character–Shimada, is that her name?

VRAI: Chi-chan. Yes?

JACOB: Chi-chan. And she’s very obviously confident in her womanliness, but she’s sort of…what do you call it? She’s sort of like the takarazuka sort of extremely masculine-presenting woman because she’s either a lesbian or she’s just very confident in her femininity and thinks it’s cool to dress like a boy occasionally. And both of these are totally okay. Everybody’s like, “Oh, that’s fine,” and they don’t really know that Takatsuki is struggling with these feelings of being male. But both of those are totally fine.

But for Shuichi to come in in a dress is considered unacceptable. It’s the first time that she’s encountering that bias and isn’t really sure what to do with it. It’s sort of a little bit of a reality breaker for her. Because I think Shuichi–and I think this is the thing that is reinforced at least in the anime a lot–is that Shuichi’s personality is very…She’s very head-in-the-clouds, and one of the reasons…

The biggest thing that separates her from Takatsuki, the trans male character, is that Takatsuki only thinks about this stuff in terms of the physical realities of it. He’s not like, “Oh, if I were a boy, I’d be this strong cool handsome…” He never thinks about it that way. He’s like, “Oh, I think this is what I am. This is what I have to deal with. And I just think about the practical realities of it, which is that I have to buy a binder and I have to think about my future at all times. I have to think about exactly when I can indulge this proclivity of mine with a friend.”

Whereas Shuichi’s not thinking about any of that. She’s just thinking, “Oh, well, what if I was a princess? And what if everybody was the opposite of who they are?” And all this stuff. So, she’s spent not enough time thinking about the realities of it. So, it’s especially hard to her when she comes to school and it’s exactly like, “Okay, well, what did you think would happen?”

Takatsuki is sort of prepared for that and she isn’t.

VRAI: Yeah, which…Honestly, I think that running theme of “Takatsuki is pragmatic; Shuichi is a dreamer” winds up…There’s a wonderful scene in the manga where it sort of contrasts the two of them where Shuichi is dressing up in her sister’s clothing and admiring the looks, and Takatsuki just kind of flops down on his bed and says, “I wish I had a dick.” And it’s this quiet fucking real moment, and I love it. But it also–spoilers for the manga–Takatsuki doesn’t decide to transition or continue to present as male at the end of the manga. And the fact that he’s coded as “the pragmatic character” really makes me angry.

JACOB: Well, I mean, we’ve yet to come to terms with the fact that this is a story written by a cis woman, and this is also…I want to compare it sort of to Transparent, also made by a cis woman, in that, regardless of how accurate it does and doesn’t get trans things, I think that one of the reasons it’s sort of still enjoyable because it doesn’t necessarily get those things right is because it’s not actually necessarily 100% about the trans experience. Both Transparent and Wandering Son use the trans character or the trans experience as a center point for talking about a lot of different characters.

In the case of Wandering Son, it’s about adolescent romance and youth and finding your identity in a broad since, because it’s like…So, my least favorite character, Chiba, features in the story just as heavily. And her struggles just as a girl who feels unwanted are, basically, I think, on the same level as the trans characters’ struggles. So, it really brings home this is not necessarily…And in Transparent, for those who haven’t seen it, Moira’s late-stage transitioning is put on the same level as the struggles of her narcissistic kids trying to find their place in the world. And I think that that is a valid way of storytelling, it’s just that you kind of have to warn people. It’s like, “Well, it isn’t really fair to say that this is a story about the trans experience. The trans experience is part of it, but they are both made by cis people and they’re more about a group of people living in the same place in the same emotional circumstances at the same time in both cases.”

And so, it’s like, you know…Transparent is just as much about “What’s it like to be a really well-to-do Orthodox Jew in Southern California?” That’s a lot of what that story’s about. And Wandering Son is “What is it like to be a middle-school outcast in Japan?”

VRAI: Well, yes and no. I definitely think that’s forefront in the anime, but I also think there’s a deliberate sanding off of issues there. A lot of what my trouble is with the anime is that it feels very much like it tried to forefront the middle school love quadrangles as much as possible while shunting the trans issues that are more forefront in the manga into kind of window dressing until it can’t anymore, which is why that scene with Shuichi coming to school in a skirt feels very powerful where a lot of the anime doesn’t, and there are other cuts as well, like–

JACOB: [Crosstalk} I would disagree that the anime doesn’t feel powerful. I would say that it does, I would just say that, again, it is relying on you to relate to all of the emotional struggles these people are going through and not just…It’s not just about the trans issues.

