Weekly Round-Up, 16-22 March 2022: AceAro TV Series, Gendered Labor Statistics, and Revisiting K-On!!

By: Anime Feminist March 22, 20220 Comments
Pecorinne holding a large glowing sword and surrounded by sparkles

AniFem Round-Up

In the Name of Art: Academic burnout in Blue Period

Olivia “Livi” Burke discusses the normalization of burnout among students and creatives and how Blue Period examines these unhealthy depictions.

Unsung Heroes: The women of The Heike Story

Claire explains how Yamada Naoko’s most recent series took a famous historical war story and shifted the spotlight onto the often-overlooked stories of the women involved.

Chatty AF 158: Dear Brother Watchalong – Episodes 8-15

Vrai, Mercedez, Chiaki, and special guest Diana return to the landmark shoujo to shout their love for Mariko and talk about how the writing was shaped as a queer work from the 70s.

What’s your favorite light novel with a female protagonist?

Let’s break through the flood of dude-centric wish fulfillment series.

Beyond AniFem

NHK TV drama sheds light on lives of asexual, aromantic people (The Asahi Shimbun, Hiroki Ito, Midori Iki and Honomi Honma)

Koisenu Futari began airing on NHK this January.

In a survey conducted in 2019 covering 15,000 people living in Osaka, 0.8 percent identified as asexual.

But compared with LGBT sexual minorities, those who are aromantic or asexual remain lesser known to the public. And many suffer silently due to a lack of understanding of their sexual orientations.

Ken Nakamura, 25, who identifies as asexual, gives lectures and works to raise awareness on the topic. He noted that people who identify as aromantic or asexual keep a low profile, and because of that, they are often misunderstood.

“Some are hurt by remarks meant as goodwill gestures, like, ‘You just haven’t met the right person,'” Nakamura said.

According to an online survey conducted by Dentsu Diversity Lab in 2020, 80.1 percent of respondents said they were familiar with the term LGBT. But only 5.7 percent said they had heard of aromanticism and asexuality and knew what they meant.

Classic Guilty Gear Character Comes Out As Non-Binary In Latest Game (Kotaku, Ian Walker)

The character will also be voiced by trans actor Kayleigh McKee in English.

Guilty Gear Strive’s next roster expansion will see fan-favorite Testament return to the fold with an updated design, moveset, and gender.

Testament is now considered agender—a non-binary identity classified by its total disassociation with all known genders—by Arc System Works, after previously being referred to with he/him pronouns. This change is reflected in the official Guilty Gear Strive website’s use of they/them pronouns and was specifically pointed out by the devs during a recent presentation at the Arc Revo America fighting game tournament finals.

“Agender is the best word,” explained Arc System Works marketing rep Riku Ozawa, according to a third-party translation. “Neither male nor female. Testament is Testament.”

Where does Japan stand in terms of ‘gender’ compared to the rest of the world? (The Mainichi, Asako Kamihigashi)

Unpacks multiple surveys about gendered pressures in Japan affecting men and women.

“Why are Japanese women being excluded from ‘public’ positions? The low level of engagement by men in the ‘personal’ sphere, especially in the household is inextricably linked to this,” Honda said of the OECD data. Activity in the personal sphere is an international comparison of “unpaid labor” per day, such as household chores, child-rearing, nursing care and other kinds of labor that do not lead to income.

In any country, the amount of time women spend on unpaid labor is longer than that of men. But the gap is particularly noticeable in Japan, where men carry out 41 minutes of unpaid labor per day. Of the 30 countries for which there is such data, this puts Japan in last place, and the amount of unpaid labor carried out by men in Japan is only about one-fourth of that of countries that come out at top, such as Denmark and Australia.

There also is data showing that the number of hours that men in Japan do paid work is extremely long among advanced countries. That means that in Japan, the tradition of separating roles by gender — with men (fathers) working, and women (mothers) doing housework and child-rearing — is still deeply rooted.

“Unpaid labor does not include just housework and child-rearing, but also caring for older adults and people with disabilities,” Honda said. “These things should be taken care of by public systems in a welfare state,” she added, “but the Japanese-style welfare state has burdened the family, especially women, with such responsibilities, and praised it as a great tradition.”

ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Josee, the Tiger and the Fish’ (But Why Tho?, Marina Z)

Review of the short story collection that inspired the film.

I was drawn to Josee, the Tiger and the Fish because of the titular story of Kumi, who goes by Josee, a disabled young woman who falls in love with her caretaker. As a disabled person myself, I’m always excited at the potential for good disability rep in fiction. And Josee is sort of that. Josee isn’t made to be an inspiration for living her life and overcoming obstacles while disabled. And she isn’t positive and upbeat all the time. She’s moody and complicated and frequently upset when people try and assume how and when she needs help. She behaves like everyone else, and she’s allowed to. 

Unfortunately, her characterization is undone slightly by her caretaker and love interest, Tsuneo, who calls her “doll-like. This description isn’t a one-off;  he describes her in this way “doll-like” multiple times throughout the short story. All it takes is this one phrase to make me feel uncomfortable like Josee is more of an object to Tsuneo than a real person. But maybe this is Tanabe’s intention, showing that Tsuneo is more in love with Josee as a concept than as a person. That’s certainly a trend with the other love interests in the novel. Ultimately, I believe the interpretation is up to the reader. 

