Weekly Round-Up, 20-26 October 2021: Black Cosplayer Appreciation, Ranking of Kings’ Sign Language, and Shakaijin Yuri

By: Anime Feminist October 26, 20210 Comments
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AniFem Round-Up

Komi Can’t Communicate – Episode 1

A sweet rom-com that doesn’t mock its anxious heroine, though the subtitling has some issues.

2021 Fall Premiere Digest

All our premiere reviews and some additional content warnings for shows with more episodes out.

Anime Feminist Recommendations of Summer 2021

The team’s small but solid list of faves from the summer season.

Chatty AF 149: Soul Eater Rewatchalong – Episodes 1-13

Part one of Caitlin, Vrai, and Dee’s newbie-friendly rewatch of the only battle shounen with a Halloween theme and a lady lead.

Resources and Fundraisers: October 2021

This month’s post includes a toolkit for educators about police sexual violence and fundraisers for the currently striking Kellogg’s workers.

Beyond AniFem

Black cosplayers are tired of being told who they can and can’t portray (Input, Jessica Lucas)

Overview of the double-standard policing of Black cosplayers, which often presents as overt racist harassment.

Joan Miller, a mixed-race cosplayer and doctoral candidate from the University of Southern California, has published research on this unfortunate phenomenon. Her academic investigation found that cosplayers inhabit two camps: affirmational, where imitators adhere strictly to source material or original depictions of characters, and transformational, where imitators use source material as a “jumping off point” to develop their own interpretations.

The transformational group, which largely involves female and BIPOC creators, is often targeted. “Affirmational fans tend to be people who are well-represented in source content — so cisgender, heterosexual white men,” Miller explains. “They often take issue with the work of transformational fans, and their critiques of BIPOC creators sometimes serve as a thinly veiled excuse for racism.”

Of course, there is a double standard here. The cartoons mimicked by the cosplay community — like Dragon Ball Z, Naruto, and My Hero Academia — are mostly East Asian. Many white, Western cosplayers see no problem with dressing up as characters from these properties, until Black creators join in. “It’s wild,” says Duru of white cosplayers, “because they’re gatekeeping for a culture that isn’t even their own.”

Hard of Hearing Animator Draws Ranking of Kings Sign Language Sequence (Anime News Network, Kim Morrissy)

Translation of a storyboarding tweet from one of the series’ key animators.

The Ranking of Kings anime tells the story of a Deaf prince who strives to become the greatest king. An animator who worked on a sign language sequence in episode 2 revealed that she has a personal connection to the subject matter of the series.

“I drew two parts of the sign language cut in episode 2. I love this manga, and it was a very fun experience to dive into it and portray my own language through the character animation,” tweeted Hiromi Yoshida on Friday along with an upload of her drawings. “It might have been the first time in my life where I felt glad to be hard of hearing (I’ve had slight hearing difficulties since birth).”

Un-remembering the Massacre: How Japan’s “History Wars” are Challenging Research Integrity Domestically and Abroad (Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, Tessa Morris-Suzuki)

Overview of modern historical denialist movements in Japan.

Current controversies surrounding the memory of a 1923 massacre of Koreans in and around Tokyo provide a starting point for examining the rise of historical denialism in Japan. The past two decades have witnessed the growing influence of small Japanese lobby groups who use techniques reminiscent of Holocaust denialism, in an effort to erase the memory of the inconvenient parts of Japan’s past. The country’s internal “history wars” are increasingly spilling over its national boundaries, creating challenges to scholarly integrity in other countries including the United States. International dialogue and collaboration are needed to respond to these challenges.

Hanasaku Iroha Character Designer Mel Kishida Reflects on Changing Attitudes Towards Fanservice In Japan (Anime News Network, Kim Morrissy)

Kishida also recently worked on the designs for the Blue Reflection Ray games.

“I think focusing on fanservice and making it the main aspect [of games and anime] is really starting to change,” he said in a roundtable interview with The Gamer. Speaking about his experiences working on the Blue Reflection games, he remarked that compared to the first game, the development team has been “taking a different approach in terms of showing how appealing these characters are without having to rely on fanservice.”