VRAI: Oh, no. Certainly, I just…My point is more that the trans experience is…It is still an elevated issue of central concern in the manga moreso than the anime, which I think makes it more valid to say, “Well, you did some of this bad.”

JACOB: Right. I believe you.

VRAI: But, yeah. Cayla, I’d be interested in seeing where you stand with the two adaptations, since you’ve seen them both.

CAYLA: Oh, sure. Well, this is with the caveat that, again, I haven’t read the manga in…I guess it’s been a few years. I’ve skimmed over a few chapters in preparation for this podcast, but I do certainly hold the manga closer to my heart than I do the anime. And I do think that…I mean, of course there’s so much more space, but, even so, I think in the same amount of…In one volume of the manga, I think there’s quite a bit more nuance and subtlety in addressing these sorts of issues than there was in the anime. But I don’t know. It’s very difficult to place one above the other, since the anime was my initial time seeing trans characters in an anime that aren’t portrayed hugely in a problematic way.

VRAI: It’s one of those things that I’m very glad this exists. It’s one that…When it is this rare, you end up heaping all of the expectations on the one thing that exists. The one imperfect thing.

RACHEL: Right, right.

CAYLA: Right. I will say though, that the…While it could have been a bit more definite, the end of the manga did make me very happy in that it did seem to be implying that Shuichi was going to go forward with transition and not fall to the whims of society. And that panel between her and Ana where Shuichi says, “Ana, I want to be a girl,” and she simply responds,”I guess that makes me a lesbian.”

VRAI: That’s so good.

CAYLA: It’s really sort of touching and sweet and gave me a much more concrete sense of finality, as in: yes, okay, I feel a little bit better about loving this series so much than the end of the anime, which was very grey. And left room for people to interpret it as, “Oh, well, these two kids were going through a phase,” or something terrible like that.

JACOB: I don’t know. I didn’t get the impression from the anime that they were going through a phase. It was just a sort of Japanese ethos or Japanese thing of: this is real, this is who they are, but they might have to give it up and that’s sad. It’s Mono no aware. It’s “Oh no, this is temporary, and that’s sad.”

But, at the same time, I don’t…Takatsuki wasn’t really in the forefront so they didn’t really settle on what he wanted to do with his future, but for Shuichi, it did really…It pointed similar to what I’m hearing for the manga and is like, “Well, I think maybe she’s going to try to commit to this for life.” What she had to put aside was the idea of being a perfect, beautiful girl. Because the way the anime ends, ’cause I just now revisited it for the podcast, is that the…She has to make a wish on a shooting star, and she’s been wishing over and over through this whole thing: “I want my voice to stop changing. I want to become a girl.” And she stops wishing that for the first time.

But the wish she replaces it with is not, “Oh, I don’t care about that.” It’s: “I want the play to go well. I want to be able to take care of myself.” And all of that doesn’t preclude…”Oh, so I’m just gonna throw this gender transition thing out.” Because the play that they’re doing is a statement of purpose for her. She is coming out and saying, “I am a girl.” It’s the name of the play. But, it’s not…I think it’s just an acknowledgement that this will be hard work and that it’s not…She has to face reality in all the potential ugliness of it. And I think that’s valid as well.

My point is that I didn’t find the anime saying that this was vague or that this was a phase or anything like that. It was just saying, “It’s not playtime.’ Basically, it’s allowed to be playtime in the anime, which is very soft. There’s not a lot of adversity. They have this wonderful group of friends that’s very supportive of them, which I liked, that it’s not about bullying them for being trans or whatever with it, which apparently happens more in elementary school, which is not explored by the anime.

But they had this wonderful supportive group of friends and then it’s like this safe garden where they’re able to flourish, and I think what the anime ends with is that this is temporary. You can’t expect the rest of the world to be like that. But it’s nice to have it while it exists. But I don’t think it was saying that it was a phase. I think it was saying that this lack of adversity to them being trans was a phase. But not that they are…was the impression that I got from the anime. And the impression I got from the director when I interviewed him as well.

CAYLA: Well, I think I’m bringing certainly a very Western perspective to this, so I think it’s quite possible that I misinterpreted some things.

VRAI: Well, I think that there is room in the middle. Because, on the one hand, yes, the adversity…I think that’s a valid reading. But also, at the same time, there are things like Chi-chan’s friend pulls her away from Shuichi after Shuichi comes to school as a girl and says, “Nobody wants you to…You shouldn’t be seen with this freak.”

