Weekly Round-Up, 20-26 March 2024: Dystopia in Absolute Boyfriend, Kotaku EIC Resigns, and Animator Kickstarter

By: Anime Feminist March 26, 20240 Comments
Princess grinning and reading a magazine

AniFem Round-Up

My Fave is Problematic: Samurai Flamenco

SamFlam is an unforgettable experience, and one of several Aniplex titles about to disappear from streaming at the end of the month.

Slut-Shaming and the Fetishization of Queer Childhood: A love letter to Alois Trancy

Looking at another show about to be removed from streaming: Black Butler II might be a mess, but at its heart is a poignantly written protagonist.

Who was your first anime crush?

(We can talk about the gender envy another time).

Beyond AniFem

Raising Animator’s Wages: A Music Video With Aya Hirano (Kickstarter)

The latest project from the advocacy group that runs the Animator Dormitory.

We believe that proper training and treatment of staff is essential to the longevity of anime production, and these music videos are our way of providing new, prospective animators with training from veterans and ethical jobs.

You can follow the training progress of our most recent hire via our YouTube series, ‘The New Key Animator Training Program.’

Help us create this original anime music video independent of production committees and give animators the value they deserve!

Our fundraising goal for this project is $100,000. With this amount, we can ensure fair compensation for all creators involved in producing this 2-minute music video. 
However, we aim to offer our animators as competitive a rate as possible.
As of now, we have achieved 50% of our goal and have progressed to the animation phase of production. 
If we raise the remaining $50,000, we can make an even higher quality, emotionally impactful music video. 

Absolute Boyfriend and the Tech Dystopia (Anime Herald, Katharine Mussellam)

A spotlight on one of Watase’s less-discussed series.

Watase couldn’t have predicted these exact events, but her portrayal of the company, despite its obvious silliness, resonates more today than it did when it was written. The series doesn’t amply consider the consequence of a company being run by children or childish people, yet it still accurately portrays how tech companies in our present world can act towards us. In a way, our world has become a gag where we let these companies run amok. Certainly, these companies would like to see us be complacent and laugh off their issues instead of criticizing them. Companies will claim innocence, or even benevolence, despite their immense power and influence over our lives that are far from completely positive. They are often self-centred in their demands to maintain that power, like a child who refuses to share.

Absolute Boyfriend, under the guise of comedy, predicts and reflects the overbearing influence that technology companies have on our daily lives in our current moment. Some of the attempts at humour do sometimes ring true as comments on real tech companies: maybe they really are run by people who are like overgrown children; the way “smart” devices and AI interact with us is often uncanny or awkward; and who hasn’t accidentally paid for something because they forgot when the trial period was up just like Riiko?

Yet, much of the attempted humour in Absolute Boyfriend, given the ways that tech companies impact our lives in often negative ways, is still a discordant note that repeats throughout the series. Even in 2003, a lot of moments in the series shouldn’t have been funny, but the levity of the series suggests these questions were shielded by a lingering optimism about technology and distance from a reality that hadn’t yet come to fruition. Kronos Heaven’s overreaches and idiosyncrasies could be laughed off because they were beyond the realm of possibility. Twenty years on, tech companies have gone much farther in their influence on, and surveillance of, our lives, and it’s not actually that funny to be surrounded by such things all the time.

Kotaku EIC Resigns Over New Editorial Edict (Aftermath, Gita Jackson and Riley MacLeod)

The functional closing of online news sites continues.

“After careful consideration, I have concluded that the current management structure and decision-making processes at G/O Media are not aligned with my values and goals for Kotaku,” Glennon wrote in her letter of resignation, which was addressed to G/O Media executives Jim Spanfeller and Lea Goldman. 

“I firmly believe that the decision to ‘invert’ Kotaku’s editorial strategy to deprioritize news in favor of guides is fundamentally misguided given the current infrastructure of the site,” Glennon wrote. “[This decision is] directly contradicted by months of traffic data, and shows an astonishing disregard for the livelihoods of the remaining writers and editors who work here.”

Glennon also announced her resignation on Twitter, writing, “I’ve resigned from Kotaku and Jim Spanfeller is an herb.”

According to a source close to the situation, Kotaku’s staff will be expected to create 50 guides a week at the site. Currently, Kotaku’s homepage features a prominent “game tips and guides” module at the top of the page, in a space that was previously reserved for major stories and breaking news. Staff members have criticized the homepage redesign on social media, noting that Kotaku’s major source of traffic is not guides.

Gender-related ‘unconscious bias’ fueled in Japan schools, affects children’s worldview (The Mainichi)

Part of a larger data analysis on the reasons fueling gender gaps in the workplace.

