Weekly Round-Up, 16-22 November 2022: Romantic Killer, Shoujo Isekai, and Mental Health in BOCCHI THE ROCK

By: Anime Feminist November 22, 20220 Comments
Bocchi in star glasses and a moustache, holding a party popper

AniFem Round-Up

The trans resonance of Haibane Renmei

For its 20th anniversary, Iris Von Gonten shares why the Serial Experiment Lain creator’s third work has extremely trans undercurrents.

Digging Under the “Strong Female Character” Surface: The exploitation of women in Claymore

Just writing a story about women who fight isn’t automatically empowering, as Claymore’s focus on suffering, torture, and gender essentialism proves.

Trans Advocacy Resources

The latest mass violence against the trans community has only reinforced the importance of supporting groups that will advocate for a community actively being targeted by hateful rhetoric and legal erasure.

Beyond AniFem

Is “Bocchi the Rock!” Mean to Bocchi? (Mage in a Barrel, iblessall)

Looking at the series’ portrayal of mental health.

Now, one way to assess this in a highly serious manner is to consider Bocchi as if she were a real person and not a cartoon character. I’m not a mental health professional, but I have done extensive research on the topic, co-authored a book with a clinical psychologist on mental health, and had hands-on experience with people going through various mental health crises. From that perspective, Bocchi to me doesn’t appear to be a person whose mental health issues are life-destroying (disclaimer: this is not a clinical diagnosis). Although her social anxiety has a clear impact on her life, she’s still able to eat, go to school, pursue hobbies she enjoys, and has a positive support structure in the form of her family (and, increasingly, her new friends).

In addition, Bocchi has both a clear desire to change her situation and overcome her social anxiety as well as the capacity to do so (even if its difficult for her). This isn’t to downplay her struggles, but simply to point out that Bocchi’s mental health issues aren’t all encompassing. They may define her life to a great degree, but they don’t entirely dominate it. Would Bocchi benefit from a counselor? Definitely. Is Bocchi incapable of overcoming her issues without professional help? I don’t think so.

And that, to me, is one of the keys that allows Bocchi the Rock! to function without coming across as mean-spirited toward our track-suited rocker girl. If Hitori Gotoh was genuinely unable to make changes to her life through her own efforts, then forcing her to confront her fears would completely unkind. Asking her to do things she simply cannot do and then holding up her failures as laughable would be mean. But Bocchi-chan is capable, if not exactly efficient, and the show is very clearly out to provide her with ample opportunity to succeed—even if achieving that success is hard.

Is Romantic Killer Worth Watching? (Anime News Network, Monique Thomas and Christopher Farris)

Retrospective of the full Netflix series.

Chris: Oh yeah, I should get out in front that, for as iffy as I can see some reading that initial premise as being, I feel like the narrative is exuberantly sympathetic to Anzu here. Yeah, it’s shitty of Riri to try to force someone who can very easily be read as being on the aro/ace spectrum into these kinds of relationships, but the writing regularly frames them as annoyingly shitty about it, and has Anzu aggressively fight back in any way she can.
And therein lies the core appeal of the show: watching someone with no interest in engaging with romance tropes in real life wrestle with them as outlandishly as possible. A killer in the world of romance, or something to that effect.

Nicky: I personally see Anzu as a lot like myself when I was her age, basically a late bloomer, rather than having no drive at all. After all, a lot of romance and even strong friendships are based in social faux pas that can be challenging to someone as socially-isolated as Anzu. However, you’re right that we’re totally on Anzu’s side here. Anzu is a unique heroine for how un-heroine like she is. She’s totally awkward, loud, and lame, but she never holds back how she feels. As a character, she’s super entertaining and feels extremely authentic. AND HER FACE GAME IS AMAZING!!

Shoujo, Josei, and ‘Chihayafuru’ (ft. Colleen’s Manga Recs) (Baka Banter Podcast)

Podcast intro to shoujosei with title recommendations.

