Weekly Round-Up, 24-30 November 2021: Female Animator Roundtable, Game Localization Talk, and Relatable Komi-san Anxiety

By: Anime Feminist November 30, 20210 Comments
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AniFem Round-Up

Love Hina and the Normalization of Male Abuse

Anthony Gramuglia looks at a pivotal fanservice anime and how the decision to change its self-insert protagonist from an active perv to a hapless accidental voyeur had troubling ripple effects on the genre.

Brazilian mangaka Marina de Melo do Nascimento broke the internet and the rules to make her way to Japan

Gabriel Leão interviews the scholar and artist also known as Mmyoi on her influences, research, and her manga The Bride of the Fox.

Which anime do you have the most merch from?

Go ahead, readers. Brag away.

Beyond AniFem

A Roundtable Discussion With 8 Female Animators (Animage, June 1990): A DeepL “Translation” (Genga Land)

Machine translation of a 1990 magazine article, with the original linked in hopes of a future more accurate manual translation.

Shinohara: When I first became an animator, the workplace was all men. Compared to that, the number of women in the workplace is much higher now. However, in the past few years, I think the number of new girls has been decreasing. The last time I was at Ghibli, there were only two girls for every one boy who came in for training. 

Kamimura: I’ve been hearing a lot lately about the lack of new girls coming in.  

Tadano: When I first joined Live, there were about 14 girls, and nearly 10 newcomers alone. We all got together, and because we were having so much fun, we were making a lot of noise, and every time we did, the president would call me in and get angry (laughs). 

Kobayashi: We used to have more girls, but all the girls quit for a while, and the new recruits are all boys. 

Shinohara: If the workplace has a lot of men and a little bit of women, it will become a male-dominated workplace where people will say things that are difficult for women to hear, and if there are a lot of women, it will become a place where men feel uncomfortable. The ratio of men to women is about 7 to 3, which is pretty good, and when it’s 5 to 5, the women seem to be stronger (laughs). 

Kamimura: I think the ratio of men to women in the industry is about 8 to 2 now.  

Shinohara: Maybe there will be more men in the future.  

Okuda: Until about five years ago, when there was an animation boom, there seemed to be a lot of female newcomers. 

NFTs are disrupting collector culture. But fans aren’t buying it. (Mashable, Stitch)

How NFTs are gearing up specifically to prey on fandom’s collection-oriented mindset.

K isn’t alone in their frustration. With many of these NFT announcements, what almost instantly follows is a quick and loud rejection from fans. After Japanese rockstar Miyavi — known for his devotion to social justice issues and a recent campaign for Gucci’s sustainable collection “Off The Grid” — announced his upcoming NFT line, fans on social media have been pleading for the artist to rethink his decision. When Steve Aoki recently announced that he’d be teaming up with fantasy series The Untamedto release official NFT products, the backlash was swift.

While it may seem hard to believe, fandoms have power. Fans have used their influence and their wallets to create conversations around important issues like antiblackness and to donate to mental health initiatives for queer youth. They’ve also been influential enough to urge Hollywood recastings for more effective representation.

Fans are now utilizing that power to speak out against NFTs — something that may threaten the future of fandom (and the planet) as they see it.

The Trials And Tribulations Of Video Game Localization (Game Informer, Kimberley Wallace)

Interviews with translators on the challenges and misconceptions about localization.

Many in localization will tell you direct translation is not their job. “Literal translation does not exist because translating is a creative venture,” says freelance localization editor Derek Heemsbergen, who worked on Dragalia Lost and Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin. “When people talk about direct translation, what they mean is literal translation in as much as translation can be literal. They want Japanese grammar and idioms preserved as one-to-one as possible, and that makes for really clumsy text and writing.”

Direct translations can actually harm the message and change the intent. Jessica Chavez, a freelance localization writer, who was previously on staff at Xseed Games and most recently worked on Mistwalker’s Fantasian mobile game, affirms that not everything translates. “There’s a really famous example of Kentucky Fried Chicken back in the ’80s when they decided to release their product in China,” she says. “They really wanted to keep their slogan; it’s something that’s really iconic. Everybody knows it’s ‘finger lickin’ good,’ right? So they directly translated it. And in Chinese, it came to, ‘eat your fingers off.’”

