Weekly Round-Up, 13-19 May 2020: Sailor J, the Colonization of Hokkaido, and Shoujo Isekai

By: Anime Feminist May 19, 20200 Comments
A catgirl drawing sparkly purple magic from a floating spellbook

AniFem Round-Up

Perfect World, Disability Narratives, and Writing Outside Your Experience

Zahra Ymer explores this josei romance and the pros and cons of disability representation as written by an abled author.

My Fave is Problematic: Nobunagun

Kayu Chen talks about her love for nerdy protagonist Sio and how the show validates her skills and interests, even if it also has a serious problem with a leering camera.

What was the very first anime you watched?

Let’s indulge in a little bit of nostalgia.

Beyond AniFem

Shakina Nayfack & Michael Sinterniklaas on Finding Hana for Tokyo Godfathers (Anime News Network, Cindy Sibilsky)

An interview with the casting director for the dub and Hana’s actress.

ANN: Casting you as Hana has been called “precedent-setting”. What are your thoughts on LGBTQIA representation in the arts and entertainment industry? What has improved and what is still in need of work?

SN: This is such a huge question because even within the alphabet soup of queerness there are intersecting movements for representation that are also trying to establish precedents. We can’t be satisfied just because a few of us broke through. Within the trans community alone we are vying for so many types of representation, BIPOC [Black, Indigenous, People of Color], disabled trans folk, undocumented trans people, for example. Ultimately I’m a white trans woman voicing a Japanese trans character, so even though it’s been an amazing opportunity and a step in the right direction, it’s important to acknowledge the erasure that can happen when we allow whiteness to go unchecked in the advanced transness.

ANN: Has vocally embodying Hana make you look at people on the streets through a different lens?

SN: First of all, I want to say that I’ve never experienced homelessness, so anything I can say about witnessing that struggle comes from a place of extreme privilege. People very close to me in my life have experienced homelessness, and when I was younger I worked in a drop-in center doing needle exchange and sex worker outreach. I also lived in the back of an adult film warehouse in Times Square.

All that has given me a limited understanding of the lived experience of homelessness but without any of the actual risk or hardship. Anyway, I brought that understanding to my interpretation of Hana and was so inspired by her faith and courage in the face of impossible circumstances, as well as her refusal to accept indignities. I hope that when people watch Tokyo Godfathers they come away more aware of the folks around them that they’ve allowed themselves to stop seeing. You can’t adore Miss Hana and then go out and scorn the person asking for change on the sidewalk.

Episode 36: She Finally Watched The Promised Neverland (But Why Tho?, LaNeysha Campbell)

Podcast discussion of season one of the anime and the upcoming live-action film.

If you’ve been listening to us, then you know that for the longest time Neysha has been trying to get Kate to finish watching the first season of The Promised Neverland. Now, that Kate has watched, this episode is dedicated to breaking down the themes of the series, discussing how Sister Krone’s design is rooted in anti-blackness, and discussing the potential pitfalls that the live-action adaptation will face by aging up the characters.  SPOILER WARNING: This episode contains spoilers for both the anime and manga.

My Next Life as a Heroine: Shoujo Stories Come Back to Isekai (Crunchyroll, Kara Dennison)

A look at what differentiates the heroines of Average Abilities, Bookworm, and Villainess from recent male-led isekai.

Each has a specifically laid-out problem in their new world: changing their fate, trying to make friends, or just finding some books to read — but everything starts out as some form of loss. Mile outright states a desire for friends and a regret at not making time for them in her previous life. That’s how her whole mess starts — she believes that being exceptional is the cause of her loneliness, and if she can just be “average,” she can get what she never had before.

Similarly, Main and Catarina are motivated by fear of loss. The former was just about to achieve her dream of being a librarian and it literally killed her. Now she finds herself in a medieval world where the lower classes barely even know what written words are. Catarina, on the other hand, finds herself in the role of the ill-fated rival in her favorite romance game. Once her memory comes back, her only goal is survival, and every decision she makes is motivated by fear.

Meanwhile, as they’re attempting to hold their new lives together, they actually are achieving their dreams … often in spite of their own hang-ups.

Anime Directors Tsutomu Mizushima, Seiji Mizushima Profess Support for Hong Kong Democracy (Anime News Network, Kim Morrissy)

The two directors are best known for SHIROBAKO and Fullmetal Alchemist, respectively.

Tsutomu Mizushima‘s tweet came after recent remarks on the difficulties of speaking about politics as an anime creator. After receiving backlash for tweeting his opposition to the revision of the public prosecutor’s office law, he remarked on Thursday that “In the anime industry, people may not say it outright, but there’s a silent pressure not to make political statements. To hell with that.”

On Saturday, he began to tweet about China, saying, “It finally clicked for me why, when I tweeted about the revision to the public prosecutor’s office law, so many people asked me about China, which has nothing to do with it. A lot of Chinese money is currently flowing into the anime industry, so even if we’re able to protest about things in our own country, people are curious to know whether we’re allowed to badmouth our sponsor China. Well, it’s true enough that China’s got a lot of capital.” He then cheekily tweeted: “I want to make a Winnie the Pooh anime with Chinese money.”


Interview with the actress formerly known as YouTuber “Sailor J.”

I have to ask you about your geekdom because your handle was Sailor J and clearly you’re a huge Sailor Scout fan.

Growing up in St. Louis we were so broke. We didn’t have cable, we just had a little VCR and we lived down the street from a where my mom would rent these really cheap movies and one day she brought home the movie Sailor Moon R the Movie: Promise of the Rose. I watched that movie constantly. Every transformation I was twirling like I was one of the Scouts. But then I would go on play dates and always ask, “Do you want to play Sailor Moon?” And no one ever knew what I was talking about. I was so heartbroken.

Fast forward to sixth grade when I was talking with a classmate about how we were going to own the next tug-of-war contest or something and he said, “We’ll be Supreme! You know, like Sailor Moon!” I was so excited! But he had never heard of the movie. “I’m talking about the show,” he says, and my chest gave out. I never knew there as a show! I took my happy ass home and got on YouTube and sure enough, there are 300 episodes for me to watch!

VIDEO: Brief history of the colonization of Hokkaido and the Ainu people.

THREAD: Introduction to author Miri Yu.

THREAD: Former volunteer medical interpreter discusses working with domestic abuse victims.

THREAD: Author of I Favor the Villainess discusses her gender identity and whether impact on her work after interactions with Korean readers.

TWEET: Round-table discussion about the relationship between anime/manga and the real Japan.

AniFem Community

Big response on this one! Seems like everyone could use a little comfort food right now.

The first anime I ever watched was the first American broadcast of Space Battleship Yamato (as Star Blazers) in 1979. I was rapt, it was the most amazing thing I had ever seen. I dashed home from school to catch the afternoon broadcast--if I missed it, it was gone (can you imagine?). I knew it was different than Saturday morning cartoons (that's what we had back in the stone ages when dinosaurs roamed the earth), it looked and felt different. I was only 10 going on 11 living in very rural Maine, and had zero access to anything or anyone who could tell me what it was. But I never, never forgot it. I couldn't tell you what the next anime was--maybe Furuba? But I was an adult when I finally found my way back.
I watched Sailor Moon in Japanese at my friends house, no subtitles. We were 4, and I could only describe it as “girl Power Rangers” at the time. It took years for me to put together what show it had been.

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