Weekly Round-Up, 16-22 August 2023: Wicked City’s Monster Women, Single Parent Struggles, and an LGBTQ+ Wedding Event

By: Anime Feminist August 22, 20230 Comments
a group of terrified athropomorphic dogs in adventurer gear

AniFem Round-Up

Author and scriptwriter Watari Wataru on cynical heroines, getting a lesbian kiss onscreen, and keeping his day job

We spoke with Watari about his wonderful trash girl heroine Chitose, adapting The Magical Revolution of the Reincarnated Princess and the Genius Young Lady, and his future plans.

On Nintendo’s reluctance to make Princess Zelda playable

Despite its multi-decade history, the franchise’s actual titular character has almost exclusively been allowed to do cool things if they’re off-screen or in a spinoff.

Chatty AF 190: Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury Part 2 Retrospective

Vrai, Megan, and Maddie return to cap off our retrospective on the tragically short but triumphant run of Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury!

What are the best beginner yuri manga?

A question with as many answers as there are subgenres.

Beyond AniFem

Revisiting the Transgressive Feminine Power of ‘Wicked City’ (Dread Central, Sarah Guinivere Smit)

An 80s film so misogynistic its monster women shoot the moon and become awesome.

Wicked City was released in 1987, a time when women’s rights movements in Japan were increasingly popular and were gaining ground in the social, cultural, and academic spaces. At the same time, the country’s economic boom at the time strongly benefitted men more than women, a status quo embodied by Taki Renzaburō. In a way, the Black Guard and the demonic Radicals are an echo of the power struggle against patriarchy happening in our own world, and while we’re expected to sympathize with the keepers of the balance, ultimately it is the transgressive, powerful demon women who we relate to and become as the unintended female audience. 

What drew me to Wicked City and writing about it as a trans woman was that its combination of body horror and misogyny felt deeply familiar to me, as did the film’s female characters’ struggle against it. In my world, womanhood had always seemed too perfect for me to deserve with my own ‘monstrous’ body. And in Makie’s world, womanhood is also inherently vilified unless it follows strict rules under a patriarchal society. It was a realization that patriarchy always treats women as witches or demons when we do not conform, and as women only when we accept being subordinated.

The demon women of Wicked City are not chaste, their bodies are not for consumption by men. Their vaginas are not petite, life-giving vessels that exist for men’s sexual and social gratification. They bear teeth, or grow to impossible size, and are forces of destruction. Their true bodies are not graceful, or perfectly proportioned, they possess features considered inhuman, monstrous, and grotesque. The demon women’s bodies do nothing a man would want them to, yet this does not disqualify any of these women from their womanhood. By being so obtusely misogynistic, Wicked City makes more visceral and extreme the extent of the harm patriarchy and misogyny have on women in the real world, whether we are cis or trans.

Is There a Double-Standard for Same-Sex Relationships in Anime? (Anime News Network, Monique Thomas & Nicholas Dupree)

Discussion of the higher bar expected for queer relationships to “count,” in light of recent debacles.

Nicky: Alternatively, even today, we don’t always recognize how hard creators must fight to get these moments on-screen. It’s common when I see people dissatisfied. They might direct their attacks at creators before knowing what they were going through when they wrote something. While creatives are human beings and therefore not perfect, neither is the world, and it’s a shame when I see artists and writers say they feel discouraged when they think about being attacked just because of how someone interpreted what they made.

Nick: That’s fair. Any mass media is an expensive and collaborative effort, especially in anime, which means creators are making concessions and compromises to the often conservative producers. This is why I encourage folks not to live or die based on hardline, irrefutable confirmation but rather to embrace the text and your relationship to it first and foremost. Like, I don’t expect BanG Dream! It’s MyGo!!!!! ever to put a diagnosis to Tomori’s personality quirks, but I can still appreciate and connect with how she displays common traits of neurodivergence that mirror my own.

Nicky: I also consider it a double standard because plenty of other anime with a similar focus on heterosexual relationships are also based on subtlety or even the barest hints for the characters to be accepted by the audience as canon. However, the good news is that we are also getting more explicit reps. We’re gradually getting more yuri, BL, and anime that doesn’t fit as neatly behind relationship labels. I could never forget the explosion during Promare‘s infamous “Kiss of Life” for the first time with a huge crowd in the AX premiere room.

LGBTQ awareness event holds wedding for female couple at traditional Kyoto theater (The Mainichi, Kazuki Yamazaki)

The couple’s marriage was part of an event to spread awareness and normalize LGBTQ+ couples.

It all started in 2020, when the couple saw a play at the theater in Kyoto’s Higashiyama Ward. As an indie idol, Fujikawa has always dreamed of a glittering stage surrounded by confetti like at the Minamiza Theatre. Their social media post, “We want to have a wedding at the Minamiza,” caught the attention of a representative from the event management company, who contacted them. Since the theater cannot be rented out as a stage for private weddings, it was planned as an LGBTQ-themed event.

In September 2020, the city of Kyoto, where they live, launched a “partnership oath system” to officially recognize adult couples of sexual minorities as partners and promote their participation in society. Fujikawa and Nishimura took the oath shortly after it started and received the certificate of oath.

The Kyoto Municipal Government has been informing real estate-related organizations and others to be flexible in dealing with sexual minorities. However, Fujikawa said that when they signed a rental housing contract, they were asked to list someone in a marital or blood relationship, and even after submitting the oath receipt, they could not gain the lessor’s understanding. Such experiences have made the couple want to spread awareness about sexual minorities and tell the parties involved that “being LGBTQ is not something to be hidden.”

Hard to Make a Romantic Cartoon (순정만화가 너무 어려워) BL Game Review (Blerdy Otome, Naja)

A visual novel about being trapped in a visual novel (or a webtoon, anyway).

Hard to Make a Romantic Cartoon reads like the messiest webtoon you’ve ever seen—outrageous plot twists, cliché characters, crazy love triangles, the whole nine, this game is WILD in all the best ways! And if that wasn’t enough, the art in this game is absolutely gorgeous, like, my god, the visuals are some of the prettiest I’ve seen in a game. But, the pièce de résistance of How to Make a Romantic Cartoon is the unintentional comedy of an English translation that’s hilariously awful. This game is the perfect hot mess.

Everything starts simply enough, Yunjae gets transported into the body of a side character in a webtoon and he has to figure out how to get home while avoiding changing the plot of the story too much. So he does his best to act out his role as Doyeong by getting his ass handed to him by bullies on the regular. But, being the hot blooded dude that he is, Yunjae gets tired of the daily beatdowns real quick so he completely turns the tables and starts lashing out at his tormentors. On top of that, Yunjae/Doyeong has made friends with the male love interests of the story, rich student council president, Gang Hyeon and loveable puppy dog, Lee Jinha.

”Real-Life Oshi no Ko”: Japanese Idol Says She’s Single Mom (Unseen Japan, Jay Allen)

The parallels are clear but not drawn by the singer herself.

23-year-old Fujisaki Nagi (藤咲凪) is one-half of the two-person idol unit Saishu Mirai Shojo (最終未来少女; “The Final Future Girls”) along with partner Ono Midori. Fujisaki was a guest on the talk show SUNDAY JAPON on August 20th, where the subject was resolving sleep issues. After an expert gave advice, MC Tanaka Yuji asked Fujisaki for her thoughts.

“Actually, I’m a single mother,” she revealed. “This is the first time I’ve said that, so I imagine the people watching and my fans must be losing it right now.” When pressed further, Fujisaki revealed she had two kids – a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old.

Later, on her personal Instagram, Fujisaki gave a fuller statement: “I’m a single mother,” she proclaimed. Fujisaki also revealed that she considered keeping her children a secret.

“However, there’s been a lot of speculation, and I’ve received bullying, anonymous accounts dropping my kids’ names, and sneak photos when we’ve gone out. I felt like I’d reached the limit of secrecy. I also feared misinformation being spread gradually, so I decided to announce it myself before it reached that point.”

40% of Japan single parent families feeding kids just twice a day during summer: survey (The Mainichi, Miyuki Fujisawa)

The survey had 684 respondents via the web.

