All Folks Bright and Beautiful: The casual gender diversity of Heaven’s Design Team
Dee highlights what makes this edutainment manga so charming.
Cozy Campfires, Bitter Broth: Female Relationships in Laid-Back Camp and Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles
Alex breaks down the character writing that helps LBC stand out compared to less memorable hobby anime.
Resources and Fundraisers: January 2021
With a particular focus this month on zine-type reading guides.
Wonder Egg Priority – Production Notes 01-02v (SakugaBlog, kViN)
Reading the new series as influenced by Yamada Naoko.
At the same time, another surface-level yet more interesting trend also kicked off. Although Yukiko Horiguchi had already enamored animators all over after her debut as character designer and chief animation director with Lucky Star—hence why a certain someone used the pen name Horiguchi is god in 2008 sakuga festivals—it was K-ON! that took her pedigree to the next level, essentially turning her into the most influential animation designer of the decade. Outstanding animators with seemingly very different philosophies to hers like Chikashi Kubota and Yuki Hayashi expressed their profound reverence when visiting her recent art exhibitions, so you can only imagine the level of idolatry she was professed by artists who do have similar goals. From outright mimicry like Sora no Woto to more subtle approximations to her loose, bouncy, yet somehow grounded forms, you couldn’t turn a corner without encountering some sort of Horiguchi influence. And in some ways, you still can’t.
As undeniable as Horiguchi’s talent is, this obviously ties back to Yamada. Not only was it her works that best exhibited Horiguchi’s animation philosophy, but there’s also the fact that those principles are something they forged together. While they were great friends and coworkers essentially since the start, it took their willingness to meet the other halfway through to find the magical balance that quickly inspired so many. For an amusing example, they would argue for days about the exact weight and proportions of each K-ON! character, in what was essentially a clash between Horiguchi’s natural affinity towards cartoony stylization and Yamada’s realistic fundamentals—in that case, because she wanted the cast to be relatable to actual schoolgirls. The shift in the approach to the animation between the first and second seasons of K-ON! embodies that balance they settled on: still inherently fun to look at, but with an immediately relatable quality to the animation that fit Yamada’s storytelling perfectly. It’s no wonder so many artists in the industry saw them as the new ideal to chase.
Tokyo Mew Mew (with Mercedez Clewis) (Shojo & Tell)
Retrospective of the 00s magical girl manga.
Covers all of Tokyo Mew Mew and Tokyo Mew Mew a la Mode Reiko Yoshida and Mia Ikumi.
In the early 2000s, this series about a team of five young girls infused with the DNA of rare animals fighting aliens bent on reclaiming the Earth became a phenomenon. Tokyo Mew Mew is supposed to get a new anime adaptation in the year 2021, so we decided to read the original magical girl series and its sequel. Mew Mew superfan Mercedez Clewis expounds on why the series left such a lasting impact on her and the magical girl genre in general. Mercedez and Shojo & Tell host Ashley also discuss their favorite Mews, what is and isn’t a magical girl series, how the aliens were kinda right though, how they prefer to eat strawberries, and so much more in this jam-packed episode.
Japan’s Filipino community puts down roots, moves past hostess origins (The Mainichi)
While many Filipino women often only had the option to work in “Philippine Pubs” as hostesses, that dynamic has begun to shift as the community grows and makes a place for itself in Japan.
In his book, loosely translated into English as “The sociology of Philippine pub women,” Nakashima, 32, detailed how fake marriages are arranged with the help of a broker, with the Japanese “husband” usually being a crony of the pub’s manager who is paid around 50,000 yen ($480) per month to maintain the facade.
The woman’s under-the-table contract with the broker typically lasts three to five years with a monthly stipend of 60,000 yen and only two days off a month.
Penalties are deducted from the woman’s earnings if they miss their daily sales target, and they must ask permission from their broker whenever they wish to go out.
But Nakashima says the women are generally ready to put up with the harsh conditions in the hope of a better life beyond.
Episode 51: Cherry Magic! (2020) (But Why Tho?)
Podcast retrospective of the BL adaptation.
This week, we’re back to live-action adaptations, and this time it’s the wholesome BL drama Cherry Magic! Thirty Years of Virginity Can Make You a Wizard?! Now, at the time of recording, we hadn’t watched all 12 episodes and obviously only have access to the English volumes of the manga. We talk about the importance of BL stories, how Cherry Magic! hit our hearts, and how it really showcased the depth of the BL genre. We talk about why we love the characters, consent, and more.
