Written by an author who’s notably sexist even by the standards of Shonen Jump, Death Note’s ladies are full of underutilized potential–which makes a few of the more daring adaptations especially interesting.
Before the modern popularity of webtoons is a world of titles English-language readers don’t know–these scholars are working on bridging that gap.
Bong hit optional.
Shout-out to our wonderful indie collaborators, who are well worth checking out–especially if you’re currently gift-shopping.
Call for Papers: Queer and Feminist Perspectives on Japanese Pop (Anime and Manga Studies)
The deadline to submit an abstract is February 1st.
We invite scholars, researchers, activists, and practitioners from around the world to participate in a multidisciplinary two-day exploration of the intersection between Japanese popular cultures and intersectional, trans-inclusive feminist studies. During this symposium we will explore the convergence of gender, sexuality, race, queerness, disability and class. We aim to provide a platform for critical discussions about gender and Japanese animation, fashion, video games, literature and digital cultures. In doing so we hope to encourage new directions in feminist approaches to Japanese popular cultures.
All I Want For Christmas Is More Classic Shōjo Anime! (Anime News Network, Dawn H.)
For all of us dreaming of more licensed classic shoujo.
Ah, Candy, Candy…my white whale of classic shojo. The iconic ’70s series not only helped launch the career of previously mentioned manga artist Yumiko Igarashi but inspired a whole generation of shōjo writers and artists hoping to make the next big shojo hit. Like Lady Georgie, this series follows an energetic blonde girl and her adventures in life and love—this time in the fanciful and exotic world of the early 20th-century American Midwest! But that’s where most of the similarities end, as adopted orphan Candice “Candy” White faces one highly emotional, harrowing experience after another. Everything from dealing with the cruel, wealthy elite to facing the harsh realities of war while training to be a nurse. Candy’s life is far from easy…but she hopes to find the sweet boy who once played bagpipes for her, whom she fondly calls “Prince on the Hill.” Unfortunately, as much as I’d love to own a full English release of Candy, Candy, I’m not betting on it anytime soon. The series is mired in some pretty messy legal issues, meaning that even though this title was shown in various countries in multiple languages, with fans all over the world who would love to be able to watch it again, no one can seemingly license a new home video release without navigating through years of legal red tape. Because of this, even Japan hasn’t seen a decent home video release! But stranger things have happened. A proper Kodocha release finally happened after all these years, so who knows? Maybe in a few more decades, we’ll have better luck.
Older shojo often gets overlooked in modern American fandom, even though historically, it’s a very important and influential part of anime and manga. But with more and more older anime finally making its way onto North American fans’ shelves, here’s hoping for even more classic shōjo to get an English release. Until then, I’ll pick up a copy of Lady Georgie for myself and finally watch the entire thing.
4th-gen Japanese Indonesian student once forced to put school on hold finds her dream (The Mainichi, Shiho Sakai)
She initially was unable to attend high school in order to care for her younger brother.
After arriving in Japan in spring 2017, she actually did not attend school because her parents planned to send her back home eventually. Persuaded by the KIBOU staff, she transferred to the third year of junior high school in the fall of 2018. After graduating the following spring, she spent the next two years taking care of her younger brother. Though she felt she was “OK because I love my family,” she was a little envious of her friends who told her that “high school was fun.”
KIBOU manager Kimie Kawakami has been watching over Megumi since she was an elementary school student traveling back and forth from her home country. Kawakami is happy with how Megumi has grown after starting out shy and unable to express herself. She recalled, “At the time, not going to school made her lose confidence. But now she is working hard in high school, and that encourages other kids.”
According to a fiscal 2022 national government survey, there were 778 children of foreign nationality who were not enrolled in school nationwide, of which 90 were in Aichi, the third-highest number by prefecture.
Megumi currently teaches Japanese to people of a wide range of ages and nationalities, from preschoolers to those in their 60s. Seeing her childhood self in them, she said she wants to help foreigners in need. To fulfill her dream of becoming a teacher, she hopes to go on to university after graduating from high school.
Holiday Review #18: NINA THE STARRY BRIDE (Manga Test Drive, Megan D)
The digital series is now also available in print.
Nina is the sort of spunky heroine who acts first and thinks later. That’s not to say that she has no interiority or that she’s reckless to the point of foolishness. Indeed, her rebellious streak is tempered by the grief that has followed her throughout her life: the loss of her parents, her friends, and now both her freedom and her identity. There are times when the memories become too much for her, but those hard times have given her an inner strength and her years on the street have given her a strong survival instinct. It’s an interesting mix of qualities that makes Nina a compelling heroine in her own right, as well as the skills to survive in the tense atmosphere inside the royal castle.
She’s also got a strong supporting cast behind her. Azure may be strict and self-serious, but he never crosses the line into cruelty. Furthermore, as the story unfolds we learn alongside Nina that there is a kinder side to him as well as just how clever and observant he has to be to survive the various intrigues around him. The key to seeing that warmer side is his younger half-brother Muhulum, whose brattiness comes partly from age and partly as a front for his loneliness. Luckily, Nina readily falls into the role of big sister with him, willing to play and explore but also provide gentle guidance.
