Weekly Round-Up, 24-30 May 2023: Fushigi Yugi Flashback, Official Takarazuka Livestream, and Translating Indie Games

By: Anime Feminist May 31, 20230 Comments
Eve hits a golf ball so hard it shatters a rainbow

AniFem Round-Up

Sharp Blades, Soft Frills: Femme rebellion in lolita fashion, Japan.

Scholar Megan Catherine Rose details the fashion movement’s origins, its counter-cultural importance, and the inclusive spaces that have been built within it.

Sins of Her Fathers, Strength of Her Mothers: How Jolyne Cujoh inherited her foremothers’ legacy

Jolyne is the franchise’s first female protagonist, but she’s just as shaped by the unsung women who came before her as the leading men.

Chatty AF 185: Death Parade Retrospective – Part 1

Caitlin, Cy, and Toni celebrate the 10th anniversary of a cult classic by Mob Psycho 100 director Tachikawa Yuzuru!

What was your first shoujo series?

We all start somewhere.

Beyond AniFem

Deceased Pro Wrestler Hana Kimura’s Mother Criticizes Oshi no Ko Episode 6 (Anime News Network, Richard Eisenbeis)

Kimura Kyoko was not approached by the anime staff for input despite the arc drawing extensively from Kimura Hana’s tragic death to suicide.

Akasaka also stated in the interview, “Talents [entertainers who frequently appear on TV in Japan] can no longer ignore the internet, YouTube has become super popular, movies are watched with subtitles, plays are increasingly based on anime and manga, and there has been an instance of a suicide stemming from a reality show. Considering all those facts, I then decided to take a contemporary subject, something that is happening in the real world of Japanese entertainment today. That was the first concept.”

In the Shūkan Josei Prime interview, Kimura states her wish to find a sort of middle ground where the truth is shared, but the victims are likewise respected. “I don’t mean to blame the author or any specific individual. I just wonder if there was no one who gave it the proper consideration before releasing it out into the world. That’s what makes me sad. Because it raises important issues, I would like to support a work like Oshi no Ko. However, I don’t think it needs to be done in a way that makes people who have actually been victimized on social media suffer when they see it.”

Fushigi Yugi’s Nuriko: Blue Hair and Pronouns Twenty Years ago… (Centre Spot Translations, Miriam Rachael)

A 2003 statement from the manga’s translator on writing around Nuriko’s gender (contains major spoilers for Fushigi Yugi).

Did I mention this was twenty years ago? Literally. The sixth volume of Animerica Extra ran in 2003, and it’s… yeah, it’s 2023 now.

Oniki’s reply was perfect, almost could have been written today. Respectful, rational, and reasonable. This was a translator who knew their craft, and knew the trans community. I think it was the first time I saw the word “transgender,” over “transsexual,” and the first time I heard someone speak positively about the trans community.
But you know… I think Rinoa’s comment also could have been written today. I’m not going to bother posting an example, you can find them easy enough by searching “Bridgett,” and “trans,” on twitter. Seems there’s been “big fans,” pushing back against “woke,” translators and assuming they know better than people who have trained for this job for at least twenty years.

Fushigi Yugi began serialization in Japan in December of 1991, when its creator Yuu Watase was only twenty-one years old. Watase-sensei was open in her fan columns about purposefully including queer content, and they publicly came out as x-gender themselves eighteen years on may 20, 2019 on twitter.

Nagoya court: Denial of same-sex marriage is unconstitutional (The Asahi Shimbun)

The plaintiffs contend that lack of legal recognition has had not only social but monetary impact (i.e. tax benefits).

Similar lawsuits have been filed in five district courts across the country. This was the fourth ruling among them, but the second to rule that denying same-sex marriages is unconstitutional.

The Sapporo District Court in March 2021 ruled that the denial is unconstitutional and the Tokyo District Court in November 2022 ruled that the lack of a legal system that recognizes same-sex couples as a family is in a “state of unconstitutionality.” 

In June 2022, the Osaka District Court ruled it as constitutional.

In all the lawsuits, the courts denied the compensation claims.

The Fukuoka District Court is scheduled to make a ruling on the case on June 8.

Translator Spotlight: Taylor McCue and Fuglekongerige on He F-cked The Girl Out Of Me (Indie Tsushin)

Dual interview about a trans indie game and the process of localizing it in Japanese (includes discussion of sexual assault, transphobia, and suicide).

How did you feel when you first played He Fucked The Girl Out Of Me? Did your impression change after you finished?

I first started playing feeling pretty casual about it. It’s a popular game, and I figured I should try it. But after the game started and I read some of the opening scenes, I realized that I was not in the right headspace to approach this work, so I stopped playing. But even at that point, the artwork and writing had left a strong impression on me, and I thought I ought to play this eventually, so I gave it some time. I can’t remember when I started playing again, but it had to have been at least a month later. The second time I played it all the way to the end, and was overwhelmed.

There are many impressive aspects of this game. (These are not so much my changing impressions of different playthroughs, so much as a summary of my thoughts after translating the game.) The quiet yet shocking presentation, the distinctive artwork, the Game Boy format, the narrative structure, and so on. But most of all, I was struck by how the narrative starts with abstract expressions and shifts to depictions of real-life events. When portraying the hardship of speaking about trauma, the way the screen shifts from the inner world to events in the past is incredibly powerful. I am convinced that this story can only be told in this format as a game.

Sexually abused at 13, ex-Johnny member adds his name to petition (The Asahi Shimbun; Maki Okubo, a senior staff writer, Amane Shimazaki and Bunna Takizawa)

Four of Kitagawa’s victims are currently petitioning to revise the Child Abuse Prevention Law. Article includes discussion of child sexual abuse.