And then, in the manga, there’s an additional scene where you find out that they fought about that, and that Chi-chan makes this dramatic statement that she, a cis girl, wants to stand by her trans friend. And little grace notes like that, I think are important as this supportive thing when you’re teaching…Yeah, to a certain extent, with a show that includes this much representation, you are teaching the majority audience. I feel to an extent that especially if that stuff is in the source material it’s important to bring it over.

JACOB: Right, yeah. That’s very true. I think, once again, this comes to a tone difference more that I think the intended tone of the anime is not to explore the trans experience, which you can see is definitely a flaw. It’s just to explore this temporary point in middle school where…before the realities of life set in. For everybody. It’s not just focused only on the trans characters, which is…So, that’s definitely a problem if you’re trying to see this as a show that’s intended to broaden people’s understanding of transness. But, I don’t think it was ever trying to be that. So, that can be, definitely…You can see that as a flaw on its own, or you can see that as: “It did well for what it was trying to do.” Or whatever the case may be.

But definitely, of the trans stories that have spoke to me most…Wandering Son is a very enjoyable story, but it actually didn’t…The things that it spoke to me on weren’t really on a transgender level. It was more on a general, emotional level. Stuff that spoke to me more as a trans man, or just as a trans person, has not really been Wandering Son. It’s been other types of stories.

I would say Revolutionary Girl Utena if we’re talking solely about anime stuff spoke to me more about a gender transgression experience solely than Wandering Son did, because–that’s only speaking about the anime. I’m sure if I read the manga I would feel very differently.

VRAI: No one talks about the Utena manga. That’s another thing.

JACOB: Well, no, I meant the show. I’ve never read…I’ve read a little bit of it, but, you know…

VRAI: Yeah, no, totally. Just…Sorry, Matt. You’ve been wanting to say something.

RACHEL: Yeah, that’s alright. This gets back to what I was saying about this being the only one out there, and so it has to be all things to all people, which it can’t. So, I’m actually curious to know how Western trans people reacted to this, because I know that in Japan, there was, on the one hand, amongst trans people in Japan, there was this feeling: “Oh, great. We’re finally being represented. But it has all these problems with the way we’re being represented. And also we’re being represented by someone who is not one of us.”

So, there was that ambivalence, and I’m wondering if part of the reason for the low sales is that it simply didn’t speak to a lot of trans people, who may see trans experiences as, for one thing, a very political thing, which few…In Japan it hasn’t quite gotten to that point yet. I mean, it might be getting there, but…It’s a big political debate in the US for example, in a way that it’s not in Japan. And, so, I think for a lot of people, who are used to very nuanced debates about trans issues, it might seem extraordinarily over-simplified.

VRAI: Well, yes and no. I mean it’s certainly, politically speaking, a very large issue in the US. But trans depictions in fiction are still remarkably rare, so I think there is sort of a similar thing. I know a lot of–particularly trans men, trans-masculine people–had a really hard time with the manga because they really liked Takatsuki and were disappointed that…

In America, I think the biggest difference is this concept of gender fluidity, of genderqueerness, being between things, that I don’t think is a point so much in Japanese understanding. They were hoping that Takatsuki’s character would at least go in that direction. And to have it sort of end on a note of, “Oh, but I am a girl though.”…Which is valid. Some adolescents do grow up that way, but that representation is so rare it’s disappointing to be told, “Ah, you’re gonna turn out cis though.”

JACOB: Right. Well, yeah. And I wouldn’t even say that it’s a Western gender-fluidity thing, because as a binary trans person, as a Westerner, to hear that the manga ends that way for Takatsuki is bullshit. [Laughter] So…

VRAI: It’s some super bullshit.

JACOB: And so…You know…That makes me happy that the anime ends where it does so I never have to get to that point. But, you know…

RACHEL: Well, of course gender fluidity is a thing in Japan, and maybe if this had been…if she had started and ended this two years later, it might have gone in a more nuanced direction, because a lot more gender fluid people are speaking out in Japan in a way that maybe they weren’t at the time when she was doing this.

VRAI: Yeah, and I’d love…If you have any more stories to tell about the responses of Japanese readers, particularly trans men…Because that’s something…I think it’s so rare, especially because of the language barrier, for those of us in the West who want to know about the Japanese trans experience but are just kind of…we don’t now.

