Weekly Round-Up, 21-27 October 2020: Onyx Equinox, Fandom Post in Peril, and Noir Caesar on Mobile

By: Anime Feminist October 27, 20200 Comments
a girl in a bear onesie smirking at a blankly smiling cleric girl

AniFem Round-Up

My Fave is Problematic: Phantom Thief Jeanne

Latonya Pennington revisits the 90s magical girl series that stood out with its lovable thief heroine, and the romanticized assault from its love interests that drag the fun down.

D4DJ First Mix – Episode 1

A 2D/3D DJ idol mashup with endearing exuberance.

A Swing and a Miss: The mixed-up feminism of Princess Nine

Dee looks at how this 1998 lady-led sports anime often smartly depicts sexism & challenges gender norms but falls back into its own gendered assumptions in a frustrating final act.

Chatty AF 127: Live Action Hot Gimmick Drinkalong

Caitlin, Chiaki, and Megan D. drink their way through a bad adaptation of a worse manga.

Resources and Fundraisers: October 2020

Feminist-relevant news and hiring/donation info outside the purview of fandom links.

Beyond AniFem

The Fandom Post Has Three Months Left To Live (The Fandom Post, Chris Beveridge)

A plea for financial aid from one of the oldest anime criticism sites still running.

Having started things back in 1998 and gone through a few transitions, we’ve been one of the more reliable destinations when it comes to the anime sphere for a couple of decades now. But now we’re at a point where I’m basically pleading with you to help us to reach the poverty line in my state in order to keep doing what we’re doing in providing news, commentary, reviews, and more for the world of anime and manga and a lot of other areas.

The reality is simple; there’s no money in advertising at this point anymore. I’ve run a slew of Amazon ads for the past year and have made $75 total from it. Anime and manga publishers and distributors aren’t advertising unless it’s something that’s more in the mainstream realm. Hell, you’ve got AT&T looking to shed Crunchyroll entirely at one point earlier this year with all their mergers. Most companies are “bought up” into other entities and while I always like to think we were one of the ones that came to the dance with everyone back at the advent or DVD and through to Blu-ray and streaming, we know they’re not the ones we’re going home with. We work with them plenty but there’s no advertising to be had there to help sustain and put food on the table.

I’ve burned through my savings this past year while trying to figure out options and work different approaches. I’m down to my last real way of doing things at this point and that’s Patreon.

In Japan, ‘Theater for the People’ Makes Fandom a Part of the Show (Atlas Obscura, Will Stewart)

An overview of the improvisational, parasocial taishū engeki.

A troupe will work collaboratively to plan its shows, but the zachou is generally the main draw, and the figure who appears on posters. It might be hard to tell behind the eccentric makeup and flowing wigs, but most of the performers here are men, and cross-dressing is often a part of their act. “I love the dressing up,” says Taka-san. “I like that the performers are free.” (Some women perform, but rarely dress as men.)

As lighthearted as the shows can be, the work itself can be grueling. Troupes are always on the road, perform twice daily, and are allowed only one day of rest each month. They usually sleep on the theater grounds, and at the end of the month, they rotate to a new theater. After the first show of the day, performers take a quick lunch on stage together, and then they move straight into preparations for the evening show. Every day is different, with a new script, dances, and costumes on display to woo a returning crowd.

When asked where they find the time to actually plan for shows, the performers don’t seem to know. “We synchronize and introduce new elements all the time,” says Shinya-san. “We spend so much time performing together, a lot of it happens spontaneously.” Being accepted into a troupe can be a dream come true for any young aspiring performer, but many quit within a few years. The backstage reality behind the glitz and glamour can quickly become too much.

Geekspanic Heritage Month: Onyx Equinox with Showrunner Sofia Alexander (But Why Tho?, Kate Sánchez)

Podcast interview with the showrunner of the upcoming Crunchyroll original.

To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, we got the chance to speak with the series’ creator Sofia Alexander about how her childhood in Mexico inspired the creation of the series, its shonen elements, and how she aimed to dispel harmful stereotypes associated with indigenous culture, specifically Mesoamerican.

Alexander explained how she grew up walking in the place where once great civilizations once stood and how she aimed to not just recreate their myth in Onyx Equinox, but their daily life. Additionally, she explains how it was important to present a story not dictated by the colonial gaze and instead showcase the culture that she is connected to. In speaking with Alexander, we got a chance to talk about indigenous identity and how many of us can not to connect to our ancestors due to colonization and where her series stands in reteaching Mersoamerican culture and storytelling to viewers, or in many cases, teaching them for the first time. Plus, Alexander dives into the research that went into Onyx Equinox, how she created the places of her childhood, and how it connected her to her family.

