Weekly Round-Up, 1-7 November 2023: New Gaming News Site, Grief in The Tunnel to Summer, and Streamable Magical Girls

By: Anime Feminist November 7, 20230 Comments
Sparkly-eyed, cat-eared MaoMao making grabby hands

AniFem Round-Up

2023 Fall Three-Episode Check-In

We’ve got almost too many great shows to pick from, whether it’s medical detectives or superheroines.

Many Ways to be a Warrior: Illness, martial arts, and seeing myself in Kojirō Sasaki

Gabriel Leão discusses facing ableism both as a wrestler and in his writing career, and the parallels he found in Record of Ragnarok.

What’s your favorite short series?

They’re bite-sized and often overlooked, but they can be great.

October 2023 Patron Newsletter and Staff Recommendations

Some great series you might have missed for our much-appreciated patrons.

Beyond AniFem

Welcome To Aftermath (Aftermath, Staff)

We wish the founders and their project success.

As workers and owners, we’re beholden to no one but ourselves, and to you, our readers. When you subscribe, you’ll get access to writing that pursues the truth and casts a critical eye on gaming and the internet, that doesn’t need to placate capital or kowtow to PR. You’ll be supporting the kind of journalism our past experience has shown us you like best: honest and irreverent, written for people rather than SEO. You’ll get a site that prioritizes the reader experience, with no invasive popups or ads that burn up your device. And you’ll be supporting new ownership models pioneered by our colleagues at sites like Discourse Blog, Defector, Hell Gate, The Autopian, Remap Radio, 404 Media, and others– new kinds of media companies that don’t just bring you good stuff to read, but are helping chart a new future for journalism.

Through our different subscription tiers, you’ll have access to articles, comments, podcasts, a newsletter, a Discord server, and more. We wanted to give you flexibility not just in how much you want to spend to support us, but in how much you want to interact with the community we hope to grow around the site. We hope you’ll want to talk to us, and to each other, but you can also just read the articles, where we’ll keep you up to date on the worlds of video games, board games, comics, movies and tv, nerd culture, tech, streaming, and the labor issues that surround them. We’re launching today with a ton of great stuff for you to read, and we’ll be adding more in the days, weeks, and months  to come. 

Metal Gear Solid 5 actress speaks out on her character’s controversial outfit: “There were so many other options you could have gone with” (GamesRadar, Alessandro FIllari)

For those who don’t remember, it’s because she breathes through her skin.

“It’s been interesting to see the discussions about the character. Of course, I’ve seen them and read a lot of different perspectives on the character at the time,” said Joosten. “And still, I respect the choices Kojima made and his team in designing the character. And also, of course, there’s also just a choice of creating a visually appealing character. I think video games are, in a way, still a sort of fantasy world you enter, so I respect the choices regarding the Quiet appearance, for instance, being quite revealing.”
“But I also understand the perspective of the people that are not as happy with how she was portrayed,” she continued. “This game came out in 2015, and I think the video game landscape has changed quite a lot since then. People are looking for more representation, and I really get it.”

Before MGSV’s release in 2015, the character Quiet became a topic for discussion due to her revealing costume and how she fit into the game. Many fans felt that her character added unnecessary sex appeal to the game which came off as degrading to her character. Hideo Kojima would eventually speak to the controversy, stating that there were in fact, story reasons for why the silent assassin Quiet needed to wear a bikini and leggings, which led to the now infamous comment from him stating that critics of Quiet would be “ashamed of your words & deeds.”

60% of Japan’s counselors for women in need paid under $1,330 per month: study (The Mainichi, Mari Sakane)

The survey received 586 responses from counselors who work with women who’ve experienced domestic abuse.

When asked about their monthly salary, 177, or 30.2%, said they earn under 160,000 yen (around $1,060), followed by 103, or 17.6%, who reported receiving between 160,000 and 180,000 yen (roughly $1,060 to $1,200). A total of 81, or 13.8%, were paid 180,000 to 200,000 yen a month. When asked whether they thought their pay matched the work, a majority, 324, said they didn’t think it did. However, nearly 90% said they felt their work was rewarding.

