Weekly Round-Up, 12-18 July 2023: Gender Disparity at Nintendo, Terrace House Lawsuit, and Plus Size Lolita Clothing

By: Anime Feminist July 18, 20230 Comments
a chibi redhead elf with a thousand yard stare

AniFem Round-Up

Helck – Episode 1

A decent premiere that has a lot of room to grow as a fantasy comedy.

Saint Cecilia and Pastor Lawrence – Episode 1

A perfectly nice rom-com to round out summer premieres.

What was your favorite Spring 2023 anime?

There are so many to choose from!

Beyond AniFem

Atelier Pierrot on Business, International Marketing, and Plus Size Lolita Clothing [Interview] (Stephano)

Interview with the influential gothic lolita brand’s CEO and international brand manager.

[Connie]: Ultimately, Atelier Pierrot has been very open-minded for trying various different things to find the best way that works to allow more and more people to be able to wear our items. 

At that same time, I had a conversation with Yuko that very often people comment on how good Atelier Pierrot is for representation, especially in comparison to a lot of Japanese brands. For example, in overseas fashion shows there are often a lot of people who are a variety of different sizes, ages, races, and genders wearing the fashion. When I commented on it Yuko just said “Oh, I just choose the people who are cute.” So it wasn’t a conscious decision of trying to fit people into categories, but the genuine belief that people are cute. 

How has the reception been to the more inclusive sizing? 

Connie: In general, I think the reception has been good. People seem really happy with the releases, Atelier Pierrot has also been really happy to see people wearing the plus size pieces. I’ve noticed that there are lot more comments of people being able to feel more comfortable wearing more items that are made for them, rather than being at the maximum measurements of items. 

For other things, the reception has really been good, but because the plus size pieces really rely on the overseas market, buying trends are very different. For example, people will say “oh I won’t buy it now” or they will wait to get it secondhand instead. However, I don’t think people understand how much smaller our runs are when compared to big fashion retailers. Atelier Pierrot pieces are already quite rare to find second hand and people tend to keep their gothic pieces for much longer than sweet items. So certainly people buying one item directly does truly help support plus size releases more and more. 

An Alternate History in Ōoku: The Inner Chambers (Anime News Network, Steven Jones & Monique Thomas)

While the adaptation is a little stiff, it can’t diminish the award-winning josei source material.

Nicky: Ōoku’s flip on patriarchy is also more nuanced than what can be gleaned from the surface. While there is much attention to the victimization of these beautiful men, it’s not like it happened on its own; it mirrors the suffering of women. However, the tragedy is ultimately a consequence of pre-existing rules. These men are reduced to their bodies, treated as property, and have little to no agency over their lives or survival. Their options for economic freedom are limited to marriage or selling themselves. Yet, it’s unfair because it attempts to maintain the status quo. This is also not as true beyond the prologue, as it is emphasized that it takes more than just changing who sits in the seat of power to dismantle years of structured oppression.

And in fact, the idea of a female Japanese Emperor isn’t exclusive to fiction. Before the Tokugawa Shogunate, at least eight documented women ascended to the throne. However, men were, and still are, given priority. Even in modern times, where the royal pool has shrunk, the idea of women taking on the title of emperor remains controversial among conservative powers. In contrast, others in today’s populace do not see any issue.

Steve: There’s a reason why a lot of this still feels contemporary! If there’s one thing I’d want to emphasize to anyone curious about Ōoku, it’s that the story is emphatically NOT about the genders “switching places.” It’s a lot more complex than that, by necessity, because Ōoku takes its concept very seriously. Ingrained power structures don’t dissolve overnight, even in revolutionary circumstances. It’s more accurate to say that Ōoku explores the consequences of women assuming control of a traditionally patriarchal system and, more specifically, what that “control” looks like when the actual structure at play is bigger than both genders combined.

Young woman completes 1st major ‘Hiroshima Panels’ restoration (The Mainichi)

A university was chosen for the restoration to connect the iconic work with the next generation.

“Ghosts” was “the scene that Mr. and Mrs. Maruki wanted to convey first,” Saito said. “So I am honored to have played a role in (restoring) this work, which should be handed down to posterity.”

The couple, who were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1995, began drawing what they witnessed in Hiroshima soon after arriving in the city, using the destruction left in the wake of the atomic bomb as inspiration for expressing and exploring themes of violence.

They are well known for not only depicting Japanese people as victims but also as participants in violent acts.