Ionatan and Ravi are joined by Colleen’s Manga Recs to discuss shoujo and josei anime and manga. They discuss the rapid rise of Colleen’s YouTube channel, lessons that audience members can learn from shoujo, and misogyny in the anime and manga community. Then, they dive into why ‘Chihayafuru’ is such a special series and what other shoujo and josei people should watch and read.

Todai pledges to raise ratio of female lecturers to 25% by 2027 (The Asahi Shimbun, Hajime Ueno)

The university will hire 300 women by 2027 as professors and assistant professors.

The university also plans to hire more female assistant professors and lecturers to ensure that women make up about 25 percent of the entire teaching staff.

It will  offer gender training sessions directed at all of its teaching staff and establish new courses on gender studies for students.

“We will also conduct training sessions to deal with unconscious bias so the entire institution can undergo a major change in awareness,” said Todai Executive Vice President Kaori Hayashi.

“The ratio of female researchers in Japan is extremely low,” she noted. “Research shows that promoting diversity among researchers leads to further improvements in research quality.”

Mie assembly members face ban on ‘liking’ offensive posts (The Asahi Shimbun, Tomohiro Yamamoto)

The ordinance covers posting content as well as a public figure’s likes if the content contains hate speech or bigotry.

The proposal does not contain any penalties, but any member found to have violated the ordinance will be asked to apologize to the assembly or to refrain from attending assembly sessions.

The catalyst for the proposal came in 2021 when social media posts by Takatora Kobayashi, 48, a Mie prefectural assemblyman of the Liberal Democratic Party, came under the spotlight.

In one post, he included the address of a same-sex couple on his blog without authorization.

Immediately after he apologized for that post in the prefectural assembly, Kobayashi was found to have “liked” tweets that defamed the couple he had doxxed.

More recently, Kobayashi claimed on social media that a large percentage of online views opposed to the state funeral held for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in September came from a “neighboring continent.”

He later admitted the tweet was inaccurate.

Japan to crack down on social media ‘grooming’ of children for indecent acts (The Mainichi, Ai Murata)

The proposed punishment would include a 500,000 yen fine and up to a year in prison. Please note this article includes graphic discussion of predation techniques.

According to the National Police Agency, the number of boys and girls under the age of 18 who are victims of crimes stemming from social media is on the rise. In 2012, there were 1,076 cases, while in 2019 there were 2,082, the highest number ever recorded. In 2021, the number remained high at 1,812. Ninety-five percent of these cases involved incidents through smartphones.

According to Saito, the perpetrators target children who are struggling with changes in their lives, such as going on to higher education, or with friendships, as well as children who become close to them through hobbies such as games. The offenders gain the trust of the children while satisfying their self-esteem of wanting to be recognized and praised.

Bayonetta Creator Shares His Two Cents On Fan Outrage Over Bayonetta 3’s Ending (Kotaku, Isaiah Colbert)

The bulk of the article is spoilers in order to more properly discuss context.

In a Twitter thread responding to a fan’s inquiry about the future of the Bayonetta franchise via the question-asking service Peing, Kamiya said, “unexpected developments are waiting…please look forward to it.” Bayonetta 3’s finale greeted players with a Marvel movie-esque stinger text saying the series will be “continued in a new generation.” In the thread, Kamiya revealed that this continuation will address a poorly conveyed aspect of Bayonetta 3’s ending.

“I didn’t think it was unexpected at all, but it seems that the ending of Bayo 3 wasn’t conveyed correctly to everyone, so I think Bayo 4 will be an unexpected development for everyone,” Kamiya wrote in a machine-translated tweet. “After all, when Bayo 4 comes out, I’m sure there will be people who say, “You added that as an afterthought,” so I’ll say it now.”

VIDEO: The importance of examining abuse of power, including systemic abuse, in Chainsaw Man’s adaptation.

VIDEO: A history of shoujo isekai.

THREAD: Under the fun glitch memes, the state of the latest Pokemon game is underpinned by crunch.

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