Weekly Round-Up, 15-21 June 2022: Fruits Basket Prelude, Reclaiming Lollipop Chainsaw, and Osaka Upholds Marriage Equality Ban

By: Anime Feminist June 21, 20220 Comments
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AniFem Round-Up

 Queer resonance and critiquing heteronormativity in SPY x FAMILY

While there are no canonical LGBTQ+ characters in the series, it’s undeniably satirizing what society demands in order to be a “good, normal family.”

The possession and performance of relationship in Spice and Wolf

Dya provides a newbie-friendly look at how the show’s early episodes lay out a central romance between equal partners.

2022 Pride Month Resources

This month’s post celebrates Pride with legal resources, fundraisers, surveys, and a little bit of theory.

Beyond AniFem

Being Trans is the ‘Dark Souls’ of Gender: An Exploration of Parallels (Epilogue Gaming, Flora Eloise)

With tongue only slightly in cheek, a personal essay on why the Soulsborne games can be a brutal but comforting outlet.

A question I could never properly answer when vicariously enjoying friends of mine running through the Souls games is why anyone would voluntarily adopt such a seemingly unpleasant experience. Dark Souls makes no bones about punishing you for even moderate slip-ups, poised to rap your knuckles at every corner. Like a strict disciplinarian, the game is off-putting at first; eventually, I found, I grew to become proud of the skill I had developed. Of course, I began this playthrough of Dark Souls with the confidence of having finished Elden Ring, wiping the map and Steam achievement list of all bosses. But I think back to the few times I had abandoned Dark Souls, even while playing with self-professed die-hard fans of the game, and I know I could have never made it all the way through without those accumulated lessons from Elden Ring.

In the same way that I looked at my friends whose gaming interests otherwise often overlapped with my own, and I wondered why on Earth they were voluntarily lacerating themselves with the Souls games, one might ask the same question of trans people. In a world where literally every time I open a major news network, naked hatred and ignorant bigotry about trans people (and queer people more generally) dominates the headlines, I might reasonably ask why anyone would choose to subject themselves to such dehumanizing vitriol. Whether it’s the countless states criminalizing the medical transition of young people, the ideological bans of discussions surrounding gender identity and sexual orientation from school environments, or explicit restrictions extending to adults inhabiting public spaces, there is no shortage of reasons why someone might choose to live in the closet. The answer, for me, is incredibly simple: the constant pain of corrupting myself in the closet is greater than the external pain that other people can inflict on me.

The Rough Waters of the Seven Seas Entertainment Unionization Effort (J-List Blog, input(VOID))

Updates on the unionization effort and upcoming vote.

Things are honesty looking promising for United Workers of Seven Seas, but, as always in the legal world, these things take time and there will inevitably be some delays. On June 15th, 2022, the group announced that the NLRB will mail their ballots on June 24th, 2022 with the votes being counted on August 1st, 2022. Should they win, this would be a historic moment in the American manga industry, as they would be the first union within it.  But it’s just never that simple. Even if they win, in 25% of successful votes, negotiations can stretch out for three years or longer, as a study from 2009 found. Also in 2009, a Dish Network union was formed via vote and they only got their first contract earlier in 2022, about 12 years later. When asked if this movement has had a negative impact on their day-to-day experiences in the office, the employees stated that it has luckily been “business as usual”.

So what can you, dear reader, do to help? First and foremost, do not harass or threaten Seven Seas Entertainment or any party associated with them, especially on social media. It should go without saying, but the employees have already had to step up and say something once before. Next, the employees have not called for a boycott of Seven Seas Entertainment products. This is purely about getting better rights for their employees, not hurting the company. After that, you can tweet, share, and publicly pledge support for the employees through the steps outlined on their website.

Fruits Basket -prelude- Review (Anime News Network, Caitlin Moore)

The film is part compilation and part exploration of how Tohru’s parents met.

But then the clipshow concludes, and the movie gets to its real meat: Kyoko’s relationship with Katsuya, from the moment they met to her grief when he died. There are parts of it that I like, that resonate with the show’s themes about the power of kindness and the importance of a sense of belonging. Kyoko joined a gang not because she was born rotten, but because the dearth of parental love in her life left a hole in her that she didn’t know how to fill otherwise. Finding someone who valued and believed in her, who didn’t treat her as a worthless inconvenience, helped to heal her heart.

But why, why, why did he have to be her teacher?

You see, Katsuya and Kyoko met when she’s in middle school, thus no older than 15, and he’s a student teacher in his early 20’s. The first time he encounters her, he pulls her out of school and takes her out to lunch. Even after his stint in student teaching ends, he tutors her up until she misses her high school entrance exam, and then, when her parents are kicking her out and she has nowhere else to go, he shows up and declares his intent to marry her. Remember when someone recut the Twilight trailer to make it look like a psychological thriller? Kyoko and Katsuya’s relationship wouldn’t even need to be recut; a simple lighting change and shifting the music to a minor key would turn it into a cautionary tale about a predatory man targeting a troubled, vulnerable child to trap her into a controlling relationship she can’t escape from.

Young sexual abuse victims in Japan most often assaulted at school: gov’t study (The Mainichi, Ran Kanno)

In the survey of participants aged 16 to 24, 2,040 people of the 8,941 ultimately surveyed responded that they had been victims of sexual violence.