Some single parents described their hardships in the free-answer section, with one saying, “We can’t afford an air conditioner, and my kid who is home all day is about to die.” Another person wrote, “All my children do is lie around on the bed because they have nowhere else to go and moving around will make them hungry.” One respondent wrote, “Rising prices are threatening our livelihoods. I searched for ‘how many days does it take to die of starvation’ last night.”

Single Mothers Forum board member Masako Komori pointed out, “Summer break means no school lunches, and families have to cover food expenses, while the parents’ income drops due to the Bon festival summer holidays for workers and because they can’t work overtime with their children at home.” She added, “It’s a worrying situation how they’re refraining from using air conditioning amid this brutal heat, which could affect their health. We need aid, such as covering lunch expenses for children during their summer break.”

Japan to require day nurseries, schools to block sex offenders from jobs (The Mainichi)

These changes are still in committee discussion, with a bill to be introduced in future.

In Japan, the licensing for teachers and childcare workers is overseen by different government offices, making it difficult for authorities to prevent a person with a history of sex crimes from switching between professions involving children.

Under the envisioned system, a public entity would issue a certificate proving that the applicant is not a convicted sex offender, the sources said.

Cram schools, sports clubs and other private operators would not be required to use the system, they said.

Parents and child support groups have been calling for the establishment of such a system. But some experts have been critical, arguing that it infringes privacy rights and freedom to choose one’s occupation, both of which are protected under the Constitution.

The government has been discussing its response to the issue since two men who were registered with a babysitter matching app were separately arrested in 2020 for sexually assaulting children in their care.

Probe reveals more than 1,000 harassment cases in Defense Ministry, SDF (The Asahi Shimbun, Nobuhiko Tajima)

The probe comes in the wake of a former SDF member’s lawsuit against her harassers.

The Defense Ministry uncovered 1,325 cases of harassment including 1,115 cases of power harassment, 179 cases of sexual harassment and 56 cases of maternity harassment against women due to pregnancy or motherhood. Some cases involved multiple harassments.

Despite the alarming number of incidents, victims didn’t turn to dedicated hotlines for help in 850 cases, or 64.2 percent of the total. 

The probe was launched in September 2022, when Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada tasked the Inspector General’s Office of Legal Compliance with the assignment. 

A panel of independent experts on the issue also made recommendations to the ministry.

The panel called for increased training and education for officials at management positions, who are at higher risk of carrying out harassment. 

VIDEO: Why more people really need to watch Ooku: The Inner Chambers.

TWEET: Excerpt from an interview about the Vinland Saga author’s approach to writing about slavery.

AniFem Community

Why isn’t there an anime adaptation of Milk Morinaga’s work, anyway?

It really depends on what someone wants to read!  Teen romance: - Kase-san by Hiromi Takashima if you want a healthy romance (bonus: the series continues to follow them into their university years!) - Bloom Into You by Nakatani Nio if you want a romance that deals with asexuality or demisexuality - Young Ladies Don't Play Fighting Games by Eri Ejima if you want a yuri that's also a sports (fighting games) series  Adult romance: - Superwomen in Love by sometime if you want cute fluff - How do we relationship? by Tamifull if you want a very grounded, realistic depiction of dysfunctional lesbians more than you want romance - Conditions of Paradise by Morshima Akiko is a very charming anthology about mostly adult women - Otherside Picnic by Iori Miyazawa is originally a light novel but it also has a manga. Easy recommendation for anyone who likes their lesbians with a side of horror and urban legends.
-Girl Friends by Milk Morinaga is in my opinion the quintessential beginner's yuri manga. It was one of the first I read, and a great introduction to the genre. It tackles a more realistic sapphic high school relationship rather than a "Class S" series would, and it ends with the two girls' relationship that continues into college.  -Not quite sure if this counts as yuri, but Nagata Kabi's My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness is a manga I would recommend to any queer readers, period, whether they're into comics or not. It remains one of my favorite manga, and hits very close to home. Definitely comes with a list of content warnings, though.  -I would love to get an English license for Ohana Holoholo by Torino Shino. It's a yuri series about two women raising a child together, and one of them is bisexual, which you don't often see in yuri series. It's got a gorgeous art style as well, and I would love to be able to read it one day.

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