Hikidashi-ya: The Shady Business Disguised As Hikikomori Rehabilitation Centers (Unseen Japan, Krys Suzuki)

The centers in question advertise a “tough love” approach that frequently leads to abuse of those they’re claiming to help.

Most hikidashi-ya place emphasis on finding work. However, the hikikomori issue is not one about employment. They aren’t jobless due to lack of opportunities. (There are a number of hikikomori with successful jobs as authors, manga artists, and game developers).

Dr. Saito believes one of the main causes of withdrawal is bad family/interpersonal relationships, not the workplace. Even workplace-related issues often stem from difficulties with social interaction. And while mental illnesses are separate issues, many are connected to relationships, as well. (For example, depression resulting from strained relationships with family, coworkers, partners, etc.).

Helping Hikikomori Without Hikidashi-ya

Dr. Saito promotes and teaches the “Open Dialogue” technique to patients and their families. This technique aims to help bring hikikomori closer to their families with guided discussion. It teaches parents to ask questions that focus on their child’s feelings, rather than their own concerns.

Since 2009, every prefecture is legally required to have a hikikomori treatment center (via the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare). There are many legitimate facilities that offer various forms of support, including health assessments, therapy, family/individual/group counseling, and medication or hospitalization when necessary. Other services may include group activities, training/mentoring, support for parents, and community education.

From Nigeria: An Anime Community At Its Brightest Yet (Anime Herald, Bolaji Akinwande)

Snapshot interviews with Nigerian anime fans.

While weebs like Ruby are contributing to the consumer side of Nigeria’s rising anime community, Babs, a twenty-something, is one of the young people running an anime fan account on Instagram, called Anime Crunch. Anime Crunch, which started in October 2018, doubles as a fan page and as a platform for organizing anime-related events in Lagos — the commercial capital of the country. “The main purpose of Anime Crunch was for events. Not as a fan page, but it kinda transitioned over time as we got more followers. There are lots of anime fans in Nigeria, and when people come to our events, they just want to feel geek out [sic]. We’ve had events with over 100 people in attendance. I remember how cheerful the atmosphere was at one of the events when we watched the Naruto and Sasuke Vs Momoshiki fight.”

The latest Anime Crunch event recently took place at a video arcade in the city. This year’s edition served as a meeting ground for anime community members and like-minded individuals to connect in a graphic and euphoric atmosphere.

Given the effects that the global pandemic left on the world, Babs revealed he was a bit skeptical at first on how the turnout would be, but the event boasted more attendees than he expected. For some anime lovers, the event has been a safe sanctuary to share their interest in anime without looking or sounding weird.

Animanga as therapy: Komi-san, Sweat and Soap, and Anxiety (Jackson P. Brown)

Looking at these two quiet heroines and their relatable portrayals of anxiety.

What I love about Tadano’s character so far is his willingness to reach Komi on her level. He doesn’t force her to speak or put her in embarrassing situations on purpose, nor does he make her feel small by comparing her behaviour to his, as if he’s the standard. He tries to empathise with her plight, and let her take the lead, whilst also understanding that sometimes, coming out of your comfort zone is beneficial. As Komi’s friendship circle grows, including more crazy students, Komi finds herself being challenged by their communication styles and personalities, and through the diversity of the group, her openness increases.

I was trying to think why Komi-san didn’t affect me in the same way as The King’s Speech and Bridgerton, and I think a large part of it is the comedic aspect. The anime is genuinely funny, and doesn’t take itself seriously, providing a light-hearted take on an otherwise suffocating condition. Oftentimes, stammers and stammerers are portrayed in the media as unpopular outcasts, their entire characters framed within their own insecurity and everyone’s horror towards them. We see them get bullied, rejected, and made into pariahs, or their communication issues are played off for laughs. They’re never popular or confident in themselves, and only after getting “healed” do they transition into wider society. None of these tropes are found in Komi-san, and even though her issue isn’t stammering, I can empathise with the anxiety of wanting to speak but being unable to.

Help Sandra & Nick: Home destroyed by Fire (GoFundMe)

A fundraiser to help Anime News Network critic Nick Dupree aka LossThief and his mother.

