Weekly Round-Up, 10-16 January 2024: Ninja Shoujo, Blackness in Anime, and Hakuoki Ports

By: Anime Feminist January 16, 20240 Comments
a student pointing dramatically to the sky while onlookers look baffled

AniFem Round-Up

Hokkaido Gals Are Super Adorable – Episode 1

Another sweet m/f romance that’s occasionally derailed by intrusive fanservice.

‘Tis Time for “Torture,” Princess – Episode 1

This is absolutely Miyazaki-grade culinary voyeurism.

Villainess Level 99: I May Be the Hidden Boss But I’m Not the Demon Lord – Episode 1

It’s not a terrible show, but it’s stuck in the same uncreative rut as the reincarnation isekai genre at large.

Doctor Elise: The Royal Lady with the Lamp – Episode 1

A very strong first episode, but it’s not clear if its biggest strengths will carry forward to the rest of the series.

Sengoku Youko – Episode 1

Fun if somewhat breathless, it’s somewhat hard to judge the show right now–though the author’s previous works suggest that the binary morality of this premiere is likely a facade.

Metallic Rouge – Episode 1

Too soon to call how well the show will execute its heady themes, but for now it looks damn good and has a great female cast.

The Witch and the Beast – Episode 1

This one sets up a veritable jenga tower of loaded themes, precariously stacked.

Cherry Magic! Thirty Years of Virginity Can Make You a Wizard?! – Episode 1

A sweet, low-key BL office rom-com.

Delusional Monthly Magazine – Episode 1

Unexpectedly similar to an American 80s cartoon.

The Weakest Tamer Begins a Journey to Pick Up Trash – Episode 1

Your feelings on this one will likely hinge on your feelings about the protagonist and her so far relentlessly horrible backstory.

BUCCHIGIRI!?! – Episode 1

There’s so much happening it’s hard to get a grasp on, but there’s definitely nothing else quite like what Utsumi makes.

Meiji Gekken: 1874 – Episode 1

There are a lot of interesting threads, but the end result is somewhat cluttered.

What was your favorite Fall 2023 anime?

A little late but still worth talking about.

Beyond AniFem

With Handala: Demanding an immediate ceasefire

An artist-centered protest against the Palestinian genocide, shared by Shirahama Kamome.

We began accepting applications on December 31, 2023 and immediately received a great response, and the next day, January 1, 2024, we created a official X (formerly Twitter) account and began reposting pictures of  own character’s backside tagged with the #withHandala hashtag. Many people agreed but some of them commented that both sides should stop attacking each other. We will refrain from reposting on this account because there is room to discuss such matters. Because we consider this “war” to be ethnic cleansing / ethnocide / genocide by Israel. However, #withHandala has spread as a much larger movement than the three of us had originally anticipated. At the same time, #withHandala has become a big swell that has left our hands. While we respect the wishes of those who agree with the purpose of the #withHandala, we plan to repost mainly “pictures” related to the #withHandala. When we compile the collected drawings, we will mainly select works by professional cartoonists or similar artists, as was our original plan. Please understand that this may be an arbitrary decision. Thank you for your continued support.

SAG-AFTRA’s AI Voice Acting Deal Was A Powder Keg Waiting To Go Off (Aftermath, Nathan Grayson)

Many voice actors have reported being taken by surprise and feeling betrayed by the news.

Some companies will look at, for example, the incredible improvisation work done by Spider-Man 2 voice actors and decide to spend the money to put a bunch of human beings in a room, but others – strapped for resources as is – will opt for the quick and dirty AI-powered version. The downstream impacts of that, over time, will likely lead to fewer opportunities for voice actors and worse, less human games. This mirrors Hollywood actors’ concerns around body scans and AI background doubles, another area in which some union members feel that SAG-AFTRA may not have secured sufficient protections for performers.

This will make an already competitive industry even more so, which does not bode well for performers who’ve yet to achieve big-name status. Caroline Kwan, an actor, Twitch streamer, and SAG-AFTRA member, explained that despite assurances from SAG-AFTRA that actors will be able to engage with AI as they please – or not at all – smaller-time actors don’t feel that way.

“Most actors do not have the leverage to say no to their likenesses being replicated digitally; they fear that they will not be hired for that job and will also be potentially shut out of future opportunities,” Kwan told Aftermath. “The overall attitude that I have been seeing is that there is no choice in handing over your likeness, with huge potential to be exploited via the loopholes in the contract’s language. Which is why so many are existentially concerned that AI will replace more and more human actors in the next few years.”

Women to participate for 1st time in 800-year-old fire festival in west Japan (The Mainichi, Kenichi Isono)

The festival takes place at Katsube Shrine in Moriyama.

Atsushi Tanaka, the 34-year-old leader of the torch group, said, “Childhood memories of the festival are one of the reasons to come back to Moriyama when you grow up. When it comes to that, there’s no difference between men and women.” He asked four girls to join in the festival as lantern-bearers, dressed in plain clothes and white “happi” coats, to walk in front of the big torches as the group parades them through the neighborhood before the festival begins.

Tanaka said, “Recently, more and more boys don’t participate in festivals because they don’t want to wear loincloths. If we allow them to wear happi coats, it will make it easier for them and even women to participate, and we may eventually have a huge torch with women in charge.”