Women’s counselors face a wide range of tasks, such as accompanying victims of sexual abuse or domestic violence on visits to hospitals and thinking up support strategies for them facing unwanted pregnancies. They also accompany victims of stalking to police stations and help those who have lost a place to live find housing. Requests for their services have been on the rise, reaching 437,113 in 2021. Many of those seeking support are facing trauma from emotional distress. Accordingly, many of the counselors obtain certification as public psychologists or psychological social workers.

Ten years ago, one female counselor in her 60s working for a local government in east Japan’s Kanto region assisted a mother and child who were victims of domestic violence. The child, entering high school, said they wanted to pursue a career in welfare work in the future. The counselor recalled that and said that it made her happy that she could help turn their lives around.

Next April, new laws will come into effect requiring “special consideration” when recruiting counseling staff with the necessary skills, experience and expertise to support women facing hardship.

According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, securing younger staff is becoming an urgent matter as over 70% of women’s counselors are now over the age of 50.

The counselor in her 60s commented, “I wish they would guarantee proper pay in recognition of the job’s requirements and challenges.”

Discrimination against Afghans? Refugees still struggle in Japan (The Asahi Shimbun, Takuya Asakura)

By contrast, the article asserts, Ukranian asylum seekers have received significantly more support monetary and material support.

Tokyo is now coming under additional fire over its limited support for those it does recognize as refugees.

The Japanese Embassy in Kabul started evacuating its locally hired staff members in October two years ago.

In August this year, Reiko Ogawa, a sociology professor at Chiba University, and her colleagues checked on the conditions of 18 former embassy staffers who were recognized as refugees in Japan. The survey covered 106 people, including family members.

Only two of them had secured permanent employment positions. All of the others were working part time or seeking jobs.

Although the Afghans often arrived in Japan with many family members, their monthly household income was 200,000 yen ($1,332) or less in most cases.

“Japan has discussed the issue of its low refugee acceptance ratio and other such topics so far,” Ogawa said. “Tokyo must now consider what assistance to provide recognized refugees and their families. Most refugees will certainly be able to achieve self-sufficiency, as long as they are given a stable environment to refine their skills.”

More than 800 Afghans, including former students who had studied in Japan, arrived in the country as evacuees after the Taliban took over. Of them, 280 or more have been granted asylum.

Protesters in Japan demand end to Israeli strikes in Gaza (The Asahi Shimbun)

The protest drew roughly 1,600 attendees.

Matsushita, 27, criticized the United States for continuing to support Israel’s actions and Japan for giving consideration to both Israel and Palestine.

“In Palestine, everyone handed me something,” he said. “Yet Japan and Western nations are depriving the people of Gaza and Palestine of hope.”

Matsushita called for public support in immediately stopping the Israeli air strikes on Gaza.

The offensive started after Hamas infiltrated Israel on Oct. 7, killed 1,400 people and took 240 hostages.

However, Israel’s military action, including constant airstrikes that have killed more than 10,000 people in Gaza, including 4,000 children, has been criticized as excessive and causing another humanitarian crisis in the Middle East.

Saori Gomi, who supported Syrian refugees in Turkey as a nonprofit organization employee, participated in her first demonstration at the Tokyo rally.

Refugees and others she became acquainted with in Turkey have shared social media posts about demonstrations in Japan and written messages about them.

“Some people say it is meaningless to demonstrate in Japan, but it is important to show solidarity,” said Gomi, 34. “There are people all over the world who are watching (what is happening in Japan) and delivering the message.”

Exiting Grief: The Tunnel to Summer, the Exit of Goodbyes’ Novelist Mei Hachimoku (Anime News Network, Toni Sun)

Interview with the novel author coinciding with the film’s premiere at Otakon.