Despite the presence of fanservice in the first game, Kishida noted that being “blatantly sexy” was never really an artistic priority. “We just wanted the girls to show a little more character, like you’d take a second glance and your heart would flutter when you saw them.”

Kishida said that when it came to his own personal preferences, he has never been particularly concerned with sexiness either way, but that he simply wants to create things that fans and consumers enjoy looking at. He said that although he draws a lot of female characters in school uniforms, he doesn’t necessarily find them or the teen girls wearing them attractive. For him, the appeal is “the memories that are linked to them and the feeling of reliving what it was like to be in school.”

Seeking equality, couple in Kyoto calls for legalization of same-sex marriage in Japan (The Mainichi, Yumi Shibamura)

Profile of a couple who are part of the ongoing class-action lawsuit seeking marriage equality.

Since they are not legally married in Japan, Stieger will not be able to inherit the house if Sakata dies before her. Even if Stieger could continue to live in the house because of a bequest in Sakata’s will, she would have to pay a large amount of inheritance tax because she won’t be able to take advantage of the tax break for spouses. They said, “Why can’t we have the rights that married couples have as a matter of course, just because we are the same sex?”

There are other disadvantages as well: visa issues due to Stieger being a U.S. citizen. She cannot obtain a spousal visa, which she could obtain after marriage, nor could she apply for permanent residence, for which she is eligible after three years of marriage. Stieger, who entered Japan on a working visa, recalled, “I was terrified that if I couldn’t work, I wouldn’t be able to stay in Japan with Machi.” Although she was able to obtain permanent residency in 2019, more than 10 years after arriving in Japan, she still feels a sense of inequality.

Claiming that the current situation in which same-sex couples cannot marry is a form of government-recognized discrimination, the two joined a class action in 2019 as plaintiffs in a “same-sex marriage lawsuit” in five district courts across Japan (Sapporo, Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, and Fukuoka) to demand the realization of a society in which same-sex couples can marry.

Japanese Communist Party Claims No Contradiction In Opposing Regulation of Anime, Manga (Anime News Network, Kim Morrissy)

Summary of the party’s written goals/ethos and a statement from them regarding recent criticism of one of their updated tenets.

The JCP noted that Japan is regarded internationally as a leader in producing graphic child pornography, and stated that it aims to protect freedom of expression and privacy while also working to create a society in which “it is not permitted for children to become the targets of sexual abuse and exploitation.”

One of the common responses to the statement was the question of whether the two stances contradicted one another, particularly in consideration of the JCP’s historical policy. In 2010, committee members from the JCP voted against a revision of the controversial Youth Healthy Development Ordinance bill in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly to regulate sexualized depictions of “nonexistent youths.”

In a follow-up statement on October 18, the JCP claimed that its current stance is not contradictory. An unofficial translated version of the statement is below:

As stated in the “7. Women and Gender” section of our policy document, the JCP believes that child pornography is the worst form of “sexual commodification,” as well as the worst form of sexual abuse and exploitation of children. Therefore, it must be eliminated from society.

At the same time, as expressed in the “60. Culture” section, we are opposed to any movement to impose legal restrictions on manga and anime under the guise of restricting “child pornography.”

The fact that the definition of child pornography has been changed to “depictions of child sexual abuse and sexual exploitation” in the “Women and Gender” policy has led some to believe that we have changed our previous policy on whether the creative expressions in manga and anime should be subject to legal restrictions, but this is not the case.

VIDEO: Listicle of high-profile Black cosplayers who have contributed to or uplifted other members of the community.

VIDEO: Recommendations of yuri titles “for grown-ups.”

VIDEO: Breakdown of common forms of harassment Black cosplayers face.

THREAD: Response to a recent comment from the Organization of Transformative Works characterizing calls for additional tools to combat racist harassment of fans of color as agitation by “outside groups” rather than fellow fans.

AniFem Community

After two whole years of a dedicated contingent of people being weird about it sight unseen, here’s a thread of clips of High Guardian Spice being apparently, shock, a pretty nice cartoon for 10-year-olds.

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