RACHEL: Yeah. One thing is–and this is still…It seems in America, it’s a settled issue that if someone transitions when you refer to them, before they transition, you still use the same…the pronouns that they identify as now. So, you don’t say, “She used to be a boy.” That’s done in the US, or it shouldn’t be done in the US. But, in Japan, its still really common to hear trans people say that. “I used to a be a boy” or “I used to be a girl.” Or talking about “becoming a boy,” “become a girl.”

And you see that a lot in this book. In fact, the blurbs, they’re all: “a boy who wants to be a girl and a girl wants to be a boy,” which is…Right there, you’ve got…It’s problematic. But in Japan this kind of thinking is still really common. And it’s not seen as a big issue as far as I can tell, even in the trans community. Probably one reason is that we just don’t often use third-person pronouns, so it’s possible to talk about people or write about people, pages and pages, without once referring to their gender in the form of a pronoun. So maybe it’s just not such a …I don’t know.

JACOB: It also used to be that way in the US as well. Certainly during the early nineties, a lot of trans women would refer to themselves as…First of all, I’m gonna say a dirty word here. “T-word.” I’m not gonna say it out loud in case it bothers people, but that didn’t used to be a dirty word. It used to be a word that both drag queens and trans women wore with pride briefly because it was seen as reclaiming a slur.

But it’s not…But that was also just in defiance of what was available to people. And so it was more common for people to say, “Oh, well, I used to be a man.” Or “I used to be a woman.” And all that sort of thing, even within the gay community and the trans community, because that’s kind of just what was available to people. And I think that that’s also…When you can get the world to respect you to such an extent that they are willing to take into account your past as an invalid thing for you emotionally, that’s a big step in awareness and respect and stuff like that that I think…Communities adapt with what is available to them, and I think that that’s a large part of it as well.

VRAI: Yeah, there’s definitely…When I mentioned earlier that there’s a lot in the anime in particular about “performance means clothes,” and it reminded me very much of the drag scene in the US in the 70s and 80s where identity is so ignored that this sort of showing of clothing is the most visible element that you have at hand.

And I actually wondered if that is a…Because that is something trans people in the US are still fighting against, is this idea that if you are trans it means you transitioned. And I wondered to what…where the Japanese trans community is with that.

RACHEL: Well, there certainly is the idea that if you’re trans, you’re obviously going to transition. You’re going to do all these medical procedures, which is something that, as a non-transitioning person, I face a lot, both in America and in Japan, too. The expectation.

VRAI: Ah, sure, sure. Which is bullshit, and I give my heartfelt sympathies to you. It’s…It really sucks.

RACHEL: It does. It does. But it is what it is.

VRAI: Yeah, sure. You mentioned that issue of before and after and sort of personal pronoun usage. So, you wanted to talk about the issue of how you decided to translate pronouns and how people are referred to in the manga. How was that decision?

RACHEL: Well, I talked about this the other day, but in Japanese, it’s not so much the third-person pronouns but the first-person pronouns, and also the honorifics, the gendered honorifics. You know, calling Takatsuki “Takatsuki-kun.” It was originally intended as a sort of a joke because Takatsuki-kun is so boyish.

And what’s interesting is that Nitori-kun does not ever complain about being called “Nitori-kun.” But then again, as Jacob points out, Nitori-kun also has her head in the clouds, and…It’s really fun to see–I’m sorry, I’m going off track here–but it’s fun to see her grow as a person, because she grows really slowly but she’s actually really stubborn.  You know? She does not ever give in and say, “Okay, forget it. I’m not gonna do this,” which is just a nightmare. Which, I think, a lot of trans people do. They…”It’s better to be in the closet.” There was an essay going around: “I’m glad I didn’t come out” kind-of essay going around a couple years ago. But I think that’s true for a lot of people.

But Nitori-kun…Yeah, she’s dippy, but she’s also persistent to the end. It’s like, “Okay, I’m doing this.” And she does it in her own quiet way.

VRAI: It’s really interesting to see her as a foil to Mako-chan, who is probably my favorite character. This…Oh, god, I love her.

RACHEL: Overthinks everything.

VRAI: Yeah, and yet at the same time has probably the most accepting coming-out.

RACHEL: Realistic, yeah.

VRAI: And also just that issue of…really hit close to home for me is that her whole thing is…It’s kind of informed because the art style is so uniformly cute, but she worries about: “I’m chubby. I wear glasses. I have freckles. I’m not cute. I can’t pass well.”

JACOB: Right. I think that she’s actually my favorite character in the whole thing.

VRAI: Oh, she’s very good.

