Part 2 of the 4-part watchalong of Michiko & Hatchin with Amelia, Vrai, and special guests Lizzie Visitante and Jacqueline-Elizabeth Cottrell! We talk about coding of desirability, particularly regarding thinness and whiteness; swoon over Atsuko, and discuss women in competition (or not).
Content Warning: This series contains depictions of racism, colorism, domestic partner abuse, queerphobia, police brutality, gang violence, child abuse and implied sexual abuse of adults and children; the hosts will discuss these issues as they arise.
Date Recorded: Sunday 25th March 2018
Hosts: Amelia, Vrai
Guests: Lizzie Visitante, Jacqueline-Elizabeth Cottrell
0:00:40 Clarifications of using racial labels
0:03:51 Samurai Champloo
0:08:16 Black sexuality
0:13:59 The Nice Guy
0:16:40 Violence toward children
0:27:14 Desirability of whiteness
0:31:31 Beauty as virtue
0:32:21 Sexualizing children
0:35:01 Anastasia and Michiko
0:40:51 Reality vs novella
0:46:01 Michiko and Hatchin
0:58:08 Next 5 episodes
VRAI: Hello, and welcome to Chatty AF, the Anime Feminist podcast. My name is Vrai Kaiser. I’m an editor and contributor at Anime Feminist, and with me today is Amelia, Jax, and Lizzie. And we are back with our watchalong of Michiko and Hatchin. This week we covered episodes seven through twelve. There’s a lot to get to, but before we started, Lizzie, you had something you wanted to clarify from last week’s discussion.
LIZZIE: Yeah. Last week, Amelia brought up a good point about wanting to be specific when it comes about talking about people of color in regards to Michiko and Hatchin. Due to my nervousness last week—that’s my first podcast—I forgot to mention that, in the context of the show, I am referring to Black and black-brown characters and not non-Black Latinos and non-Black Mestizos.
And Latinos have a gender-neutral term, which… Everyone has seen the “x” and the “e.” I use, specifically, “Latine,” because folks with disabilities with reading devices have pointed out that it’s hard for their devices to understand the “x,” so they’ve called for more usage of “e.” So now I use that in regards to when I’m talking about my… when it comes to my identity of Quechua and Mestize. So, I use that in that context.
But to explain terminologies of “What do I mean by non-Black Latinos, non-Black Mestizos?” It’s like… You know, you can think of an example of skin-based representation as Gina Rodriguez and J. Lo; but the term “Latino” itself, which was imposed by the French, describes folks who are from Latin America and the Caribbean, and has a history of colonization from Spain and Portugal and any other European country that I’m probably missing in a conversation.
In general, “Latino” and “Hispanic” are actually problematic terms, but, you know, for the sake of the podcast, I’ll keep it simple. Lastly, “Mestizo” is a racial category that means “mixed-race,” but refers specifically to people of Spanish, Portuguese, and Indigenous descent, who, for the most part, are assimilated. There are different and complicated racial categories throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, which was done on purpose to erase Black, Afro-Indigenous, and Indigenous ancestry. It is important to know in the modern-day context that Black and Afro-Indigenous and Indigenous people still face systemic violence in all forms to this day.
In general, La Trinidad has a vested interest in white supremacy, but for the sake of simplicity, I’ll end it here. But, from here on forward, when I’m talking about the show, I’ll be specific in my wording when we’re talking about characters. So, I’ll be using “Black” and “Black-brown” characters, like in terms of my wording when I’m talking about folks on the show.
For more information, you can check out Kat Lazlo’s video on “Can Latinos benefit from white privilege?” ‘Cause I feel like she does a good job of dissecting that mess. You know, there are classes and courses on this. I mean, you know, there’s so many different racial categories that it’ll take way longer than two hours to talk about it.
But, for the sake of the show, I wanted to be really specific, so… Because I was nervous last week, I didn’t clarify what I meant. So, from here on forward, I will be using “Black” and “Black-brown” to describe the characters in the show, especially the kids in the show who go through the most marginalization. So, yeah.
And I give the mic back to everyone, ’cause I don’t know where to start with this. [laughs]
VRAI: All right, so, before we kind of get into the meat of this week’s episode, I wanted to briefly bring up the fact that one of the projects that Sayo Yamamoto lists as really influential for her is when she was a storyboarder and episode director on Samurai Champloo, where she was kind of Shinichirou Watanabe’s protege.
And I thought it would be interesting to bring it up, because last week, Jax, you spoke specifically about anime’s issues with appropriating Black culture without having Black and brown characters on-screen, and I think that’s… Samurai Champloo is very much a series that I think has influenced Michiko and Hatchin. Michiko has a lot of influence from Mugen, and Samurai Champloo is a show that uses a lot of R&B and hip hop, and is also, I think, one of the only series I know of aside from the upcoming Golden Kamui that has a main character who is a Japanese racial minority. Mugen is Ryukyuan.
JAX: Oh, no, so that was something… That was just a big thing for me that I noticed with Samurai Champloo, like you were saying. I was really stoked when it first came out. I got into it kind of late because I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about the complete mashup of appropriation and stuff like that. I really wanted to see how they were going to make this happen, but also, as a Nujabes fan, I’m like, “Okay, I’m absolutely obligated to see what he has done,” because I have been a Nujabes fan for “oh my God” years. And, so, when I heard he was gonna be scoring the music, I’m like, “All right, let me see how I feel about this. And let me see what they do.”
I’m also a huge history buff. I love learning about Japanese history, Japanese culture, and just everything about it. So, I was real excited to see what they did with this. And when I noticed that they made Mugen kind of… And I knew that this is something you just see in all anime and manga, no matter what… It’s probably not gonna change anytime soon, but I’d like to work toward changing it… is that you associate brown skin with kind of being the more reckless, rebellious, animalistic one.
And when I saw… So, I felt a way about Mugen at first. I really did. ‘Cause at first, I thought, “Oh my God, this guy is really hot. He looks like a badass. He’s bae. I can’t get over this. This is great. He doesn’t care. Yadda yadda.” And then I kind of had to switch modes. “Okay, let me dissect his character.”
And let me understand why it is that I can appreciate his character, but there are some aspects of this character that I can’t appreciate, because ask any Black kid: Mugen is Black. Mugen is the token Black guy. He comes from the Ryukyu, which is an island that can be associated with the ghetto, and everything like that. That is something that I will say that they did extremely well with in conveying both the similarities of being an outcast within a minority community, being part of that same minority community, very well.
I think something that they also… They actually… You know what, as a Black person now, it’s extremely hard to find something wrong with Samurai Champloo. I’m talking about how I used to feel about it years ago, but now it’s just like… I think Samurai Champloo is a masterpiece in how they were able to so brilliantly convey the struggles brown-skinned people do face. Even though Mugen was Japanese. It’s so interesting just to look at that aspect.