Finally, we dig into the traditional anime influences from shonen series like Saint Saiya on Onyx Equinox, the ways that Izel exemplifies the shonen hero, and how he breaks the mold. But perhaps my favorite part of the interview, which is appropriate for the fast-approaching Dia de Muertos is our discussion on death, and how our Mesoamerican past influences how Mexicans deal with death.

Okinawa women document U.S. military sex crimes in book (The Asahi Shimbun, Mika Kuniyoshi)

The book, meant to spread awareness of an ongoing issue, is still being updated with new crimes.

The 350 cases include those where the victims had no access to a fair trial because Okinawa was under the U.S. military’s control at the time. They also include sexual assaults not pursued as criminal cases and attacks where victims came forward years later to report their grisly experiences.

The civic group, which calls itself Okinawan Women Act Against Military Violence, compiled the booklet to document sexual assault cases involving U.S. troops to draw public attention to the issue. Based in Naha, it was founded in the immediate wake of the September 1995 rape of an elementary schoolgirl by three U.S. servicemen.

The incident sparked outrage in Okinawa Prefecture and elsewhere in Japan, leading to one of the largest rallies ever in the prefecture against the U.S. military. An estimated 85,000 people gathered in a park in Ginowan on Oct. 21, 1995, in protest.

It shed light on sex crimes committed by members of the U.S. military, a problem not embedded into the collective consciousness until then–despite the suffering of many Okinawan women over the decades.

Chibith0t Interview: “Black People in Nerd Spaces Inspire Me!” (Black Nerd Problems, Oona Sura)

One of several interviews with cosplayers on BNP this week.

Chibith0t: Black people in nerd spaces inspire me. I think seeing people that look like me at the developers table, the artist table, the esports table, the voice actor/talent/host, whatever it may be, inspires me. It’s always inspiring seeing that that is possible and happening because society likes to make it seem like Black people in those spaces are taboo or rare. Whenever I get messages like “Thank you so much for posting your cosplay! I never thought I could cosplay this character, because I’m Black.” I always instantly know that what I’m doing is important and that inspires me to continue. I started cosplaying by seeing people like Sami Bess, Kay Bear, and Cutiepie Sensei posting their work. Seeing girls that looked like me creating such awesome art inspired me to try myself so seeing that come full circle is the most fulfilling. 

Where Are All The Fat Queer Video Game Characters? (Gayming Magazine, Aimee Hart)

Though queer rep is expanding, it still only honors a very narrow physicality.

The LGBT+ community in video games has grown over time – just look at the inclusion of Dina in The Last of Us Part 2, and the various characters in The Waylanders – but the fact is that attractiveness is only considered that when the characters are thin. It’s a problem that’s rife in real-life queer spaces, so it’s certainly isolating to see progressive game studios stating that they are doing well in regards to representation when every queer character shown may not look like you at all. This is troubling, as at least gay men have an appreciation – and slang – for chubby gay men. Bears and cubs are cute. Fat, queer women, as far as I’m aware, do not have that same adorable slang – and that already says a lot. Which is why video game developers must sit back and ask themselves: why does physical attraction only seem valuable if it’s white, thin, and able-bodied?

Of course, there are games out there that are doing it right. Dream Daddy’s Brian is apologetically queer and fat, and it’s never rubbed in his face as a negative thing. He is just Brian, the guy who loves his daughter and likes to fish. Same with Gloria from As We Know It, she’s a sweet, adventurous Community Affairs Supervisor who just wants to learn new things and make people feel welcome. Both of them are written in a way that doesn’t make their size a cruel joke, and instead actually looks portrays them as attractive, and treats them like people instead of a punchline. It’s so simple, so easy to do, and yet so many games fail to do so because stereotypes are what, easier to fall into?

TWEET: Individual suing the Nagasaki Board of Education after she was sexually assaulted seeking funds to pay legal fees.

TWEET: Announcement for upcoming interview with Li Kotomi.

TWEET: Announcement of upcoming Noir Caesar mobile app.

TWEET: Preorder announcement for critical race fan studies book FANDOM, NOW IN COLOR.

AniFem Community

In addition to this month’s resource post, here’s info on the Philly Bail Fund, as new protests have started following the murder of Walter Wallace Jr.

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