Weekly Round-Up, 18-24 November 2020: Rose of Versailles Plagiarism, Villainess Light Novels, and Orientalism in Cyberpunk

By: Anime Feminist November 24, 20200 Comments
Wobbuffett looking shocked at the wonky copy of him Ditto turned into

AniFem Round-Up

Beyond the Bear Storm: Morishima Akiko, yuri mangaka

Ariel ‘Solowi’ Nakandakare explores the career of one of yuri’s most beloved queer creators.

The “Heart” of This Queer Body: An intimate look at The Heart of Thomas

Jervon Perkins looks back at one of the first BL manga and how its raw depiction of surviving assault spoke to him.

Onyx Equinox – Episode 1

Lizzie discusses the CR Original in light of the culture it draws from, and where it falls short.

Chatty AF 129: Paradise Kiss Retrospective

Vrai, Dee, and Caitlin look back at one of the most beloved josei series of all time.

Shopping for Holiday Gifts: Indie Storefronts

Anime-adjacent gifts from marginalized creators for your holiday season.

Beyond AniFem

Fear of a Yellow Planet: Why We Need to Actually Understand Cyberpunk (Fanbyte, Alexis Ong)

Unpacking the orientalist roots of the popular genre and their continuing effects on modern entries.

On the other hand, Japanese cyberpunk mostly concerns the intimate, often brutal dynamics between humans and technology (see: Shinya Tsukamoto’s Tetsuo the Iron Man, Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira, and Sogo Ishii’s proto-cyberpunk film Burst City). As Japan’s postwar economy defined a huge part of 70s and 80s world history, so did its culture. Real consumer tech like the Sony Walkman changed the world. In fiction, the country’s gaze turned inwards, taking a granular look at the dehumanization of flesh and form. Akira has particularly evocative images of bodily cybernetic invasion, while Tetsuo plays with the low-tech metal fetishism that becomes surreal, symbolic body horror.

Cyberpunk is also closely tied to the tradition of Techno-Orientalism: a term coined in 1995 by David Morley and Kevin Robins to describe the effects of  “Japan Panic” in the west.

“In the most common usage, it’s taken up as this very non-historically specific aesthetic of orientalism, but with a hi-tech or science fictiony flavor,” explains Dr. Christopher Fan, a professor at UC Irvine who specializes in Asian/American culture and science fiction. He considers Techno-Orientalism a period aesthetic in the same vein as 1940s film noir or medieval history. Similar to those genres, it’s inseparable from a fixed time and space when Japan seemed like a real threat to America’s future, simply by succeeding under the rules the U.S. itself laid down for the postwar nation.

Kageki Shoujo!! The Curtain Rises (Anime News Network, Caitlin Moore)

Review of the standalone volume, whose sequel has not yet been licensed.

It would be easy to lean into bullying and melodrama to drive the story, but artist Kumiko Saiki avoids this with the grace of a dancer. Yes, the two have trouble adjusting and their classmates are slow to warm up to them, but few of the girls are cruel for cruelty’s sake; it’s more that most of them aren’t quite sure what to do with those two at first, and the drama lies in the friction of multiple big personalities clashing. As a result, it feels much more warm and human than it would have otherwise as the class starts to mesh, even if a few bullies remain.

Not to give the impression that this is a chill slice-of-life comedy; it is still first and foremost a drama. Ai is troubled, and theater is a harsh mistress. It’s more that the way that drama happens here feels more naturalistic and real than in other similar series. The struggles the characters face are struggles that millions of people in the real world face, some of which are exacerbated by the kind of environment an arts school fosters.

As such, this volume carries hefty content warnings for eating disorders and childhood sexual assault. The subjects are overall handled tastefully and sympathetically, but they are still inherently upsetting to see portrayed and outright triggering for many people, so it is best that readers go in ready for them. The eating disorder resolves itself a bit too quickly and easily, but that may be related to Jump X‘s impending cancellation and the need to wrap up the series without leaving one of the heaviest plot threads hanging.

Love Games During the Pandemic (I Need Diverse Games, Courtney Cole)

A disabled couple uses gaming time as bonding time and use co-op to cover for one another’s limitations.

