Content warning: Multiple articles this week include discussion of sexual assault
A decent concept and writer can’t overcome hideous art and bad execution.
All our reviews in one list, plus updates on subsequent episodes.
Our favorites from a dry summer season.
Podcast, book, and essays for those looking to read up on the history of fandom.
Bayonetta 3 broke my heart (Polygon, Maddy Meyers)
The game less trips than implodes at the finish line.
Could something like that ever be empowering, critics wondered? Was this not the ultimate expression of straight male desire and the sexual objectification of women? At the time, I countered that Bayonetta had also fulfilled a fantasy for those players who craved the chance to inhabit an unapologetically feminine protagonist. The ponytail, the lollipops, the lipstick, and the stilettos were worlds away from the gruff Marcus Fenixes and Master Chiefs of the era, and the further decision to make Bayonetta a dominatrix added a new layer to the fetishization in play here. Sure, this witch was somebody’s fantasy, but she was not exactly a normative one.
Bayonetta fulfilled a fantasy for players who craved an unapologetically feminine protagonist
I also loved how, even though Bayonetta made a deal with the literal devil in order to get her witch powers, eternal damnation never seemed like the end of her road. That’s because even though Bayonetta’s mom was also a witch, her dad was a Lumen Sage — meaning he works for the heavenly powers that be, not the demons down below (Bayonetta’s parents had a Romeo and Juliet situation going on). Since witches are a symbol of feminine power, Bayonetta’s joy in the face of her future damnation always felt like a triumph — a rebellion.
And yet I understood, all that time, why some of my friends didn’t vibe with Bayonetta — yes, even my queer and female friends. There was just something that seemed… off. Something deep down that suggested that this heroine wasn’t meant for us. That’s because it turns out that Bayonetta was made with Luka in mind.
Paradigm Paradox (Nintendo Switch) Otome Review (Blerdy Otome, Naja)
New otome game that features male love interests who turn into magical girls.
I think Paradigm Paradox could have benefitted from cutting a few routes *cough* Hyuga *cough* Yukinami *cough* (maybe Ryo too). Buff up the hero routes and make Ibuki’s route the unlockable secret route and then spend more time building up those stories and connecting them for the big finale. Instead, we get eight weak individual storylines that build up to a really interesting finale that gets eclipsed by the mediocre romance routes that precede it.
While the guys didn’t really do it for me, I really loved their magical girl alter egos. In fact, in many cases I liked them MORE as ladies. I know a lot of otome gamers have been begging for more female characters in otome games, we’ll here ya go. The biggest draw for Paradigm Paradox is the fact that the love interests turn into magical girls. Cute outfits, special attacks, the whole nine, with a gender swap twist!
This isn’t played for laughs or anything like that, rather the gender swap transformations are just something that just happens and not a big production, which is so refreshing! The magical girl alter egos are treated like characters in their own right. They have their own distinct personalities and mannerisms that are different from their male counterparts. Kaori is the bright and bubbly leader of the group, while Tokio has a more reserved, aloof personality. And did I mention they have their own voice actors?! It’s no wonder Yuuki is just as thirsty for the Blooms as she is when they’re dudes. And if you ask me, Yuuki has more chemistry with the Blooms when they’re ladies as opposed to when they are guys.
Lawmakers propose rights-based comprehensive sex ed be promoted at Japanese schools (The Mainichi, Ai Kunimoto)
The current curriculum does not cover sex acts or contraception.
Six Diet members belonging to the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDP) submitted the proposal to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. The lawmakers suggested that comprehensive sex education should be promoted while preparing a proper environment for it, such as securing class time on the subject and easing burdens on teachers.
In human rights-based comprehensive sex education, students learn not only about human anatomy and the reproduction system, but also about relationships, sexual diversity and gender equality in an extensive and systematic manner. The United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in September recommended that Japan promote comprehensive sex education based on the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
In Japan, the official junior high school curriculum guidelines say “the process of pregnancy is not taught” at schools, and children in compulsory education up to middle school are usually not educated about sexual acts or contraception. Teachers and experts have long criticized this guideline provision, claiming that it’s the reason why schools avoid sex education. The lawmaker group also proposed to the education ministry that this provision be removed.
Rape victims outraged over legal proposals for sex crimes (The Asahi Shimbun; Maki Okubo, Aya Shioiri, Etsuko Akuzawa and Kosuke Tauchi)
The draft for the new law still leaves substantial burden on the victim to prove they “fought back” against their attacker.
The draft, released on Oct. 24, lists eight cases that could be criminally punished under the category of “forced sexual intercourse,” including incidents that use “violence” and “intimidation.”
But the draft did not meet the victims’ calls for a simple and clear stipulation that “sexual intercourse without consent is a crime.”
A citizens’ project comprising lawyers and 12 groups that support sex crime victims expressed outrage at a news conference in Tokyo.
“We want the (ministry) to listen to the voices of victims more,” a representative of the project said.
“It has been repeatedly confirmed at the ministry’s Legislative Council that the very nature of a sex crime is ‘conducting a nonconsensual sexual act,” the representative said. “Still, it is not explicitly defined (in the draft).”
Rape victims and their supporters have long urged the government to revise the criminal law in regard to sex crimes “to fit the reality of the damage caused.”
Game composer Hidekazu Tanaka arrested on suspicion of attempted sexual assault (The Mainichi, Maki Kihara)
Tanaka is best known as the composer for Idolm@ster Cinderella Girls.
The 35-year-old composer is accused of calling out to the teen in a bicycle parking lot near a train station in Tokyo’s Meguro Ward at around 10:30 p.m. on Aug. 20, and then attempting to assault her. The woman and Tanaka were not acquainted.
The Metropolitan Police Department’s Himonya Police Station quoted Tanaka as saying he noticed the woman at a different station, then boarded the same train as her and followed her. Police believe that once they were in the parking lot, he led her to a poorly lit area where he allegedly attempted to assault her.
Police have not disclosed whether Tanaka has admitted to or denied the allegations against him.
Tokyopop Licenses ‘If My Favorite Pop Idol Made It to the Budokan, I Would Die’, 14 More Manga (Anime News Network, Adriana Hazra)
Tragic news of multiple interesting series being newly swallowed by Tokyopop’s shoddy quality and poor business practices.
Summary: At age 30, Shou Arai came to a realization; they had no gender. Now they were faced with a question they’d never really considered: how to age in a society where everything is so strongly segregated between two genders? This autobiographical manga explores Japanese culture surrounding gender, transgender issues, and the day to day obstacles faced by gender minorities and members of the LGBTQIA+ community with a lighthearted, comedic attitude.
VIDEO: Analysis of what makes romance in shoujo special.
VIDEO: Profile of a women-owned carpentry business in Japan.
TWEET: Voice actor pay rates in Japan, summarized from a Japanese-language article.
TWEET: Slides from an American Translators Association presentation on localization.
A very soft and fuzzy week to you, AniFam.