Weekly Round-Up, 14-20 October 2020: BL from Blue Lynx, Med School Sexism, and Game Devs of Color Expo

By: Anime Feminist October 20, 20200 Comments
Chibi Sleepy Princess dressed as a pirate and riding in a boat with demon bears under a giant moon

AniFem Round-Up

 2020 Fall Premiere Digest

All the premieres in one place, with general content warnings.

Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club – Episode 1

A newbie-friendly and engaging spinoff in the long-running franchise.


Takes a stock standard setup in unexpected directions.

Anime Feminist Recommendations of Summer 2020

The team’s top titles from the summer season.

Which anime ended up being completely different from what you expected?

In honor of a season full of swerves.

Beyond AniFem

League of Legends’ Fake Anime Pop Star Is Sad Tweeting About Genocide (Vice, Gita Jackson)

VTuber Seraphine is a fictional character social media account run by LoL’s marketing team.

This branding experiment is beyond perverse—it’s honestly offensive. Seraphine’s tweet about quitting her day job hits different during a pandemic where over seven million people have lost their jobs. While a lot of young women suffer from mental health problems like depression, or have issues with their self-esteem when they try to express themselves through art, Seraphine’s tweets about her issues aren’t meant as an opportunity for other young women to be open and vulnerable about their issues. It’s a naked attempt to get League of Legends fans to further invest in their parasocial relationship with Seraphine. It’s not that fictional characters can’t or shouldn’t bring up the kinds of things that real people deal with. Ironically, Barbie’s vlogs—yes, the doll—do a great job of using her relatability and aspirational nature to create a space of safety, where young girls can process complex feelings. But Seraphine isn’t interested in fostering the growth of other young people—it’s an emotional feedback loop directing you to more Seraphine content. Don’t you see? You’re one of her special favorite fans!

Interview: Boys-Love Anime Label Blue Lynx (Anime News Network, Kim Morrissy)

Interview with producer Okayasu Yuka.

How much has the BL manga market in Japan changed compared to five years ago?

I am not an editor, so I can’t speak about the changes in the manga market. But when it comes to screen adaptations, I think that there’s been a very pronounced surge in interest in the past five years. Television stations felt the huge impact of Ossan’s Love in 2018. At our company, the 2018 streaming series Pornographer was a hit, it’s going to get a film version next year. Even a few years ago, it might have been hard to get a pitch for a BL anime with sexual depictions accepted within the company. However, due to the aforementioned circumstances in recent years, Blue Lynx’s ambitious pitches have been favorably accepted within the company. Compared to five years ago, I think that there is more attention on the BL genre for its high potential when it comes to screen adaptations.

In the United States, BL and yuri manga are often marketed a bit differently compared to Japan. The works are often placed in the “LGBT” category. What do you think of this cultural difference?

I think that this may be a peculiarity to Japan. This is my personal analysis, but over several decades ago, Japanese manga – particularly shojo manga – often had some characters of the same sex appear who were more than friends but less than lovers. For example, there were things like Card Captor Sakura and Sailor Moon. Maybe Japanese people who were into that fiction as children were more or less fond of “the deep spiritual connection between two people of the same sex” (which isn’t always necessarily homosexual love). I believe that some of those people went on to like BL and yuri as an extension of that. Due to those circumstances, it was extremely natural and popular to see profound relationships between people of the same sex in anime and manga before “LGBT” became a commonplace word in Japan. I wonder if this explains the difference in the categorizations between Japan and the United States.

New Pantene commercial interviews Japanese trans individuals about difficulties of job hunting (SoraNews24, Ingrid Tsai)

The video is included with subtitles.

For context, job seekers in Japan are expected to report their gender on resumes and also adhere to very specific attire that coincides with one’s reported gender. Resumes that ask an applicant’s gender generally only have two options: male and female. Not only does this put non-binary folks in a tough spot, but trans individuals must decide whether to report as their gender identity or to report as their sex assigned at birth, not to mention how to dress when it comes to interviews.

Furthermore, what adds even more anxiety to an already stressful process is the fact that some companies may also dismiss applicants during the screening process for failing to conform to the dress code expected of their reported gender.

