Weekly Round-Up, 19-25 August 2020: Not Your Idol, Easy Mode Accessibility, and Indie Games Starring WOC

By: Anime Feminist August 25, 20200 Comments
Tohru, Yuki, and Kyo from Fruits Basket smiling in front of the sunset

AniFem Round-Up

Thinking Outside the Circle: Accessibility and education in Witch Hat Atelier

Dee highlights a wizarding school series that recognizes how school systems fail their students, and how its heroes push to make their own accessible spaces.

My Fave is Problematic: Attack on Titan

Hannah Collins grapples with the shounen megahit’s use of Holocaust imagery, how it affects the rest of the story, and how it balances out against what the series does well.

Great Pretender – Episode 1

Vibrant, bingeable con artist capers that are well worth your time.

What series has your favorite localization?

Good dubs are an art in and of themselves.

Beyond AniFem

Online Petition Demands Content Warnings for Sexual Violence in Weekly Shonen Jump (Anime News Network, Kim Morrissy)

The petition’s creator also called for a survey of JUMP’s readership about their level of sexual education, so content could be calibrated to fit their understanding.

In the campaign description, Sekiguchi shares his own story as a Weekly Shonen Jump reader. When he was in elementary school and middle school, he often read manga with sexual content like To Love-Ru. However, in university he met a male friend who did not read To Love-Ru, and he now retroactively understands why his friend found the content distasteful. Many of the sexual scenes depicted in the series are portrayed without mutual consent, and he now understands that it’s not okay to look at a woman’s body in a sexual way without regard for her feelings.

Sekiguchi also wrote about how when he was young, he often heard about Tokyo’s “Nonexistent Youth” bill, which sought to restrict sexualized depictions of fictional underage characters. The bill was ultimately rejected by the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly in 2010, but Sekiguchi often heard oppositions to censorship from people around him. Fellow Jump readers claimed that people are perfectly capable of distinguishing between fantasy and reality. However, looking back, Sekiguchi claims that he was not capable of making the distinctions himself. He recounts a time from elementary school when a group of boys sexually harassed some girls, but he did not speak up because he thought “boys will be boys” and that it was just a natural thing. The leader of that group of boys was later expelled from high school because he secretly took photos of girls while they were bathing.

‘Not Your Idol’ Is A Subversive Examination Of Modern Femininity (Forbes, Lauren Orsini)

A look at the first two volumes of the series about a former idol.

The second volume gives a larger role to Nina’s cute but antagonistic classmate, Miku. Unlike the traumatized Nina, Miku has never questioned her own relationship with femininity. She shows off her legs in miniskirts, giggles winsomely at the boys’ sexist comments, and is, as a result, shown to be as popular at school as Nina is an outcast. An early example of their oil and water viewpoints occurs in the first volume when Miku attempts to compliment Nina by telling her she’d look great in a miniskirt. “Is that all I have going for me?” Nina retorts. 

Of course, Nina has plenty of experience in miniskirts; the series’ Japanese title, Sayonara Miniskirt, is a reference to the specific type of miniskirt-wearing idol Nina’s alter-ego, “Karen” is supposed to represent. In Nina’s apartment, the television is always on in the backdrop offering choice tidbits of the flawed world she left behind; an interview with her former group by a lecherous announcer has her former colleagues gently shaking off his sexism with a smile. As an idol, Karen always navigated an undercurrent of male entitlement; she was only taken by surprise when it transformed into overt cruelty. 

Review: Ghost of Tsushima’s Empty World Reflects Its Empty Representation (Uppercut, Haru Nicol)

Discussing the reductive elements of how Japanese and Mongolian culture presented in-game.

What I mean by this is that at every opportunity, the game tries to ‘translate’ traditions and cultural actions into a ludic/gamic mechanic, thus trivialising them. You can bow and play the flute with a flick of the touchpad whenever you want. You “write”  haiku by looking around the environment and picking vaguely poetic sounding words. You ‘reflect’ on various things while going to all the onsens that are inexplicably dotted around the map. You bow incorrectly at the shinto shrines you find after a short platforming puzzle. And I lose my patience with this game every time I need to do those things. All these actions have deep cultural meanings. For instance, praying at shinto shrines is a tradition that pretty much every Japanese person does, we do it to pray for good luck and to respect the gods by giving an offering; so it’s a pretty important spiritual and traditional practice. By gamifying it behind a platforming puzzle and then using the incorrect bow is disrespecting such an culturally significant custom. It would be like pressing F to dab inside a christian church in some open-world game about being in New York. It is deeply insulting and hilarious that all these real actions that people in Japan have been doing for thousands of years are boiled down to a single button press for a motion done incorrectly and repeated ad nauseum, thus leading to a complete trivialisation of Japanese culture.   