Explaining the May 26 decision to embark on the petition drive, Hashida asserted that current legislation does not protect children as it only covers sexual abuse on a child under 18 by a guardian. Hashida said the law should be revised to cover individuals who use their position of power to sexually abuse children.

He said a revision would also obligate adults to report any incidents.

“This will stop adults from turning a blind eye and help to restrain sexual abuse,” he said.

Julie Keiko Fujishima, the current president of Johnny & Associates and a niece of Kitagawa, has publicly apologized for the past sexual abuse, but said she was never aware of what was going on.

Hashida expressed disbelief that Fujishima was unaware because rumors of Kitagawa’s sexual inclinations had circulated for years.

Women in Japan say biggest cause of low birth rate is high cost of child care: survey (The Mainichi, Satoshi Fukutomi)

554 people across a wide age range were surveyed.

In multiple responses to the question about the causes of the declining birth rate, 74.2% of respondents answered child-rearing is too expensive, followed by 63.2% who said “the burden of child-rearing is disproportionately placed on women.” In addition, 60.3% said “there are few jobs that are compatible with child-rearing,” while 57.8% said “few people are getting married,” highlighting the breadth of the challenge.

The survey also asked a single-answer question about the relationship between the number of births and women working. The most common response, 52.9%, was it is difficult to say, while 26.2% said “whether or not women work has nothing to do with the number of births.” On the other hand, 9.9% answered that “women should not work in order to increase the number of births,” while 5.4% said women should work in order to do so.

In the free response sections, some said, “I don’t think working prevents women from having children,” while others said, “Why do only women have to work and raise children at the same time?” and the reason why the number of births is not increasing is “because there are not enough child care facilities.”

Redefining the Gundam Legacy in The Witch from Mercury (Anime News Network, Monique Thomas and Steve Jones)

Discussion of the series’ second cour to-date.

Nicky: Oh yeah, we can’t talk about G-Witch without delving into the #1 mom, Lady Prospera, who has done a great job dominating every scene she’s in. She is absolutely terrifying to watch. While there are plenty of frightening, complex, and compellingly written male characters, it’s rarer to see that same level of focus given to female characters. It’s also rarer to have examples that showcase how real-life abusive mothers often manipulate their children’s emotions to control them, as we’ve seen with Prospera’s brainwashing of Suletta. Although the show clearly enjoys framing her doing bad things, it’s worth repeating that I proudly support women’s wrongs as long as it’s giving me entertainment.
But she also draws a lot from her namesake, Prospero, the main character of Shakespeare’s The Tempest! Once the noble Duke of Milan, Prospero was betrayed and forced to flee with his daughter Miranda. Determined to regain the life he had lost, Prospero sets a plot in motion to take revenge on his enemies by orchestrating a situation where his daughter falls in love and marries his enemy’s son, Ferdinand. With his sorcery and control over the spirit of Ariel, Prospero ensnares his enemies by summoning a storm that catalyzes events.

Steve: These allusions, like the ones to Utena and the prior Gundam series, make for strong scaffolding, even as G-Witch continues to do its own thing. To go at it from another angle, “the Char” is an important component of the Gundam urtext, and it can be a difficult one to get right (it’s a tough act to follow when the original’s idea of subterfuge was using the alias Four Vaginas). But Prospera is a fresh and compelling iteration of that trope. She’s got layers and a cool mask. Most importantly, she’s got an unhealthy obsession with revenge.
And I like that, across the board, all of these characters have a core. They are largely relatable motivations that inform their constantly shifting relationships. Nothing in this show is static, and that helps drive the week-to-week anticipation. This is even more important as the plot twists keep thrusting new proper nouns and political factions onto the viewers.

TWEET: Tickets are available for an upcoming legal livestream of a Takarazuka production on June 11, a breakthrough for fans abroad.


THREAD: Discussion of the fallout from Johnny & Associates’ non-apology.


TWEET: Upcoming lecture about 60s/70s shoujo manga set in concentration camps.


AniFem Community

Especially cool to see citations of pre-90s titles being popular!

ChocoMimi! It was a series aimed at a younger audience, so it was easy for me to get into as a tween. It holds a special place in my heart, and I've collected every volume (even the non-translated ones)!  I never really had to actively seek out shojo, because a lot of my introductory series to anime and manga were already shojo (OHSHC, Fruits Basket, etc).  Starter series really depend on the person and what genres they enjoy! I think My Love Mix-Up and Lovely Complex are both great starters for those looking for romcoms, and Natsume's Book of Friends and Snow White with the Red Hair are for folks more into fantasy and supernatural stories.
Sailor Moon! Which was my third anime. I don't think I ever had to seek out series to try shoujo, because I read and watched a lot from the beginning (Watched Utena shortly after Sailor Moon and also got into magical girls in general). I did grow interested in it as a category when some guys in my college anime club were deriding it though, because I'm contrary like that. They claimed there was no shoujo about space or flying, and I decided to do some research, and learned about the Year 24 group and so on.  Starter would really depend on the age and preference (Action? Romance?). I think Yona of the Dawn is always a solid one to start with across the board, but for younger kids Sailor Moon or Precure works. Princess Tutu might be a nice choice for pre-teens who don't mind a dash of drama.
if i think about it with consideration of philippine airing dates and voltes v re-aired in 1999 (i am sure this + daimos were my first 2 anime shows)  arguably, my first shoujo might be akazukin cha cha
The Fushigi Yuugi manga series. Found it through Animerica Extra. <3

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