Luisa Aparisi-França analyzes the high school comedy’s central character and how her early childhood trauma colors her struggles in her job and her duties as student council president.
Anthony Gramuglia dips a toe into anime’s issues with body shaming across genders and looks at some series that are beginning to set a better example.
Some growing pains (for the characters and the show) give way to a showstopping halfway point and even a few tears.
As more areas enter quarantine, maybe it’s time to dig into the backlog.
Why We Can’t Keep Our Hands Off Eizouken (Anime News Network, Michelle Liu and Steve Jones)
Celebrating the series as a loving but also clear-eyed tribute to anime production.
Micchy: It’d be easy to paint the producer as a killjoy, but Eizouken recognizes the role is a necessary one if they’re to get anything done at all.
Steve: Making anime is a dream for both Asakusa and Mizusaki, but Eizouken (quite correctly imo) also recognizes that it would be unethical to portray it purely as a “dream job.” Reality, at some point, is always going to factor in. And that’s why Kanamori is such an amazing and fascinating character. She’s an avatar of project management as a force of ultimate good by focusing on in-the-moment practicality. The fact that Eizouken is wholly sympathetic to her frequently thankless job is just outstanding.
Fantasies of Fatherhood (Unwinnable, Yussef Cole)
Examining the portrayal of fathers and mothers in Death Stranding.
But fatherhood often gets to be a little abstract, a little experimental. Fatherhood is that wistful gaze you get as you tell your single friends how dramatically having a child has changed your outlook. It’s planning camping trips and photo opportunities. Thinking about all the neat hobbies and nerdy lifelong fascinations you’re going to get to impart. Meanwhile motherhood is over here often getting biologically pulverized by the process of birth, being tied to the child in a way the father literally can’t be. So to get us to this place, Death Stranding has to erase the mother, remake the womb even, and put a man in her place.
It’s a process that has precedent: beyond their more famous pursuits, alchemists researched ways for the members of their male-only order to become pregnant and give birth. Like drawing gold out of lead, they were convinced that the quickening of life too, could go from the domain of miracles to that of science, and men in turn. We see this in the arc of Cliff Unger, the dead soldier tied to Bridges’ BB, who embraces desperate parenthood over the fridged corpse of his dead wife. Who, even as a ghost, features a glowing red surgery scar that thrums along his torso, where a uterus might have gone. We see this too in how the game punishes its female characters for their ties to motherhood. It’s their suffering, in fact, that seems to be the required bedrock for all of Bridges’ successes.
Child porn victims hit record high; NPA blames smartphone use (The Asahi Shimbun, Yagi Takuro)
This marks the fourth consecutive year of over 1,000 investigated cases.
The largest number of victims involved minors who felt under pressure to send selfies of their naked bodies or in their underwear to adults they had become acquainted with who were trying to “groom” them online.
Girls accounted for 86.6 percent of the victims. The victims included 617 high school students, 621 junior high school students, 240 children attending elementary school and 51 of preschool age. The youngest victim was 2 years old.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Japanese Colonialism (Medium, Kazuma Hashimoto)
Using the new Nintendo game as a doorway to discussing Japanese history.
Again, you are probably wondering what this has to do with New Horizons. With any piece of media it is important to understand where it comes from and who made it, regardless of how innocent it may be. Whether or not the intent was made to invoke the spirit of colonialism in a game bursting with cheerful personality, it is important to understand Japan’s history of colonial rule and how it has impacted indigenous people.
This is especially important as Japanese history revisionism is still being perpetuated and encouraged by the current ruling political party. (There are too many scandals to get into regarding Japanese history revisionism, Shinzo Abe and his involvement with the Nippon Kaigi, and the LDP, but this piece covers a bulk of scandals that happened in 2018.) Equally so, it is crucial to acknowledge Japan’s past as an empire and the government’s refusal to apologize for the atrocities committed under Japanese colonial rule.
This ruling overturns the acquittal from last year.
“The daughter’s psychological distress is extreme and serious, exacerbated by the fact that the perpetrator was her own father,” the judge also said, adding that the repeated sexual abuses sapped the daughter’s will to fight her father, making her psychologically unable to resist him.
Some observers in the courtroom clapped, including some who had tears in their eyes after the judgment was read.
Allowing separate surnames after marriage could increase crime: Japanese politician (The Mainichi, Hanazawa Aoi)
The assembly was debating a petition asking that couples be allowed the option of having separate surnames.
The petition was deliberated by six people, excluding the committee chair, and failed to be adopted 5-to-1. Before the vote, the JCP’s Katsuhiko Tanaka, 52, one of the assembly members who submitted the petition, and the only one to vote in favor of it, sought the other committee members’ votes, saying, “This is not meant to dictate separate surnames for married couples by law, but rather to make it optional. So it’s unthinkable that this would throw Japanese society as a whole into chaos.”
Meanwhile, Moritaka said, “I feel that I see a lot of cases on the news about incidents like abuse and murder attributable to common-law marriage between partners.” He continued, “Aren’t the original form and values of the family collapsing in Japanese society? I am concerned that easily making it possible for married couples to choose between surnames could increase crime. We should be more cautious about (adopting the system).”
Tanaka and Moritaka were the only ones to comment during the committee session. Those who voted against the petition were Moritaka and another LDP assembly member, as well as three independents; all were conservative men.
‘Japanese-only’ floor stirs anger at Osaka hotel during outbreak (The Asahi Shimbun, Takeda Hajimu)
The hotel claimed it considered its deal similar to offering student- and women-only floors.
The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare and the Osaka city government said the hotel’s action did not amount to a refusal to provide accommodation because non-Japanese customers could still stay in the hotel through other offers.
However, Multi-ethnic Human Rights Education Center for Pro-existence, a nonprofit organization based in Osaka’s Ikuno Ward that addresses problems of discrimination against foreigners, denounced the hotel’s offer as “unacceptable.”
“The plan the discriminatory view that foreigners are the source of infection of the virus,” said Moon Kong Hwi, secretary-general of the organization. “Even if it did not breach the law, it runs counter to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination ratified by Japan. It is problematic that authorities are taking a backseat on this issue.”
VIDEO: Interviews with several individuals across East Asia about their personal on-the-ground experience of the pandemic.
VIDEO: Reviews of several recently published manga, particularly shoujo, josei, and BL
THREAD: Allegations of harassment, assault, and grooming against cosplayer Miggy Jagger
Please, all of you stay safe out there. We’re sorry we didn’t have more lighthearted news to offer this week.