JACOB: Because she’s…I don’t know. I think my favorite scene in the show, at least the most memorable one, is one where she demands that Nitori–which, again, is not thinking of the realities of this–is just like, “Oh, I’m a girl. Wouldn’t it be nice to think about being a princess?” And she’s like, “No, your voice is gonna change. Come here. We’re gonna record our voices for posterity and we have to do it in dresses.” And she’s like, “Why do we have to do it in dresses?” And she’s like, “It’s the principle of the thing.”

You know, it’s a shame, because I feel like if she had the looks that Nitori was blessed with, assuming Shuichi–Nitori was blessed with that she could go pretty far but she’s just so, I guess, undercut and so self-conscious about how she looks and sounds. And it really isn’t fair. But I think that’s sort of the point is that it’s not particularly fair.

VRAI: Yeah, and she’s the one who also has very pronounced feminine gestures. She talks with her hands a lot more than Shuichi does. It feels like she studied what it is to be feminine, because she feels like she has this extra roadblock in her way.

RACHEL: Yeah. Probably most trans people see more of themselves in Mako-chan than in Nitori or even maybe Takatsuki.

JACOB: Weirdly enough, I was gonna say that was my perception watching it is I was: I think probably a lot of trans women might relate more to her because she cares about it and she can’t stop thinking about it. And anybody who’s aware, who’s come out of the egg and is aware they’re trans, you think about it all the time. And Nitori doesn’t wanna think about it, and weirdly so. I wanted to bring this up. Of all the characters who’s trans experience I related to most, it was actually Nitori who was, I think. But not for the reasons that probably the author intended. Because Nitori is sort of a fantasy. Nitori is sort of fantasy in how pretty she is and how much she’s…how pure of a soul she is. It’s a little bit of an…every girl is in love with her.

You know, it makes sense that she’s the protagonist fantasy, but I related to her most in terms of transness because when I was a kid, that’s how I felt. I didn’t come to terms…Probably because I’m so sheltered. I was sheltered from a lot of pop culture and a lot of things that…I had no idea what trans people were until I was way too old to not have known. When I was 16 or 17 probably, I didn’t even know what a trans person was. Because I was in a very conservative upbringing, my perception of my transness was just, “Well of course I’m a boy. I don’t understand why this is a problem for anybody.”

But even then when it was like, “Tell everyone you’re a girl” and this sort of thing, I didn’t rebel against it. I wasn’t always thinking about it. I was just like, “Okay. Alright. But that doesn’t mean that I have to act like one.” But I didn’t…I wasn’t always resenting it. I didn’t think about it. I just hung out with boys and I just did sort of whatever I wanted and they let me do whatever I wanted. And I didn’t think of my name as…My name was almost sort of gender-neutral and it wasn’t a name that anyone else around me had, so I never thought about that. But I didn’t start feeling actual gender dysphoria until puberty. And then I just became an angry temperamental monster.

But we never seen these stories get to that point. And I think that if we saw…If Nitori was a real character and I think we saw her get to that point–I know we did in the manga–but in a real-life setting, if that had happened, then that’s when Nitori would find anger that she didn’t know she possessed. ‘Cause it’s like, “Oh, this is real? I thought this was just all sort of dumb rules people made up for each other.”  ‘Cause I didn’t know anything about sex education or anything like that.

So, you know…

RACHEL: I’d like to know what the other people who read the manga think, because I think she did…Once she went to school in a dress and had a traumatic experience, I think from there she has a lot of anger. She’s so passive-aggressive that she doesn’t come straight out and say “I’m angry” or throw things. She expresses it in really passive-aggressive ways. And the fact that she’s persistent to the end. She’s…She never says, “Fuck you. I’m gonna do what I want.” But she does it. That’s what she does.

I’d like to know what Vrai and Cayla think.

VRAI: Cayla, please, go ahead.

CAYLA: Oh, sure. I completely agree with you, Matt. I certainly do remember there being just this…It seems like she has discomfort involving direct anger. I think that directness in general is really difficult for Shu, but I do have this distinct feeling…I can’t remember anything specifically, but I do remember noting that she was very subversively angry, and sort of maybe even a little bit nasty sometimes.

RACHEL: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah.

VRAI: It certainly makes her an interesting foil to Saori, who I actually have an incredible amount of sympathy for, because I was that shitty middle schooler. I was absolutely that “I’m not angry that I’ve been rejected. I just hate everything and I’m smarter than all of you.”

