Things are scary, but we have at least a small bit of fundraiser-related good news.
Find an up-to-date list of all premiere reviews here.
While the international production team is cool, the premiere itself feels a bit stiff and by-the-numbers.
A competent sports show with likely more characters than it can satisfyingly develop.
A reincarnation fantasy that feels like some care was taken with its fairly familiar premise.
The audience of this “classic lit references and pretty boys” series already knows who they are.
A gentle, pun-filled single dad show.
The post-apocalyptic robot battles are a bit familiar but it’s executed with flair.
The latest multimedia memefest from the Pop Team Epic director.
This brash, messy grown lady protagonist and her radio job is our new favorite.
Historical fiction with a dogged heroine battling systemic sexism.
Reincarnation isekai with buckets of charm and a few possible stumbling blocks on the horizon.
Competent but rote mobile game adaptation.
Potentially campy gorefest undercut by its misogyny and leering camera.
Stylish newbie-friendly remake of the 1999 classic.
Saddled with possible manic pixie dream girl energy and an age-gap romance, but it’s beautifully made.
Mobile game fantasy series playing outdated tropes with utter sincerity.
Fishing hobby series with room to grow.
We’re rounding our way to the second half now.
My Hero Academia and the Problem of the Supercop (Fanbyte, Eric McAdams)
Digging into the unsettling elements of police brutality prominent in recent story decisions.
Cop fiction, for the most part, tells three fundamental lies: that cops are basically good, basically competent, and basically successful. Cops that are main characters in films and TV shows usually know what they’re doing, usually have good reasons for doing it, and usually solve the case by the end. There is no real evidence or statistical basis that suggests real police officers share these traits, but that’s how genre conventions work: would you watch a murder mystery featuring a detective who never solved anything? There is more than a little overlap between this kind of fiction and superhero stories; just about every superhero these days is written to be conscious of that line.
Superhero stories are power fantasies; more specifically, they are fantasies that those who are given power will be responsible with its use. We all know that power corrupts, but it’s nice to watch Spider-Man web-sling his way to victory, even if his current incarnation in the MCU is a de facto government-sanctioned supercop, as well. I don’t mean to argue here that you’re a cop if you like superheroes, or that My Hero Academia is problematic, or anything so reductive as that. Police in Japan don’t have the same power, statistics, or stigma as those in the United States, and neither do superheroes for that matter, being fictional. But Midoriya’s impassioned, desperate, violent attempt to stop two trespassers is a tonal misstep, one that reveals just how delicate the line is between plucky do-gooder and oppressive force.
Atlus tried, and failed, to fix Persona 5’s most controversial scene (Polygon, Laura Dale)
The rewrite of the original homophobic scene is, effectively, the same sentiment wearing a new hat.
Those fears are common. I’m not the only LGBT person with a family who assumed that part of my identity was forced upon me. It’s used as a way to discredit someone’s lived experience. It’s used by society to handwave away our fights for rights, because we’re not really suffering; we just want to “seem cool” or “fit in.” It’s used to suggest that LGBT people shouldn’t be around children, and that children shouldn’t be taught LGBT people exist, because it will cause them to be tricked into becoming LGBT themselves.
This scene is the distillation of that fear — the idea that LGBT people will swoop down on your children, and force them to be something they are not. It’s the idea that LGBT individuals are predators, looking for people to brainwash to “our side,” like pawns. It’s not just a failed joke; it’s a situation that seems to justify many people’s fears.
Rainbow Releases: Autumn 2019 (Coherent Cats, Malia and Karleen)
A list of anime and manga with LGBTQ+ representation released in the last quarter of 2019.
Unfortunately, we won’t be hosting Rainbow Releases at Sakura-con 2020 as the convention was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is the list of anime and manga that would have been touched on in our presentation. The future of convention panels, anime production, and physical book releases are uncertain, but we will continue to update our blog with seasonal recaps of what makes its way to the US.
At long last, here is our recap of LGBTQ-themed anime and manga from the autumn season of 2019! With that, all of 2019 has been covered.
Things Get Awkward in the Idol Romcom Oshibudo (Anime News Network, Nick Dupree and Steve Jones)
Sorting out the series’ messy place as a loving, semi-critical comedy about idol fandom.
Nick: Maina may actually be my favorite character in the whole show, but that comes with the big asterisk that I’m willing to go with the conceit of an idol falling in love with her biggest fan, which not everyone’s gonna be cool with. And with good reason! On paper it’s basically the fantasy of the exact kind of possessive fan Motoi is meant to represent and has led to actual real-life idols being gruesomely assaulted.