But something else that I really did look at as far as comparing Samurai Champloo to Michiko and Hatchin was I noticed the similarities between Mugen and Michiko. They are… They use… I really… I’m gonna go ahead and say this. They like to play out Black sexuality a lot, or brown-skin sexuality, however you want to put that. And you look at Mugen, who was almost a complete sexual deviant. Not even “almost,” but a complete sexual being, and that’s played off for laughs. I mean, it really is. And that’s played off for laughs and everything like that, and it’s a running gag.
Whereas, you look at Michiko, who is a thousand percent sexuality… And I always try and look at how Black women’s sexuality is portrayed when it is conveyed by non-Black people. I want to see how we look at… I want to see how other… Well, I already know how other groups and races tend to see us. But, creatively, I want to know how they view us any different than the media that you see in the West.
God, I hope I answered that question. [laughs]
VRAI: No, I think that’s great!
AMELIA: I wanna talk about that a little bit, though, because it’s interesting to me that you pull up Michiko’s sexuality. Because something that really struck me in these six episodes… We encounter Rita—
JAX: Oh, Rita.
AMELIA: —who Hana takes as a kind of Michiko surrogate for a little while. And Rita and Michiko go about things in a totally different way, but with the same kind of outcomes.
Michiko doesn’t use her sexuality to get what she wants, which I haven’t really clocked before until I saw Rita actually… She kind of does that. Even though she’s a ten-year-old girl, that’s what she does. She goes up to this guy and she’s being a cute girl and saying “Would you mind covering our lunch? I forgot my wallet.” Kind of playing cute with him. And then she gets him to pay for her lunch.
Michiko doesn’t do that. Michiko threatens people with wrenches.
AMELIA: And it’s just… It’s just a completely different way to go about it. And they both have this kind of fixation on one guy who’s not really there for them. But, again, in a different way, and for different reasons. And I thought that parallel was really fascinating.
JAX: No, I agree with you. I would definitely say that, however, overall in the series so far, Michiko knows she is attractive. Sexually attractive. That’s what I mean when I say she knows how to use her sexuality to get what she wants. Men have a tendency to just… so far, just… How do I want to say this? I don’t want to say “gravitate.” I just feel like that’s the wrong word.
AMELIA: They’re drawn to her.
JAX: They’re drawn to her. Exactly. And Michiko knows this. I don’t think there’s anybody in the series… I mean, aside from Rita… That was disturbing to watch.
AMELIA: Yes. Yes. Yep.
JAX: That was extremely disturbing to watch. I’m glad you brought Rita up. Because that was… That was bothersome to watch, and it was a big turnoff moment for me. And then I had to kind of sit back and realize, “Why does this turn me off? Why is it so upsetting?”
To realize that, as we record this podcast, there are ten-year-old girls if not younger who are out there doing these things. There are ten-year-old girls who are being groomed… Ten-year-old brown and Black girls who are being groomed to think that this is okay. To feel like that they have to act this way.
And I mean just speaking… I’m starting to get a little emotional about this, actually. Just speaking about being a Black woman, speaking about sexuality, and Black women’s sordid history… Black women and brown women’s sordid history with sexuality and how we have never truly been able to own our sexuality and our sexuality has been owned by others. We didn’t have control or a say.
I just feel like that is something that… I think that’s probably one of the bigger triggers for me as I watch this series, is just kind of watching it, and definitely the scene with Rita was just bothersome. I’m just like, “Wow, this is not… ” I don’t want to say “It’s not okay,” ’cause it’s not okay, but at the same time, it’s like, “Let’s look at this and examine it, but, damn, I’m uncomfortable.”
AMELIA: I mean, it fits into a narrative that we’re quite used to, as well. The idea of women charming men into paying for things for them. Whereas, to contrast, I’d say you have the scene with Michiko where she walks in and they think she’s an escort and she doesn’t really do anything with that. She instantly is like, “No, I’m not. I’m gonna kick your ass.”
AMELIA: And that… I really thought for a moment, there, she was gonna play into it, and she was gonna manipulate the information out of them that she wanted, and that’s just not how Michiko does things. And it’s… Yeah, it’s kind of heartbreaking that Rita’s situation is the far more socially accepted situation. It’s the more common one.
LIZZIE: Rita… [clicks tongue] Rita’s whole story… I call it the “circus arc” ’cause everything involving the circus was such a trigger. Such a triggering thing.
LIZZIE: But, you know, Rita’s whole story is just really heartbreaking. That she likes this guy named Gino but Gino doesn’t see her in that light. Out of everything awful in that whole arc, Gino is the only one that sees her as a little kid, right?
LIZZIE: Yeah, and Rita… It’s heartbreaking to have to see Rita try to dress up more adult and, from what she said, she’s been practicing how to talk with older men. That way, Gino can see her in a more adult light. And throughout the entirety, I was like, “Wow, that is a lot of dangerous situations to be in.” ‘Cause it could have gone so bad for Rita.
And it doesn’t help that her circumstances are not exactly safe either, ’cause we find out that the circus is also involved in child trafficking.
JAX: Mm-hm. Exactly.
LIZZIE: You know? I just really… It’s so hard to see that. And when she has that conversation with Hana when they’re watching people through the telescope or something like that. It’s… When she’s talking about the idea of asking a higher being, the statue Maria, for your dreams to come true… It was just so hard for me to see her have to say that at such a young age. To say that… Reality never works out the way you want it to, right? And I’m just like, “Shit.” You know? That’s such a hard thing. It was such a hard thing for me to watch. To see this little girl have to come to terms with herself.
But at the same time, she’s still desperate to dream. Because when we see her go to the statue, ultimately, with Hana, to try to have something work out for her. And then see her chase after that truck, and see her just collapse and be so heartbroken.
It’s just like… gGroans]. All of it was just so… I felt so awful for her. I really had to walk away from the episode afterwards for a bit to get my mind in order.
AMELIA: There was one more element of her story that was really grounded in reality. That was the guy who decided that he should be with her because he’s a nice guy.
LIZZIE: Oh, that guy.
AMELIA: That guy. Yeah.
LIZZIE: You mean the kid? The kid that likes her?
AMELIA: I mean, the kid. I mean, the kid. The guy who’s like, “I’m a nice guy. Talk me up to her and I’ll pay you and she should be with me because I deserve her,” essentially.
LIZZIE: He was… I think his name was Masao? Yeah, I wrote it down. Masao is such a little shit. I mean—
LIZZIE: Rita tells him straight-up, “I want nothing to do with you.” And Masao’s just like, “You’re not the one who will end it. I will.” I’m like… At such a young age, he’s taking ownership of her body.
LIZZIE: Completely taking away her consent and ownership to herself. And I’m just like, “Oh my God. You are such a shitty little kid.”
