Weekly Round-Up, 15-21 December 2021: Galko-chan Author Arrested, Border Closures, and Shoujo Manga Roundtable

By: Anime Feminist December 21, 20210 Comments
A man with a bandaged abdomen sitting beside a giant three-headed snake that has one head cut off

AniFem Round-Up

Wolf Queens and Girl Heroes: How Lonely Castle in the Mirror Plays with Gendered Fairytale Tropes

Megan Baffoe highlights Tsujimura Mizuki’s best-selling novel about a teenage girl trapped in a battle of wits with the seemingly villainous “Wolf Queen.”

Brief Connections: A Nobumoto Keiko Career Retrospective

Caitlin pays respect to an author who died with only about a dozen anime writing credits–but the few she had were profoundly influential to the anime community.

Chatty AF 153: Cowboy Bebop Live Action Post Mortem

Chiaki, Mercedez, and special guest Kate Sánchez perform a critical autopsy on Netflix’s unfortunate effort to resurrect a classic.

What’s your favorite older anime that you only saw this year?

Stuff a few decades old is extra cool, but show off anything that’s not current-season shows.

Beyond AniFem

Police Arrest Please Tell Me! Galko-chan Creator Kenya Suzuki for Importing Child Porn (Anime News Network, Rafael Antonio Pineda)

Suzuki had been reported missing the prior week before news of his arrest broke.

The Kyodo news service reported on Monday that the Aichi Prefectural Police arrested 40-year-old manga creator Kenya Suzuki on suspicion of possessing child pornography imported from Germany in violation of Japan’s Customs Act. Kyodo reported that the resident of Funabashi City, Chiba allegedly had six photo collections that he received by international mail on two separate occasions in September and October of last year.

According to the authorities, Suzuki stated upon his arrest that he “desperately wanted to acquire nude photos of foreign children that cannot be acquired in Japan.” The report added that police have confiscated 46 books and publications allegedly containing child pornography from Suzuki’s residence.

Japan’s strict border measures against foreigners may go beyond scope of law: scholar (The Mainichi, Motome Kusakabe)

Excerpt from an interview with a research fellow at the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science on the ongoing crisis.

The Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act serves as the legal basis for the recent border control measures. The immigration law has a provision that mentions foreign nationals “whom the Minister of Justice has reasonable grounds to believe are likely to commit an act which could be detrimental to the interests or public security of Japan” as people who can be denied entry into the country. The Immigration Services Agency of Japan deems foreign nationals who are possibly infected with the coronavirus as individuals that fall under this description. However, using this provision as a basis to impose border restrictions on all foreigners can be said to be an application that goes beyond the scope of what is stipulated in the law.

The other day, I filed a freedom of information request with the Immigration Services Agency, asking that they reveal documentation on discussions over whether the border restrictions were conforming to the law or not. However, they replied that there were no such documents.

Rather than finding issues with such foreigners themselves, the Japanese government probably wants to narrow down the number of people entering the country as the quarantine system at airports and other places has a small and weak capacity, but as a result, the measures appear to be taking a toll on foreign nationals.

Single mothers worry if their exes receiving payouts for kids (The Asahi Shimbun, Shino Matsuyama and Chika Yamamoto)

Because of the deadlines required for switching bank accounts tied to payouts, single mothers who’ve been recently divorced have found their support funds going into their ex-husbands’ accounts.

In November, the central government decided to hand out 100,000 yen to children as a COVID-19 relief measure for households with the primary breadwinner making less than 9.6 million yen annually.

The Cabinet Office decided to use the child allowance list used for a payment of September’s child allowance that was made in October.

If a divorced parent did not change the bank account information following a divorce by the end of August when the list was confirmed, the 100,000-yen handout will be deposited to an ex-husband’s bank account.

Shiho Tanaka, who heads Single Parent 101, a group that supports single parents in Shizuoka, said, “For what purpose is the handout if it will be deposited to the accounts of people who are not raising a child?”

Chieko Akaishi, who chairs Tokyo-based support group Single Mothers Forum, said, “It is problematic that the handout will not be delivered to the people who are struggling the most,” although she praised the government’s decision to aim for making swift payments.