One of the works in the collection, named “The Death of American Prisoners of War,” shows American POWs being treated with brutality after being exposed to radiation from the atomic bomb, while “Crows” illustrates the discriminatory treatment of Koreans living in Japan at the time.

Other artworks by the Marukis also explore war-related themes and subjects, such as the Nanjing Massacre, the Auschwitz concentration camp and the Battle of Okinawa.

The Invention of “the Male Gaze” (The New Yorker, Lauren Michele Jackson)

The term’s invention, deformation, and reexamination 60 years after the publication of the original essay.

In the introduction to a 1989 collection of her essays, “Visual and Other Pleasures,” Mulvey wrote that her essay on the male gaze had erupted from the ecstatic feminist thinking of its time. Feminists of the seventies understood the political utility of a polemic. Mulvey, in that spirit, had forfeited a degree of nuance, she noted; any revisitation of her essay should consider it part of the “historical moment” rather than as a concept made to last. But Mulvey’s essay also had a forward-looking bent that gets overlooked when present-day critics invoke the “male gaze” as a cudgel. A lifelong cinephile and a filmmaker herself, Mulvey saw in the emerging independent filmmaking of the sixties and seventies an opportunity for cinema to detach itself from the patriarchal conventions and monied priorities of Hollywood. Invoking directors of the avant-garde including Hollis Frampton and Chantal Akerman, Mulvey called for the “birth of a cinema which is radical in both a political and aesthetic sense.”


In a book published this spring, “A Black Gaze,” Tina M. Campt, a Black feminist theorist of visual culture at Princeton, picks up that strain in Lacan’s thinking. The gaze as she presents it is not another decisive site of power; it is not a diagnosis or a settled definition. (“My choice of the indefinite article is intentional,” she writes, of the book’s title.) She is interested, rather, in how different art works—she cites, for instance, Arthur Jafa’s quotidian video assemblages or Deana Lawson’s boldly intimate photographic portraits of Black life—set new terms for an active and varied engagement between the viewer and the visual. Like Mulvey’s essay, Campt’s book is forward-looking, exhorting us to “think beyond our comfort zone,” toward something new and speculative.

Soaring Sky! Pretty Cure: Episodes 13-24 (Anime News Network, Rebecca Silverman)

The series continues to go strong despite a few visually wobbly episodes.

On a purely academic level, Cure Butterfly’s arrival on the scene is significant because of how it works to reshape elements of the genre as a whole. Arina Tanemura‘s Idol Dreams manga may predate Soaring Sky! Pretty Cure in terms of giving us a magical woman (and Chikage is thirty-one, so much older than eighteen-year-old Ageha), but this series is a more classic version of the magical girl story, giving Ageha’s inclusion in the cast line-up special significance. Like Tsubasa being able to transform into Cure Wing shows that boys can be gentler superheroes, Ageha becoming Cure Butterfly is a nod to the Pretty Cure franchise‘s older fanbase. There’s always been some side-eye given to adult fans of children’s media (and anyone interested in collecting dolls has undoubtedly gotten some grief). Still, the fact of the matter is that it doesn’t matter who you are or how old you are if something speaks to you. Magical girl stories have a lot to offer anyone who cares to engage with them, and Cure Butterfly sends the message that it’s okay to like them even if you aren’t an eight-year-old girl. She engages with the culture of fragile adulthood, which states that you have to “act your age” as society deems appropriate, and that’s equally as important as Cure Wing or Sora’s crisis of faith.

Final Fantasy 16’s Benedikta Deserved Better (Gamespot, Jess Howard)

Spoiler-heavy discussion of the character’s arc.

Benedikta Harman is a deeply flawed woman. You can see this in her expressions, which are often twisted in rage, and her manipulation tactics, which lie twisted in bedsheets. She is temperamental, power-hungry, cruel, and conflicted, repeatedly switching back and forth between being the villain and the victim in her struggle for self-preservation. She is also one of the best female characters to appear in a Final Fantasy game in nearly two decades–and she deserved so much better than the treatment she received in Final Fantasy XVI.

