Weekly Round-Up, 11-17 May 2022: Evolution of BL, Neurodiverse Manga, and Okinawa Protests

By: Anime Feminist May 17, 20220 Comments
Anya in the corner of the frame looking alarmed at Loid's worried face

AniFem Round-Up

Reading The Duke of Death and His Maid as disability allegory

Borealis Capps digs deeper into this story about a couple who can’t touch one another skin-to-skin, and how its playful fanservice echoes intimacy accommodations.

Moriarty the Patriot’s class war is far from history in the UK

The series goes full steam toward toppling the upper classes, but Hannah Collins explains how the bits of UK history it skims over end up weakening its good intentions.

Chatty AF 162: 2022 Spring Mid-Season Check-In

Caitlin, Alex, and Peter check in on an absolutely packed Spring season and it’s many good dads, rap battles, and games of volleyball!

2022 US Reproductive Rights Resources

With the current threats to Roe v Wade, we’ve created an updated post that includes educational resources, safety tips, and ways to protest.

Beyond AniFem

Nintendo Still Silent On Workplace Allegations Despite Acknowledging Them Internally (Kotaku, Ethan Gach)

The company is working to push its upcoming lineup while downplaying the allegations.

The latest report of worker frustration at Nintendo of America comes from Axios, which first broke the news of the original NLRB complaint. Published Thursday, it outlines complaints from current and former employees about how Nintendo relies on contractors at every major level of its North American operation while offering poor conditions and no job stability in return. “I was told if I went to [my grandpa’s] funeral, I wouldn’t have a job when I came back,” one former associate told Axios.

This report follows an April 22 investigation by Kotaku in which 10 current and former Nintendo employees described a two-tier system at the company where permatemp testers, localizers, call center reps, and others are paid poorly, treated with little respect, and rarely ever made full-time despite becoming experts in their department. On May 3, IGN followed-up with its own exposé, detailing similar issues and growing discontent among current employees about the exploitative system. Even former president of Nintendo of America, Reggie Fils-Aimé, weighed in on the allegations, saying they weren’t representative of the Nintendo he remembered while working there.

Nintendo, meanwhile, hasn’t commented on any of this, at least outwardly. Internally, Axios reveals that current president of Nintendo of America, Doug Bowser, addressed the allegations in a message to employees about “stories appearing in some media today about alleged working conditions at Nintendo.”

My Brain is Different: Stories of ADHD and Other Developmental Disorders Review (Anime News Network, Caitlin Moore)

The essay manga relates stories from multiple neurodivergent individuals, from teens to their 40s.

Some potential readers may take issue with the language used in the book, including outdated terms like Asperger’s Syndrome; even referring to autism as a disorder may be controversial in some circles. While nobody can be blamed for bristling at a sensitive subject like this, two things are important to keep in mind. One is that these are the stories of real people living in a different culture, and as such, they experience their neurodivergence differently from those of us reading the work in translation. One of the most fascinating parts of the book is seeing the different resources and services people have access to in another country. The other thing is that the stories in this book are people writing about their experiences in their own words. A translator’s note at the beginning of the volume emphasizes the importance of not changing the terminology that the writers used themselves, even if it’s problematic by today’s standards.

This emphasizes the source of so much of the book’s power: neurodivergent people telling their own stories in their own words, scaffolded by Monzusu‘s art. It’s all too common for organizations to claim to speak for people with developmental disorders, especially autism, and instead speak over them (and now that I mention that, never donate to Autism Speaks). The conversation around developmental disorders tends to be controlled by neurotypical people, privileging the perspectives of people who feel inconvenienced by us or treat us with smiling patronism or as inspiration porn. The stories Monzusu highlights are simple and quiet, with no grand triumphs or overcoming the odds. Nobody stands up and claps at the end. Even Monzusu‘s simple art style plays into this sense as it avoids taking the focus away from the contributors’ words.

Japan’s school backpacks going genderless as makers launch various colors, designs (The Mainichi, Hiroyuki Yamanaka)

This particular type of backpack is used by elementary schoolers in Japan.

The gender inclusive line has two types available: “basic” priced at 82,000 yen (about $630) apiece and “premium” sold at 83,000 yen (approx. $640) each. The basic type comes in red, black, navy-blue, brown and gray, while the other features bright blue, khaki and orange. Natsuki Takahashi, 36, a Tsuchiya Kaban public relations officer said, “We wanted to eliminate fixed ideas like ‘this color is for boys’ and ‘this color is for girls.’ We hope to help create an environment where children can freely choose what they like through picking out a randoseru for themselves.”

One girl chose a “prism blue” backpack at the Matsuyama trade fair. Her 41-year-old mother said, “My child wanted a blue one from the start, and Reco’s concept that a child can choose whatever color they like regardless of gender helped us pick out the one for her.” The company will continue to accept reservations for the backpacks until July 31.