The plot at this point is only just starting to get geared up. Most of these early chapters are more about establishing the pecking order within the palace as well as the dangers. It’s only towards the end that the reader is reminded alongside Nina that she’s technically got an arranged marriage to worry about (although it’s pretty clear who the real love interest is gonna be, and his name starts with “A” and ends with “zure”). Still, it’s always moving forward, building up the world around Nina, and drawing the reader in. I’m certainly hooked.
The Vision of Escaflowne (with Asher Sofman) [Shonen Exception #5] (Shojo & Tell)
The shounen manga is a major step down from the very shoujo-esque anime.
THE VISION OF ESCAFLOWNE is the anime that got Shojo and Tell host Ashley into anime. It sparked one of only a handful of great obsessions in Ashley’s life. It’s probably the reason this podcast exists at all. Katsu Aki’s shonen manga version of the story is….. not like the anime you know and love. It’s explicitly billed as a shonen series, and it’s all downhill from there. Instead of being a badass track and field star with short hair who saves Van and Allen more times than anyone in the series bothers to count, Hitomi is now a busty babe with glasses who’s necessary to pilot the giant mech, Escaflowne. Prince Van is an annoying uncouth and unskilled swordsman. Sir Allen is a knight who is nothingness. Dilandau is — well okay, Dilandau is still a pretty crazy delight, honestly. But a different kind of crazy delight.
‘Bloodthirsty mob’: Public record of 1923 post-quake massacre of Koreans in Japan found (The Mainichi, Tomonaga Ito)
These recently discovered records note the murder of 40 citizens who were allegedly being taken to the police station for their safety.
The racially motivated massacre of ethnic Koreans in Saitama Prefecture occurred later than the large-scale murders in Kanagawa Prefecture and Tokyo. In many cases, mobs attacked those being transported under police protection. In-depth studies by local researchers and others held decades later have placed the number of victims in Saitama Prefecture between 223 and 240, including 30 to 47 yet to be confirmed. It’s believed the 40-plus victims mentioned in the newly discovered report are among the numbers cited in those studies.
In many incidents, local reservists took part in the killings, but that fact was left out of government reports. Rather, the report noted that immediately after the earthquake, local reserves had cautioned residents to not act rashly over false claims about riots by ethnic Koreans.
Journalist who found story says whole story needed
“Why and how did Japanese people engage in massacres of ethnic Koreans? That it happened is beyond question, but what remains unknown is why. Even a century after the fact, whether it was driven by collective insanity, conspiratorial oppression by the authorities or occurred for some other reason is beyond our understanding thus far. We must move toward getting the full picture based on these materials, connecting them with history from overseas and the periods before and after the events,” Watanabe said.
‘Nowhere to go’: African refugee applicants camp in Tokyo park (The Asahi Shimbun, Takuya Asakura)
Some private groups have been able to provide some aid to refugees, including the Japanese Communist Party, but there is a severe lack of support infrastructure.
The number of people fleeing conflict and persecution and seeking protection in Japan has skyrocketed since the end of COVID-19 pandemic-related restrictions on entry.
According to a support group’s tally, the number this year exceeded 12,500 in November, surpassing the 10,375 in pre-pandemic 2019. It is likely to be the second highest number on record after the 19,629 logged in 2017.
NO HELP ON ARRIVAL
The central African man came to Japan in early September. He said he had researched the Japan Association for Refugees (JAR), a nonprofit organization based in Tokyo, on the internet before arrival. And he counted on the organization to support him.
But it was a weekend when he entered Japan and the NPO office was closed.
He stayed in a capsule hotel and visited the office later in the week, where he was helped with his application for refugee status and given food.
However, JAR receives a daily stream of refugee applicants. In the limited number of emergency shelters, priority is given to women and those with children.
Soon, the man ran out of money to go to internet cafes and began spending nights in a nearby park.
The man said the park where he was camping out began to attract refugee claimants from the same country, one by one.
Japanese Woman Treated as “Stranger” by Town After Female Partner Dies (Unseen Japan, Jay Allen)
The deceased’s grandfather has been working to respect his granddaughter-in-law’s right to the farm.
In an interview with HuffPost, the town confirmed Mari’s account, stating they wouldn’t ask this of Rina because she was the owner’s granddaughter and had a right to the land. In other words, they treated Mari like her partnership with Rina never existed and didn’t matter.
The town is eyeing the extra tax revenue it can get off of this land. Rina’s grandfather remains intent on holding the land for Mari to honor Rina’s memory. But part of the land was leased and has been bought by realtors, which will greatly reduce the size of the farm.
Mari has started a petition drive to save the farm from rezoning and development. She says the entire incident has left her feeling the weak position that LGBTQ couples who don’t have the legal right to marry can find themselves in.
VIDEO: Round-up review and ranking of 16 different manga.
VIDEO: “Splatoon 3’s Splattercolor Special is an Accessibility Issue.”
Particular props to the AniFem Discord, which really got into the swing on this prompt.