Gaming hasn’t just recently become part of our relationship though. It was a fun way for us to connect as a long distance couple for the past two years before we moved in together. Since we both happen to be disabled, our gaming experience might be a little bit different than average: I’m legally blind and he has cerebral palsy. His disability causes dexterity limitations, and his mental and visual processing work differently which sometimes have an impact on his gameplay. In basic terms, my disability means that I see through a very small area. 

My legal blindness also means that I’m a bit more selective about the games I play. My eyes have a hard time with things that are extremely dark or have poor contrast so games like those in the Call of Duty franchise don’t work. Games where things are heavily based on speed and timing don’t work well for me either – for example, Super Smash Bros.  Despite Smash being difficult for me to play, Nintendo games often work well for me because of the high contrast and bright colors. This helps me keep track of my character, enemies, and items on the screen. 

I also love the fact that Nintendo controllers often have motion control capability and vibration feedback. A good example of the vibration feedback being helpful is Mario Kart Racing. It lets me know a lot of different things, like when another player crashes into me or I bump into something.

Light Novel Recommendations: Villainesses You Might Have Missed (Yatta-tachi, Ivy Tolentino)

Villainess light novels currently available in English beyond Katarina.

Golden hair drills, elaborately designed fan, and an oh-ho-ho-ho laugh. Do they ring a bell?

Well, of course, they do, especially if you can’t help but love those unapologetic, quick-witted, or even dense female villains like I do!

Light novels about reincarnating as a villainous noble girl, going back in time after death, or simply being that awesome villainous woman continue to grow in popularity. Adding the anime adaptation of HameFura, otherwise known as My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!, fans are craving for more. The light novels listed below then are the licensed ones which you might have failed to notice but would want to—I mean, absolutely must try.

Without further ado, let’s meet these villainesses who are giving their utmost efforts in their fight against fate.

act-age Manga Writer Tatsuya Matsuki Admits to Indecent Act Charge in Court (Anime News Network, Rafael Antonio Pineda)

The writer is charged with assaulting two middle-school girls.

In a hearing before the Tokyo District Court on Tuesday, act-age manga writer Tatsuya Matsuki admitted to the charge of committing an indecent act with a female middle school student. The prosecution is seeking a prison sentence of one year and six months, but the defense is asking for a suspended sentence, arguing that the defendant had received punishment in society such as the cancellation of his manga series.

If the defense’s request is granted, the defendant will not serve a prison sentence, provided he remains in good behavior during the term of suspension. Sentencing is scheduled for December 23.

The defendant said in court that he harbored many worries and anxieties, but could not talk about them and became desperate. He added that he also has a complex towards women, and acted it out on a stranger. He further said that there is no way to apologize for what he did to the victim.

Students submit petition to raise age of consent from 13 to 16 (The Asahi Shimbun, Aya Shioiri and Azusa Mishima)

The petition collected roughly 40,000 signatures.

A 21-year-old senior at Kwansei Gakuin University in Hyogo Prefecture who is a member of the group said she had not realized the age of consent was set so low until she began studying the issue in university.

“I was very surprised,” she recalled. “There were many people who signed the petition who also said they first realized what the consent age was through this effort.

“It is important to raise the age of consent in order to protect minors who are still immature physically and psychologically from sex crimes in light of the fact sexual intercourse is not taught during compulsory education.”

Anyone having sex with a minor under 13 can be arrested for statutory rape under the Criminal Law, but charging someone with sex crimes for having intercourse with a person over the age of 13 requires proof of violent action or threats.

Moreover, the victim must explain the extent to which they resisted in order to bring a charge of sexual assault.

Many sexual violence victims in Japan do not report assaults to police, support groups: survey (The Mainichi, Aya Shiota)

Includes a detailed breakdown of the abuse reported by the almost 6.000 survivors surveyed.

According to the survey, 47.9% of respondents were able to acknowledge that the acts inflicted on them were sexual abuse immediately after the assault. But 52% answered that they were unable to recognize the assault immediately after it happened. Such individuals required an average of seven years to acknowledge the abuse. Acknowledging the sexual assault took eight or more years for 34.8% of respondents.

Experts have repeatedly pointed out how victims have difficulties acknowledging sexual abuse. Particularly in cases where the victim and perpetrator know each other, the attacker can take advantage of a power imbalance in a relationship or their own social status to force the victim into a situation where they are unable to resist even when there is no violence or coercion. In such cases, classified as “entrapment” abuse, as well as cases involving alcohol, victims tend to be ridden by guilt and find it difficult to acknowledge sexual acts as assault.