Rune Factory 5 Review – A near perfect game with a big miss (Gayming Magazine, Monti Velez)

The game now includes same-gender romance options but stumbles with its dark-skinned characters.

Rune Factory 5 was everything I wanted from a farming RPG, but while trying to be progressive with its same-sex romances, it continues to take a step back with its Brown and Black characters. The default set of nine romances open to players, while unique and loveable, is painfully pale. Fuuka, the one romance option with a browner shade of skin, is energetic, curious about life, and is always looking to learn English (or Japanese if you are playing that version.) However, Fuuka, became a perfect example of how games have a horrible reputation in introducing the darker characters in their plots as aggressive, or excessively comedic. Upon meeting her in Lackadaisy, a restaurant in a ship-shaped building, she comes right up to you with a power of fiery energy, trying to get you to understand her native language. As someone who is ESL (English as a Second Language), I’m a fan of people with different tongues interacting, as it can be quite wholesome. However, this interaction between Fuuka and my character, and her inability to speak the town’s language, came off as something to be chuckled at. Being someone who still suffers between constantly losing my first language to gain more of my second (and vice versa), and being made to feel dumb from not being able to know the correct words, this was a little disappointing to see.

Tokyo schools drop controversial dress code on hair and underwear color (CNN, Jessie Yeung and Junko Ogura)

In 2017, a student successfully sued for damages because she’d been forced to repeatedly dye her naturally brown hair black.

A total of five rules will be dropped bynearly 200 public schools across the Japanese capital, including regulations on hair and underwear color, and a ban on “two block” hairstyles, which are long on top and short at the back and sides — a style currently in fashion in many countries.

Other rules being cut include the practice of punishing students with a form of house arrest, and ambiguous language in the guidelines on what is considered “typical of high school students.”

The policy changes go into effect at the start of the new academic year on April 1. The move came after Tokyo’s board of education conducted a survey last year that asked schools, students and parents about theirviews on the policies.

Watching K-On!! for the First Time in 2022 (and Crying My Eyes Out) (The Afictionado, Alex Henderson)

Evaluating the series and its appeal as a mostly-fresh viewer.

I expected to give K-On! some props for being a really good hobby show—and it is that!—but I didn’t expect to also be praising it so highly for its strength as a coming-of-age story. It recognises the emotional weight of moments like this, of the sense of doom that impending change like graduation can bring, while not configuring itself as a drama. It’s a lighthearted slice-of-life comedy first and foremost, and it’s the acknowledgment of these emotionally fraught adolescent moments that make its celebration of the happy ones stand out all the more.

The overall effect is incredibly sweet. This show lets its girls be goofy and cute and zany while also hammering home that they are people, young adults with complicated emotions who know they can’t exist in the cosy cocoon of the school club setting forever. It interrupts the escapism, but it adds a layer of realism and earnestness that I feel is crucial for the show’s impact.

Why do people love K-On! and K-On!! so much? I think I get it. It’s fun and sweet, a fluffy comedy you can get sucked into, forgetting your own troubles while you watch these friends navigate a music festival, or try to wrangle an air conditioner out of the student council, or hang around eating cake avoiding their responsibilities. It’s a nostalgic, or maybe even vicarious experience, watching these teenagers have a nice time at high school, in a tight-knit group of friends who accept each other despite their differences and flaws. It’s a finely-crafted chilled-out slice-of-life experience. I can see why it was so genre-defining.

VIDEO: Discussion of the vitriolic response to reports of poor working conditions at FromSoftware from several years ago.

TWEET: Current sale going on for a membership-based 18+ webcomic site.

THREAD: Editorial comments regarding claims of sexual harassment against an industry voice actor and their subsequent withdrawal.

AniFem Community

Here are some titles for those looking to dip their toes into the world of light novels!

You know what, I'm gonna go for it, I'm recommending:  Sexiled (with the obligatory ridiculously long extended title of My Sexist Party Leader Kicked Me Out, So I Teamed Up With A Mythical Sorceress!  Two volumes, author has their tongue planted firmly in cheek the entire time, and it pulls absolutely no punches calling out the casual (and not-so-casual) misogyny in most fantasy-set action adventure media, oh and it is a hoot-and-holler of a journey as sort of a bonus. You will laugh, you will cheer, you may even find yourself doing a celebratory fist-pump on occasion.  (Also, seconding the thumbs-up for Duke's Daughter, Next Life as a Villainess, and let's throw in The Saint's Magic Power Is Omnipotent as sort of a lite-and-fluffy mash-up of Duke's Daughter and Snow White with the Red Hair.)
Otherside Picnic's been fairly pleasant on all fronts. Sorawo's a bit of a goof with her awkwardly being into Toriko, but Sorawo and Toriko are pretty much treated as normal people with pretty decent internal lives, concerns and flaws and the art and narrative avoids Male Gaze for the most part?

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