AMELIA: They’ve absorbed these scripts, right? They’ve absorbed what is kind of considered acceptable and normal in society.
LIZZIE: Yeah. So far, every single guy in the show has just been really misogynistic as hell. Even Gino, even though he looked at Rita as a little girl as she should be, he still walked away from her, leaving her in a very dangerous environment of the circus, where she could have been trafficked later on. You know, we don’t know. Right? So… It’s just… Yeah.
VRAI: It’s… Yeah. The ending to Rita’s arc… I do appreciate that, with Misao, it doesn’t end on the note that obviously she’s going to go back to him and things will be okay that way. I appreciate it sidestepping that.
But, in general, the ending of Rita’s arc is so depressing, ’cause she comes up to Hatchin and is like, “Oh, I’m sure we’ll see each other again,” but, also… I’m sorry, her options are what?
LIZZIE: The circus is gone. Where is she gonna go? That was always so heartbreaking for me. On some aspect, I do want to believe she’d be okay, ’cause she’s a very self-resourceful little girl, but that’s the thing. She is a child. And we’ve seen so far in the show what children have to do in order to survive. And the options are very limited and downright life-threatening, and it’s just so… It just takes me out of that moment. ‘Cause at least Hatchin has Michiko to look after her. But who does Rita have? No one, really.
AMELIA: Can we talk about that for a second, though? Because this was the first time I got really uncomfortable with the way that Michiko treats Hatchin?
That first episode is episode seven when Hatchin… She hasn’t washed her hair and she gets a slap for it. And then she says, “There wasn’t any shampoo,” and she gets a slap for that. And it felt… It felt really uncomfortable but it also felt a little out of the blue. It felt a little bit out of character, like… Michiko is violent, but for the first six episodes, I don’t think we’ve been led to believe that that’s the way she reacts to Hana.
So, is she just being more relaxed around her and letting loose a bit more, or… I don’t know. And they’re building it up now as “she hits because she cares,” and that’s… [inhales]
JAX: I mean, I instinctively cringe against any violence towards kids whenever I have to see it upfront, just because of my past history. And I know that… So, I’m really glad you brought that up, because something that really bugged me about that is that I was hoping I wouldn’t see it, but I saw it. And that is the “angry Black mother” stereotype.
[Exasperated] Oh my God. I talk about this all the time when it comes to Black parents and their anger towards their own children, how they raise children, how they treat children, you know… How many Black parents truly feel that corporal punishment is the best way to raise children.
And, I mean, yeah, Black dads get a rep for not being around, but when it comes to Black mothers, the rep is that we are violent. We are dangerous. We’re threats to our own kids. And that was something… That’s also something that I’m trying to not really focus on in watching Michiko evolve as far as [caring] for her and everything like that. But I really didn’t like the slap. I didn’t at all.
It was just kind of like, “Okay. Watching this. Watching this. Watching this. And then, pow. She gets popped for something completely innocuous.” And it’s like, “Well, that’s triggering.” Because, I mean, that’s how very many… That’s how I was raised. That’s how a lot of Black people were raised. That’s why the cycle of violence in the brown-black community perpetuates.
It’s because that’s how we were raised and how our parents were raised, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. It’s like: when comes along the generation that says, “You know what? This isn’t okay. This may have been how we were raised, but, listen. This is technically what is abuse, and that shit is not okay.”
So, yeah. I don’t really agree with the slap. I was uncomfortable with that. But it’s just like, “Is that how she is, or…?” You’re right. Is she becoming… ? Is that just how she naturally is, or is this just kind of a “this is something we’ll never see again in the series”? ‘Cause I’ve seen it once. We’re going to see it again. It’s just a matter of where. And I hope we don’t. But that’s just how I’m feeling like it’s going.
If we see something like that again, it’s not a matter of… It’s just a matter of time.
VRAI: Yeah. It’s a really sour, upsetting scene, and I think part of the “logic” behind it is that Yamamoto loves relationships that don’t fit necessarily into any mold, and so Michiko and Hatchin’s relationship goes back and forth between “Are they sisters? Are they friends? Are they mother and child?”
But I don’t… And Michiko is learning to navigate [that] violence gets her what she wants in other things, but clearly, you cannot and should not do that with a child. But I still think it’s a really unpleasant scene.
LIZZIE: That’s a good scene.
LIZZIE: It’s a good thing you brought it up, ’cause to be honest with you, I didn’t really think too much about it. Maybe that’s because I’m used to seeing that kind of parenting, or parents being emotionally manipulative in order to get kids to do what they want.
But, yeah, you’re right. It’s really… It’s just really disturbing to see that and how much I feel like it’s normalized on some level, at least with me. And how that’s an old-school way of thinking. But I have heard and seen instances when, you know, in order… In order for… I think somebody put it in a really good way for me is “to beat the bad out of the child.” It’s not… I don’t know.
I had this discussion once with a friend about how there’s a difference between that and actual child abuse, where a lot of the violence comes based on cruelty. And a lot of how immigrant parents… I can speak on that level… how, when they do hit their kids, it’s based out of “beating the bad out of a child.” And, you know… It’s a fucked-up mentality, but I do see where that comes from, and I know it’s something… Seeing…
I have these nephews, now. They’re being raised very differently compared to how, let’s say, I was raised and my sisters were raised. Right? But it’s something I’m still trying to work through, because it’s not… It’s cringeworthy to watch, now that you bring it up, but I don’t know.
I just find it interesting… How come I didn’t realize that until Amelia brought it up. You know? So…
AMELIA: Yeah. My parents didn’t hit. They didn’t hit at all. And, as a result, when I see something like that… I mean, I flinch every time I see children being hit on-screen because I’m not used to it. So, it’s… I think your background, absolutely, has a lot to do with it. And the idea of hitting children as being in any way positive… I feel really resistant to that idea.
LIZZIE: Yeah. No, yeah.
AMELIA: Yeah… it’s a tough one.
LIZZIE: Oh yeah, no, it’s not acceptable, definitely. And it’s a weird line because, even now, in regards to… In the context of raising kids now, a lot of… I’m seeing a lot of elders trying to interject in how some of the relatives I have on how they’re raising their kids, especially boys that fall out of line.
There’s really a lot of internalized misogyny, I find. And in order to… I’m seeing it a lot in terms of community and families. Trying to instill this idea of getting boys to “shapen up” and instilling in them a really toxic sense of masculinity.
And that’s not okay. I don’t support it. But I don’t know. It’s just that when it comes to hitting, there’s a lot of layers to talk about when it comes to hitting kids. ‘Cause I feel like there’s a lot of power dynamics happening there about what is acceptable, what isn’t acceptable. And what you want the child to learn and what you don’t want the child to learn in regards to whatever values the parents have.