Steve: Despite Oshibudo largely anchoring itself in reality, this is as good a point as any to make the distinction that even realistic fiction is still fiction. Nevertheless, this ends up being a pretty big hurdle both in terms of real events and even in terms of Oshibudo’s own narrative. But if you can bear those points, Maina and Eripiyo’s relationship is a cringeworthy and fascinating thematic distillation of that idol/fan divide I was referencing earlier. Basically, they never would have met if not for this whole idol business, but the idol business also explicitly prevents them from growing closer and properly communicating by literally commodifying the back-and-forth of their relationship.
Nick: It’s a surprisingly sharp idea, provided you can get behind it. Eripiyo and Maina spend basically the whole show awkwardly prodding at the borders of their vague relationship, emulating the ups and downs of what would usually just be shyness and wacky misunderstandings in a typical romcom.
A Feminist Critique of Murakami Novels, With Murakami Himself (Literary Hub, Translation by Sam Bett and David Boyd)
Novelist Kawakami Mieko questions Murakami about his female characters.
MK: A common reading is that your male characters are fighting their battles unconsciously, on the inside, leaving the women to do the fighting in the real world. For example, in The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, it’s Kumiko who pulls the plug on the life support system, kills Noboru Wataya, and ultimately pays the price. And in 1Q84, the Leader is killed by Aomame. Granted, it isn’t necessary to apply a feminist critique to every single novel, and a pursuit of rectitude is not why any writer turns to fiction, but reading these books from a feminist perspective, the common reaction would likely be: “Okay, here’s another woman whose blood has been shed for the sake of a man’s self-realization.”
Most women in the real world have had experiences where being a woman made life unlivable. Like victims of sexual assault, who are accused of asking for it. It comes down to the fact that making a woman feel guilty for having a woman’s body is equivalent to negating her existence. There are probably some women out there who have never thought this way, but there’s an argument to be made that they’ve been pressured by society into stifling their feelings. Which is why it can be so exhausting to see this pattern show up in fiction, a reminder of how women are sacrificed for the sake of men’s self-realization or sexual desire.
Curbs to stem COVID-19 in Japan may fuel domestic violence and abuse (The Japan Times, Magdalena Osumi)
Fewer ways to escape from abusive homes and higher financial tension are contributing factors.
To highlight the growing problem, the All Japan Women’s Shelter Network, an organization that provides care and assistance to domestic abuse survivors, issued a letter to the government requesting greater support for victims.
The group is calling on the government to avoid shutting down or curtailing domestic violence and child abuse consultation services throughout the quarantine period, and to provide more information on where to find support.
Kitanaka, who represents the group, said victims are already facing difficulty communicating their problems during the pandemic as many consultation centers run by local governments are canceling face-to-face counseling sessions.
“If this situation continues for a year, it will become an even bigger problem,” Kitanaka said.
She stressed that support for low-income families was essential, as people in that group face increased risks of domestic abuse triggered by loss of income. According to her group, such incidents have already been seen.
Given Anime: Healing and the Importance of Elders (ThatNerdyBoliviane, Lizzie Visitante)
A discussion of the anime’s handling of suicide and the role of mentors.
I often find its on the shoulders of QTBIPOC folks to remember and preserve the memories of our elders because if we don’t archive them, no one will honor their legacies. Whether dead or alive, elders have always been so important to trans and queer communities and the way Given celebrates them is wonderful. When Ritsuka realized he fell in love with Mafuyu the surge of joy and confusion he felt made him feel lost. It doesn’t help that he knows that Mafuyu lost his previous boyfriend in such a brutal way so it’s understandable that he is unsure on how to deal with those complicated emotions (plus it’s his first love). Thankfully, the people around him, mainly Akihiko noticed Ritsuka’s feelings and looked out for him until he was ready to ask for advice. Ritsuka looks up to Akihiko so for him to be told that there is nothing wrong with falling in love with guy and that Akihiko’s sexuality is fluid meant the world to him.
VIDEO: Analysis of sexuality in Beastars by a member of furry fandom.
VIDEO: Interview with the founder of a low-rent dormitory for animators.
TWEET: The Eizouken mangaka drew from his own ADHD in writing Asakusa.
THREAD: Updates on how COVID19 will affect Seven Seas’ manga publishing schedule.
TWEET: A PassTheBrush video focusing on plus-size cosplayers.
This has to be one of the wall-to-wall strongest seasons in a while.