Weekly Round-Up, 14-20 April 2021: Studio MAPPA Analysis, Attack on Titan’s Ending, and Stars Align Update

By: Anime Feminist April 20, 20210 Comments
Opening theme image of the cast of Zombieland Saga on together on a tandem biycyle with their manager posed in the background

AniFem Round-Up

Osamake: Romcom Where the Childhood Friend Won’t Lose

Glimmers of potential drowned out by the genre’s worst tropes.

CESTVS -The Roman Fighter- – Episode 1

Bad and incompetent but not even in an interesting way.

2021 Spring Premiere Digest

All our premieres in one place, plus updates on second episodes where available.

Resources and Fundraisers: April 2021

These posts are meant to provide avenues for real-world action, from readings on intersectional theory to community organizers and marginalized individuals in need of support.

Beyond AniFem

Attack on Titan couldn’t escape controversy in the end (Polygon, Kazuma Hashimoto)

Discussion of the manga’s ending in light of the charges of imperialism that surround its author.

As noted in Attack on Titan analysis over the years, Isayama has highlighted on his personal blog that the character of Dot Pixis is based on Japanese general Akiyama Yoshifuru, whom he praised for his shrewdness. This is important when considering the context of Isayama’s work, that and the name of Attack on Titan’s deuteragonist, Mikasa Ackerman: Both of these characters are inspired, in some way, by a specific period of the Russo-Japanese War. Yoshifuru was a general in the Japanese Imperial army, and Mikasa was the name of a pre-dreadnought battleship that participated in several naval encounters, including the Battle of Tsushima, in which the Japanese navy decisively defeated virtually the entire Russian fleet.

This period saw the Japanese empire’s further colonization of Asia, including Korea and other Asian nations. Additionally, this is when the teaching of “bushido” began as a reimported concept. The code of honor, which never really existed, was taught in Japanese schools to further push imperialist propaganda that placed loyalty to the Japanese empire.

Wandering Thoughts on Wandering Son (What the Hell is a Schrodingr?, Matt Von Gonten)

Retrospective of the anime from a modern first-time viewer.

Over-focusing on Shuichi hurts the narrative in more ways than one because, as I’m not the first to point out, she’s a bit of an airhead in ways that trans people seldom have the luxury of being. The aforementioned Yuki is right there to answer questions and offer advice on being a trans woman, and Yoshino, a trans boy, somehow goes to Yuki for practical advice more (by which I mean once, to learn about chest binders). So while Shuichi becomes resolute in her conviction to live openly as a girl, she actively avoids putting any thought into the nuts and bolts of transitioning or its social consequences, considerations the average trans person will find pretty much unavoidable. Some other characters help pick up the slack, like when fellow trans girl Mako suggests they record their voices while they still sound cute and androgynously pre-pubescent. But Shuichi’s sentimentality and “I’ll just be myself and everything will work out” attitude is definitely a crutch for the story, and this philosophy, coupled with Shimura’s aforementioned bias, does not work for the series’ other lead, Yoshino.

There are three trans female characters in the Wandering Son anime, and at least one more who appears later in the manga. By the end of the series all of them are either living as women or, in Mako’s case, at least are last shown to be on the path to doing so. Yoshino is, to my knowledge, the only trans male character in the series, and he gives up on transitioning in high school. Some real people do indeed realize, after some questioning, that they aren’t trans, but for this role to be delegated to the one trans-masculine character? It sucks, to put it lightly. It’s also implied to be a pragmatic choice rather than a personal one, and I shouldn’t need to go into why this isn’t a helpful or accurate message. Yoshino put so much thought and effort and introspection into how to transition, what it meant to him, how he’d navigate a transphobic society, and was rewarded for all that effort with the conclusion that it couldn’t be done or that the cost was too high. The cost was too high, to someone who had a literal panic attack over the shock of being told he needed to wear a bra. This would be at least somewhat mitigated if Yoshino wasn’t the only trans male character in the story, and it wouldn’t be so egregious if we had more trans male representation in anime and manga. But we live in a world where trans-feminine characters are still usually portrayed as jokes or predators (though positive portrayals are becoming more common) and trans-masculine characters are still almost nonexistent, to say nothing of nonbinary representation.

VIDEO: Short-form documentary about Black anime fandom.

VIDEO: Analysis of Studio MAPPA’s increasingly toxic work culture.

TWEET: Alert regarding a new sighting of known fandom predator Hazukari (as a minor correction, Hazukari’s pronouns are they/them; even when discussing scum of the worst sort, recognition of gender identity is not conditional).

THREAD: Report on a Japanese influencer, Marie, who spoke out on her experiences being sexually coerced in the industry and is now facing harassment.

TWEET: Article on the gender inequality in Japan’s medical field that go beyond the Tokyo University Admissions scandal.

TWEET: Analysis of how Abe Shinzo’s “womenomics” did and didn’t affect women’s opportunities in the workforce.

TWEET: Newly open-access document discussing Covid-19’s impact on vulnerable communities in Japan.

THREAD: Update from director Akane Kazuki on the future of cult hit Stars Align.

AniFem Community

If you need a breather today: cute animals.

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