This underrated 90s series treated its antihero’s fluid gender presentation with remarkable nonchalance and welcomed a queer audience in the process, writes Patricia C Baxter.
While some of manga’s biggest hits are written by women, the world of anime directing remains male-dominated. Adam Wescott looks at a few of the systemic reasons behind this disparity.
Lizzie, Caitlin, and Peter touch on all the series that premiered on Netflix in 2020.
Intro abolitionist essays, calls for submission, and upcoming online gatherings.
The Only Ainu Restaurant in Tokyo (Atlas Obscura, Mara Budgen)
The restaurant’s owner preserves and shares her Ainu heritage through the small restaurant after her mother and grandmother were forcibly disallowed from practicing their cultural traditions.
Harukor is not alone in serving and sharing Ainu food. Kerapirka, in the Hokkaido capital of Sapporo, specializes in Ainu-Italian fusion. Poronno, a café near Lake Akan in eastern Hokkaido, has been serving Ainu cuisine for 40 years. A recent cookbook, The Spirit of Huci: Four Seasons of an Ainu Woman, shares the cuisine and culture, and the Ainu Women’s Association Menoko Mosmos and Slow Food have organized Indigenous food festivals.
This momentum around revitalizing Ainu cuisine is complemented by government support for traditional crafts and musical performances carried out in the recently opened Upopoy Museum, the first national museum dedicated to Ainu culture, as well as a growing number of Ainu language classes. Despite this visibility, though, the Ainu remain dispossessed of ancestral lands and face unequal access to economic opportunities and political participation.
“When I was in school, what we were taught about the Ainu was limited to a page in our textbook,” Usa says. “Nowadays, much more attention is being paid to our culture. However, it’s far from enough: Some people still ask whether the Ainu actually exist. What I want is for society to become aware of what the Japanese did to us.” While Ainu people still have little voice in mainstream discourse, there’s a small izakaya tucked away in central Tokyo where honest conversations are held over dishes whose flavors tell the story of a different, multicultural Japan.
Fxxx Me Royally!! – Translator’s Corner (MangaGamer Blog, VerdelishJP)
Info on the new adult otome game.
The protagonist, Princess Marika, hails from a magical world where slut-shaming (and basically every other societal problem) is a thing of the past. She has no qualms about hooking up with someone the same day she meets them—it’s all good as long as both (or, AHEM, all three) participants consent! Monogamy isn’t a high priority for our plucky protagonist, either; at the beginning of the game, she crash-lands on Earth directly on top of two cute college guys and immediately starts kissing them both (you know, just to say hi). I gotta say, it’s hard not to be envious of Marika and her homeworld; not only do they have birth control magic that automatically prevents pregnancy, but they even have a spell to clean up that pesky semen, am I right ladies…
Speaking of semen, one thing I appreciated about the sex scenes in FMR is that both Kaoru and Ryuusei are both virgins at the beginning of the game. Yes, finally there exists a game that has taken that classic eroge trope and gender-flipped it! At last, otome fans can experience the magic that is taking someone’s V-card! Plus, Kalmia8 delivers once again on the bisexual-friendly content—not only is everyone fully voiced (and fully… depicted) in the sex scenes, but the game includes a yuri route with its own sex scene as well! That said, although FMR is pretty damn Horny on Main, there isn’t actually an excessive amount of sex in the main story, so if you’re looking for the otome equivalent of a nukige, you might come away disappointed.
Lastly, a message to you, the reader: Jinnai, the CEO of Kalmia8, once tweeted that the English release of Fashioning Little Miss Lonesome helped keep her company afloat. So I’d like to personally thank everyone who purchased FLML, be it the Steam/download version, the hard copy, and/or the wall scroll.
Now more than ever, your support has a direct impact on the success or failure of otome games as a genre—and this is your chance to make a difference once again. Kalmia8’s games buck all the usual R-18 trends we’ve come to expect, and if you’d like to see more from them, I hope you’ll consider supporting Fxxx Me Royally!! As a community, we can show developers and publishers that we may be niche, but we’re worth the time and effort. Otome fandom is powerful, and they’re paying attention. ‘ v ‘ b
“Not Like Other Girls”: On internalized misogyny in games (Into the Spine, Monti Velez)
Meditating on the roots of the NLOG phenomenon.
Even though conversations like this are talked about on the feed often, how can we be better?
Look at your friend group, does it seem to be lacking a certain department? Why exactly can you really not “find” women to be friends with? Or are you the problem, because you don’t give that energy that you do with men? What can you do about your friends that is suspiciously asking questions – questions you know for sure they know the answers to? In an industry that tries so hard to throw out women, we need to be better with each other constantly, and bring each other up and open up new doors for us as much as we are calling out questionable behavior.
And don’t just ask your friends, ask yourself, really think about it, why you don’t like this specific streamer, or show host, or commentator? Do you not like them because you don’t like their personality type, or do you not like them just simply because they are a woman? Would you give a man with this personality type a pass?
Japanese Cosmetics Firm Slanders Koreans in Attack on Rival (Unseen Japan, Jay Allen)
Cosmetics firm DHC attempted to discredit rival Suntory by implying the latter has Korean employees unlike the “pure” DHC.
As I mentioned yesterday on Twitter, Yoshida Yoshiaki, the Chairman of DHC, tripped off the controversy with a letter posted on the company’s web site. The letter references an ad from Japanese powerhouse Suntory, which competes against DHC with its Wellness brand. Describing Suntory’s advertising, Chairman Yoshida said:
The talent Suntory uses in its commercials seems to be mostly Koreans for some reason. I guess that’s why they’re ridiculed on the Internet as C***tory. DHC is a pure Japanese company – and that starts with our talent.
(Note: I’ve censored a term that’s considered a racial slur against Koreans in Japanese. See this thread by Hyunsu Yim for a fuller discussion.)
IN-DEPTH: Unraveling the Ecology Behind My Favorite Anime and Manga (Crunchyroll, Manas B Sharma)
A glimpse of the rarely spotlighted ecological lens of analysis—not simply nature studies, but the relationship between humans and nature.
Hokkaido is Japan’s largest prefecture, and one of its least-populated, accounting for 22 percent of Japan’s land area but only 4.4 percent of the population. Hokkaido is an island, physically separated from mainland Japan to the south by the Tsugaru Strait. This physical separation is known as Blakiston’s Line (after English explorer Thomas Blakiston). Several plants and animals found north of Blakiston’s Line (in Hokkaido) won’t be found south of it (in mainland Japan), and vice versa. So you have black bears and flying squirrels on the mainland but brown bears and chipmunks in Hokkaido.
Into this unique environment stepped modern human civilization in the form of settlers from mainland Japan and beyond — mostly ranchers, gold prospectors, and prisoners. In short, the majority of the Golden Kamuy cast. Although the Ainu people had lived in Hokkaido for a long period of time, their impact on the environment was minimal, as they lived sustainably off the land. The settlers were a different bunch, altering the environment in many ways. One of those ways was through farming. The Meiji government sought to modernize agricultural techniques in the country and brought in advisers from the West to do so. One of them, in particular, would change the landscape of Hokkaido for good — a certain Ohio rancher named Edwin Dun, who you might recognize as Eddie Dun from Golden Kamuy.
Young woman tries to cope after life of sexual exploitation (The Asahi Shimbun, Maki Okubo)
An anonymous account of one individual’s experience with survival sex work during her teen years after escaping an abusive home. Includes graphic depictions of sexual abuse.
According to the National Police Agency, 260 or more abduction and human trafficking cases involving minors were annually confirmed both in 2018 and 2019, far exceeding the average number of 180 recorded in the past.
Some 17,000 boys and girls younger than 20 have been reported missing to police per year over the past three years, after they run away from home.
Yumeno Nito, 30, head of a group called Colabo, which seeks to create a society where troubled children can live free from exploitation and violence, said she has received many complaints from girls who cannot or feel reluctant to live with their families.
According to Nito, such girls attempt to seek help, though sometimes inexplicitly, at homes, schools or child consultation centers. But they feel adults do not take their complaints seriously, resulting in despair and distrust of them.
“The children have given up on themselves because adults have expressed disappointment at them on many occasions,” said Nito. “Complaints come mainly from those aged 15 through 18, and nearly all of them seek places to stay through social media and have been sexually victimized at the men’s homes.”
YEAR IN REVIEW: Top Manga of 2020 (But Why Tho?, Kate Sánchez)
A mixed list of recommendations including both shounen and shoujo.
While comics may have taken a hit with no publishing happening in 2020, manga has kept moving strong. With titles across shonen and shojo, 2020 brought some great stories to the US with the publication of their English translations. To make the Top Manga in 2020 list the requirements were to be a title that had one or more volume published in the English translation in the United States. While some of these titles have hundreds of chapters published on the Shonen Jump App, we’re focusing on the collected volumes since they’re the most easily available for general audiences.
The list of Top Manga of 2020 was pulled together by taking individually ranked lists from our community of manga reviewers. From body horror shonen with demons and curses to romances and European fantasies, check out which manga series made our list of Top Manga of 2020.
Former councilwoman says ouster shows gender bias in politics (The Asahi Shimbun)
Arai Shoko was voted out in a referendum after accusing the mayor of sexually assaulting her.
Kuroiwa and assemblymen supporting him then collected signatures to hold a town referendum, arguing that Arai falsely accused the mayor of sexual assault, disgracing the assembly and hurting the town’s reputation. Arai lost her seat in the referendum by a vote of 2,542 to 208.
The case is seen as an example of how women who raise their voices over alleged sexual assaults are often treated in Japan. It is extremely rare for victims of assault to go public.
Arai on Friday said she stands by her allegation and will keep fighting for women and other minorities so they can speak out without feeling intimidated.
“The mayor abused his power to remove a person inconvenient to him, to kick me out of Kusatsu, and he is even trying to destroy my life,” Arai said at a news conference.
“Kusatsu is a small town, and they can easily figure out who signed the petition or voted (in the referendum). It’s like everyone is being watched,” she said.
TWEET: Announcement about the now-available documentary Queer Japan.
THREAD: Update on accusations made against voice actor Quinton Flynn regarding sabotage of a survivor Google Doc.
Whatever winter holidays you’re celebrating (or have already celebrated) this year, please remember to stay safe.