Here is an update directly from Sandra:
I am honestly overwhelmed by the response to date, from so many incredible people. Just a quick update: The fire started in the early morning hours on Tuesday. On Tuesday afternoon, the Fire Department came back due to smoldering hot spots. We were only able to have a few minutes to try to grab a few smokey, waterlogged pieces of clothing, with plans to return on Wednesday to salvage what we could. The fire reignited overnight Tuesday night and once again the Fire Department responded. This time they broke out all the windows, pulled down walls and ceilings, and threw everything out into the yard and driveway. Needless to say, there was then even less to salvage. My home based business and only major source of income was completely destroyed as well
But, we are grateful to be alive, relatively unscathed (just a few burns that I received) and have a hotel room to live in for now. And we are grateful to all who have already donated and to those who may moving forward. We couldn’t make it through this without all of you.

VIDEO: Mini-reviews of yuri titles available on the Irodori comics platform.

VIDEO: Framing accessibility concerns as a universal issue given the eventual effects of aging on cognition and coordination.

THREAD: Summary of a Japanese article about idol Suda Akari opening up about being assaulted as a teenager.

AniFem Community

All those merch collection photos are pretty dang cool, AniFam.

The easy answer to this is Yu-Gi-Oh Duel Monsters (though I own a fair amount of GX merch as well) just due to having more time - being into it since I was a kid means I've collected a whole lot of cards, prints, t-shirts, and whatever else assorted stuff comes along from friends and relatives. I've got a truly absurd amount of Seto Kaiba in my life. I've actually got some in the mail this week, which is very exciting!  It's not strictly an anime, but I think it's worth mentioning how much Zero Escape merch I own as well, considering its relative lack of popularity. There isn't much official stuff, but ALL of the fan stuff out there is incredible and beautiful and I want all of it all the time, lol.  I do wish that Kaguya-sama had more merch that felt more in line with my tastes (not so much into the bunnygirl figures, lol). It's a shame considering how popular the show/manga is overall. I'm hoping with season 3 next year, there'll be an influx of things. I also want more Ace Attorney merch, always, but that's relatively impossible to find in the US for some reason, and everything I'd actually want is SUPER expensive. Please, god, I just want a Miles Edgeworth figure. That's all I ask.  My fave thing I actually own right now is my Gintama laser-cut lamp of Gintoki and Zura. I'm on a big Gintama kick and I love having it on next to me as I do schoolwork or whatever. But my all-time fave is probably one of my Zero Escape prints - like I said above, the art for this series is so stunning.
To this day, my favorite anime has been Neon Genesis Evangelion. As an adult the bulk of my merchandise has been from this series. I own a couple of figurines, a few manga volumes, a handful of DVDs. a t-shirt, and both official and fan art prints.  As a fan I would love to buy more apparel. I barely have any fandom inspired clothing. It would be nice to have some sweatshirts, hoodie, and socks in my closet, especially with how fashionable the stuff in the EVA store is. I would love to own some plush toys, shoes, and some of the EVA store's collaborations with artists. I would absolutely adore a Lolita JSK inspired by the show. It'd be great to see the piece created by a larger Lolita brand from japan like Angelic Pretty or BTSSB. I also love to see more makeup, either created by fans or as an official merchandise. Ideally I'd love if there was a eyeshadow palette that looked like one of the EVAS or angels. That would be such a gorgeous display piece! I'd love to see multichromes eyeshadows of the Eva units. It'd be really cool to see a purple to green shift. I would love to try perfume inspired by the anime. If it was an official collaboration I would want the bottle to look like an EVA unit. I wouldn't be too bothered about the scent. I know it would likely be generic florals or fruit to be crow pleasing.  If it was an indie perfume, I would prefer an atmospheric blend possibly with notes of blood, metal, the vinyl of the plugsuits, and the smell of the ocean. There could also be a gourmand based on what Asuka attempted to cook Shinji in the second movie. There likely be a watermelon field blend, an atmospheric consisting of a cold purple musk, the wood of a piano, and the smell of feathers, a blend that smelled like skin musk, red lipstick, and whiffs of alcohol. I know there was indie perfume brand back in the day that used to sell a Rei inspired oil perfume, and I'd love to get my hands on it.  But honestly the most merchandise I have is from the series Katekyo Hitman Reborn. I've always been a rabid collector, and I obtained a lot of the miniature figures as a teen. I also owned a lot of the physical volumes, a Reborn plush toy, prints, the Reborn fedora, the art book, and even a cosplay hoodie. I still wear that hoodie to this day, because it's cute and no one can tell it's from an anime.

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