Hyogo Prefecture native Rion Kawasaki, 22, and 23-year-old Momoka Emori from Shizuoka Prefecture, both fourth-year students at the University of Tokyo, grew up watching other girls in their home towns reluctant to try out entrance exams for hard-to-get-in universities.

Wondering why girls in the countryside don’t aim for the University of Tokyo, the pair established the student group #YourChoiceProject. They carried out a survey in 2023 targeting college-preparatory highs schools across Japan and looked into responses given by 3,716 second-year students.

Asked whether they felt going to competitive universities would benefit them in the future, the number of girls in rural areas who answered “Yes” was significantly smaller than that of boys, while no difference between the genders were seen among the respondents in the greater Tokyo region.

Furthermore, while there were only small differences between girls and boys in the greater Tokyo region over their parents’ expectations for going to competitive universities and the students’ tolerance levels for trying the entrance exams again the next year in the event they don’t get accepted, the parents’ expectations and the students’ tolerance levels were both lower among girls from rural regions than their male counterparts.

Top court rules same-sex couples eligible for crime victim benefits (The Asahi Shimbun, Takashi Endo)

The plaintiff survives his murdered partner.

The law on payment of benefits for crime victims stipulates that a “spouse” eligible for survivor’s benefits includes “a person who was in a de facto marriage-like situation” even if he or she did not register their marriage.

The Supreme Court ruled for the first time that this provision could include same-sex partners.

There are more than 200 statutes and regulations governing the coverage of benefits and other benefits with language similar to that in the law.

While this decision does not apply to all of them, it may affect the benefits and other benefits of a similar nature.

Mari Okada’s Heartfelt Writing in ‘Maqui’ and ‘Maboroshi’ (Baka Banter Podcast)

Podcast discussion of Okada’s directorial outings and background.

Mari Okada is one of the most prolific writers in the anime industry, known not only for screenplay and series composition roles but also for her work as a mangaka and director. Ionatan and Ravi discuss Mari Okada’s personal story as told in her autobiography before giving some overarching thoughts on her extensive writing credits. Then, they explore how her two directed films, ‘Maquia’ and ‘Maboroshi,’ tackle themes such as parenthood, isolation, and the passage of time.

Princess Peach: Showtime! is everything I wanted in a game as a little girl (Polygon, Nicole Carpenter)

A dynamic, endearing game for children.

In terms of difficulty, Princess Peach: Showtime! is clearly a game for kids. It’s built to be approachable for younger players, with just two core buttons — one to perform an action (like attacking) and one to jump, alongside using the analog stick for movement. But what Princess Peach: Showtime! lacks in challenge, it makes up for in diversity of play. Though there are just two button actions, the different costumes make each stage feel wildly different. That’s because, most of the time, they are: Each stage is built around its partnered costume and ability. For Swordfighter Peach, it’s slashing your way through enemies in something that feels more like a platformer. Detective Peach swaps the sword for a magnifying glass; instead of fighting, you look through the environment for simple clues to solve small puzzles. Ninja Peach turns Princess Peach: Showtime! into a stealth game, while Mermaid Peach puts a spin on straightforward timing games.

This makes for a game that’s constantly changing — there’s rarely a moment when a stage drags on for too long. Detective Peach is the only costume that fell flat for me; the clue-hunting stopped the momentum built throughout the rest of the game, but there are just three of these transformations out of the total 30. Beyond the stages and the gameplay, the game’s little details also keep it lively; there’s always something new happening or an endearing little moment to revel in. One of my favorites is with Peach and her ninja outfit; in stealth, Peach pulls out a roll of wallpaper to blend into the walls or some cardboard leaves to blend in with grass.

VIDEO: Discussion of manga with intersex protagonists.

VIDEO: Laws on single-parent custody after divorce and the issue of parental child abduction.

VIDEO: Shoujo suggestions if you like popular shounen titles.

AniFem Community

Some excellent retro picks in the mix.

I was about 8 when Shaman King first aired, so one of my first crushes was Asakura Yoh from that show. Something about his relaxed demeanor and high empathy for others just spoke to me, and I still like him very much as a shounen protagonist. My first crush on a female character took a bit longer, until 2016 and the airing of Dragon Maid - the titular Dragon Maid Tohru was a gateway character for me to figure out that I like not only guys/men, but girls/women also, and that alone makes her another noteworthy standout in my mind.
didn't know it was a crush at the time, but lettuce from tokyo mew mew had such an impact on me growing up that now i'm weak for all green haired anime girls with glasses as for boys, the first one i was head over heels for is ao haru ride's kikuchi touma, i'm still so fond of him to this day
Onpu Segawa from Ojamajo Doremi. Now I'm always a sucker for a magical girl in purple, especially if she can sing.

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