VRAI: Toxic masculinity seems like a good door into talking about Satoshi some.
LIZZIE: Yeah, let’s do that.
VRAI: How are y’all feeling? This is the first time we’ve really gotten a chance to see him as opposed to just hearing him talked about.
LIZZIE: [Exhales] Satoshi… We get a flashback, too.
VRAI: We do. A considerable chunk of them.
LIZZIE: Yeah, I mean…
JAX: I had really been kind of interested in seeing him. I’d been excited to see him finally come to screen. I was able to finally put a face to the stories and everything that had been talked about him. You know, what… I don’t want to say there was a lot said. It was sprinkled. It was kind of sprinkled throughout. So, I was really looking forward to seeing him appear on-screen, and it was… Oh, God. I don’t wanna call him a bastard. But, he’s a fucking bastard.
He’s that best friend—quote-unquote “best friend”—that’s… I feel like just one sentence describes him. It’s, “Bros before hoes.” That’s exactly what I thought about his personality, just because of his hatred for Michiko and just feeling like, “You know what? If something goes wrong in my best bro’s life it’s because of the woman in his life.” And I’m just like, “You know what? I know too many people like him,” and it’s just like… He’s such a piece of work. He really is.
LIZZIE: Yeah. He’s just an asshole. I mean, I don’t know how else… I mean, there’s definitely things to talk about with him. His hatred for Michiko and his… And everybody’s weird fascination with Hiroshi. You know, Hana’s dad. Oh, God. I’ll get into that later, but…
With Satoshi’s backstory… I don’t know. I was reminded… When I see that, and I think of Rita’s situation, I think about how limited options Black and black-brown children have in the show. And, in Satoshi’s case, his idea of surviving the streets were killing off Manabe, the leader of the gang in that area where he grew up. And obtaining power. And dominating over everybody. And I don’t know.
I think… Throughout all of that, I’m thinking, “Wow, this is a little kid saying all of this.” And he has… It says something about his situation when he was a child, that he had no other recourse or options to fall back on. But to obtain this position of power by force, if need be. In this case, that means murdering adults twice his age.
And if anything… He’s a mess, but I’ll give him some credit. He, you know, he obtained power. I didn’t even know he was the one who orchestrated everything that happened in the show, with Michiko landing in prison, finding out who murdered that other boss of the Phantasma… I think that’s the name of the gang. Sure, I’ll go with that.
But yeah. I was just surprised to see how much he really orchestrated all of this, and yeah. I’ll give him that, at least. But other than that, his immense hatred for Michiko is always really… something that really leaves a sour note for me. And I think you see that later in the show. But, yeah.
And also everyone’s weird fascination with Hiroshi just really… Ugh.
VRAI: It’s interesting to me that they spend almost an entire episode with fake Satoshi before showing us the real one. I almost get the feeling that they want… they’re trying to draw a distinction between this fake Satoshi who is pulling all of this… this posturing, violent action, as opposed to the real Satoshi, who is a bastard, but we’re also spending… given a lot of time digging into the environment that forced his hand and made him somewhat into this person. That feels the trajectory of that narrative and that comparison.
LIZZIE: Oh, yeah. He’s definitely smart. I think we see fake Satoshi and real Satoshi… There’s definitely this distinction made by the show that Satoshi is actually a really intelligent guy, and he has his hands on a very powerful organization behind him, right? So… I’ll give him that, but yeah. I don’t want to give him too much credit, either, because I don’t like him that much.
LIZZIE: You know?
VRAI: [Insistent] He’s a total fucker, yeah.
LIZZIE: He’s a total ass, but… I’m trying to be fair, but it’s not.
AMELIA: Fake Satoshi… His name was “Davi,” is that right?
AMELIA: And they had that really cold throwaway line in the open into the next episode saying, “Oh, yeah, his body was found.”
That… I think that’s something that Michiko and Hatchin has been quite consistent with, is it’ll show you these characters. It’ll flesh them out. It might even make some kind of comedy out of them, but the reality is quite cruel, and it’s quite a throwaway.
And we have that as well with Pepe’s story. And it’s… I kind of don’t expect people to have happy endings at this point. So, I’m not sure what lies ahead for Michiko herself and for Hatchin. It’s starting to feel a little bit darker than I expected going into it.
LIZZIE: Yeah, I mean, it’s really hard to…
AMELIA: Sorry to be a downer, guys!
LIZZIE: Oh, no, it’s fine. I mean, it’s really hard to feel optimistic considering everything the characters go through and just the ugliness involved, even… Okay, I’m gonna bring this up instead of delaying it… is the fascination with… Everyone has this fascination with Hiroshi, and when I see that fascination with him, I’m reminded in the circus arc, when we find that child trafficking is happening. You know, there’s the other Michiko, who is a… who is also equally fascinated with Hatchin because, unlike the other children, she’s quite fair-skinned.
JAX: Oh my gosh, yes.
LIZZIE: Yeah. It’s just, for me, when I look at both Michiko and Satoshi, when I think of Hiroshi and I think of this other Michiko who is so fascinated with Hatchin and how she very much ignores the other Black and Black-brown children in her care, and just seeing her touch her and… In the balloon, when they’re escaping, saying, “You’re so fair. You’re so beautiful.” She’s gonna catch a high price, you know?
And it just… It’s just like, “Oh God.” It’s just so disturbing to see how much whiteness is desired in the show. Even in the child trafficking business, we just see that it’s often white children that sell at a higher price than Black and Black-brown children. And it’s so disturbing to see. And this is why I kind of developed a different opinion of Director Azalea earlier in the show.
I mean, I don’t think she’s a great person, either, but… It could be also… Black and Black-brown children don’t sell at a higher price, but I also felt like she kept those kids in her care because even though their options in life are very limited, at least there are options compared to whatever awful fate lies for the children who aren’t trafficked, right?
VRAI: I think this is… This is a big topic that could go a lot of ways, but as long as we’re talking about the other Michiko, I think this show rides a really fine line with maybe my biggest problem with Yamamoto’s work that I see her kind of slowly getting over, but, boy, it’s pronounced an uncomfortable here, is this… this coding of beauty as goodness is just kind of in there.
JAX: Yes! Yes! [claps]
VRAI: Holy shit. Other Michiko… There’s this shot of her as a young model and it’s just so… It could have been this idea of, “Oh, she was trafficked and now she’s perpetuating that cycle,” but then that’s never gone into, so it comes across as, “She used to be hot, but now look at her. She’s a fat uggo.” And I just… Please, stop.
JAX: I will go ahead and say… And this is just something that I notice. I’m so glad you brought that up. Because it really does play off the fact that… Let’s look at it this way. The most desirable people in the show are tanner children. The most desirable people in that show sexually are children. And it’s horrifying.