According to Tsuchiya Kaban’s online survey on parents who have children set to enroll in elementary school from the 2022 school year, conducted over two days in April 2021, 83.1% of 326 valid responses favored the idea of eliminating fixed concepts of gendered school backpack colors. To a question about the main points to consider when buying such backpacks, with multiple answers permitted, “choosing a color and design the child likes” was the most common answer selected by 71.5% of respondents, surpassing “lightness” and “price” selected by 52.5% and 47.5%, respectively.

First Impressions – Gilded Shadows Demo Review (Blerdy Otome, Naja)

The otome game includes a customizable heroine and nine (F/M only) love interests.

Like Morgan we know very little about the world of Espers and I like that we get to learn things with her in real time. I’m usually not one for exposition dumps, but while playing Gilded Shadows I found myself wanting to know more about the world and the characters. I loved all the LIs and the demo gives you plenty of time to get to know the major players and their abilities. Of course I have to give the team props for having such a great diverse cast of characters, one of the things I found lacking in Changeling was the melanin and I’m glad to see that Steamberry Studio has upped their representation. A futuristic sci-fi setting has such a broad scope, so it only makes sense that you’d find characters in all shades and hues.

But, what sets Gilded Shadows apart for me is how immersive the story is, in the vein of GB Patch’s Our Life Beginnings and Always, this game introduces choices that don’t just advance the story and shape the outcomes, but also determine Morgan’s personality. It’s a fun way to add a bit more flavor to Morgan while giving her more agency in how she interacts with other characters and the world around her. I did notice that some choices were locked based on the personality traits I picked during the MC customization, which I thought was cool.

Okinawa marks 50 years of end to US rule amid protests (The Washington Post, Mari Yamaguchi)

Hundreds protested last week to demand the reduction of US military presence in Okinawa, which places a heavy burden on the area.

The biggest sticking point between Okinawa and Tokyo is the central government’s insistence that a U.S. marine base in a crowded neighborhood, the Futenma air station, should be relocated within Okinawa instead of moving it elsewhere as demanded by many Okinawans.

Tokyo and Washington initially agreed in 1996 to close the station after the 1995 rape of a schoolgirl by three U.S. military personnel led to a massive anti-base movement.

Tamaki earlier in May submitted a petition to Kishida’s government and U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel demanding a significant reduction of the U.S. military in Okinawa, the immediate closure of the Futenma base and the scrapping of a new base in Henoko.

Economic, educational and social development in Okinawa lagged behind as Japan enjoyed a postwar economic surge that was helped by lower defense spending because of the U.S. military presence in Okinawa.

The central government’s development fund since the reversion has improved Okinawa’s infrastructure but the growth of local industry that was largely hampered during U.S. rule is still largely limited to tourism.

Today, Okinawa’s average household income is the lowest and its unemployment is the highest of Japan’s 47 prefectures. If land taken by the U.S. military is returned to the prefecture for other use, it would produce three times more income for Okinawa than the island now makes from bases, Tamaki said recently.

Mixed-race Okinawans begin to find voice amid tensions over US bases (The Mainichi)

The issue of discrimination has been persistent, with mixed-race children of Japanese and American soldier parents often facing both discrimination and cultural alienation (includes discussion of racist harassment and slurs).

Naomi Noiri, associate professor in sociology at the University of the Ryukyus, says the situation surrounding people of mixed parentage in Okinawa has changed for the better compared with 50 years ago as outright physical violence toward them has decreased.

But she points out that they still suffer from stereotypes based on their appearances, such as assuming that they are naturally able to speak English fluently or that they are athletic.

To provide education tailored to such children, five mothers established AmerAsian School in Okinawa in 1998.

In the school, which accommodates children from Pre-K to Grade 9, students are taught to be bilingual and bicultural through a curriculum that combines Japanese and American styles of education.

While there are already international schools in Okinawa that teach English and Japanese, AmerAsian School offers a psychologically safe environment for children of mixed parentage and teaches them to be proud of their roots.

“They are both Japanese and American,” Ayako Komine, former principal of the school, said. “They don’t necessarily have to choose one or the other. They can be just as they are at the school.”

VIDEO: Discussion with several academics about the history and evolution of BL in Japan, South Korea, Philippines and Thailand.

VIDEO: Defining what shoujo is and discussing the works that are frequently mistaken for, but aren’t part of, the genre.

TWEET: Giveaway of the English translation of Solo Dance, by queer author Li Kotomi.

THREAD: Article about the use and history of “female language” in Japanese.

AniFem Community

In addition to our list of resources, reader @lavndr_macaron suggested the Frontera Fund and South Texans for Repro Justice for Texan readers. If you have resources or reading for folks in need, please don’t hesitate to post them in the comments!

In closing, please enjoy the wonder of Uni.

We Need Your Help!

We’re dedicated to paying our contributors and staff members fairly for their work—but we can’t do it alone.

You can become a patron for as little as $1 a month, and every single penny goes to the people and services that keep Anime Feminist running. Please help us pay more people to make great content!

Comments are open! Please read our comments policy before joining the conversation and contact us if you have any problems.

%d bloggers like this: