Kara Dennison shares her approach to the ethical dilemmas translators face when adapting older media with outdated or even harmful elements.
Stephanie Gertsch explains the shoujo standby of the Vindictive Other Woman and how Princess Tutu rejects it by making Rue a complex, sympathetic co-lead.
Mercedez, Caitlin, and Dee return to the 2001 lady-led battle shounen.
Decade-old properties are getting sequels all over the place, you have a chance.
5 Free Indie Otome Games You Should Be Playing (Blerdy Otome)
Short descriptions and links to further reading on five free titles.
I don’t know about you dear readers, but hobbies can be pretty expensive! I can’t even begin to tell you how much I spent on manga just last month alone, but even that pales in comparison to the amount of games I buy each month. Most indie games are pretty cheap, anywhere from two bucks to $25, and some of the more mainstream releases can sometime take you back $40 or more and that can add up! Not everyone has the disposable income to buy every new game that comes out, and no that doesn’t mean I condone piracy, because NO.
But, rather than pirating a game, there are some free indie game options that are just as good if not more so than the bigger budget games on the market—and who doesn’t like saving a bit of cash and getting a quality game? So, whether you’re an avid gamer or someone who plays only a handful of games a year, here are some free games that’ll be a welcome addition to your gaming library.
Wonder Egg Priority: Trauma and Tribulations (Anime Herald, Patrick O’Loghlen)
An article in praise of WEP’s handling of trauma and mental illness.
The experience of dealing with trauma is also not softened to relate it to more conventional, easy-to-digest struggles. The full experience is shared to the viewer, even the aspects that can make a character unlikeable. We see the scars that Rika gets from self-harming. But unlike the more kind and compassionate Kaoru whose self-loathing comes largely from the cruelty of others, Rika herself can be unnecessarily cruel towards others. As an idol, Rika notices her fan, Chiemi, shoplifting to get into her handshake events. Rika doesn’t dissolve the toxic relationship logically, but instead chooses to berate and body shame Chiemi to a point where she goes home and starves herself to death.
These moments are uncomfortable, but add believability. The main cast are only 14 years old, and the series understands that their young age means they will inevitably make harmfully bad decisions while trying to work through their trauma. While I’ve never done something quite that destructive, I regret how I worked through my frustrations as a teenager. Much like Shoya in Yoshitoki Oima’s manga A Silent Voice, I found gratification in seeing a deeply flawed youth be allowed to make mistakes and then make things right.
Women Get Horny, Too: A Look at the Evolving Otome Genre (Mature) (Yatta-Tachi, Kaley Connell)
The framing of this article is somewhat ace-exclusive, but it includes a solid history of adult otome games.
Well, that depends on the market. Kalmia8 has two other published titles that could be picked up and localized, as well as a fifth that’s in production. And while English gamers only have two mainstream titles to choose from, Japan has dozens. We can see that there is an increase in demand for Otome games of all sorts from ports of Vita titles to the Switch, a consistent stream of new titles being announced by multiple companies, and more tangibly, MangaGamer’s yearly surveys. From the last few years alone, they’ve seen a large increase for Otome titles spanning from T to AO ratings, with many of them getting enough traction to make their Top 20 Requested Games list. 2019 alone contained six Otome titles. But when it comes to actually getting these games translated and released, only time will tell. Either way, as an avid Otome lover, it’s nice to see the genre breaking out into a wider market. More options for players can only lead to good things, such as seeing more titles released in the West, and I am excited to see how much larger the genre can grow.
Nier Replicant’s Daredevil Trophy Is Unnecessary And Transphobic (The Gamer, Jade King)
The achievement involves the player trying to look under an intersex character’s skirt, an addition at odds with the themes of the actual game.
Kaine’s body being perceived as a secret for players to ogle at in service of virtual gratification also draws a stark comparison to problems in the real world. We live in a society where intersex and transgender people can be harmed for simply being who they are – whether it means presenting in a certain way or not being ashamed of whatever is in their pants. It’s who we are, but that hasn’t stopped us from being assaulted, harassed, or even murdered by people who feel like they’ve been tricked or lied to after uncovering we aren’t who they thought we were.
The Daredevil Trophy only serves to perpetuate dangerous attitudes surrounding intersex and transgender people that have a tangible impact in reality. It’s not only a huge slap in the face to Kaine’s character, but to players who have looked to Yoko Taro’s work as a place where they can belong and feel accepted. Deep down, I feel like this is just a mistake – Taro has spoken about his support for diverse identities in the past, and throwing such support under the bus in service of a goofy joke would be a colossal misstep.
Eternally 23: Remembering the Creative Works of Osamu Kobayashi (Anime News Network, Dawn H.)
In memorium of the recently passed director.
Not too long after, in 2005, he brought a similar magic to his adaptation of yet another coming of age drama: this time, Ai Yazawa‘s incredibly stylish josei romance, Paradise Kiss. While fashion is a major part of the story, Kobayashi understood just how closely music and fashion can be tied together, especially for this series in particular. The best example being the character Arashi, who Yazawa drew to be a punk in both fashion sense and musical taste. Kobayashi’s slight changes to Arashi’s anime counterpart made him feel much more like a “real” punk: the way he slouched while walking, even the way he talked and sang. It was Kobayashi’s idea to cast musician Shunsuke Mizutani for the role, rather than a big name voice actor, which brought all of this together to really make this version of Arashi feel more natural. Famously, Ai Yazawa wasn’t pleased to hear about these changes, especially the idea of an inexperienced voice actor taking on the role. But after seeing a few episodes of the anime, she admitted that he had indeed made the right choice. His interpretation of a series about a young woman trying to find her own identity through the world of art, fashion, music, and modeling made the anime for Paradise Kiss another stand-out work for Kobayashi, and another series fans still praise to this day for its beauty and heart.
‘Yasuke’ Review: A Fantasy Retelling of Japan’s First Black Samurai (Black Nerd Problems, Garrett Green)
Short review of the new Netflix series.
LaKeith Stanfield captures a stoic and beaten down Yasuke well, but it can at times be a little one note. There are times where a scene calls for some emotion, and it feels he just sticks with being quiet. Now, we all KNOW LaKeith Stanfield can act no question. So, it feels like the fault lies within the direction. It’s a weird choice that doesn’t always work. Maya Tanida does hold her as the first sick and then outgoing Saki against Stanfield’s Yasuke. Without giving too much away, she has the most complete arc within the show.
Yasuke is a fun and beautiful show with a hodgepodge of interesting ideas that just never fully come together. It’s still an enjoyable tale of redemption and empowerment that should be watched. Hopefully if we ever get more, it’ll dive more into the actual history of Yasuke and give us more development. There’s so much more to do with this character, and his stories definitely deserve to be told.
Delicate Goods: The Ornamental Objectification of Asian American Women in Pop Culture (Bitch Media, Sarah Wang)
Retrospective on Gwen Stefani’s “Harajuku Girls,” four Asian-American backup dancers who served mainly as accessories.
Stefani is no better. In fastening the Harajuku Girls’ look to her reputation, she churns couture out of people, commodifying Asian women as literal accessories—stylish additions and improvements to her image. The allure of the yellow woman doesn’t hail from her physical sexuality but emanates from the style her personhood has congealed into. The yellow woman doesn’t look exotic; she is the look itself. She is neither mere flesh nor mere object. Stefani holds the Harajuku Girls close to adorn herself; they clearly hold visual appeal, but they are only pretty enough to sparkle Stefani’s image, removable the moment they give the impression of tarnishing. Likewise, Kardashian invited Suganami to the promotional photo shoot but knew to position herself above Suganami, who, in this context, is just a prop. The Harajuku Girls and Suganami were prized only for face value, recognized for a merit detached from their humanity. Like an ornament, the yellow woman’s place is merely for show, sheerly insignificant.
TWEET: Release announcement of a cyberpunk TTRPG consulted on by our own Chiaki Hirai.
TWEET: Ad for a Black-owned anime-themed cosmetics brand.
TWEET: Info on an upcoming book by Adorned by Chi’s Jacque Aye.
Someday, AniFam. Someday.