Weekly Round-Up, 16-22 February 2022: New Tokyo Mew Mew, Tanukana Firing, and Tokyo Same-Sex Partnership Rights

By: Anime Feminist February 22, 20220 Comments
Chibi Vanitas gritting his teeth in anger

AniFem Round-Up

Choosing to “Remain Strong” Against Female Criticism: The vindictive storytelling of Oda Eiichiro

Lillian King unpacks the downward slide of One Piece’s writing of its female characters, and Oda’s tendency to dig his heels in when faced with criticism.

The Orbital Children’s Rejection of Ecofascist Ideas

Alex on how Mitsuo Iso’s new sci-fi series and its disabled protagonists push back against talking points about “controlling the population” as a way to preserve the environment.

Chatty AF 157: 2022 Winter Mid-Season Check-in

Dee, Mercedez, and Peter check in on the high highs and low lows of the Winter season!

What older shoujo manga would you like to see licensed or rescued?

Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou was just licensed, so all things are possible.

Beyond AniFem

たぬかなの黒人差別発言はマジ?ガセ?ソースを発見で真相を解明!(PECOログ, 公開日)

English-language outlets reported earlier this week that pro gamer Tanukana was fired for claiming short men don’t have human rights. While it’s true that this comment was what led to a sponsorship being pulled and Tanukana subsequently losing her job, since then online users have brought forth discussion of multiple occasions of more serious hate speech and suicide baiting Tanukana has engaged in previously. This Japanese language article includes the most thorough record of these claims currently available in light of tweets and streams being deleted after Tanukana’s firing.

The Anime Industry Bottleneck: The Unrewarding Nightmare To Assemble A High-Profile Team (Sakuga Blog, kViN)

A look at how the high number of projects and adverse working conditions contribute to qualified staff being stretched too thin.

Though this should be enough to help you understand how hard it is to assemble a team right now if your goals are at all ambitious, there’s a missing element still. We always like to explore how these creative and managerial issues intersect with labor ones, which begs the question: if gathering personnel has become so tricky, why don’t these projects with fancy aspirations simply offer more money to animators? Surely that would give them the edge over other offers, right? I wouldn’t blame anyone for cynically assuming that this wouldn’t happen, especially in an industry as dire as anime, but the truth is that higher rates are being offered more regularly… and that approach is failing pretty spectacularly in multiple instances.

To understand why these attempts are falling flat on their face, it’s important to grasp exactly how poorly animators are paid; both the sums, that tend to fall between 2~5k JPY per cut for the rough layouts as well as for the finished key animation, and the fact that these mainly freelance artists are only paid according to how much work they’re able to turn in. Mind you, that pay-per-cut system doesn’t account in any way—unless previously arranged—that not all shots are created equal, so any animator expending extra time crafting a complex scene with many layers and nuanced movement is effectively wasting an effort that will not be rewarded. While some mechanisms to address that are becoming ever so slightly more common, such as binding fees that reward animators for their long time commitment to a project on top of those measly rates, maintaining the same fundamentally flawed system means that those aforementioned demanding projects pitching 2-3 times those usual rates in an act of desperation aren’t actually attractive destinations.

Tokyo’s same-sex partnership system to cover commuters from outside (The Mainichi)

The program’s legal protections, starting in March, will cover people who live nearby and commute to work in Tokyo.

The metropolitan government is considering allowing same-sex couples to apply for municipal housing and allow them to give consent at a medical institution for surgery to be performed on their partner, for example, according to the officials.

If a couple has a child, they can have the child’s name registered on the certificate that will be issued to the couple, the officials said.

“We expect (the planned introduction of the system) to deepen people’s understanding on the diversity of sexuality,” one of the officials said.

The Tokyo government will run the same-sex partnership system in coordination with municipalities in the capital that have already adopted similar initiatives.

Tokyo Mew Mew New Anime’s 1st Full Video Unveils More Cast, July Debut (Anime News Network, Egan Loo)

The article includes both the latest trailer for the 90s magical girl reboot as well as cast photos.

The live-streamed “Tokyo Mew Mew New Anime Information Big♡Big♡Announcement Event!!!” for Tokyo Mew Mew New, the all-new anime of Reiko Yoshida and Mia Ikumi‘s Tokyo Mew Mew manga, debuted the anime’s first full promotional video on Tuesday. The video features the song “Cat!! Shite Super Girls” by the cast unit Smewthie. The event and the video also announced more cast members and the July premiere for the anime.

Japan’s prolonged ‘isolationist’ border policy forces would-be foreign students to give up (The Mainichi, Mie Omokawa)

Profile of a Japanese Brazilian student and his partner who waited two years in hopes of being able to study in Japan and were ultimately forced to give up that dream.

In response to the government’s large-scale relaxation of entry restrictions on Nov. 8, 2021, the school began preparing to accept students. But three weeks later, the government backtracked and essentially stopped the new entry of foreign nationals yet again.

According to the Immigration Services Agency of Japan, the number of foreign nationals who have been issued resident eligibility authorization but have been unable to enter Japan was around 400,000 as of Jan. 4, 2022, of which some 150,000 were students.

The Japanese government will raise the number of foreign nationals entering the country per day starting in March, but total arrivals will be capped at 5,000, a mere 1,500 more than the current limit — which gives Akira and Jessica no way to know when they would be able to make it into the country. Akira lamented that the decision hadn’t been made earlier, adding that even with 5,000 people per day allowed in, it might be the middle of 2022 before the couple could get to Japan.

Firm banned from foreign trainees after violence alleged (The Asahi Shimbun, Kazuya Ito)

Six Create in Okayama City will no longer be allowed to employ technical interns.

According to the Fukuyama Union Tanpopo, a labor union based in Hiroshima Prefecture, the trainee came to Japan in fall 2019 and was physically assaulted by his colleagues at the company for approximately two years.

The abuse included being repeatedly struck with a broom or a rod-shaped object, the union said. The company had also told him to pretend that he had fallen down the stairs after he was kicked so violently that the blow fractured three of his ribs.

The attacks did not stop even after he contacted the local industrial technique cooperative association, which has oversight on companies that accept technical interns.

Eventually, a Vietnamese acquaintance told him to consult with the union, which provided the man with safe shelter in October 2021.

“Night in the American Village” Gives the Women of Okinawa a Voice (Unseen Japan, Alyssa Pearl Fusek)

Review of a recent book spotlighting women who live near the US Air Base in Okinawa.

Each chapter is centered on a broader theme, and true to the above, Johnson does away with caricatures. The women featured come from a variety of racial and socioeconomic backgrounds. In Chapter 6, women’s rights advocate Suzuyo helps detail the prevalence of sexual violence instigated by military personnel, and how rape stories are used as fodder to bolster anti-base rhetoric, while the survivors themselves are largely forgotten. Through the hafu Miyo in chapter 8, we uncover the complexities of racial ambiguity and how the education system views — and uses — mixed Okinawan children. Then there’s the flamboyant, outgoing activist Chie in chapter 10, who kayaks out to Oura Bay to protest the construction of Henoko Base. Thanks to Johnson’s riveting writing, these women leap off the page, becoming more than ink and paper, but real people with voices and opinions worth amplifying.

The violent truth about immigration detention centers in Japan: Part 2 of 2 (The Mainichi, Asako Kamihigashi)

The second part of an article series about lawsuits related to abuse of detainees in immigration detention centers.

Kussunoki told the Mainichi Shimbun that he barricaded himself in the bathroom as he had heard of incidents where there were detainees who were injured by immigration officials and of those who died as they were being transferred to another facility, and that he wanted to avoid that happening to him. He stated that he “intended to obey orders had the officers provided a proper explanation on the reason and rules of the transfer.”

Kosuke Oie, the attorney representing Kussunoki, commented, “If the officers had offered an explanation from the beginning, he wouldn’t have resisted, and thereby would not have been subjected to violence in the form of repression.” The immigration bureau side did not clearly state the reason for the transfer, even during the hearing.

Such cases of “repression” at immigration detention centers have more than tripled nationwide in four years, from 463 in 2015 to 1,431 in 2019. Cases where detainees are isolated in solitary rooms have also increased from 174 in 2015 to 569 in 2019.

There have also been a series of lawsuits brought against the Japanese government, where plaintiffs claim that they had been subjected to assault from employees at detention facilities. There was a total of 127 civil suits filed against immigration authorities between 2000 and 2019. Furthermore, there were at least 20 cases of civil proceedings regarding violence at detention centers in the past 20 years, when counting only cases which had been disclosed by the press and other sources.

The Statue of Peace in Berlin: How the Nationalist Reading of Japan’s Wartime “Comfort Women” Backfired (The Asia-Pacific Journal, Dorothea Mladenova)

Discussion of the statue specifically in terms of how its importance is shaped by the way that onlookers interact with it, giving it cultural weight beyond the scope of the horrors it acknowledges.

At the Statue of Peace, two views of the “comfort women” and their activism collide. On the one side, there is the nationalist frame, represented in Berlin by the Japanese embassy and the Japanese right wing, who harshly oppose erection of the statue.9 In the words of Elizabeth W. Son, this view “ghettoizes” the “comfort women” issue “as simply a nationalistic issue between Korea and Japan.”10 Part of this view is the conviction that governments can settle this problem diplomatically through bilateral agreements on the state-level. 

On the other side is the transnational feminist understanding of the memory activists, who are part of a transnational civil society and do not represent a particular government. They position the “comfort women” as a universal example of human rights violations. As Hasunuma and McCarthy point out, “Civil society actors influence historical memory, identity, and meaning around the comfort women issue while simultaneously being shaped and influenced by these greater movements to advance women’s and human rights.”11 They display a “cosmopolitanism” that “seeks to understand others’ perspectives” and connects with allies from very diverse backgrounds in multiple countries. 

Just as on the other battlegrounds of the so-called “History Wars,” the dispute in Berlin oscillates between the nationalist and the transnational/cosmopolitanist understanding. The nationalist narrative tends to hold more power and seems to be easier to grasp for a general audience. In Berlin, several representatives of local authorities succumbed to the nationalist framing, even though they had previously accepted the universalist framing. In the midst of the “History Wars,” therefore, a conflict also erupts between these two paradigms. 

THREAD: A list of quality shoujo/josei manga that haven’t yet been licensed in English.

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