JAX: It gives off the message, “Hey, the older you get, the uglier you get, and we’re not gonna want you when you’re old and used.” It’s just like, “So you mean to tell me that these children who are exposed to horrific life experiences, who you guys consider attractive… ”
I shudder to think… I just hate thinking about child trafficking in general, but when you think about the fact that, oh my God, Hana’s being praised. “Oh my God, you’re so pretty!” [annoyed] That’s when I always cringe, when you get these old-ass dudes in real life or anything, [audio cuts out] “Oh, yeah, you’re gonna be real pretty when you grow up!”
I’m like, “Can you please not look at my 5-year-old niece” or what have you? That’s so creepy. [angry] Literally all I hear you telling me is that you cannot wait to fuck this 5-year-old when she’s eighteen! Which is literally what I’m hearing. You want to get her when they’re young and vulnerable and impressionable, and then you… [quietly] Oh, am I saying too much? I’m sorry. I get…
AMELIA: No, not at all.
LIZZIE: No, it’s fair. It’s fair. ‘Cause I…
VRAI: This is worth being raged at.
LIZZIE: Yeah, ’cause I’ve been in proximity to men like this. There’s this child I knew back when I was visiting a relative in Bolivia. And, oh my God. I’ve been in proximity of men like that who were lusting after her from age-appropriate to fucking thirty.
JAX: Oh my God, I know! It’s like… I have that in family, and it disgusts me. I’m just… Y’all should know this is not okay.
LIZZIE: It’s disgusting. Because eventually when one of these assholes were called out, and thankfully reported, he… The excuse was “he thought she was 16.” I’m like, “that doesn’t make it better.”
JAX: That doesn’t make it better at all. First of all, wait a second, that is never an excuse!
LIZZIE: You know? You know? And it’s like all these… Ugh, it was just really gross. And on top of that, this fascination a lot of these guys had in that she was very white-passing, too, was…
LIZZIE: It was just so gross to see. Oh, gosh. I’ve been in proximity to men like that, and it’s really disgusting to see and it’s awful. Yeah.
AMELIA: How old is Michiko supposed to be?
VRAI: At least… I would guess that she’s supposed to be in her late twenties, given the timeline. The time frame. If we assume she was young when she met Hiroshi.
AMELIA: Because we have… I mean, she’s not a child. But there was the other light-skinned character in these six episodes was the hairdresser, Anastasia.
JAX: Oh, yes!
AMELIA: Yeah. We have this whole situation where her kind of philandering husband pursues Michiko. I mean, he doesn’t just flirt, does he? He actively—
AMELIA: He tells her, “I’m gonna come to your room. I’m gonna knock. If you don’t answer, I’ll take the hint.” That is not what happens. He just walks straight on in there. And it’s… Yeah. That was like, “Whoa.”
But then there’s this moment a little bit later when he’s… He says something like, “Should I stop?” or something. And she’s like, “I don’t know.” And I thought, “Okay, at least there’s a consent check-in.”
But it seems like he’s got this white wife, basically, who… She’s quite clear on the deal between them, it seems. He likes to be pursued himself. He likes to be kind of caught. I don’t know. “Reconfined,” or whatever. That seems to be his deal.
But he… He pursues Michiko, who seems to be younger than his wife. I just got that impression from the way they were drawn. So, I don’t know. That seemed to be one story where they were kind of expressing this dynamic a little bit.
JAX: I am literally rocking back and forth ’cause I could not wait to talk about Anastasia and Michiko. I… [excitedly] That was at the top of my list! I was waiting for this.
AMELIA: Do it.
LIZZIE: “It’s on my list.”
VRAI: Go for it.
JAX: God! Just where to begin? Okay. First of all, I think the one thing that bothered me more than anything… Seeing Anastasia, you really feel bad for her ’cause she is this white woman who… Let me go ahead and phrase this another way; in one that people actually might be able to understand. Everybody knows the Starfire/Dick Greyson/Barbara Gordon dynamic. Right?
JAX: Oh my God. Everyone laughed! So, I didn’t really pay attention to this until maybe early last year, but every time I see that dynamic, I think of the old… not even old, but very true stereotype of white women being afraid to lose their significant other to an exotic woman.
There was a horror movie that surrounded this whole trope. “Oh my God! My—usually white—husband is with this brown/Black girl. I’m about to lose my fucking mind.” Like, that… There was an entire movie about it. I couldn’t believe it was real. 2007 or something like that.
AMELIA: Vrai, this feels like what you said.
JAX: Oh my God! You would get the biggest kick out of this movie. Oh my God.
LIZZIE: I need to see this. Oh, gosh.
VRAI: It sounds like a number of movies I’ve heard of but, again, there are many of them.
JAX: So the trope is something that you will always notice within things like this is that you’ve got the white wife, and then you’ve got… Okay, let’s talk about this stereotype from the get-go. No matter what. Who saw Django Unchained? Out of sheer curiosity.
VRAI: I did, yeah.
AMELIA: I did.
LIZZIE: I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t. [laughs] I just…
JAX: I have feelings about that movie. But, for the most part, thumbs-up, because, I mean, it was just ridiculous. But you notice the landowner… What was… Candy? Calvin? Candy? Leonardo Dicaprio’s sister was constantly trying to go after the doctor who was white, but the doctor kept shafting… Well, not shafting her, but kept putting her off in favor of Brunhilde for obvious reasons.
But the fact that, you know… Something that I really like about this dynamic… Sorry, I just completely… My thoughts were just completely scattered. Something that I really do like about this dynamic, something that I really do appreciate with Anastasia and Michiko, was that it does point to the fact that, when it comes to interaction between Black women and white women, particularly in matters of love and relationships and stuff like that, you’ve got the dynamic of…
Well, actually, I’ll go ahead and say this flat-out and this is going to be very blunt. But Anastasia is honestly the type of white woman that a lot of Black men go for. She’s… And this is just from my experiences, and I promise you ask other Black women, you will get a very close response to this, but… The one thing I notice about Anastasia is she is exactly the type of white woman that Black men will say, you know, will use against Black women, so to speak.
I… You know, Black women are “too independent.” Black women are “this,” Black women are “that.” You know, “Black women don’t know how to act. Black women are too strong. Black women are blah blah… “
And, so, you’ve got Anastasia, here, who is literally the walking embodiment of how very many… How do I say this? That submissiveness in white women that Black men desire. That is Anastasia. So the fact that she was quote-unquote “threatened” by a much younger Michiko who was also a woman of color, so, of course, she’s “exotic” and “different”… I don’t know.
I just thought that she was a very interesting character. And I felt really bad for her. On a couple of stances. Way more than I expected to feel bad, to be perfectly honest with you.But the fact that she’s very… I guess… Not so much understanding, but just complacent of it… It’s just like, “Girl, I just hate that that dynamic was just played at,” so to speak.