Scholars launch effort to assist peers stuck outside of Japan (The Japan Times, Rochelle Kopp)

The fund is meant to provide aid to foreign scholars whose work and funding has been disrupted by the pandemic.

While this project may provide much-needed help for some researchers, it can’t really take the place of coming to Japan.

“How can graduate students complete their dissertations if they can’t do research here?” asks James Welker, a professor at Kanagawa University who has helped with scanning and sending documents to scholars overseas through the project. “You can’t do ethnography or deep archival research via Zoom or interlibrary loan or via Japan-based scholars.” And even if someone could manage to conduct their research remotely, “How will they get jobs if they’ve lost their prestigious fellowships and affiliations and lost their chance to meet key scholars here and expand their research networks?”

Scott Aalgaard, assistant professor of East Asian studies at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, says that even though Japan-centered research can and should continue during the border closures, the resulting research “will potentially not be as rich and impactful as work that can/does access ‘the field.’” He fears that “one of the byproducts of this shutting out of researchers is that we will necessarily fail to access a broad spectrum of voices,” resulting in a “skewed” view of Japan that is “curated by gatekeepers.”

The Many Faces of the Magical Girl: A Breakdown of Types and Subgenres (Anime Herald, Ayumi Shinozaki)

An overview of the broad subgenre of magical girl stories.

This is not to say that any further battle heroine series were copying this one series, but the fighting magical girl was simply what the public seemed to clamor for at the time. Another factor is certainly that almost all these magical girl shows are also aimed at children and are therefore designed to sell toys. The more characters and weapons you have, the more merchandise you can sell. 

If you watch a battle heroine series, you can usually expect to find a team of girls with distinct themes and personalities who transform into heroes, fight monsters on an episodic basis, and defeat higher and higher levels of general minions before taking down the true source of evil in the season finale. Meanwhile, there are interpersonal conflicts in their daily lives, often somehow coinciding with their fight of the week. When non-magical girl series have spin-offs or parodies of magical girls are made, it is usually within the battle heroine genre specifically, such as Magical Project S (1996) or Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha (2004). Most Western magical girl series, whether in comic form or animated, also fall within this category—you can see this everywhere from webcomics such as Sleepless Domain (2015 – present) to Dreamworks ventures like She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (2018).

Interview: The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window Manga Creator Tomoko Yamashita (Anime News Network, Rebecca Silverman)

Discussion with the author on her approach to mixing BL and horror and translating themes across languages.

The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window deals with a lot of difficult topics – child abuse, cults, and the misuse of power among them. How did you decide to handle these topics, and do you think that they contribute to the success of the story? Does it appeal to readers who might not otherwise pick up a BL story? (Assuming you think it does have that appeal to the BL-shy!)

YAMASHITA: I always have and always will have an interest in those themes. I suppose they are recurring themes, although there are also plenty of parts that developed a lot differently from my expectations and inadvertently became big parts of the story. I hope that those developments succeed. To a certain extent, it was a bit of an experiment to see if a BL can stand firm even without hinging on romance. Also, when I see others label this series as “not a BL,” it made me wonder if it can become a work of entertainment that counters homophobia.

Some readers/viewers on our site have found Hiyakawa to be off-putting in that he doesn’t seem to respect Mikado’s bodily autonomy and personal boundaries. How did you decide to write his character that way? Is it tied up in his upbringing outside of social norms?

YAMASHITA: To be completely honest, when I started creating this manga, I was not mindful when it came to fictional expressions of invading other people’s boundaries, and I did not think about the absence of mutual consent. I realized that as the series progressed, and so I tried addressing it by depicting the harms in the relationship as part of the story developments. From his past experiences, Hiyakawa grew up not learning to respect others, but as I continued writing, I wanted to make it into a story where he becomes someone who can respect others and himself.

VIDEO: Portrait of the founder of Mar-Vis, a restaurant central to the Nigerian community in Japan.

VIDEO: Roundtable panel about the influence of shoujo manga.

TWEET: Announcement of a recently published Japanese nonfiction book about trans men.

THREAD: License announcement of a work by classic shoujo mangaka Uchida Yoshimi, whose work has never before been translated in English.

AniFem Community

It’s really a great time for classic titles to be available on streaming.

I saw the Dirty Pair tv series and I really enjoyed it, my mom also watched it and really got a kick out of it too.

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