Medical school sued for bias against female applicants (The Asahi Shimbun, Azusa Mishima and Tomomi Abe)

Four women are suing after their university refuses to admit wrongdoing.

Along with compensation, the woman demanded the university issue an apology for rigging the exams.

“We should not be discriminated against because we’re women. There’s no excuse. I want St. Marianna University to admit the injustice and apologize thoroughly,” she said.

In the aftermath of the series of scandals, the education ministry pointed out that 10 universities have discriminated against prospective applicants based on their gender and the years a student had spent after failing the entrance exam and studying to try again.

Though nine universities have admitted wrongdoing, St. Marianna University has not.

The panel that St. Marianna University established concluded in January that the institution had discriminated against women and those who were not a new graduate at the time of testing and had taken the entrance exam before and failed. 

But the university officials refused to accept the panel’s assessment.

How the Heroines of Horror Games Helped Me Explore My Sexuality (Gayming Magazine, Brandon Trush)

How taking on the role of a feminine avatar became a means of processing, even if those women were written in a flawed way.

But I started to question exactly why that was. I enjoyed taking the role of Leon and saving Ashley at the end of Resident Evil 4, but how was that really different from Alyssa saving Dennis at the end of Clock Tower 3? Why is one championed more than the other? Because Leon is a stoic, masculine man that used guns most of the game, and Alyssa approached her journey with more tact, using holy water and closets to hide in instead of using physical power to stop her assailants? (Though she does get an epic light-arrow shooting bow for boss fights, but that’s beside the point).

I reached a point of clarity that maybe I didn’t need to be the “tough guy” to win, and it began to spread into my life outside of games as well. I wanted to emulate the bravery of these female characters—bravery that often involved more thoughtful and emotional approaches to their respective stories. Bravery that was so often drilled into my head as being “too soft”, or worse, “too gay.” Over time, the shame that used to be attached to my preference for those characters slowly began to chip away as I became more educated on the structural sexism that exists in my daily life, comfortable with my sexuality, and challenged what I had been taught in my youth.

An Inclusive Future: A Recap of Game Devs of Color Expo 2020 (Sidequest, Elvie Mae Parian)

Recap of the online panel and preview of some of the games shown.

As Shawn Alexander Allen, game designer and one of GDoCExpo’s organizers, eloquently put it during the show’s commencement ceremony opening, “Making games in the face of destruction is radical.” GDoCExpo was able to serve as a safe refuge for creation and the ideas to continue against the adversity of the outside world.

It’s not just about making more positive games about better futures. It is also about nurturing those communities around games to develop the actual future, as well. In every year of its run, GDoCExpo is trying to establish a new normal, and this year’s show has certainly set the standard for a possibly more inclusive future by proving that the physical or socio-economic barriers in the industry keeping many out can be torn down. Without actual walls to walk through, what’s stopping anyone from running?

TWEET: Launch of a leftist anime podcast.

TWEET: Podcast discussing Black representation in anime.

THREAD: Discussion of transphobia from popular author Shōno Yoriko.

THREAD: Experiencing ableism as a HOH person living in Japan.

AniFem Community

Part of the fun of this one was seeing all the ways a “swerve” can be framed. Good job, AniFam.

Bad Swerve - Stella Women's Academy, High School Division Class C³. The first half was fun romp following the protagonist getting into Airsoft competition, with cute moments filled with dream/fantasy overlaying reality. Then the second half makes a hard swerve into edgy drama and drains all the fun away. It was not a good transition and I never did finish the series.  Good Swerve - Puella Magi Madoka Magica. I'd heard good things about it. The first couple episodes I wasn't sure. Then the end of episode 3 happened and I was hooked. By the end of the series I understood why many puts this on 'best of' lists.
Pleasant surprise: I fully expected Black Clover to be like most shounen and sideline it's female cast members, but surprisingly they are some of the first to get major character development, become some of the most powerful characters in the series, and end up being madly entertaining too.  Unpleasant surprise: The premise of Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt having two women be unapologetically crass in a sex based comedy is mwuah *chefs kiss*...but the actual execution of the show was less sex positive than it was set up to be, instead leaning hard into fatphobia, body shaming, revenge porn, slut shaming and more. A massive shame.

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