If you’re unfamiliar with Cherry Magic! the story is this:
Having never had sex in his life, after Kiyoshi Adachi reaches his 30th birthday he becomes a “wizard”: he develops an ability to hear the thoughts of other people by touching them. One day, he discovers that his popular co-worker, Yuichi Kurosawa, is in love with him. While dealing with the awkwardness of being able to hear Kurosawa’s rather forthright feelings towards him, Adachi comes to terms with how much Kurosawa values him and starts to develop reciprocal feelings of his own.
Glass Mask Sake Gets Resurgence After COVID-19 (Anime News Network, Kim Morrissy)
The first run of the product was in 1997, following the Great Hanshin Earthquake.
The story depicted in Glass Mask is tied to the Kansai region. Miuchi was initially inspired to write the tale of the Crimson Goddess when she visited Kobe as part of support for the region after the earthquake. She was struck by the photo of an old plum tree when she saw when she visited her first brewery. The tree struck her as resembling a Bodhisattva statue, which formed the basis of the character of the Crimson Goddess. In the story, the deity figure appears in order to heal a ruined world.
Miuchi commented on the collaboration as follows: “The art of sake making collects the blessings of the natural world, such as the sun, air, earth, and water. It is an important sacred ritual since the Yamato Period. That’s why I wanted The Crimson Goddess to be represented by high-class sake that venerates the gods and values the earth’s blessings of ‘rice’ and ‘water.’ Sake is the essence of the natural world’s blessings, and it is also the essence of Japanese culture. In this sense, I hope that you can partake in the sake while thinking of it as a symbol of a return to nature, as well as appreciation for it.”
40,000 foreign trainees enter Japan amid virus as others fired (The Asahi Shimbun, Mari Fujisaki)
The influx came as 1,100 foreign workers already in Japan were unable to find work; over 3,000 were left jobless and unable to leave the country during shutdowns.
While trainees could try to find work on their own at public unemployment offices, the reality is that many have a limited command of Japanese and the existing system is not tailored to their needs.
Shoichi Ibusuki, a lawyer who has handled numerous labor issues involving foreign workers, said issues involving foreign trainees are basically left to supervising organizations to sort out.
But he said such organizations do not have a strong incentive to go to great lengths to find new positions for trainees upon their dismissal.
The reason is that those organizations will become ineligible to receive supervising fees from the employers if trainees land a job in the 14 industries where specified skilled workers are employed and their visa status is changed accordingly.
Yoshimizu proposed the creation of a new mechanism in which an entity will be commissioned to specialize in job placement for foreign trainees.
Japan’s technical intern training program has long been criticized as a cover for using foreign workers as cheap labor under the name of “job training.”
Domestic abuse victim angry after Tokyo ward office leaked address to ex-husband (The Mainichi, Harumi Kimoto)
The 63 cases of reported leaks since 2011 (18 in 2019, seven in 2020) doesn’t cover tax and family register-related leaks outside the Residents Administration Policy and Management Division’s jurisdiction.
A victim of domestic violence manages to get away, to move out and banish their tormentor from their life. Then, one day, their abuser suddenly reappears. This kind of scene has played itself out multiple times across Japan, after government offices handed victims’ new addresses over to the very person they were trying to escape.
Victims can apply for a domestic violence support scheme that bans local governments from disclosing information about their new residence to their abuser. But there are endless cases of governments leaking that information to offenders. In at least one case, a woman was killed after a local government told her stalker where to find her.
One domestic violence victim, whose new address was leaked to her ex-husband due to mismanagement by a Tokyo ward office, revealed her painful experiences to the Mainichi Shimbun.
MediBang Allegedly Pays Manga Translators 120 Yen Per Page (Anime News Network, Kim Morrissy)
The low rate of pay was paired with exactingly high skill requirements (including previous translation experience) in recruitment ads.
The MediBang localization and distribution service was first established in 2014. According to the official website, the service handles a number translations of manga distributed on Shueisha‘s MANGA Plus service, including the Spanish translations of One Piece and My Hero Academia, and the English translations of Monster #8 and Tis Time for “Torture,” Princess.
ANN reached out to MediBang for comment, but did not receive a response by press time.
Last year, translation and typesetting company Amimaru drew criticism for paying letterers as little as US$1 per page.
THREAD: Information regarding community predator Hazukari’s latest online presence.
TWEET: Podcast discussing the Yakuza games and the social context of the actual yakuza.
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