CAYLA: Right. [Laughter]

RACHEL: [Laughter] Well, Saori has a huge fanbase. She has a huge fanbase in Japan. I don’t know about other parts of the world. There are a lot of–

JACOB: [Crosstalk] That does not surprise me. I don’t know if you guys have read or seen A Silent Voice

VRAI: Not yet, sadly.

JACOB: I can’t remember the character’s name, but Saori is the equivalent of that character who was the only one not going along with “Let’s all be friends.”

CAYLA: They have the same haircut as well, which is a little bit eerie.

JACOB: They do. And it is 100% a thing that I think Japanese fans glom onto because it’s basically assertive. It’s extremely assertive extreme femininity, I guess, which I think is why. But for me, both characters, I don’t…I’m almost allergic to passive-aggression. I’m straight-up allergic to passive-aggression. So I hate those kinds of characters, but I understand why they have such a big fanbases in Japan, because it’s like, “She’s more feminine than I could ever be but also extremely assertive.” And even if she doesn’t get what she wants, most characters don’t really get what they want.

VRAI: She also means so well in offering Nitori the dresses. She doesn’t understand how this could be an uncomfortable thing: “Here, I’m giving you the thing you want. Why are you upset with me?” Oh, this shitty kid.

CAYLA: It’s true, and she’s so cruel to Takatsuki, but it’s sort of understandable. I definitely don’t want to excuse it, but that’s one thing I find really interesting about this series is just that…I think Jacob touched on earlier–or Matt, sorry, I forget who mentioned this–but there really isn’t a villain, it’s just a bunch of people who have a bunch of different perspectives who want different things.

VRAI: Yeah. As much as I’ve talked about this as a manga and anime about transness, it is also probably the most accurate to my middle school experience of an anime that I’ve ever watched. So, it does succeed at that. Just awkward teens.

RACHEL: And even that boy who…As a translator, I should remember all these, but I’ve forgotten the name of the boy who is the closest thing to a villain, at least for a big chunk of the series. What’s his name?

VRAI: Doi.

RACHEL: His psychology is really complicated too. He has his own stuff going on. Basically, he’s in love with Shuichi, but he just doesn’t know how to process it, so…

VRAI: Yeah. It is kind of like Utena, where it’s like, “Oh, some of you are awful, but you still have time to grow out of this and become actual compassionate, empathetic adults.”

Jacob; Yeah. I wanted to say I definitely related to it. When I say I related to it more generally, emotionally, than on a trans level, I definitely meant that this is very true to the middle-school experience and how these kids acted. Maybe they’re a little more grown-up than a lot of middle-schoolers I remember, but optimistically, this is how middle-school kind of was and how people thought and stuff like that. So, I related to that more than I did the trans aspect because so little time is spent with Takatsuki, and the inaccuracies that follow from Shimura writing it the way she did.

VRAI: Yeah, which is–

RACHEL: [Crosstalk] That’s too bad. I’ll have to watch the anime though.

VRAI: It’s very pretty.

RACHEL: It’s too bad because Takatsuki is a rich character. She has a lot of anger and she expresses her anger a lot.

VRAI: Takatsuki’s scenes as an elementary schooler were what I mourned losing more than anything, because those kind of very young inklings I feel like…Even if the author was kind of stumbling around in the dark, she hit some real good points there.

RACHEL: Yeah. Well, she has a knack for conveying subtleties of human emotion and relationships, and to me that’s really Shimura’s thing is she can express the most subtle, complicated feelings with just a drawing. A single drawing. Her drawings aren’t even that complicated.

VRAI: I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s kind of taking a break now because Wandering Son was such an enormous undertaking. But it has been four years now. Is she working on something else?

RACHEL: Yeah. She ended both of them quite abruptly. Wasn’t she working on something now? I think she is. I think she may have just recently started. I can check it.

JACOB: It is interesting that the director of the show, Ei Aoki, when I talked to him, all the stuff that he does normally…You know, he did Fate/Zero and right now he’s doing Re:Creators, and stuff like that where it’s just big explosive action stuff. But he was very adamant that the things that he really likes the most and wants to do are not even shoujo. He said, “Takako Shimura’s work. I want to adapt more of her work.”

Wandering Son sticks out in his filmography. It sticks out. It’s like, “Wait, you did all this Zack Snyder-esque”–I use this word because that’s what he says he makes–“action fantasy, and then with it, [unintelligible] and ufotable sort-of production values, but you wanna make Shimura’s manga?”