As Dominant of the wind harpy Garuda, Benedikta, in all her insatiable glory, is an inspired character. Much like the harpies depicted in Greek mythology, Benedikta is a beautiful vulture–hungry for scraps of power and sharp enough to take them. We see this in her aggression on the battlefield, and her submission to men she sees as powerful. Like the wind itself, she is ever-changing and capable of offering respite, or unleashing unfathomable destruction. In short, her Eikon perfectly suits her, and her relationship with Garuda feels like a true merging of souls rather than something transactional or hierarchical.

ryuchell: Japanese Talent Leaves Behind a Legacy of Activism, Optimism (Unseen Japan, Himari Semans)

The model and activist lost their life to suicide this past week.

ryuchell was an outspoken advocate for the LGBTQ+ community in televised debates about legislation related to gender equality and a critic of transphobic comments from legislators themselves.

Earlier this year, when the National Diet was debating over proposals for LGBT laws, a point of contention was whether the words “discrimination is unforgivable” should be included or not, Hard-right members of the LDP strongly opposed this language.

LDP former foreign minister Nakasone Hirofumi voiced his disapproval saying, “If a person who has a male body but says they are a woman goes into the women’s bathroom at a train station or so and gets told to leave, they get to call that discrimination!”

ryuchell clapped back by pointing out the law’s supposed purpose to protect vulnerable citizens who cannot fully protect themselves from discrimination. They shared their support to including the words “discrimination is unforgivable” but noted that the issues of LGBTQ+ regarding baths and toilets deserve their own discussion and are separate from the case at hand.

Wrestler Hana Kimura’s bereaved mom ‘can’t forgive’ way show was made: Tokyo court hearings (The Mainichi, Kenji Tatsumi)

The article includes discussion of Hana’s death from suicide.

In her opinion statement at the Tokyo District Court, Kyoko said, “I absolutely cannot forgive the way a show is produced in which people are treated like disposable objects.” Fuji TV is seeking a dismissal of the claim.

According to the complaint, Hana started to appear on the show in September 2019 and was subjected to a flurry of slander through social media after a scene showing her being angry at a male costar was broadcast. Under Fuji TV’s contract, Hana would have been held liable if she had decided to quit and the show could no longer be aired, meaning she was in a situation where it was de facto impossible to leave.

In her statement of opinion, Kyoko claimed that show staffers encouraged Hana to be excessively angry by saying, “It’s all right to go as far as slapping him.” She added, “I’d like to ask this of the people involved in the show: Would you have allowed a loved one to continue to appear on this show after being blamed? I’d like you to diligently confront this issue.”

Despite pledges, Nintendo still has few female managers in Japan (Axios, Stephen Totilo)

23.5% of Nintendo’s managers are women worldwide versus 4.2% in Japan.

Women at Nintendo Co. make, on average, 72% of what men are paid, according to the annual report, the company’s first to include the pay breakdown.

Nintendo attributes that to issues of tenure in a place where workers stay at the company for an average of 14.3 years (and where veteran employees are mostly men).

“The pay gap between male and female regular employees is mainly due to differences in the length of service and average age,” the company noted: “There is no difference in treatment between men and women in terms of salary or evaluation systems.”

THREAD: Recommendation of the book Hi! My Name is Loco and I’m a Racist by journalist Baye McNeil.

BONUS: Survey request for women anime/manga fans over 30.

AniFem Community

Let’s take one more minute to bask in how spoiled for choice we were last season.

Favorite new premiere - I rarely take an interest in het romance stories, which makes it amazing that my #1 new show of the season was Insomniacs After School and my runner-up was Skip and Loafer. They were both that good, plus a couple of the shows that might have outdone them took a nosedive in their final episodes. (Yes, I'm looking at you, Tengoku Daimakyo...)  Favorite continuation or sequel - There were so many! Vinland Saga had excellent writing and production, but as I said last season, it's not what I'd call the "most entertaining." The Ancient Magus' Bride was good, but still has another half ahead of it. So that means I'm going with Gundam: Witch from Mercury as the best of the season.  Series that surprised me - Both positively and negatively, all in one show, and that's the Megumin-centered KonoSuba spinoff. The first half of the series, with Megumin and Yunyun at their hometown magic academy, was really fun, but the closer the story got to the elements of the original KonoSuba, the more it reminded me why I didn't like the original KonoSuba. Megumin and Yunyun should ditch those losers and go have more adventures on their own. Preferably in a land where someone has invented bras.
Skip and Loafer was very cute! I truly might have to pick up the manga to continue enjoying stories about all those goofy kids lol.  For continuations it's absolutely Soaring Sky Pretty Cure! This show just keeps being so great and enjoyable every week. Now the team is almost fully assembled too - we're just waiting on the fifth, mid-season Cure to arrive.

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