The Cabinet Office says the relatively low response rate mean the findings “cannot be called epidemiological data that reflects the characteristics of the parent population.” However, it emphasizes that “about one in four people answered they had faced some sort of sexual abuse,” noting that 1,644 people, or 26.4%, of the original sample of 6,224 were sexual abuse victims. The Cabinet Office plans to analyze the findings in detail and make use of them to offer support for victims moving forward.

When asked what types of sexual violence they experienced, with multiple responses allowed, 17.8% answered “verbal abuse,” followed by “abuse involving physical contact” (12.4%), “abuse using information tools” including being shown videos (9.7%), “abuse of a visual nature” (7.4%), and “assault involving sexual intercourse” (4.1%).

The questionnaire also asked the 2,040 victims to choose one of the aforementioned five forms of abuse they faced that was “most serious,” and select one or more options to describe the perpetrators. Of those who chose “abuse involving physical contact” as the most serious form of sexual violence they had encountered, 50.2% said they were assaulted by a stranger, while 24.5% answered “school-affiliated individuals,” including teachers and other staff, and fellow students. Meanwhile, 10.8% said they were assaulted at work, including part-time workplaces. The most common perpetrators of “assault involving sexual intercourse” were “school-affiliated individuals” at 29.3%, followed by partners or former partners (27.5%), people victims met online, including through social media (19.2%), and strangers (18%).

Ep 108: Classic Devilman with Salvatore (The Anime Nostalgia Podcast)

Podcast discussion of the manga and pre-crybaby adaptations.

Not only is June the 50th Anniversary of Go Nagai’s manga, but in the US June is also Pride Month! And at the request of AJ (who won the choice of a full podcast episode topic in my ANP Says Trans Rights raffle), we’re talking all about the iconic queer-coded action-horror classic Devilman! Go Nagai superfan Salvatore is back with me this month to talk all about the original 70s manga, TV series, AND the 80s/90s OVA series. We discuss differences between them, what we love & maybe not love so much about each version, and the absolutely MASSIVE influence Go Nagai’s work has had over manga & anime in the last 50 years in this fun, extra-long episode!

Films, publications explore lives of Kurdish diaspora in Japan (The Mainichi)

The article estimates roughly 2,000 Kurds currently live in Japan.

Making up sizable minorities in Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria, the Kurds are the world’s largest ethnic group without a state.

Natsuki Nakajima, 27, visited a Kurdish area in southeast Turkey to make “Voices from the Homeland,” which features singing storytellers known as “dengbejs.” It won the Grand Prix in the short film category at last year’s Tokyo Documentary Film Festival.

Nakajima, who is a composer as well as a documentary director, said she was enthralled by the dengbejs’ song lyrics, which range from love stories to the history of the persecution of the Kurds, and their distinctive singing voices.

In Turkey, Kurds have been subject to an assimilation policy for more than 100 years and faced political repression until recently, including being banned from using the Kurdish language. Dengbejs, however, continued to sing in their mother tongue, and are seen as a symbol of the Kurdish people’s overcoming of the hardships of the past.

Elsewhere, screenings across Japan began in May of the movie drama “My Small Land,” which follows the struggles of a Kurdish high school girl growing up in Saitama Prefecture, north of Tokyo.

10 years later, gaming has finally caught up with Lollipop Chainsaw (Inverse, Willa Rowe)

From the misogyny around the game and its initial release to the modern movement poised to reclaim Juliet with the announcement of the title’s return.

The use of bimbo sounds like an odd choice based on those old Urban Dictionary definitions, but meanings change over time. Today, the bimbo adheres to the bubblegum pop and sexual aesthetic of bimbos from a bygone era. But modern bimboism is “grounded in inclusive, anti-capitalist, jubilantly queer and aggressively kind ideology,” as defined by Vice writer Arielle Richards.

In a modern bimbo, post #FreeBritney world, Juliet Starling still represents an ideal. She is a conventionally attractive woman who fully embraces her sexuality on her own terms. Juliet embodies distinct self-love and pride despite the objectification she receives from other characters, the player, and her creators. She may fit the bill of a stereotypical cheerleader, but she’s also a powerful zombie hunter wielding a chainsaw.

While the circumstances of Juliet Starling’s creation in the original Lollipop Chainsaw are rooted in early 2010’s misogyny and voyeurism, modern reclamation of bimboism can give Juliet the deeper meaning she always deserved. And there has never been a better time than right now.

Tokyo set to issue same-sex couple certificates from Nov. 1 (The Asahi Shimbun, Taichi Kobayashi)

The system is currently in place in ten wards and eight prefectures across Japan, but it doesn’t offer the same legal protections as a marriage certificate.

Applications for the certificates will be made online, in principle. The Tokyo metropolitan government will issue certificates after checking the extracts from their family register and a residence certificate submitted by the couple.

The certificates will include their common names and their children’s names.

Those who have the certificates can apply to move into public apartment complexes operated by the metropolitan government.

If at least one of them moves into Tokyo, the metropolitan government will accept applications from three months prior.

THREAD: Deep-dive into a recent court decision in Osaka ruling that Japan’s ban on marriage equality is constitutional.

THREAD: Remembrance of activist and student protestor Kanba Michiko.

AniFem Community

As we mentioned in this month’s resource post, it can be a huge help to focus donations on smaller and regional advocacy and mutual aid groups – we encourage you to link groups you know of in the comments. In the meantime, here’s a very cool short film for Pride.

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