VRAI: Well, I think there’s a motif that’s brought up in this episode that keeps recurring throughout the series that I actually wanted to talk about. It’s… It was in Pepelima’s episode as well. This idea that there are constantly novelas—or is there a different term in Brazil?—soap operas.
LIZZIE: Yeah, no, “novelas” is generally the term used. People will get what you’re talking about, yeah. Novelas are really long and overdramatic, but yeah.
VRAI: Got you. But, yeah, soap operas or movies or things on the TV are given a lot of prominence, and it’s as though there’s this… When Michiko is kicking Davi’s ass, and there’s this kung-fu movie in the background that deliberately mirrors her shots, and there’s this idea that these characters’ lives are imitating what they’ve seen on television. And these narratives they’re given.
So, you have this woman who, as well… “The soap opera is the philandering man and the patient woman, but eventually, he’ll come back and, so, I guess I’m mirroring that in real life and I’m perpetuating this.” And I find that a really interesting dynamic, especially with the focus on Hiroshi, who is this character who might as well not even be real. He is what people want or need him to be in their lives.
LIZZIE: Yeah, and I think typically novelas in general have a happy ending, right? I mean, they’re really long and over-the-top, and there’s a lot of violence—sexual violence, in particular in a lot of novelas that people don’t really like to point out and talk about, in particular toward Black, Afro-Indigenous, and Indigenous characters in novelas. But, typically, they have a happy ending. They have the ending as always, “Oh, that marginalized character has assimilated to a higher class.” Right?
And, for me, yeah… I was thinking a lot about Michiko in these episodes, where she’s so… She so desperately wants to believe Hiroshi loves her, or still loves her, right? You have that philandering husband, his name’s Bruno. There’s Bruno, who asks her point-blank, “Do you think that he loves you?” And then, later on, when she’s sick and is having hallucinations thanks to that very fake doctor, she’s almost having, I feel, like a panic attack imagining the reality of “What if Hiroshi doesn’t even love me and actually has moved on?”
Michiko, so desperately, wants to have a happy ending, ’cause, you know, as we’ve seen so far in the show, reality is so much harsher for a lot of the characters to bear with.
So, I don’t know. That’s what I think of when you brought that up. So, thanks for that, Vrai.
AMELIA: I mean, I saw this one… Actually, I saw this showing Michiko as being more romantic than I would have expected. That whole episode, that really resonated with me, I think, where she… I don’t know. I don’t think Michiko’s ever been so relatable to me as when she’s in this position where she’s like, “I feel one way but I don’t know how to act and I’m not sure if I’m doing the right thing, and why did I come out here and see if I was here? I didn’t want to do that.”
She’s just kind of confused and not sure how to deal with it. But she ends up doing what feels right at the time. She says these things in there, like, “Imagine if you were a fish and you could just do whatever you wanted all the time,” and I was like, “Don’t you already do that?”
But she doesn’t… She feels like she’s got this kind of mission to find Hiroshi, and that he’s kind of “The One,” and she’s built him up now as this almost myth. So, if he is dead, or if he is with somebody else, I’m not quite sure how she’ll cope. And this is the first time we really see her kind of going outside that possibility herself.
And I thought that was quite nice, actually, that we do see her considering stepping outside those boundaries a bit, rather than just staying fixated on this guy that she’s been sort of focused on for the last… What? 10 years or something?
LIZZIE: Yeah. Yeah. 10 years or so.
VRAI: But feeling really guilty about it at the same time, because this is not the narrative. This is not the love story. She has to go after him and be singularly devoted and how dare she not want to hang on to this guy who may be dead.
LIZZIE: [laughs] Yeah.
VRAI: It hurts to see her be angry at herself for something she shouldn’t be angry at herself for.
AMELIA: I loved it. I absolutely loved it. There were so many times when Michiko has been quite unrelatable for me, I think. Whereas this episode, I was right there with her.
AMELIA: “I would feel the same as you, Michiko!”
And the fact that she’s so hard-edged, you know? She’s so worldly-wise, and she uses violence to get what she wants. And this guy just… There’s something about him that draws her to him, and she said this about Hiroshi, as well, when they’re going to see this guy that she thinks is Hiroshi based on the street art, and she’s like, “That’s not him. You can’t replicate that cool.”
And she clearly has this kind of aura she’s attracted to, this kind of cool swagger. And Bruno has that. As soon as she’s just around that, they don’t exchange a single word, they just have that cigarette exchange, and don’t say anything. And then, when he does talk to her later, and he’s like, “I love you, Michiko,” and that clearly is enough to sway her… It was just such a beautiful character episode. I really appreciated it.
LIZZIE: Yeah, and I don’t think we’ve talked much about Hatchin. But I think this is where I started to appreciate more of her character a little. I like that she sees that Michiko is clearly hurting. She’s vulnerable; she’s desperately wanting this happy ending for herself.
But I like that seeing how Hatchin sees that in her and wants to take care of her, ’cause Michiko goes through a lot of awful things. I mean, she gets beat up. The amount of violence she goes through in these six episodes is so much to bear for me, but… I appreciate even though Hatchin shouldn’t have to do it, to take care of the adult in her life, ’cause that’s just putting a lot of pressure on her, but I do appreciate seeing this different type of love coming from Hatchin to Michiko.
I don’t know. I feel like Michiko needs that way more than the romantic love that she’s chasing after.
AMELIA: I really… Yeah, I really appreciated Hatchin’s character in these episodes, too, but from a slightly different perspective. I liked that she was kind of angry with Michiko. She’s not really afraid to express that. Which, when you consider her upbringing, where she was in this environment where she couldn’t speak out for so many years, where she couldn’t really express anger. She wasn’t free to do that.
And now she’s in this situation with Michiko where she can be quite open when she’s frustrated and when she’s furious and even when it doesn’t seem reasonable… She’s not afraid of repercussions even though she gets them sometimes. And it’s… I don’t know how to say it, because it’s still not quite a healthy relationship, but it feels like she’s moving in the right direction.
LIZZIE: Yeah. I mean, they’re still getting to know each other. Keeping time of how long they’ve gotten to know each other… This series started in March and so far at the end of these episodes, it’s the end of April. So, it’s two months so far in the context of this show. That they’ve traveled and gotten to know each other. So, they are opening up. It’s not healthy, but, you know, at least it’s going somewhere, you know?
‘Cause… What’s her name? Alexandria? That lady? Well, she was really being passive-aggressive with Hatchin, but I think she brings up an interesting point when she was washing her hair about how…
AMELIA: Oh, Anastasia?
LIZZIE: Yeah, Anastasia. Okay, her name is Anastasia. Okay. When she was washing her hair, that oftentimes the people who are the closest to each other fight often, and meanwhile, her and her husband haven’t fought in years, right?
AMELIA: [skeptical] Mm.
LIZZIE: I mean, granted, I didn’t like that she was saying all these passive-aggressive things to a child, but, okay. I just thought that was an interesting thing to note.
LIZZIE: It’s not a healthy relationship, but it’s going somewhere that’s hopefully gonna be much more healthy than what we see now.
AMELIA: But I question how healthy Anastasia’s [unintelligible due to laughter].
AMELIA: I’m not sure that should be held as an aspiration.
LIZZIE: No, no, no. I meant for Michiko and Hatchin, that relationship will hopefully be much healthier than whatever…
AMELIA: You know, I’m saying that, but at the same time, there was an element of me… Once Anastasia said, “He likes it. He actually wants me to go and scoop him up in my net.” And I thought, “Oh, that’s just how your relationship works. Okay.” And as long as both partners kind of understand that’s the deal and they’re somewhat comfortable with it… Who am I to judge?
But I didn’t get a read from these episodes of how true that is. But she seemed to clock very quickly that Michiko is someone that her husband would be interested in. And while she seemed surprised to see the cigarettes in Michiko’s room, she didn’t react to it in a way of somebody who had not encountered the situation before, I guess.
So, it’s… I don’t know. Maybe that’s kind of their pattern. Maybe that’s just the relationship they have. In which case, I guess that’s as healthy as anything.
LIZZIE: Oh, yeah. I just… I strive… I hope for Michiko and Hatchin to have a way better relationship than whatever happy relationship… whatever relationship Anastasia and Bruno have, so…
VRAI: I was, structurally, really glad that they spent a lot of this six-episode stretch apart. Because one of the things I find really important in “these characters are thrown together and they learn to rely on each other” stories is I like for there to be a break where they then have to choose to seek out each others’ company. I think that’s really important to starting over and having it be more open and chosen.
And also, Hatchin is one of those characters where, on the one level you realize, yeah, she’s a child and she’s angry and she’s sometimes irrational because she’s a child and of all she’s been through; but at the same time, sometimes she’s really obnoxious and just there to be the stick-in-the-mud “virtuous kid” who yells at Michiko for just trying to live her life. And it’s great to see her get away from that, which I feel like is the goal of the circus arc.
AMELIA: Although, I kind of wish… I completely take your point, Vrai, although I kind of wish that when Hatchin chose to be with Michiko at the end it was because of something more positive than literally escaping child trafficking.
VRAI: Yeah. It’s…
AMELIA: It would have been nice if she would have been in a somewhat stable situation. And actually, Michiko was someone she wanted to spend time with actively. But we didn’t quite get that. But we did get that vice-versa. Michiko does, now, think of her relationship with Hana as very important to her. I think we’ve really seen that come out in the last set of episodes and in these set of episodes. So, that’s… I mean, that’s really nice to see as well.
JAX: I just want to throw in real quick: Michiko and Hatchin’s relationship reminds me kind of of Misato and Shinji’s from Evangelion.
VRAI: Yeah. Yeah, a little bit. I can see that.
JAX: You just get the sense that she’s trying to balance “Am I a parent? Am I a sister? What am I to her?” I don’t know. That was just something that I noticed. Plus, they both dress in red and they’re both the wild type. So, I don’t know. It’s interesting… I’m very curious to see where this goes, ’cause the one thing I would like to see is… I almost said a “happy end,” but I mean, there really can’t be a happy end to the show. I just don’t see it.
LIZZIE: Yeah, it’s hard. … I mean, can we talk about Atsuko?
JAX: Yes! [laughs]
VRAI: I was going to insist that we talk about Atsuko before we go, ’cause we’re going a little long, but damn it, I—
JAX: [crosstalk; excitedly] Yes, please, please, please!
VRAI: —love her so much.
LIZZIE: Please, let’s talk about her. ‘Cause I love her. And I hate Ricardo.
VRAI: It’s so interesting to me that, after this, Yamamoto went on to do The Woman Called Fujiko Mine, which, of all the things I love about that show, Zenigata is easily the weakest part. And here is Atsuko, who is very much in that mold of the dogged inspector who is definitely totally in love with the person they’re pursuing who consumes their life.
My favorite… Well, my favorite stretch with her is kind of coming up, but I’m just… My heart is so continually broken by this stretch where she… She faces consequences for this, which is abnormal for her character archetype.
She loses her job and we spend a lot of time with cracking that sort of thin-veneer ice that she was living on, where she was a professional but there was so much racism and sexism in her position just waiting for the chance to come up and undermine her. And then her feelings for Michiko are what do her in, but she does and doesn’t seem to regret that, and, oh my God, she’s just so good.
AMELIA: I did wonder, actually, did the consequences she face… There was a part of me that was like, “Is it ’cause she’s a Black woman? Is that why she’s experiencing this weight of consequences.?”
JAX: [crosstalk] Mm.
AMELIA: Would a more senior white man have gotten away with stuff like that? I don’t know.
JAX: Never. Never.
LIZZIE: Yeah. And Ricardo got… You mentioned earlier how we find out in the next episode via news what happens to all these other characters. Yeah, Ricardo got a promotion. He got credit for whatever buster they did in the last episode.
And, well, Atsuko… We’re told she’s gonna be facing consequences of corruption. And it’s so hard to see. She’s such a great character who is very nuanced, layered. She’s clearly in love with Michiko, and that love is what ultimately allows her to let Michiko go and escape and find whatever answers that she’s looking for.
She takes the heat for it, and Ricardo pretty much straight-out says it out loud what he thinks of Atsuko. He hates that he’s under the command of a younger woman. And he’s just tired of being her lackey. He has very petty dreams about paying off his mortgage. You know, there’s so much misogyny and shittiness from that interaction.
Honestly, I didn’t think he was gonna be a relevant character when I first watched this.
LIZZIE: But yeah. He took me by surprise. Atsuko didn’t look that surprised, either. She probably has known something like this was gonna happen. Folks are out to undermine her. She’s pretty high-ranking in the police force, I think. I don’t..
AMELIA: But then we have to raise the point that she didn’t actually do her job. She raised all these forces to go and arrest Michiko, and then she has the opportunity and she lets her go. And that’s… I think that’s really frustrating, is she’s actually in the wrong, and so she does… I think she gets much worse consequences than she deserves, but she definitely… In a way, they were kind of right to suspect that she wouldn’t do the job right.
And, you know, there’s a conflict of interest, there. She grew up with Michiko. Why would people expect that she could kind of stare down her childhood friend and arrest her? I don’t know why they put her in that position, or why she’s ended up in that position, but I’m… It wouldn’t be surprising to me that people would doubt or question whether she’d be able to do the deed when the time came.
