Weekly Round-Up, 21-27 February 2024: Your Name Producer Arrested, Japan’s Stand-Up Comedy Scene, and AI Subtitles

By: Anime Feminist February 27, 20240 Comments
Mr Villain holding up his hand with a giant STOP written in the background

AniFem Round-Up

Unlovely Complex: Social Justice, Misogyny, and the Lovely Complex Dub

A recent post by Brendan Blaber about “fixing” Lovely Complex through the dubbing process underlined a double standard common in the way messy women are critiqued

Roland Kelts on Blade Runner: Black Lotus, the influence of shoujo, and 18 years of Japanamerica

Kelts’ Japanamerica was one of the first books looking at anime’s influence in the US, and he’s still writing on the Japan/US cross-cultural relationship today.

What’s your favorite bit of rare or unusual merch?

Show them off!

Beyond AniFem

In sanitarium, Korean tanka poet ‘read’ braille with his tongue (The Asahi Shimbun, Tomoko Takaki)

Kim Ha-il was born in Japanese-occupied Korea and lived much of his life in a Japanese sanitarium due to being diagnosed with Hansen’s disease.

Even though the disease robbed Kim of his eyesight and the use of his fingers, he was determined to teach himself to read to satisfy his craving for books.

Kim developed his own method after learning about a fellow blind person who had lost both hands in the war and was using their lips to read braille.

His tongue often became chafed and sometimes bloodstained due to the poor quality of paper he licked. Kim’s mastery of reading with his tongue inspired others to learn.

Under colonial rule, Kim was classified as “Japanese.” But after the war, his status changed to “ethnic Korean in Japan.”

Besides encountering discrimination as a Hansen’s disease patient, he was also treated as an outcast at the sanitarium for being ethnic Korean.

Marked for discrimination because of his cultural background and then his disease, Kim turned to tanka to reflect on the absurdity of his situation and as a way to unclutter his feelings for his native land.

Sympathy Kiss Otome Review – Find Your Work/Love Balance (Blerdy Otome, Naja)

The game is calibrated for a much more low-stakes slice-of-life experience.

Though, you aren’t punished for favoring either Love or Work. Each option yield their own unique endings. The Love ends favor Akari’s romance and usually involve her work life taking a small hit. While the Work ends prioritize Akari’s career and show her reaching new heights in the workplace. It’s a cool concept and very fitting given the setting.

Storywise, Sympathy Kiss is somewhere between a K-drama and a run of the mill Voltage Inc. otome. Not a dig at Voltage, but some of the routes feel a bit half baked, if you know what I mean. There are a lot of clichés and unnecessary dramas in the game, so you’ll either find it entertaining or frustrating. While I loved most of the characters, some routes work better than others. While some just felt kind of one note. Because the routes are short, some of the problems are wrapped up too quickly without fully dealing with pesky things like consequences. And others just go nowhere.

Because Sympathy Kiss is a slice-of-life story, there really aren’t any huge stakes. So, the conflicts don’t always have the appropriate weight to them because you know from the start that everything is going to end on a high note regardless of the drama in the routes. The writing in the individual routes is at times inconsistent, some routes are really good and others could have done with a little more time in the oven (or not exist at all). Sympathy Kiss kind of feels more like a pay per route mobile otome game than a bigger budget Otomate release. Which has its charm, but can be a bit frustrating if you’re expecting a more polished story. So, you’re mileage may vary.

For Comedian Yuki Nivez, Japanese Comedy Has Some Issues (Unseen Japan, Yuki Nivez)

Nivez on how she got into comedy and her philosophy for joke writing.

On top of existing inequality (Japan ranked 125th out of 146 countries in gender equality rankings in 2023) and sexist culture, Technology has brought forward new threats. Deep fake porn, doxing, online stalking, etc. Just more things for us to worry about.

And a large proportion of victims of such harassment are women. I’m still struggling with how to handle this reality in comedy, as I’m no stranger to being a victim of these crimes.

Some things are so normalized in society that their oppressive natures are almost invisible. Women are often oversexualized and objectified just for existing, but when a woman expresses her sexuality on her own terms, or embraces her beauty, she’s shamed and “humbled.” In a misogynistic culture, a woman’s sexuality is often only accepted when exploited, and that’s how autonomy is robbed.

Many of my jokes purposely challenge this culture of double standards and slut shaming.

While lookism and agism affect everyone, women are affected disproportionately harsher. We have all seen talented female actors get criticized and ridiculed for aging, which pressures them into getting cosmetic procedures. But when they do, they’re made fun of for that, too. It’s an impossible double bind that robs women of their freedom.

Azuki Adds New Manga Series, Here’s a Quick Overview (Black Nerd Problems, Carrie McClain)

The digital service seems to have added some yuri and BL titles.

Lost Youth by Akeru Asahi, distributed by MediBang: Aine Misabashi, a cheerful high school girl, has a massive crush on her popular childhood friend, Riku Shirota. She also has a beautiful best friend who she calls “Princess.” But one day Aine sees Riku kissing another girl. Moreover, the girl that he kissed is… Is there any purity in this tangled friendship and romantic relationship? What will Aine do when another important person to her also has a feeling towards her… Lost Youth is a magnificent debut work by Akeru Asahi about a bold and delicate girl’s romance in high school that will leave you shocked!

This looks like it will appeal to fans of : Yuri, school life romances and alllll the drama

Crunchyroll CEO Says A.I. Generated Subtitles Are “Definitely an Area We’re Focused On” (CBR, Chike Nwaenie)

Looks like another way to pay workers less.

Crunchyroll CEO Rahul Purini says A.I.-generated subtitles are an area that the streaming service is currently “very focused on testing” — perhaps to the dismay of some anime-viewing audiences.

Purini sat down with The Verge for an hour-long interview, where he discussed how Crunchyroll could become a more attractive option for anime fans. One solution was increased development in A.I.-generated subtitles, where Purini said, “A.I. is definitely something we think about at a lot of different workflows in the organization. Right now, one of the areas we’re very focused on testing is subtitling and our closed captioning where we go from speech to text. ‘How do we improve and optimize our processes where we can get the subtitles done in various languages across the world faster so that we can launch as close to the Japanese release as possible?'” he outlined. “So that’s definitely an area that we’re focused on.”

Corporate-Owned Journalism Is Dead, Long Live Independent Sites (Aftermath, Nathan Grayson)

Two hour podcast discussion (only partial transcript available).

On this episode we’re joined by former io9 staffer Lin Codega, who just launched Rascal, an already-very-good new independent outlet dedicated to journalism around tabletop roleplaying games. We begin by discussing the aforementioned grim tidings before learning more about Rascal and the world of tabletop roleplaying in general. It’s not just D&D, though Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast would certainly like you to think that. This leads to a truly illuminating discussion of the tabletop roleplaying scene, writing that’s been done about it, and the conflicts of interest that arise when developers are – more often than not – just one person designing rules in their bedroom and the relationship between publications and developers is more symbiotic than in other mediums. 

After that, we discuss Elden Ring’s long-awaited Shadow Of The Erdtree expansion – which contains (and is contained by) an Egg – as well as divisive non-video game True Detective before transitioning more naturally than you’d expect into a talk about Final Fantasy VII spoilers and remakes that aren’t just remakes. Lastly, before we sign off, we go deeper than I thought we would on both Starship Troopers and the impact Twitch, YouTube, and TikTok have on cultural literacy around games. It’s a jam-packed episode! Enjoy!  

Couples who ended marriages to sue state over 1-surname rule (The Asahi Shimbun, Kazufumi Kaneko and Chifumi Shinya)

The couple in question are still together but divorced as a way to keep separate surnames.

This will be the third group lawsuit seeking the right to use dual surnames.

The Grand Bench of the Supreme Court ruled in 2015 and 2021 that the one-surname system is constitutional.

Of the 15 justices, five wrote dissenting opinions in 2015 and four did so in 2021, stating that the system was unconstitutional.

The plaintiffs’ lawyers said social conditions have changed.

They cited recent public opinion polls showing that about 87 percent of young people are in favor of a system that allows married couples to use dual surnames.

In addition, an increasing number of local assemblies have adopted written opinions calling for the introduction of a dual-surname system. In January this year, Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) called for changes to the one-name policy.

“The ball has been passed to the legislature many times, but the Diet has not moved,” Makiko Terahara, one of the group’s lawyers, said. “I hope that this time, the judiciary will decide that the legislation is unconstitutional.”

Police Arrest your name. Producer Kouichirou Itou on Suspicion of Soliciting Minor for Nude Photos (Updated) (Anime News Network, Rafael Antonio Pineda)

Shinkai released a statement on Twitter in the days after the arrest.

Wakayama Prefectural Police arrested 52-year-old anime producer Kouichirou Itou for allegedly soliciting a 15-year-old high school girl living in Nagano for nude pictures of herself. Itou admitted to the charge, though according to authorities he claimed that he had “done it with other people, so [he couldn’t] tell if it was this girl or not.”

According to the authorities, Itou asked the girl for the pictures in September 2021, with full knowledge that the girl was a minor at the time. Police said that Itou’s alleged crime was discovered as part of a different prostitution investigation. The police are investigating if there are other victims that were involved with Itou.

Takarazuka Revue director to quit post after actress’s death (The Mainichi)

The deceased is believed to have lost her life to suicide following prolonged harassment.

The troupe released a report in November, admitting she was under a heavy psychological burden due to long working hours and scolding by senior members. But it said it did not confirm bullying or harassment.

Following criticism from the bereaved family, the parent company conducted an internal probe and acknowledged harassment had taken place.

Sumi has been a director of the revue since March 2014. In December, he stepped down as president of the Takarazuka Music School but has been one of its directors since.

Film director Sakaki arrested over suspected sexual assault (The Asahi Shimbun, Minami Endo)

The director’s most recent film, which focused on familial sexual abuse, was cancelled after accusations of sexual assault.

Film director Hideo Sakaki was arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting an aspiring actress after asking to talk with her privately on the pretext of giving acting advice.

Sakaki, 53, has denied the allegations, saying it is a false accusation, police said.

The Feb. 20 arrest came nearly two years after the premiere of his film was canceled following sexual violence allegations made against the director by several other actresses.

According to the Metropolitan Police Department, Sakaki is suspected of sexually assaulting a woman in her 20s in Tokyo’s Minato Ward on the night of May 23, 2016.

AniFem Community

Special shoutout to the AniFem Discord this week for sharing some excellent photos.

My itty-bitty Kisara figure... the one and only piece of merch I've ever been able to find of her

We Need Your Help!

We’re dedicated to paying our contributors and staff members fairly for their work—but we can’t do it alone.

You can become a patron for as little as $1 a month, and every single penny goes to the people and services that keep Anime Feminist running. Please help us pay more people to make great content!

Comments are open! Please read our comments policy before joining the conversation and contact us if you have any problems.

%d bloggers like this: