Weekly Round-Up, 14-20 June 2023: #VotetoEndOTWRacism, Remembering Kimi no Todoke, and FeMC Excluded from Persona 3 Remake

By: Anime Feminist June 20, 20230 Comments
Cure Butterfly giving an excited double-peace sign

AniFem Round-Up

Lum Through the Years: Urusei Yatsura’s gender roles, then and now

The image of Lum is far better known than the series she comes from; but that context is important, especially when trying to make a new version of a 40-year-old anime.

Killin’ ‘Em With Kindness: The radical compassion of Kamado Tanjiro within the modern shounen landscape

On Tanjiro’s embrace of sensitivity and empathy compared to shounen protagonists past and present.

What series surprised you with a great, unexpected queer romance?

And how loudly did you celebrate to your friends.

Beyond AniFem

#VOTE TO END OTW RACISM (Dreamwidth, End OTW Racism)

This second call to action targets Board elections on August 11-14.

With four Board Seats open, now is the perfect time to act and make this issue a key component of this election to select people who demonstrate a commitment to combating racism in our fannish spaces. So if you can, please plan to vote this election cycle!!

If you already are a member, use your voice and Vote. If you have donated in any of the fundraising drives for AO3 in the last year, you are likely eligible. You can check your eligibility status here by selecting “Is my membership current/Am I eligible to vote?”

If you are not currently a member or eligible, consider donating $10.00 so that you can gain membership in OTW and be able to vote. In order to vote your donation must be received by June 30th.

When donating you can add ‘End OTW Racism’ to the ‘In Honor Of’ field if you feel comfortable doing so.

If you donate, ensure you select the yes to the ‘Do you want to be an OTW member?’ question

Persona 3 Remake Ditches the Classic RPG’s Best Character (Inverse, Willa Rose)

ATLUS continues to triple down on its lack of interest in any form of marginalized player.

Persona 3 Portable is an important game in the franchise, largely because it marks the only modern installment with a female protagonist. The FeMC is more fully realized than her male counterpart, as her dialogue is injected with much more personality. She also can interact with the male party members of SEES, fleshing out their stories in a way that the original Persona 3 never did. For fans, she is massively important as a representation of female players who finally were able to see themselves in a Personaprotagonist. She also has access to some of the most explicitly queer stories in the Personafranchise that aren’t riddled with problematic stereotypes.

Persona 3 Portable is widely held to be the closest thing to a “definitive version” of P3 that currently exists. So, when Persona 3 Reload was announced and Atlus confirmed it will not include the female protagonist, fans were rightfully angry.

The series continues to receive criticism for how it handles its female characters, such as Persona 5’s approach to its female cast. Director Katsura Hashino reportedly told developers that all the game’s women “should basically be on the cute side”, which led to the character of Tae Takemi being redesigned to be more traditionally feminine. the opportunity to bring back a beloved and well-written female protagonist seemed like the perfect opportunity for Atlus to give the fans what they want. But instead, Atlus is choosing to ignore one of their most beloved characters, and in doing so is throwing out plenty of other great content from FES and Portable in service of only remaking the original release.

How Fighting Games Became a Haven for LGBTQ Gamers (Wired, Zephin Livingston)

Acceptance can still be contingent on gaming skill in many places, but accepting communities are continuing to grow.

Cohen-Scali says the same, and also cites fighting games’ “arcade roots” as a contributing factor. “Arcades were a cheap and centralized place for people to meet up and play games with others, cultivating a local community and culture centered around these games. Arcades could also be connected to bowling alleys, movie theaters, or other smaller businesses that let them recoup the cost pretty easily, even in poorer neighborhoods, because of the low barrier to entry for the games.”

Even with the advent of the internet and online play, the genre’s arcade origins have remained a cornerstone of FGC culture. Attending local casual events or offline tournaments is still considered the best way to engage with the community.

This focus on in-person events has helped queer people, particularly those transitioning to new identities with potentially new names and pronouns, feel safer and more comfortable than they might otherwise feel in a competitive gaming space. Some community members, like nonbinary Montreal commentator Molli, even use the FGC as a safe haven where they are able to fully express their identity in ways they can’t at home or at work. Molli called this being in “FGC mode.”

Light Novels With Shōjo Manga Energy (Anime News Network, Kim Morrissy)

Focused on titles across a variety of subgenres from slice-of-life to fantasy adventure.

At first blush, My Happy Marriage appears to be a simple Cinderella story. The heroine is abused by her stepmother and half-sister until she finds solace in her Prince Charming (here a stern military man from a reputable family). My Happy Marriage delivers on the catharsis of a Cinderella narrative, but it stands out for how deeply it delves into Miyo’s mindset as a survivor of abuse. Happy endings don’t come easily to someone dealing with lifelong trauma, and this series does not skimp on conveying Miyo’s negativity-drenched POV.

Because of its heavy themes, My Happy Marriage may not be an easy read for some people, but the title should give you a hint that there is a great deal of sweetness in the central romance to balance things out, and Miyo’s agency as a person gets the respect it deserves. There are also some fantasy elements to add flavor to the narrative—it is set in an alternate version of Meiji Japan where supernatural forces abound. There is an anime coming out on Netflix this summer, so do give that a look as well if it interests you.

Japan redefines rape and raises age of consent in landmark move (BBC, Kelly Ng)

The national age of consent is now 16 rather than 13; the law also addresses consent and lengthened the statute of limitations.

But some activists have told the BBC that these legal reforms address only one part of the problem.

“Distorted ideas” about sex and consent that have pervaded for generations must be addressed, says Kazuko Ito, vice-president of the Tokyo-based Human Rights Now.

Survivors of sexual assault who go public also often receive threats and nasty comments online.

Even if the reforms are enacted, survivors must feel empowered to report their attacks, activists say.

In Japan, survivors of sexual violence are often reluctant to come forward because of stigma and shame. A 2021 survey by the government showed that only about 6 per cent of women and men reported an assault half of the women polled felt they couldn’t do so because of “embarrassment”.

Why It’s Difficult To Separate Rurouni Kenshin from Nobuhiro Watsuki (Anime News Network, Christopher Farris and Nicholas Dupree)

Discussion of Watsuki and other creators who have committed sex crimes or hate speech. Includes multiple mentions of child exploitation material/abuse of minors.

Chris: “Separating the art from the artist” is one of those issues anyone who enjoys art will stumble into sooner rather than later. Hell, just a few months after what went down with Watsuki, I had to go through the process of discovering that Recovery of an MMO Junkie, one of my favorite new anime at the time, was directed by a Holocaust-denying Nazi sympathizer.

Nick: Hoooo, boy, I had forgotten about that one until you mentioned it. Which is both good and bad, I suppose. At the very least, Yaginuma’s absence from the industry makes reckoning with his work a little less complicated. It turns out it’s a little easier to “separate the art from the artist” when the artist isn’t still out there, making the art and getting big bucks from overseas licensors.

Chris: Many people try to avoid actively funding a toxic creator. Just look at how many Dragon Quest fans were celebrating the death of composer Koichi Sugiyama, as it meant they could enjoy and support the series without worrying about any money going into his despicable pockets.

Nick: And, like, I get that being a fan of almost anything means you’re probably contributing some amount of money to unscrupulous or unethical businesses. No ethical consumption, etc. But I feel like you have to draw a line when it comes to this stuff, and my line is the author saying this without a hint of remorse:

In his deposition, Watsuki stated that he “liked girls in late elementary school to around the second year of middle school.”

A note to people of color interested in living in Japan (The Japan Times, Baye McNeil)

On the experience of microaggressions when living abroad.

Japan does change, of course. Nothing alive stays the same forever, but I believe progress here is very slow — or at least slower than I would have hoped for. Patience is not a virtue here; it’s a necessity. A nation of nearly 126 million people will only change according to its own design and self-interest, and only on its own timetable.

That said, sometimes Japan is aligned with the interest of non-Japanese, biracial Japanese and nontraditional Japanese living here, and things change in ways that I never saw coming. I love Japan when it surprises me like that.

One of my tasks as a writer here is to make sure when that happens that as many people as possible know it’s happening. I try to document this alignment, expose how broad it really is and prove that what we have in common is more powerful than that which differentiates us; to try to encourage change in the areas where it will be beneficial to Japan, which should include all of us who call Japan home — and this is my home.

My task as an activist, when I slip that cap on, is to encourage these kinds of happenings to go further and keep the momentum going if possible.

I was encouraged by that woman whose confidence enabled her to sit beside me on the train. The number of people who are like her is increasing. Young Japanese citizens are being exposed to ideas that incline them to be more inclusive, much more than their parents were. And a new generation of biracial Japanese is coming of age who are visible, outspoken and proud. They’re in the media and in the streets but, more importantly, they’re in the classrooms with other Japanese kids. The diversity that Japan needs to recognize in order to grow is right here, right now.

VIDEO: On Street Fighter 6’s inclusive new approach to control inputs.

VIDEO: Retrospective on Kimi no Todoke.

VIDEO: Retrospective on The Twelve Kingdoms.

AniFem Community

It’s a special joy to see queer romance in a series not advertised for such ahead of time. (This is Editor Vrai’s stealth reminder for people to watch Fairy Ranmaru).

Show By Rock! Mashumairesh! seemed like it was destined to be just more of the usual teasing and subtext, so I was surprised and quite pleased when the two leads had a full on "I love you and want to spend the rest of my life with you" conversation. Especially cool that they're both young adults with adult responsibilities and living on their own (together).
Shion and Nezumi's relationship in No. 6 was such a lovely surprise for me! I came to the anime without knowing anything about the manga or plot in general. It was recommended by a friend simply as a great sci-fi dystopia. The scene where Shion and Nezumi first meet is absolutely simmering with delightful tension and unexpected intimacy. I lapped it up and figured I'd ship them, as is my tendency. But I certainly never dared to dream their romance would unfurl so sweetly and clearly and become such a driving force for the entire story. It was my first experience of an obvious queer romance being such a key component of an anime without it having been billed specifically as BL or yaoi and without it being sexually explicit in any way. It felt like such a unique depiction of queer intimacy weaved beautifully into a larger dystopian narrative, and I really cherish it to this day.

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