Being on Japanese Television || EP 64 (Kurly in Kansai)

Podcast about the hosts discussing being on Japanese TV, including to discuss BLM.

We share our experiences being on Japanese TV shows and commercials.

Alyse on TV

act-age Artist Shiro Usazaki Issues Statement on Writer’s Arrest, Manga’s Cancellation (Anime News Network, Rafael Antonio Pineda)

The artist supported the cancellation of the manga, and in the statement urged readers against harassment.

Usazaki first expressed their sympathies for the victims, who Usazaki said “bravely spoke up about the incident despite their shock and fear.” Usazaki elaborated that no one “naturally recovers” from sexual assault, and even seeing a person similar in dress and appearance to the assailant may trigger victims to respond in specific ways, and forever creates unneeded stress in their lives.

Usazaki mentioned that they do not want the act-age manga to be a work that triggers similar reactions from the victims, and so considered the cancellation of the manga to be appropriate. While Usazaki also regretted having to end the manga mid-way, they urged fans of the manga not to harass or blame the victims. They expressed clearly that the manga’s cancellation is not the victims’ fault, and that it is not a mistake that the victims spoke up about sexual harassment.

The Ongoing Question of Whether You Can be Both Queer and Successful in the Fighting Games Community (Gayming Magazine, Sam Moore)

Looking into the various spheres of the FGC and how queer players have fought to make space for themselves.

The extent to which the FGC is a safe space differs a lot based on if events are taking place in physical or digital spaces. Many players have said that the communities themselves are often incredibly positive and accepting. Pro Street Fighter V player MetalQueerSolid stated that “the scenes I’m involved in and work with are overwhelmingly positive towards LGBT players.” Millia too could relate, saying that when she found a scene that took her in, it was “well organized with people who really cared at the top.”

However, people are much less willing to praise the ways in which Twitch chat can impact queer or female players. As the FGC has moved from its arcade roots to more online spaces – all major tournaments are live-streamed – this has increased the reach of the community. On the surface this sounds like a good thing, but the anonymity offered by a stream chat can often reveal the uglier side of the community. One of the things that’s become clear through both my time in the FGC, and the experiences of the players that I spoke to, is that physical communities can often offer more stability and safety than those that are entirely digital. There’s a major difference not only when it comes to playing someone face to face, but also simply interacting with them, seeing them and being seen yourself.

“The biggest part of the FGC that makes me feel unwelcome is the stream chats and other online communities,” Millia stated. Online spaces are one of the most prominent issues that come up in terms of a dividing line between feeling safe and unsafe in FGC spaces. Poorly moderated chats, or other community members – players, commentators, or TOs – can create environments that stop players from feeling safe, or like they’re able to entirely be themselves.

5 Women of Color Lead Indie Games You Should Be Playing (Blerdy Otome)

Brief write-ups on and links to several visual novels.

The Far Rings is described as a “space opera visual novella” and was created by Heiden in 48 hours for the Global Game Jam 2019. The theme of the game is “What does home mean to you?” and follows Athena, a passionate young doctor of mixed alien heritage during the tail end of a trip ‘home’. Her company on her journey is the ship’s captain, Odysseus and an alien war criminal, Chiron—in getting to know her fellow travelers Athena will come to an understanding about herself as she decides where it is that she truly belongs. 

Athena is the sole survivor of a medical refugee camp that was recently attacked by alien forces, you’d think that would make her unsympathetic to the Ogygian, however more often than not she serves as the neutral party. She is very engaged in the events of the story and the conflict between Ogygia and Aeaea—your choices throughout determine not just your own fate, but the outcome of the relationship between both races. The Far Rings is available for free over on Steam.

VIDEO: On asking for an optional easy mode as a form of accessibility.

THREAD: Discussion of a recent article published by TERFs in Japan.

THREAD: Translation/discussion of feminist author Kawakami Mieko’s response to criticism of a recent article about her work.


Thread: Simple phrases in Japanese you can use to complement artists online.

AniFem Community

It’s extra cool to see good localization cited across cultures.

The first that comes to mind for me regarding dubs will always be the German dub of Cowboy Bebop. It gave Spike Spiegel a much softer, warmer voice, often skewing the tone of scenes significantly as a result. In hindsight, how much I obsessed about this melancholic voice should have clued me in years earlier about my queerness. Oh well …

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