VRAI: It is interesting to see her as a foil to Satoshi as well. These two characters who have known this other person since childhood and have risen to the heights of some kind of structure of power, and found it to be a very precarious place that wasn’t as fulfilling as maybe they hoped it would be.
LIZZIE: Yeah, I mean, they… I think Satoshi and Atsuko actually knew each other. They call each other via cell phone, so… It’s frustrating. It’s frustrating to see that Atsuko probably worked really hard to get where she’s at, and, you know, for that to be challenged… And, of course, her personal feelings involving Michiko have put her in a really… In a situation where I don’t know if she can come back from that.
And she’s also put her connections with Satoshi and other folks she might know in the community in jeopardy, too. So…
VRAI: It’s… Her arc is so… It seems to hang very much on this sense of: how much does this bond mean to her, and is there anything there? Because this a series about past versus present versus… What do you choose to let go? What is harmful, what is helpful to you? And it hurts to think that Michiko maybe doesn’t actually value this bond, but knows Atusko does.
LIZZIE: Yeah. I hope we see more of that and actually see what exactly… Like, how Michiko actually views their relationship, because, you know, Atsuko has given up so much for her thus far. You know, and I hope, at some level, that feeling is reciprocated.
VRAI: So, I guess, on that note, what are you guys hoping for in the next… We’ll actually be watching five episodes next time, since this is 22 episodes instead of 24. So what are your hopes?
JAX: I… I just hope to see… Oh God. I want to see more growth. I want to see Hana be a kid. I want to see Hana allowed, for at least five minutes, to be a kid, because I just don’t see Hana and I don’t see a kid. I see an adult, and however old Hana is supposed to be… I want to see more of that obnoxious, child impiness.
And I want to see Michiko let Hiroshi go. I’m like, “Girl, you are literally holding on to him.” And just… I was happy to see them break, but I want to see her let go of him for good. ‘Cause it is clear that she has no other goal in life. I get that you want to be happy, yes. I understand that you want to be happy. But, at the same time, I hate that she is so focused on him. Really focused. I mean, she is obsessed. Whatever’s stronger than “obsessed” is what Michiko is, and I want to see more growth.
And I just want to see a bit more justice in this show. I’m asking for a lot, given what we’ve already been talking about, but I want to see a somewhat… Even if it’s bittersweet to an end, I want to just see closure out of the series. ‘Cause, I mean, everything this series has taken me through emotionally and mentally and everything I have to assess and break down and just…
In general, I’d like to see some kind of balance over the next couple of episodes, where we know it’s gonna go right, but at the same time, I don’t want to lose a second of not knowing what’s gonna happen.
VRAI: What about you, Lizzie?
LIZZIE: Yeah, I mean, in general, I’d like to see all the kids in the show be allowed to be children. And I hope to see a more healthy relationship between Michiko and Hatchin. I want Michiko to start seeing that there are other, more important relationships in her life that she can hold on to.
And this idealized relationship she is imagining with Hiroshi… I’d like her to see that that’s not healthy and that she should let him go, and I hope that that’s done in a way that is psychologically healthy for her, because we’ve seen how not… How she didn’t really react well at the idea of Hiroshi being with someone else. So… I’d like to see more of that.
I’d like to see more of Atsuko. I want to see those two develop more, and… Yeah. So, I’m hoping for a bittersweet ending. I… You know, so that’s as much as I can hope for with this show.
VRAI: How about you, Amelia?
AMELIA: I think character growth is the big one for Michiko and Hatchin, specifically. I mean, we’ve started to see Michiko rub off on Hatchin a little bit when she decides to go after the fake doctor with a pipe.
AMELIA: Just vandalize her way out of her bill. So, Michiko started to rub off on Hatchin a little bit.
VRAI: That shot is so good!
AMELIA: It would be nice to see that vice-versa as well. Hatchin has made her thoughts very clear to Michiko that she’s not happy with just threatening their way out of money, ironically. And she would like to see Michiko conduct herself more ethically.
She’d like to see… She’d like to just… It seems like she’d like to enjoy just traveling around with her a bit more, and right now she’s tense. She’s stressed. And she’s frustrated. And that’s why she’s so angry all the time.
So, it would be really nice to see Michiko be willing to start paying for things. For example… Work more. We always see Hatchin taking on these jobs, part-time jobs, wherever they go, just to earn some cash, and Michiko doesn’t seem to do that. So, maybe that’s a change we’ll get to see.
But it would… I also really want to see more of Atsuko now that she’s got this pressure off her. I mean, for anyone who’s seen Avatar: [The] Last Airbender, it’s like when Zuko walks away from the military and it’s like, “Now we get to see who you are. Brilliant.”
JAX: [excited] Yes!
AMELIA: That’s what I want. I’ve got anime examples, too, but I can’t remember any of them off the top of my head, so Zuko it is. But I really wanna see more of Atsuko; get to know her better. I do hope Satoshi comes back. I want to see more of him and dig into their history a bit more between the three of them.
LIZZIE: Also, I want to add, for all the listeners out there, please don’t go to a doctor referred to you by a tourist guide. Get out.
LIZZIE: You know? I just wanna emphasize… Yeah, there are folks who know curanderismo and santeria, but the thing is, to find those folks, it takes a lot of work to find legit folks. Don’t listen to tourist guides. Don’t go to the market. If you plan on visiting South America and the Caribbean, those are often places to scam tourists. Finding folks who know what they’re doing actually takes effort, so… Just so you know.
VRAI: Good to know.
AMELIA: Poor Hana. She doesn’t know any better.
VRAI: God, that whole episode. We could be here another 20 minutes talking about that whole fucking thing.
AMELIA: Yeah, we didn’t even talk about her dream or anything.
VRAI: I love the good surrealism, but, ah, we’re running long. Curses.
AMELIA: Yes. Let’s move on.
VRAI: But, yes, thank you so, so much, as always, to the three of you for being here. I… This is… I’m really quite proud of the discussion that you… Nope, words bad.
I’m really proud that Anime Feminist is able to put this out and much of that is thanks to the discussion you have brought, so, thank you again. I can’t say it enough.
AMELIA: Yeah. Seconded.
VRAI: Yes. All right, so let’s get to the closing spiel.
If you liked this episode, you can find more episodes of Chatty AF on SoundCloud. If you want to hear more from our contributors, including Jaqueline and Lizzie, you can always find us at animefeminist.com.
We also have a Patreon, which helps pay the bills. We’re really working on ramping that up to be able to expand what we do… our content, how much we pay our contributors and our editors, and to just be able to shore up what we do in the future. That’s patreon.com/animefeminist. Even a dollar a month really, really means a lot. That’s the kind of sustainable stuff that is going to keep us going.
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If you are watching along with us, next time, again, we’ll be watching five episodes instead of six, so it will be episodes 13 through 18, and we hope to see you there! Take care.