Asuka Ishikawa, 10, a fifth grader at the municipal Moriyama Elementary School and now a lantern-bearer, said, “The torches are tied with a rope in a very specific way, and I feel the history of the festival. It is great to be able to join such an event. I want to do my best.”

S. Korea top court upholds wartime labor ruling against Japan firm (The Mainichi)

The initial ruling was handed down last month to Nippon Steel and two other firms.

Bilateral ties deteriorated after the top court in late 2018 upheld orders in separate judgments against Nippon Steel, then named Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp., and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. requiring that they pay damages for forced labor during Japan’s 1910-1945 colonial rule.

Japan has said all issues stemming from its colonization of the Korean Peninsula were settled “completely and finally” under a 1965 bilateral agreement.

Responding to the latest ruling, Japan’s Foreign Ministry said in a press release that it was “extremely regrettable and totally unacceptable,” and Tokyo had lodged a protest with Seoul.

The plaintiffs in Thursday’s case are family members of a South Korean man, who the court said was forced to work in poor conditions and was not paid at a factory of the steelmaker during World War II. He died in 2012.

In November 2018, an appeals court upheld a lower court order for the steelmaker to pay 100 million won ($76,000) to the plaintiffs.

Despite Broad Public Support, Japan’s LDP Balks on Marriage Equality (Unseen Japan, Jay Allen)

Polls currently show that over 70% support legalizing marriage equality in Japan.

Given this broad public support, it’s a wonder that hardliners can maintain any opposition. Indeed, many of the objections seem tepid and lack virulence.

In a recent article for Mainichi Shimbun, TBS Radio commentator and social justice activist Ogiue Chiki noted that right-wingers are very careful to avoid any language that sounds discriminatory. Their key reason for not advancing the bill is that they want to have a “more serious debate” on the underlying issues.

“That’s not a sustainable stance you can hold onto in the face of public change,” Ogiue argues. “I wish they’d just give up quickly.”

In other words, marriage equality is pretty much settled as a matter of public opinion in Japan. The only question is when the LDP’s hardliners will give in and admit they’ve lost the fight.

Over half of married women in Japan dissatisfied with husband’s housework: survey (The Mainichi, Yuko Shimada)

The survey measured 510 married women respondents.

When asked, “Looking back on 2023, was your husband participating enough in housework and child care?” a total of 55.3% of respondents said they were unhappy with their husband’s level of help. Breaking down this figure, 39.8% were dissatisfied with the little help that their husband gave, while 15.5% were discontented that he did nothing at all. The level of dissatisfaction was the highest over the past three years of the survey.

Conversely, a total of 44.7% of the respondents indicated they were satisfied. This consisted of 16.7% who said their husband “does enough and I am satisfied,” and 28% who said their husband “does a little and I have no complaints.” These were the lowest levels of satisfaction over the past three years.

What do these women want from their husbands? When asked what household chores their husbands should tackle, 27% of those with no children and 40% of those with children both cited “unnamed chores.” These are tasks that are not often considered household chores, but are essential to daily life. They include “throwing away used toilet paper cores and replacing the roll with a new one,” “unrolling balled up socks and putting them in the laundry basket,” and so on.

In the free-response column, there was also a string of complaints about husbands’ housework that seemed to be related to these trivial chores, such as, “They are done half-heartedly and end up having to be redone,” and “He lacks the awareness to pay attention and do other chores.”

VIDEO: Interviews with congoers about Blackness in anime.

VIDEO: The 2023 shoujosei manga awards.

VIDEO: Shojo & Tell discussion of ninja shoujo Juline.

VIDEO: About getting yet another Hakuoki port.

AniFem Community

Dang, Fall was a good season.

I actually want to go with Frieren: Beyond Journey's End and Apothecary Diaries. But since the two shows continuing to winter season, I'm gonna go with some other shows. My first pick would be "Shy". I love Shy a lot, it has a very creative direction, I also love how normalized disability and neurodivergence throughout the shows. My second pick is "Yuzuki Family's Four Sons" and this is my favorite joseimuke series in 2023, it explores the complexity of the everyday life, the complex dynamic between siblings, the importance of community, healing, and subtly touch upon gender roles and relationship. Next, My New Boss is Goofy because, what can I say, it just a really good show about healing and positive workplace environment and cat (Hakuto, you are so cute!) and shout out to my king, Kinjou, for being such a delightful and fun bisexual representation.  For the sequal and continuation, I'm gonna go with Ancient Magus' Bride season 2. It may not be as beautiful or as well animated as the first one and I am not a big fan of the school/college setting, But it is nice to see Chise expand her relationship outside of Elias, and to be able to help others to heal from their trauma, because the Ancient Magus' Bride at its strongest is the story of trauma and healing.  For New shows that surprise me are Overtake, Scott Pilgrim Takes Off!, and Migi and Dali. I really surprise in how much I enjoy Overtake! because I am not a person who is into car racing, but Overtake! exploration of trauma and how its use animation as a way to convey it really made it the biggest surprise of this season for me. People have talked a lot about the twist in the first episode of Scott Pilgrim Takes Off! and what I really love of the twist is how it shifts and strengthens the story into a reconciliation, second chance and growing up stories. Last but not least, Migi and Dali that never stop to surprise me, I have some issue with villain depiction and I would like to hear someone talk about it, overall I enjoy the ride, it made me tear up a little bit when they put "in memory of Sano Nami" in the end, and Mama-san is the best!

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