When the creator of Nekopara put out a statement that there was a socialist utopia just offscreen in the story about owning cat people, Chiaki started asking questions.
Anthony Sun Prickett digs into how Kazuki and Toi retreat into hyper-gendered performances to bury their trauma, and how they break free together.
Chiaki, Dee, and Vrai dig into Ikuhara’s latest, with all the usual suspects: messy teens, queer themes, and lots of symbolism about societal oppression.
Links, media, and fundraisers for those looking to lend a hand or to get some help themselves.
Beyond the Binary: A Queer Take on Gendered Japanese (Tofugu, Cameron Lombardo)
A multi-prong overview of gendered speech styles in Japanese.
The first sentence, ending in 〜よ, is marked as feminine (♀), and the second sentence, ending in 〜だよ is marked as neutral (🏳️). This gender difference comes down to one tiny word: だ. While it seems insignificant, だ packs a pretty strong punch, since one of its main functions is to emphasize that whatever you’re saying is true. When だ is omitted, this creates a feminine connotation, due to the stereotype in 女言葉 that women are less assertive and direct than men. Since the majority of my friends in Japan were women and gay men, I picked this feature up without even realizing it. While I continued to use it with my friends after discovering its connotation, I was able to code switch to more gender-neutral Japanese when I wanted to.
Let’s check out another sentence ender that is often tricky to get the hang of: 〜わ.
How Many Black Guests Are There at Anime Conventions? (Anime News Network, Evan Minto)
Crunching the numbers and talking to con organizers about their processes.
First, let’s talk about the current state of guest lineups at North American anime conventions. The numbers … well, they don’t look very good. Black guests make up a mere 2% of all guests at the largest anime cons in North America in 2019, according to data available on AnimeCons.com (see the footnote for the list of cons I included). For comparison, 12.7% of the US population is Black — over six times the percentage of Black guests at cons! Some of the difference can be chalked up to a focus on Japanese guests, but there are an awful lot of white guests in these lineups, too.
I also looked at a helpful section of AnimeCons.com that lists the guests with the most number of convention appearances of all time. Maybe 2019’s largest cons are leaving out part of the story? Nope. Just 1.7% of the most-invited guests are Black. That’s just two people — nerdcore rapper Mega Ran and voice actor Danielle McRae — out of 117 guests. Both of them are clustered near the end of the list, meaning that they have fewer appearances than the guests before them. I doubt this is surprising to anyone who has experienced racial discrimination firsthand, but it’s pretty depressing to see it laid out so clearly.
Melanin Friendly Games – ‘Chronotopia: Second Skin’ (Blerdy Otome)
A quick introduction to the in-development visual novel.
Before discovering this game I was unfamiliar with the Donkeyskin fairytale—Disney chose to go with Charles Perrault’s Cinderella instead—I imagine the incest plotline is a little hard to re-prupose for the kiddies. In the tale, the King mad with grief over his wife decides that the only woman worthy to take her place is his own daughter, so she flees the palace and takes refuge at a nearby farm. In order to hide her identity, she covers herself in an ugly donkeyskin a prince happens upon her and falls madly in love… and we all know where this goes…
Chronotopia follows the same thread as the fairytale, but with a twist, promising to be a mature story heavily influenced by anime like Haibane Renmei and Madoka Magica and games like Steins;Gate and Child of Light. But what most drew me to the game was the fact that Kionna and her attendant, Nahima are Black women. Aside from HBO’s Happily Ever After animated series, it’s not common to see people of color featured in fairytale re-tellings, let alone as the protagonist of the story. Kionna isn’t just ambiguously brown (like I see in most media)—she has beautiful brown skin and luscious curly hair—but she has a strong distinctive personality that isn’t overly tropey! Her attendant, Nahima and the Fairy Godmother are also Black women and I AM HERE FOR IT!!
A Japanese YouTuber Trashes BLM and I’m Debunking His Bullshit (Gimme a Queer Eye, Masaki C. Matsumoto)
A statement-by-statement breakdown of the idea “most Japanese people” don’t support the protests.
What he means by “many Japanese” is vague. Is it 50% of the population? 80% of the population? Or 20 people with whom he’s friends or acquaintances with? I myself am Japanese and I live in Japan. I have a social life and most of the people around me are Japanese. I don’t even talk politics with them that much. They’re old classmates and people in the neighborhood. And I haven’t heard a single person expressing their anger towards the Black Lives Matter protests. See, “pissed off” is a very strong phrase to use. I wouldn’t be surprised if people were “skeptical” or “having mixed feelings.” Actually, my guess is that most people here don’t care much about the protests or they don’t even know that there were protests in Japan. “Pissed off” Japanese people and BLM supporters are both in their own epistemic bubble if they believe that even 1% of Japanese people are aware of the protests.
So, no. Not many Japanese people are “pissed off.”
Voice Actress Yurina Hase Shares Her Experience With ‘Casting Couch’ at Sunrise (Anime News Network, Kim Morrissy)
The livestream was not archived but clips were saved by listeners.
In the stream, she also gave advice to “watch out for the male voice actors.” She said that the newcomer male actors tend to let the attention go to their heads, and immediately try to lay their hands on the female actors.
Hase, who formerly went by the name Yurika Ochiai, is best known for playing Konomi Yuzuhara from To Heart and Yukiho Hagiwara in the Idolmaster series. She received multiple death threats in 2009, causing her stress. She later resigned from her role in the The IDOLM@STER series as Yukiho, and was replaced by Azumi Asakura. In 2014, she took a break from new voice acting roles.
Survivor Stories of Harassment/Abuse/Assault within the gaming live-streaming industry. June 2020. (Medium, Survivors Streaming Industry)
An archive of statements from survivors. Also available on Tumblr.
VIDEO: Announcement of new LGBTQIA manga from Noir Caesar, written by AniFem guest contributor Jax Cottrell and illustrated by Maaza.
VIDEO: Panel discussion with Yana, organizer of the Peaceful March in Osaka.
THREAD: Discussion of the debate in Japanese fandom over the use of NL/Normal Love to describe Het shipping.
TWEET: Photos from the BLM Nagoya march.
As always, we encourage your voices and any news or resources we might’ve missed. Stay safe, AniFam.
TWEETS: Information on upcoming marches in Niigata and Tokai.