Weekly Round-Up, 15-21 July 2020: History of Magical Girls, Chivalry in Spice & Wolf, and Anime Fandom in Zambia

By: Anime Feminist July 21, 20200 Comments
a group of old women gathered around their friend in a hospital, laughing. A nurse sweatdrops. subtitle: There's this popular new mobile game called Hot N' Steamy Hot Springs Matron.

AniFem Round-Up

Mr Love: Queen’s Choice – Episode 1

Otome adaptation with the usual hurdles but nice production values and a sci-fi hook.

GIBIATE – Episode 1

Post-apocalyptic monster story and also there are time-traveling samurai.

2020 Summer Premiere Digest

All of this season’s premieres and a few updates for shows with subsequent episodes out.

Chatty AF 120: Glass Mask Watchalong – Episodes 1-5

Guests Megan D. and Marion Bea join Vrai to discuss the ‘80s shoujo classic.

What was your favorite Spring 2020 anime?

Of what was finished, anyhow.

Beyond AniFem

Visual Novel Maker Says It Will Replace Its Striking Writers (Vice, Patrick Klepek)

Company Voltage refuses to recognize the union as a collective force for negotiations.

“There was no specific incident [that brought on the strike],” said the group in an email. “We have discussed our low pay rate amongst ourselves for a while, along with other complaints. As we spoke, we realized just how low the pay at Voltage is. We also realized that every single writer Voltage contracts is either a woman or nonbinary, and the majority of the writers are also of marginalized sexualities. After these realizations, we came to a unanimous consensus that we should stand up for ourselves.”

In its statement, Voltage claimed it tried to negotiate individual resolutions with the writers on two separate occasions. On July 15, Voltage said the writers rejected this tactic, telling the company that “on the subject of individual negotiations, we respectfully but firmly decline.”

Terumi Nishii: Netflix’s Bigger Budgets Haven’t Trickled Down to Actual Animators (Anime News Network, Kim Morrissy)

Though Netflix anime have larger budgets, that doesn’t translate to better pay for animators.

Nishii also explained that this is hardly any different from business as normal in Japan. Anime IPs belong to the companies, and animators do not reap their share of the profits. According to her, creators are asked to sign an agreement ceding their creative rights to the work. With games (e.g. mobile games), it’s common for people who worked on the project to sign non-disclosure agreements, making them unable to even say what they worked on.

Nishii further noted that from a producer’s perspective, there are various issues in working with Netflix; for example, Netflix does not have the rights to the home video releases and goods. However, this makes no difference to the animators and subcontracting companies, because they would never have control over the IP in the first place. She hopes that fans can understand the situation that animators are in. If fans are more in the know, then companies may also feel more inspired to rethink their approach to making anime.

#BlackInTheIvory in Japan on the Record (Japan on the Record)

Roundtable podcast discussion.

In this episode, Dr. Garrett Washington (UMass-Amherst) hosts a roundtable discussion of issues confronting Black scholars of Japanese Studies in the United States and Japan with panelists Teeka Gray (Indiana), Yasmine Krings (UCLA), and Kimberlee Sanders (Harvard). Because of technical difficulties during recording, Kimberlee Sanders’ responses were recorded separately in a follow-up interview.

Read more about the AAS Petition co-authored Dr. Jolyon Thomas, Dr. Levi McLaughlin, Dr. Michelle Wang and Kimberlee Sanders here.

Ladies Hentai Gets Short-Shafted (Anime News Network, Monique Thomas & Michelle Liu)

Discussing several five-minute softcore shorts from this season.

Nicky: The story for most of these are pretty boilerplate Josei/Teens’ Love or Boy’s Love genre conventions with perhaps one or two gimmicks to try and get the blood pumping but that also includes the protagonists just kind of bending over to guys that aren’t exactly the most cordial. It’s par for the course but if you’re looking for something more subversive you’re more likely to be disappointed.

Micchy: Not that something you watch to get off to has to be subversive or even thoughtful! But it’s pretty disappointing that in a market where already women have so little a share, almost all of the stuff that gets animated appeals to the same one or two kinks. Cool that the women out there who are into dominant fictional guys can fill a theater for a screening of softcore porn, but I can’t help but feel that any other tastes are underserved. You might attribute that homogeneity to a lack of demand for alternatives, but I wonder how much of that demand is manufactured/perpetuated by the marketing itself.

Spice and Wolf: Chivalry, Modernity, and Gender (Trickster’s Treatise, DanielsansLions)

Reading the series’ relationship between trade and romance as it connects to European classic literature.

Similarly, at the climax of each arc in Spice and Wolf, Lawrence must choose between his greed and his desire for Holo’s companionship. Although the first and foremost imperative of a merchant is to make profit, he’s also a human being who needs connection. Like Enide, Holo pushes Lawrence to pursue his ambitions to strike it rich and open his own shop, but they both know Lawrence’s success will only hasten their separation. There’s a reconciliation here in that Holo herself is actually the key to achieving both of Lawrence’s desires, but only if Lawrence and Holo can each overcome their fear of abandonment. Furthermore, Holo isn’t just a personification of a forgotten era, but a deity of harvest with power over the land. As a nascent man of capital whose explicit goal is land ownership, she is both a natural resource he must procure and quite literally his means of (re)production, in both the Marxist and feminist definitions.

A Growing Anime Fandom in Zambia (Anime News Network, Dennis Banda)

Some history and short interviews with several Zambian artists inspired by anime.

Anime has also inspired some local Zambian artists to start creating their own animation. I got to speak to Muko from Tsubasa Animations about how he got started and how his journey making animation has been.

“I started my own animation journey around 2012. I made a few silly animations but only picked it up seriously in 2016. Reception in the beginning was more on the low side when I tried to make projects that would tick all the boxes of what I thought would be popular with wider audiences. It got some attention but it was more passive and forgettable. So we decided to change our approach and rather than make more cardboard cutouts, we let the projects guide themselves instead and found a slow growing audience that appreciates it for what it is.”

Tsubasa Animations video titled Scuna Girl is streaming on YouTube and is based on a popular Zambian urban legend.

“I’m also really fascinated with African history and frequently borrow from it,” Muko said. “But I’d like to adapt more of those stories true to their source. There’s a fortune of lore and stories we’ve been sitting on just waiting to be told.”

VIDEO: A brief history of magical girl anime.

VIDEO: Panel discussion, “Black Creatives in Animation.”

VIDEO: Breakdown of the failed trans representation in Deadly Premonition 2.

THREAD: Discussion of issues addressing racism by the OTW Board (in charge of Archive of Our Own).

AniFem Community

Y’know what? There were some good titles last spring, dang it.

My fave definitely goes to Kakushigoto. This title has got everything that makes otherwise bland and/or maudlin dramedy work for me against all odds. It's sad it doesn't seem to have enjoyed as much attention as I think it deserves. I guess it has much to do with misguided assumption that it involves some super inappropriate risqué or ecchi stuff which isn't even half true.
I miss Gal & Dino. It was surreal, it was wholesome, it was occasionally terrifying. Looking forward to the Quarantine Arc in October.

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