He said, “Yeah, Shimura’s manga.” Because…The reason that he liked it so much even though he’s not a lesbian or trans person is that he related to the way that people express themselves emotionally in that time of life, in middle school. So that’s why he loved it so much. And I asked him this before he knew that I was trans–I decided to come out to him because what have I got to lose?–but I said, “Did you do any research about trans people to do this story? Have you ever met somebody trans?” And he said, “No, because I wanted to just see it as these characters as they express themselves emotionally. I didn’t look into the realities of being trans,” he said, “because that’s not really what the story was about and so I just decided to make it as true to these characters emotionally as they were written as possible.”

So, I asked him, “So, you’ve never met a trans person who’s seen it and what their opinion was?” He said, “No.” I said, “Well, now you have.” And then I told him. But when I told him, I was wondering if he would be shocked, if it would bother him. I had no idea what this guy’s fucking political leanings are. Sorry for the f-bomb.

VRAI: No, no. Go for it.

JACOB: But his reaction was extremely flattered and he was like, “Well, did you like it? Was it…?” And I didn’t go into detail. I mean, you’re not gonna go into detail telling the director what you did and didn’t like about a thing that just….I told him that it was good, but he seemed very touched by that, and he didn’t seem bothered that I was trans or anything like that. It was…So that was a nice experience to get to have, to get to tell this guy, “Well,” I didn’t tell him it wasn’t perfect. But, you know. “This thing that you made has an impact on the real people whose lives it reflects.”

VRAI: Yeah, it’s definitely better….

RACHEL: [Crosstalk] I think what he said is very legitimate.

JACOB: [Crosstalk] He seemed interested in it being good from the perspective of a trans person. Which…That was all I needed was, “Oh,  he cares about this and he’s not weirded out by it.”

VRAI: Yeah. I assume he wasn’t involved…He wasn’t the director of Sweet Blue Flowers, was he? No, I don’t…

JACOB: He didn’t get that one. He wanted to, apparently.

VRAI: Yeah, it’s…It’s certainly a better…I am glad that it exists rather than to have it not exist at all. I want to to be there imperfectly [rather] than non-existent.

RACHEL: Right. Right. Let’s hope that we get more representation out there, and preferably by people who are representing themselves.

VRAI: One keeps hoping. Cayla, what were you gonna say?

CAYLA: Oh, I was just going to say…Going back to what the director said about wanting to convey the emotionality of the characters as accurately as possible…That did result in some really sort of stunning moments here and there in the show. I always especially like to note the end of the first episode when Mahou walks in on Shuichi wearing her clothes and then sort of rips them off of her and then Shuichi just has this gorgeously-animated running scene through the town at night, and there are these really well-timed cuts to different people staring at her as she’s running.

And just in the middle of this anxiety attack, she comes across Yoshino, and just the emotionality of that scene is orchestrated so, so well. I think there are moments like that where it’s very valuable to have these scenes animated with a soundtrack. Clair de Lune was an excellent choice to have there.

VRAI: It is definitely an anime that can frame a scene well.

JACOB: I look forward to seeing…I feel like there are more…Right now, I believe, there’s a manga with a trans male…It’s a basketball manga and there’s a trans male character in it. I don’t remember the name of it, unfortunately.

RACHEL: Oh, really?

JACOB: Yeah, I don’t remember the name of it, but it’s an all-girls’ basketball team, and one of them is a trans male and they don’t bury the lede on that. It’s not waffle-y. Straight up, they just say that. So that’s interesting. And I feel like the stuff has been…I’ve seen more LGBT representation in anime in the past two years than I’ve seen in the previous eight.

And, so, that’s interesting. I feel like, at the very least, artists are interested in these issues.

RACHEL: [Crosstalk]: Things are changing.

VRAI: Yeah, definitely. It took them an entire TV series to get around to it, but I was really impressed with what the Tiger and Bunny crew did with Nathan in The Rising. That was a really excellent exploration of gender fluidity. It was good. Yes. So, this stuff is out there. It’s slowly coming.

CAYLA: I’ve got to give a shoutout to Rui Ninomiya from Gatchaman Crowds, as well.

VRAI: Yeah. So, it’s not hopeless. It’s just slow. And I feel like this anime and manga certainly deserve…Every piece of representation is somebody’s first, I guess, to bastardize a Stan Lee quote.

Yeah. We’re getting on to about an hour now, but if you guys have any last…any issues that we didn’t cover that you’d like to bring up, please. Please do.

