Weekly Round-Up, 20-26 May 2020: In Memoriam

By: Anime Feminist May 26, 20200 Comments
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AniFem Round-Up

 Beyond UNIQLO: Tips for supporting Japan’s indie fashion designers

Daz Skubich provides a primer on the world of street fashion and how enthusiasts the world over can support Japan’s indie designers as Harajuku goes corporate.

Skip Beat!’s Harmful Healing: Forgiving abuse at the cost of self-worth

Baillie Pucket takes a closer look at Kyoko’s character arc and how the story of her rise to stardom often involves swallowing or even being grateful for abuse from others.

Chatty AF 116: 2020 Spring Mid-Season Check-in

Peter, Caitlin, and Dee catch up on a very unusual season.

Grief Resources During COVID-19

For those who are struggling, whatever the reason.

Beyond AniFem

Zac Bertschy – In Memoriam (Anime News Network)

A cornerstone of the community and a supporter of AniFem from its earliest days, Zac passed suddenly last week. You can read a further remembrance from staff member Lauren or contribute to the upcoming memorial stream here.

Zac joined ANN full time in 2005 as a managing, then executive editor. He was our first full-time staff member, and over a period of 15 years he helped shape ANN. Zac oversaw all of ANN’s editorial content, including reviews, features, preview guides and interviews. He was the original creator of the Answerman column, the co-creator of Vice & Luna, the mastermind behind our Season Preview Guides and also contributed to the planning of thousands of other articles over the years.

Zac cared deeply not only for this website, his co-workers and all of our readers, but he also cared deeply for the artform itself. Zac didn’t just want to write about anime, he wanted to celebrate it, and he wanted to humanize the individual artists behind the artform we all love.

Japan’s language gender divide hurts women at work (Nikkei Asian Review, Kobayashi Nobuko)

An analysis of gendered language usage and its impact in the workplace.

This gender distinction presents a great handicap. Compared to Western languages, Japanese is inherently higher-context, favoring innuendo instead of plain-speaking. If women’s Japanese is subtler than its male equivalent, it ends up being almost cryptic to untrained ears.

In a business context, even a senior-ranking woman would intentionally speak demurely to a male peer with a soft, soothing tone. Sadly, this is our survival tactic as well as our charm offensive. No wonder many educated Japanese women find English-speaking liberating. It allows us to be blunt even with men, a tall order when speaking the female Japanese language.

As effective as this demure speaking may seem in the short term, this strategy hurts Japanese women in the long run. First, it simply takes longer to coo “I’m afraid I am not good with numbers. Could they be really correct?” instead of saying, “These numbers are wrong.”

How does a girl find her way in a new society? – Interview with BNA: Brand New Animal Series Writer Kazuki Nakashima (Otaquest, Akiyoshi Hizume)

Contains light spoilers for broad plot beats in BNA (which will be freed from Netflix Jail in June).

OTAQUEST: I think “living together” was also the theme in “Promare” and “Gurren Lagann” which you mentioned earlier and that you worked on with Director Imaishi. What do you think about this theme in “BNA”?

Kazuki Nakashima: In this production, Director Yoshinari and Producer Tsutsumi strongly stated the theme of women’s empowerment at first rather than “living together”, and I thought it was something new. As I said earlier in this interview, what I wanted to write was how Michiru can find her way to live life in her own way and how she can change society when she goes into a new environment.

According to Director Yoshinari, “The Beastmen society in Anima City is a metaphor for those who are bound by the past in that they have a fixed mind of who they are.” Then we used the concept of having Beastmen as a device for the story, but this is still about the story of Michiru. A story about a girl who is left in an environment she could have never imagined but meets various people and finds her own way.

A Celebration of Women of Color in Anime (Crunchyroll, Matt Fagaly)

A list spotting five notable major characters.

Anime has always meant a lot to me as a person of color. I didn’t see much of myself in my surroundings growing up, and even though I’m mixed Filipinx and not Japanese, it felt valuable to me that anime was an Asian-created medium. There were far more limits in terms of exposure and what you could readily learn about underrepresented cultures in the years before the internet became more widely accessible. As a result, early TV and video exposure to anime helped me indirectly feel proud of my own heritage.
I generally relate to media depictions of women more than men, so it should come as no surprise that women of color in anime comprise some of my favorite fictional characters, period. Though woefully misrepresented in all kinds of media, here’s a non-hierarchical list of anime WOC who are respectfully depicted, nuanced, and poignant role models for our own lives too. Read on for more!

Animal Crossing’s island star system frustrates and limits fans (Polygon, Patricia Hernandez)

The star system only rewards a rigid definition of growth and beautification.

The most depressing aspect of the star system is that it inadvertently encourages uniformity. While there are hundreds of items, the Nook Miles store is limited, and the game always tells you to purchase its stock to build out your island. Some players I spoke to said they wanted to make strange islands with no rhyme or reason, but felt that they couldn’t truly experiment or go wild without having the game punish and judge them for it.

“I’m deliberately not looking up how to improve my star rating,” said Twitter user @lyanporto, “but it’s frustrating that even though I love what I’m doing, the game doesn’t value what I value.”

Based on my conversations with players, most people don’t let the star rating get in the way of what they want to do. The system is unobtrusive, and players can ignore it completely (as long as they don’t mind K.K. Slider never showing up). Many fans choose to offset their “bad” choices with more decorations that the game recognizes as “good.” The funny thing is, though, spiffing up your town in the ways New Horizons asks you to doesn’t always result in a more beautiful island.

Meet 90-year-old Hamako Mori, the world’s oldest video game YouTuber (CNN, Emiko Jozuka)

Mori is now officially listed in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Hamako Mori, known as “Gamer Grandma” to her 250,000 YouTube subscribers, started gaming 39 years ago. Her YouTube channel launched in 2015, and she posts up to four videos a month.

In her clips, she does everything from unboxing new consoles to broadcasting her gaming prowess.

And now Mori, who counts the “Grand Theft Auto” series among her favorites, is officially the world’s oldest gaming YouTuber, according to Guinness World Records.

VIDEO: An update on how those in the Animators’ Dormitory are dealing with COVID-19

THREAD: Thread in Japanese about the author of Demon Slayer revealing that she is a woman and receiving harassment. UPDATE: Shonen Jump has confirmed this account to be falsified.

THREAD: Discussing wrestler Kimura Hana’s recent death and the role racism/colorism played in the harassment she received.

TWEET: Translation/summation of a Japanese thread criticizing the shift in design sensibility between the 90s Sailor Moon and Crystal to a more stereotypically “feminine” look.

AniFem Community

Not much to add here this week, AniFam. Please take care of yourselves and one another.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was edited after publication to remove an inaccurate link.

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