Weekly Round-Up, 13-19 April 2022: Gunbuster Influences, Marriage Equality Film Festival, and Nintendo Labor Complaint

By: Anime Feminist April 19, 20220 Comments
Hiyori from Heroines Run the Show with sparkle-filled eyes

AniFem Round-Up

2022 Spring Premiere Digest

All of this season’s premieres, listed with content warnings.

Chatty AF 160: Dear Brother Watchalong – Episodes 16-23

The classic shoujo retrospective continues with more drama and queer love confessions.

Unionization Resources

Reading and accounts to follow for those hoping to learn more about supporting and/or forming a union.

Beyond AniFem

「LGBTQ 報道ガイドライン –多様な性のあり方の視点から -」第2版策定 (LGBT Etc)

Japanese-language resource for doing media stuff with LGBTQ folks in Japan, offering a glossary of terms and a list of best practices on covering LGBT issues in Japan. This is similar to GLAAD’s Media Reference Guide, but tailored for Japanese publications made by a Japanese nonprofit.

Nintendo Worker Files Complaint With National Labor Relations Board (Kotaku, Sisi Jiang)

The specific complaint is leveled at Nintendo’s American branch.

On April 15, an anonymous employee filed a complaint against Nintendo and contracting company Aston Carter with the National Labor Relations Board. The public case docket lists allegations of coercive statements, discharge, retaliation against concerted activities, and surveillance.

The complaint’s existence was first reported by Axios. The specifics of the worker’s accusations are not listed on the NLRB website, but “concerted activities” is a term for the rights workers have under NLRB regulations to work together to address workplace-related issues, while “discharge” in this context can refer to illegal firings or a retaliatory refusal to hire organizing workers.

Aston Carter, the organization named in the complaint alongside Nintendo, is a staffing agency that has previously posted jobs for administrative and customer service roles at the games company. The NLRB notified all involved parties about the case yesterday.

Requiem of the Rose King Stage Play Casts Female, Male Actors to Portray Intersex Protagonist (Anime News Network, Kim Morrissy)

The play will run from the 10th to 19th of June this year.

Wakatsuki commented: “It is a very difficult role, but I will do my best to play alongside the tormented Richard.” She commented that it was a first for her to play in a show that casts both a man and woman for a role, and that it presents a fresh and interesting challenge.

Arima commented: “This is a very subtle story that I’ve revisited many times before. The character I play, Richard, has many similarities to me. I am really looking forward to playing him!”

Exploring Gunbuster’s Roots in Shojo (Anime Herald, Dawn H.)

Covers the sci-fi OVA’s many homages to the still-unlicensed tennis series Aim for the Ace.

But to otaku in North America, where not many people have heard of Aim For The Ace!, let alone seen it, references to the show would fly completely over our heads. In fact, many fans’ initial exposure to Aim For The Ace! was the revelation that Gunbuster‘s official Japanese title, Aim For The Top!, was a nod to it (along with the American film Top Gun). That information doesn’t mean much to fans who weren’t familiar with it, though. By the time many North American fans saw Gunbuster, many of the elements it borrowed from Aim For The Ace! were so ingrained in the anime and manga that came after it, and they were regarded by English-speaking fans simply as common anime cliches.

“Most of the Japanese otaku who saw it are confused about whether it’s a parody, or whether it’s meant as serious,” admitted Gunbuster Scriptwriter and Gainax co-founder Toshio Okada, at one of his panels at Anime America ‘96 [1]. And it’s not hard to see why—the first episode of Gunbuster has many of the same emotional beats as the first episode of Aim for the Ace! A fresh-faced, starry-eyed 15-year-old who idolizes her popular and talented upperclassmen is working her hardest to become “worthy” of membership in one of the most prestigious organizations in her school. Flowery close-ups, shojo sparkles, vigorous training sequences, and a tough-as-nails coach are present in each, with Gunbuster heavily borrowing some of it’s visual flair from Aim for the Ace!’s direction by the legendary director Osamu Dezaki, a powerhouse of shojo adaptations. Kazumi Amano’s entire character seems inspired by Reika Ryuzaki—from being the beautiful, seemingly perfect senpai, to her iconic pulled-back-in-a-bow hairstyle.

Newspaper Ad for Raunchy Tawawa on Monday Manga Draws Ire (Anime News Network, Lynzee Loveridge)

The advertisement for the manga’s latest volume was printed in major newspaper the Nikkei.

The Nikkei paper is part of UN Women’s Unstereotype Alliance effort, a global campaign to promote “gender equality through media and advertising and eliminate harmful stereotypes.” The Nikkei paper has taken an active role in promoting the initiative’s ideas in the past, including the “Nikkei Woman Empowerment Advertising Award,” which recognizes advertisements that contribute to gender equality. The award has a three-step process for screening ads known as “The 3 Ps” – Presence (does the ad include diverse people?), Perspective (does it take the perspectives of both men and women into account?), and Personality (does the subject show personality and independence?).

Kae Ishikawa, the director of UN Women’s Japan-based office, was interviewed by The Huffington Post about the advertisement, which sparked additional controversy online. According to Ishikawa, the manga ad fails to meet the requirements outlined in The 3 Ps. She told The Huffington Post that the ad reflects a male-centric view of high school girls and that their personality is limited to being sexually enticing to men.

“Obviously, advertising a manga about a underage girl as a male sexual target risks promoting stereotypes that impose these roles on women,” Ishikawa said.

Part of the issue is the newspaper’s target audience, according to Tokyo Institute of Technology professor Renge Jibu. The Nikkei is the largest business newspaper in Japan, akin to the U.S.’s The Wall Street Journal or the U.K.’s Financial Times. The choice to run the ad there was more likely to draw attention from people who didn’t want to see it.

“It’s not a problem for people who want to read Young Magazine to pick it up and read it there,” Professor Jibu said. “Rather, the problem is that the media failed to protect the ‘right of women and men who do not like sexually explicit manga not to be exposed to expressions they do not want to see.'”

VIDEO: Recording of the talk “Zainichi Koreans in the Politics of Decolonization and Deimperialization.”

TWEET: Announcement of a new Japanese YA novel about junior high students figuring out their identities.

THREAD: On how backlash characterizes Black fans attempting to discuss antiblackness in fandom.

THREAD: Highlights how underdiscussed mental health issues are in Japan and Westerners’ perceptions of Japan.

TWEET: Announcement of a film festival themed around marriage equality.

AniFem Community

To go with the resources for this month, this thread breaks down assumptions about the current protests against anime dubbing being recentralized in Texas (with exclusively in-studio recording).

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