A good portion of the novel was about the relationships between young girls, with Anzu and Koharu starting as a bully and her victim and eventually becoming close friends when Anzu fights back. Who or what inspired these female characters and their relationship?

HACHIMOKU: The idea behind it was that Anzu is very unique, and she’s dropped into this school environment. And then I just wanted to illustrate how the people and surroundings might be affected by her, her dropping in and them interacting with each other.

Anzu is an artist frustrated with her parents, who are trying to prevent her from making art. Some people might even describe them as abusive. What are you trying to say with the film about the experiences of young artists and their families?

HACHIMOKU: I think that every family has these sorts of flaws. So I also wanted to illustrate that, but in the relationship between the parents and Anzu, it’s just a part of it. And I wanted to illustrate the relationship between siblings and how that plays out.

What were you trying to represent about siblings? What drew you to the sibling relationships?

HACHIMOKU: So personally, I believe that compared to an older brother and little brother relationship, there’s a tighter bond in a brother and a little sister relationship. So personally, that’s a more significant relationship, and I wanted to illustrate that.

17 Essential Magical Girl Anime on Crunchyroll (Crunchyroll, Chelsea Cruz)

A helpful roundup of the majority of magical girl titles available on the service.

Calling all magical girls! Enter a world of magic and mystery while fighting the forces of evil and making friends along the way and get into magical girl anime. What makes the genre so unique is that there are the straightforward series of regular girls unlocking mysterious forces, but as the years have gone by, more and more series show interesting outlooks on the genre itself. All in all this popular genre proves to have an impact on anime of the past and of the future. With the release of Gushing Over Magical Girls coming soon to Crunchyroll, I thought it would be the perfect chance to explore all the essential magical girl shows Crunchyroll has to offer.

46. A Husband is Unnecessary: Yoshiya Nobuko & Japanese Girls’ Culture (History is Gay)

Podcast discussion with Erica Friedman about the influential author of Hana Monogatari.

This episode has EVERYTHING: gay haircuts, yearning, rage against the patriarchy, they were *roommates*….let’s talk about the magical world of Yoshiya Nobuko, girls’ culture, and lesbian fiction in Taishō era Japan! Leigh is joined by guest host Erica Friedman, speaker, editor, researcher and an expert on all things Yuri. Yoshiya Nobuko was an extremely popular writer in 20th century Japan who lived with her beloved female partner for 50 years and her legacy continues today as “the Grandmother of Yuri.”. The tropes and storylines established in her writing can still be seen today in queer girls stories in and outside of Japan– get ready to learn all about modern Japan’s very own Sappho. After all, it’s all in the yearning. 

Japan hospital denies LGBT woman support for IVF pregnancy (The Mainichi)

The clinics turned away both a same-gender couple and an unmarried woman who’d used donated sperm.

The cases occurred at a time when Japanese hospitals have grown wary about accepting pregnant women unconditionally due to a lack of legislation related to conception via donated sperm.

Japan requires women to be in a heterosexual marriage to access IVF, leading some in same-sex relationships to travel overseas to receive the treatment.

Kodomap called on the government to ensure that “all women, regardless of their marital status or how they became pregnant, can receive appropriate obstetrics treatment.”

Koji Takahashi, a senior official at the agency who received the request, echoed that view, saying, “Regardless of how she got pregnant, there should not be a case where an obstetrics department refuses to examine a pregnant woman.”

VIDEO: “It’s not like OTHER shoujo” and the devaluation of women-aimed media.

AniFem Community

Since we don’t have the bandwidth to cover shorts regularly, it’s always great to have readers chime in on the good stuff.

Play It Cool, Guys was an absolute joy to watch. I found it be very soothing and relatable, and both the developing friendships and sideplot about following your dreams were wonderful.
I maintain that Extra Olympia Kyklos was the best anime of 2020 that nobody watched.  Its use of stop-motion enhances the fish-out-of-water story and it's sincerely funny - moreso than its better known predecessor, Thermae Romae.  The ED songs were the icing on the cake.

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