RACHEL: I wonder if you’re aware of…It hasn’t been translated and I’d like to translate it. A manga called Shimanami Tasogare, which is…”Tasogare” means “Twilight.” Shimanami is the name of an area, a town.  Shimanami Tasogare. And it’s by a nonbinary artist named Kamatani Yuki. And they…The story has a lot of different characters, but it starts with a boy who is exposed as gay when his friends find out that he’s looking at gay porn on his smartphone. And it starts with him getting ready to jump off a building and kill himself. And this interesting woman comes along and basically sort of rescues him by making him curious about who she is.

And she runs this strange little sort of gathering place where people who don’t fit in all accumulate. And one of the characters we’re introduced to in the second volume is an apparently trans character, but, again, really young. I think 12 years old, or something like that. Assigned-at-birth male who identifies as a girl. And this is probably the first time I can think of where an actual trans person is portraying this.

The other cases I can think of are straight-up essay manga, like, “I transitioned and here’s how it went.” And these essay manga tend to be, frankly, not so great as manga, you know? Not well-drawn, not terribly…But, I mean, they’re interesting to read as essays, but as works of fiction, you know…

So, Shimanami Tasogare is…It’s only two volumes so far, but I’m really interested in seeing how the author goes…

VRAI: Yeah, if you could get the rights to translate that, I think a lot of people would be super interested in reading it, so I’ll have my fingers crossed.

RACHEL: Yeah, because, for one thing, it’s a much more realistic portrayal of the reality for a lot of LGBT et cetera folks in Japan right now. But it’s actually…It’s really a hot time for LGBT issues in Japan. In the last six years or so, it’s just taken off. Awareness has really skyrocketed.

VRAI: Yeah, you’ve got at least one prefecture of marriage equality now. That’s…

RACHEL: Right, right. Right, right, right. So, it’s become a big issue. And we’re gonna see more of these. So we won’t have to spend the next ten years going over the problems with Wandering Son.

So, there will be more on the way.

VRAI: Cayla, Jacob, did you have anything more you wanted to talk about?

CAYLA: No, I think I touched on pretty much everything that I was interested in seeing, but I’ve had a really wonderful time.

VRAI: I’m so glad. It’s been really great. Jacob?

JACOB: No, that’s about it. I am interested in Matt’s perspective on how…not just things like the legal aspect of it, but how awareness of and tolerance of LGBT issues are going in Japan. Again, from the West, just getting anime and J-Pop and stuff like that over here, it seems to be moving very fast. That’s all we get, and from that alone, it’s like, “Is this a hot issue right now? Because it’s just coming up way more than it ever used to.”

RACHEL: It is. It is a hot issue, I think. Although, I mean, I’m sort of an activist myself, so my perspective may be distorted. But I think it’s a big issue. Just about everbody now actually knows the phrase “LGBT.” They use it all the time. “Oh, that person is LGBT.”

VRAI: I really wanted to applaud you, because as I understand from reading, there’s not really government funding from advocacy groups in Japan in the same way that there is in the US, or has that changed? But it’s a lot of motivated individuals more.

RACHEL: Wait, wait. There’s government funding for advocacy groups in America?

VRAI: Nonprofits and that kind of thing, yeah.

RACHEL: Oh really? I didn’t know that. Wow. No, yeah. There’s none of that, no. But advocacy has really taken off in the last six years. I mean, you can really…There’s one point that you can trace it to, and that was the wedding at Tokyo Disneyland of my friends Hiroko and Poyuki, who were allowed to have a wedding ceremony at Tokyo Disneyland in dresses, both of them in dresses.

And it was picked up by the media like crazy. And they’re both really good-looking, which helped. [Laughter] You know. If they weren’t so good-looking it would not have been happening. And then they went on to become really serious activists. Of course, with any activism you’ve got infighting about details, but it’s good to see that it’s gotten to the point where you’ve got so many different viewpoints within the advocacy community.

So, it has taken off, yeah.

VRAI: That’s great. Well, thanks to all three of you for being on with me today. I’d love to talk to you again sometime, hopefully on a future podcast. I don’t know what. But it’s been a delight.

CAYLA: Really happy to be here.

JACOB: Yeah, thanks for having us on.

VRAI: Yeah.

RACHEL: Thanks for having us.

VRAI: Thank you. For you listeners out there, if you would like to hear more podcasts like this, you can always pitch us a dollar on patreon.com/animefeminist. That’s what pays the bills, pays our editors and contributors, and pays our editor for this podcast. You can also find more of our content at animefeminist.com, on Twitter, @animefeminist, and on Facebook, @animefem. And, until next time, take care of yourselves out there. Bye.

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