Weekly Round-Up, 23 February – 1 March, 2022: Ranking of Kings Controversy, Elden Ring Character Creator, and Travel Ban Lifted

By: Anime Feminist March 1, 20220 Comments
a green-haired girl chomping playfully on a red-haired girl's cheek

AniFem Round-Up

I Like Your Style: How The Prince of Tennis helped me shape my butch fashion sense

Natalie Schriefer shares how in an era with a dearth of butch female role models in fiction, the world of shounen tennis players came to her rescue.

All My Darling Daughters and the need for working women’s success and failure stories

Jessie H. explores how Yoshinaga Fumi’s beloved one-shot tells stories of women who couldn’t beat odds stacked against them, and how they’re no less sympathetic for it.

Trans Children in Texas and Ukrainian Resources

This month, a dual resource post: Assisting Texan trans youth in the wake of Governor Abbott’s order, and the crisis in Ukraine.

Beyond AniFem

Viewer Debates Resurface Arounds Alleged Japan-Korea Colonization Allegory in Ranking of Kings (Anime News Network, Kim Morrissy)

Visual parallels recent episode of the series’ evoked anti-Korean dog whistles in particular to many viewers.

In the series, the Gyakuza are depicted as deceitful people who betray the Houma’s kindness. Later, history is rewritten so that the Gyakuza only remember the Houma as one-sidedly evil oppressors when they were simply trying to help by giving them magic. However, the Gyakuza have no answer when asked why the Houma built schools and hospitals if they were so apparently evil.

One comment dated from December 2019 described Ranking of Kings as “a poorly thought-out manga that projects an internet right-winger’s image of Korea onto a group of fictional people.” Another wrote, “I hope Koreans read this and see the truth about themselves.”

However, other comments disagreed with the interpretation, with one user remarking: “At first glance, I did not see the parallels at all. This says more about the reader [than it does about the work].”

Manga creator Sōsuke Tōka issued no comment on the chapters in question.

These debates have resurfaced as Wit Studio‘s anime adaptation covered one of the corresponding manga chapters in episode 18. Some viewers have pointed out that the background art depicted in the anime appear to resemble historical photos of Korea before and after Japanese colonization.

Elden Ring’s character creator fails Black players (The Verge, Ash Parrish)

The character creator is more robust than past Soulsbornes but has only one Black hair option (a short afro).

Character creators are also a place in which I am uniquely made aware of my race. Make no mistake, America delights in reminding me daily that I am a Black woman and that it, through the systems that spawned and continue to define it, utterly hates me and other marginalized people. Character creators contribute to that weird feeling of awareness of one’s “difference” through the options its developers deem worthy of inclusion. Hair is one of those options. Nothing makes me feel more different than when a game fails to include at least some kinky hairstyles. A game will, as Elden Ring does, have over 20 different styles of straight hair, accounting for different lengths, styles of curl, parts, braids, even the complete absence of hair. But will it not include a type that an entire continent of people have? That math is not mathing.

Elden Ring’s hair omission is glaring within its own system. How is it that I, through the prolific number of sliders and color wheels, can create the proudest-looking, Negro nose with Jackson 5 nostril-having character who ever walked the Lands Between, but I can’t give her baby hairs to match?

This isn’t just an Elden Ring problem; it’s a video game problem. For many years, players of color have had to mod in things like kinky hairstyles and better, more authentic-looking skin tones in order to have the kind of representation that white players get by default. Games with a customizable protagonist are nearly always represented with a white-passing avatar. And when games do include Black hairstyles, it’s almost always only a fade and an afro, which are the go-to styles whenever a character creator wants to give the appearance of inclusivity while not actually being all that inclusive. (Looking at you, Mass Effect.)

Mixed-gender bathing at risk due to lecherous ‘crocodile’ men (The Asahi Shimbun, Akina Nishi)

Some bathhouses have begun offering bathing suits for mixed baths, but still face low attendance due to fears about harassment.

Officials with the Tohoku Regional Environmental Office said mixed baths in the northern Tohoku region have a “high historical and cultural value” because laws and regulations, including the Hotel Business Law, effectively prohibit businesses from creating new ones.

No official statistics are available on the number of mixed baths, but hot spring expert Kyoko Kitade said mixed bathing was practiced at only about 500 hot spring inns and communal baths across Japan in 2021, down from 1,200 or so in 1993.

Many hot spring inns have ended the practice partly because of the emergence of male bathers who eagerly await women and fix a lecherous gaze upon them.

Such men are called “crocodiles” in spa industry jargon because they look like crocodiles hiding in the water and staring at their prey.

Sukayu Onsen has not been spared from the nuisance of “crocodiles” and is taking preventive measures of its own, such as designating separate bathing sections for men and women.

Grand Jury Advances 8 Felony Charges Against Former Jujutsu Kaisen Manga Translator Stefan Koza, Trial Set for June (Anime News Network, Crystalyn Hodgkins)

Koza was arrested in 2020 on the current charges and was previously arrested in 2014.

Content Warning: The below article contains references to child pornography.

A grand jury in Fairfax County, Virginia advanced eight felony charges against former Jujutsu Kaisen manga translator Stefan Koza (34) on December 20. Each of the counts is for possession of child pornography, and each count is for a separate video.

The case first went through the Fairfax County General District Court, and then moved to the Fairfax County Circuit Court for the grand jury indictment. A Fairfax County Circuit Court representative confirmed with ANN a three-day jury trial is set to start on June 7. According to the Fairfax County General District Court, attorney Dickson Young is representing Koza. ANN reached out to Young, who declined to comment stating he does not comment on pending cases.

Ukrainian woman in Japan calls for global attention on crisis in homeland (The Mainichi, Atsuko Nakata and Shinya Yamamoto)

Japan is currently welcoming Ukrainian refugee applicants even if they don’t fit Japan’s standard requirements for approval.

Russia’s latest military operation has cast a shadow over local authorities’ projects in Hyogo Prefecture, including an internship program inviting university students from Ukraine.

In Kobe, the municipal government was forced to suspend a plan to build a system for securing talented IT personnel from Ukraine. The city has focused on Ukraine, dubbed the “Silicon Valley of eastern Europe,” as a supplier of IT engineers who are highly coveted across the globe.

To this end, the Kobe Municipal Government has forged relations with IT companies and polytechnic colleges in Ukraine by way of the Embassy of Ukraine in Japan. Under the city’s internship program, Ukrainian university students would work for companies in Kobe for one to two weeks.

Japan removes entry ban on foreigners, but not for tourists (The Asahi Shimbun)

This comes in the wake of protests from foreign nationals separated from loved ones or prevented from continuing their studies for months.

Japan on March 1 lifted its COVID-19-related entry ban on foreign travelers and raised the maximum daily number of entrants from 3,500 to 5,000.

Foreign nationals can now visit Japan for business purposes, as well as students, technical interns and others. Foreign tourists, however, will still be denied entry to the country.

The mandatory self-isolation period was also shortened if the entrants meet certain conditions.

In principle, entrants are still required to isolate for seven days at home or a designated facility.

But their isolation period can end if they test negative for the virus on the third day.

Anime Studio White Fox Apologizes For Alleged Gender Discriminatory Hiring Practices (Updated) (Anime News Network, Kim Morrissy)

WHITE FOX is best known for animating Re:ZERO and Steins;Gate.

ANN confirmed that 2019 caches of the recruitment page specified a “woman under the age of 26.” The page now states “a person under the age of 30” as of press time.

In a series of tweets the studio’s representative director Gaku Iwasa personally wrote, he explained that the company had advertised the position in this way since the company’s inception, and that the company has “just learned the existence of the Equal Employment Opportunity Law.”

The law, which was passed in Japan in 1972, requires equal employment opportunities for men and women.

TWEET: Notice that as of 3/1, GMG Union will be on strike.

TWEET: Link to a book discussing fascism in Japan during World War II.

THREAD: Breakdown and context links around the most recent article debunking Ramseyer’s article falsely alleging comfort women were consensually contracted sex workers.

AniFem Community

We encourage readers to share additional resources regarding this month’s resource post in the comments. In regards to Ukraine in particular, please note that there is extensive counter-information and spam going around in an attempt to muddy the waters in regards to the violence Russia is perpetrating against Ukraine – trust, but verify!

Editor’s Note: this article was updated after publication to remove a Kotaku article and add information about the GMG Union strike that began on 3/1. We thank our readers for bringing this to our attention and apologize for the oversight.

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