Azusa Saito, a lecturer at Mejiro University who attended a Nov. 20 conference at the House of Representatives where the survey results were announced, commented, “Especially in the case of children, it takes time for them to be able to acknowledge what happened to them. Also, there is a popular conception that sexual abuse is something that suddenly happens one day on the street. Therefore, when someone you know is behind the abuse, it doesn’t conform with this conception, giving rise to cases where the sexual abuse remains unacknowledged.”

Under Japan’s Penal Code, charges can be filed over crimes involving forcible sexual intercourse up to 10 years after they took place, while crimes of forcible indecency have a seven-year limit. There appear to be many cases where victims cannot demand legal punishment against perpetrators even if they are finally able to acknowledge being sexually abused due to difficulties imposed by time limits for filing suits and preservation of evidence.

Ikeda Riyoko Production Responds to Claims Moschino’s Fashion Line Copied Rose of Versailles Art (Anime News Network, Kim Morrissy & Lynzee Loveridge)

Moschino has not offered comment.

Anime News Network reached out to Ikeda Riyoko Production, the managing company of Riyoko Ikeda‘s Rose of Versailles manga for comment. The company replied that they first heard about the “Anime Antoinette” line when a comment was posted onto the BBS of its official site around February 2020. Moschino did not contact Ikeda Riyoko Production prior to debuting the fashion line. The company described the art’s likeness to Ikeda as “crude” and “gives a clear impression that it is imitating” Ikeda’s groundbreaking manga.

“It cannot be helped if the art resembles the Antoinette character in Rose of Versailles because Antoinette was a real person in history, but the dress designs and composition of the image, as well as the presence of a character who appears to be Oscar, gives the clear impression that it is imitating the manga. Regardless, we [Ikeda Riyoko Production] thought that their way of referencing the designs was so crude that not only the creator but fans of the manga would be shocked,” a company representative told Anime News Network.

Fujisawa becomes first woman to win coed go tourney (The Asahi Shimbun, Nozomi Ozaki)

Last year, 19-year-old Ueno Asami was the youngest woman to win a different non-age restricted coed tournament.

The 22-year-old top female professional go player defeated Makoto Son, a 24-year-old 7-dan player, in the 15th Hiroshima-Aluminum Cup, which is also known as the Young Carp fight.

Only players up to 7-dan and 30 years old or younger can enter the tournament, in which each competitor has 30 seconds to make a move.

Fujisawa, who won three of women’s six titles, advanced to the final by scoring three straight wins, including one against Tomoya Hirata, a 26-year-old 7-dan player who clinched the Hiroshima-Aluminum Cup last year.

The final between Fujisawa and Son, who won the rookie-of-the-year award last year, turned out to be a nail-biting match with a total of 332 moves, but she narrowly defeated him in the end.

8 Yuri Manga Recommendations to Get You Started in the Genre (But Why Tho?, Olive St. Sauver)

Beginner title suggestions with buy links.

With more and more publishers releasing yuri manga series in English (and holiday sales approaching) now is a great time to dive into the world of yuri. Yuri, sometimes known as GL (Girl’s Love), is the term for series that focus on lesbian relationships. Similar to the case with yaoi/shounen-ai, shoujo-ai is a term that was coined by western BL fans. It is a literal translation of the term “Girl’s Love” and was used by these fans to separate romantic and sexual relationships.

Yuri manga used to be used in the west to denote more explicit sexual relationships but has broadened to now include series that feature lesbian characters and/or relationships in many forms. This can include yuri manga, light novels, webcomics, manhwa, and more. For more information on the history of yuri and more, check out Okazu and the work of Erica Friedman. Yuri can be found in many different demographics and genres, so it can be overwhelming to determine where to start. In fact, there is probably no wrong place to start. Here is a list of my personal recommendations for getting into yuri manga based on my experience.

AniFem Community

Did we miss a great indie store in Monday’s post? Let us know down in the comments!

TWEET: A cat helping make pottery.

We Need Your Help!

We’re dedicated to paying our contributors and staff members fairly for their work—but we can’t do it alone.

You can become a patron for as little as $1 a month, and every single penny goes to the people and services that keep Anime Feminist running. Please help us pay more people to make great content!

Comments are open! Please read our comments policy before joining the conversation and contact us if you have any problems.

%d bloggers like this: