Weekly Round-Up, 25-31 October 2023: Plus-Sized Rom-Com, Horse Girl Gambling, and Cathartic Horror

By: Anime Feminist October 31, 20230 Comments
two girls touching foreheads and blushing while their friend jokingly covers her eyes

AniFem Round-Up

Anime Feminist Recommendations of Summer 2023

Our latest recs are a grab bag of Summer shows, carryovers, and endearing oddballs you might have missed.

Restorative justice and community in Samurai Flamenco

At the heart of this off-the-wall superhero cult classic is its protagonist’s journey to embrace a community-oriented, empathetic ideal of justice.

Chatty AF 195: Vinland Saga Retrospective – Part 1

Toni, Caitlin, and special guest Annie discuss the themes of nonviolence, abolition, and the search for meaning in the first of our two-part retrospective.

What’s your favorite horror manga?

There’s some gorgeous stuff out there.

Beyond AniFem

Japan faces hurdle to changing law after transgender surgery decision (The Mainichi)

The ruling, which ends sterilization requirements but still requires trans genitals to visually “match” the gender they present as, disadvantages trans women significantly more than trans men.

In a unanimous decision, the top court has also ruled against the trade ministry’s imposition of restrictions on the use of women’s restrooms by a transgender official.

“In recent years, the partnership system (for same-sex couples) has expanded rapidly,” said Justice Mamoru Miura in his opinion attached to the Wednesday’s decision, stressing the change in the social environment toward sexual minorities.

While the clauses effectively requiring surgery in switching gender on a family registry were not hot-button issues when the law containing them was debated in 2003, the mood changed after the World Health Organization in 2014 called for the elimination of forced and involuntary sterilization, sending shockwaves through the community of health and medical specialists in the country.

According to the Hamamatsu branch of the Shizuoka Family Court that ruled the surgical requirement unconstitutional earlier this month, of around 50 countries that allow gender change by law, 40 do not require the removal of reproductive capacity.

“Forcing surgery that damages genitals against one’s will is a significant violation of human rights and (such a requirement) has been reviewed internationally,” said Yuko Higashi, professor at the Osaka Metropolitan University specializing in sexology.

“The Supreme Court said that the clause effectively requiring surgery to remove reproductive capacity for a person to change gender is unconstitutional, but it should have also said the clause mandating that the genitals closely match that of the gender the individual seeks is unconstitutional,” Higashi said.

Miura, one of the three justices who said the resemblance requirement clause violates the Constitution, said in his opinion that even without the clause, bath operators could still decide what policy to take, adding that there is little need to impose restrictions in law on people seeking to change gender.

Anairis Quiñones to No Longer Voice Yoruichi in Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War Anime’s English Dub (Updated) (Anime News Network, Alex Mateo)

Update on last week’s news with a statement from the dubbing studio.

Update: Dubbing studio Studiopolis provided ANN a comment on Thursday:

‘We would like to address the unfortunate circumstances that led to the casting error around the character “Yoruichi Shihoin” in Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War episode #22. It was always Studiopolis‘ intent to keep as many of the established cast members as possible from the original Bleach anime.

There was a misunderstanding that “Yoruichi Shihoin” was part of the list of the original cast members who were unavailable to participate in Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War. In error, our casting coordinator offered Anairis Quiñones the role. By the time this error came to our attention, it was too late to correct before episode 22 was released. We would like to take this opportunity to apologize once again, and express how much we appreciate their talents, and enjoy working with Anairis and Wendee who will both continue to add their voice work to Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War with Wendee as “Yoruichi Shihoin” and Anairis as “Hiyori Sarugaki.

Horse Girls And High Stakes: Exploring Uma Musume’s Impact on Gambling Culture (Anime Herald, Rita Wenxin Wang)

A deeply researched exploration of an instance of predatory gacha mechanics reviving interest in a real-world gambling subculture (though we would reject the mention of PETA as a useful research source).

Beyond the real-life horrors, Uma Musume has also created a whole new youth culture of not only horse racing but horse gambling. As Leo Chu writes in his paper “Industries of Purity: Horses, Idols, and Affective Economy in Uma Musume Pretty Derby” that, “[w]ithin the otaku-related subcultures, the audience’s affect is often described as moe, or a burning passion for characters that “blurs the line between direct, mediated and purely machine contact.” The game itself even normalizes gambling with gacha mechanics, in which individuals can spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars to buy digital likenesses of their favorite characters through randomized drops.

While there are no real-life statistics in regard to an increase in interest in racing, Uma Musume has a much younger audience than Japanese horse racing. 95% of its players are male and 80% are men under forty, while men over forty are the main audience of horse racing. Anecdotally, many individuals who started out playing the game, collecting different horse girl avatars, and racing them have developed an interest in real-life racing and real-life betting. Individuals on forums warn others that while the game is an excellent gacha game, it can lead to real life gambling, and even v-tubers who usually stream games are now streaming horse racing instead. User @An_Ca_Te on Twitter even noticed that Uma Musume fan artists are now posting their horse racing betting results more and more. Compared to other gacha mobile games in Japan, Uma Musume directly parallels a gambling franchise, whereas other mobile games like Granblue Fantasy and Fate Grand Order do not. Thus, Uma Musume is uniquely positioned to become a feeder into a greater gambling addiction, which I ask fans to tread lightly.

Critics can point to how Uma Musume has benefitted horses in the sport. When Nice Nature retired in 2021, the Retired Horse Association arranged a retirement campaign as a birthday celebration and was inundated with donations. The target was 2 million yen, but they raised over 36 million yen. In 2022, the same fundraiser topped 50 million yen. The surplus in donations allowed more retired racehorses to be retrained as therapy horses, saving them from tragic ends at the slaughterhouse.

Hana-Kimi Creator Hisaya Nakajo Passes Away at 50 (Anime News Network, Rafael Antonio Pineda)

Her landmark series remains beloved.

Manga creator Hisaya Nakajo passed away on October 12 at 8:52 p.m. due to a heart condition. She was 50.

Nakajo was born in Osaka on September 12, 1973. She won the Hakusensha Athena Newcomers’ Awards in 1993 for her Manatsu no Hanzaisha manga. Her first major manga serialization was Heart no Kajitsu, which debuted in Hakusensha‘s Hana to Yume magazine in 1994.

In 1996, Nakajo launched her defining work Hana Zakari no Kimi-tachi e (Hana-Kimi), which ran in Hana to Yume from 1996 to 2004. The manga inspired a 2007 live-action television series and a second live-action series starring AKB48 idol group member Atsuko Maeda in 2011. Besides the two Japanese live-action television series, the manga also inspired a live-action television version in South Korea and a 2006 live-action television version in Taiwan.

Harada chosen as first woman to lead Japanese Antarctic team (The Asahi Shimbun, Yumi Nakayama)

The expedition’s first departure was in 1956.

Harada, who belongs to the Center for International and Local Research Cooperation at the University of Tokyo’s Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute, first visited Antarctica as a member of the 33rd summer team from 1991 to 1992.

At that time, she was only the second woman ever to join a Japanese Antarctic research expedition.  

She later served as the first female deputy chief and summer team leader for the 60th expedition, which departed in November 2018.

This time, she will be the expedition chief and summer team leader for the 66th expedition, which will depart in autumn next year.

Tatsuru Fujita, 53, has been chosen as the deputy chief and winter team leader for the 66th expedition.

Over 50% of Japanese women willing to work say they’ve been harassed by customers: poll (The Mainichi, Yuko Shimada)

The survey received responses from 637 women.

When asked how often they had experienced customer harassment, 29.5% said “once” and 22.1% said “several times,” indicating more than 50% of the respondents had experienced such harassment.

About 70% of the respondents cited harassment such as being yelled at or otherwise verbally abused, being questioned persistently for a long time, facing violent language from customers, and having unreasonable demands made upon them.

One respondent commented, “Sometimes the line between what is acceptable and what is not is unclear,” while another said, “There are cases where even legitimate complaints are treated as customer harassment,” leaving some people struggling to classify the behavior. At the same time, there was also a woman who personally learned about such harassment and defended herself against it, such as by “taking a firm stand against false accusations.” Another commented that the long-used Japanese phrase “the customer is god” is misinterpreted and leads to harassment.

Creators Amber Noizumi and Michael Green on Authenticity in ‘Blue Eye Samurai’ (Nerds of Color, Laura Sirikul)

The limited series drops on Netflix this Friday.

Netflix’s Blue Eye Samurai is not based on a manga or book. It doesn’t have any ties to any previous story that has been told. Instead, writers and co-creators Amber Noizumi and Michael Green were inspired by their own child, who was born with blue eyes. They thought about possible stories that could come from a mixed child with blue eyes, which many in society would consider beautiful. But for Noizumi, she immediately thought about Japan’s Edo period in the 17th century which frowned upon mixed children.

“This [period] was what immediately came to mind when understanding that this [time] was the most closed [off],” Noizumi told The Nerds of Color on Zoom. “Japan was at its most homogeneous and is still a very homogeneous country. But this [period] it was actually illegal to be of a different race in Japan. When we were thinking about what it would have been like to walk around with blue eyes in Japan, this is when it would have been the worst.”

Vietnamese trainee worker in Japan recalls violence, struggle to switch jobs (The Mainichi, Haruna Okuyama)

At present, foreign trainees are required to stay at the job they’re assigned for three years regardless of conditions.

However, as the violence went on, Nguyen emailed photos of his injuries to the organization in June 2021 along with a request to change employers. Their response was, “We will warn the employer about violence, but changing jobs will be difficult.”

The abuse continued. However, change finally came in October of that year. Through an acquaintance, he came under the protection of a workers’ union in the city of Fukuyama, Hiroshima Prefecture. The following January, they held a press conference and publicly released videos that became widely shared within the blink of an eye.

A month later, administrative penalties forbade his employer in Okayama from taking on technical trainees. The firm also had its license granted by the supervisory organization revoked.

Nguyen was finally able to transfer to a new job in April 2022, after the union was flooded with offers from companies wanting to take him in. This past month, he switched his residence status from technical trainee to specified skilled worker. Bit by bit, his emotional scars have healed while working for his present employer.

VIDEO: On the allure of cathartic transgression, ableism, and gender in eroguro game Dasaku.

REEL: Mini-recommendation of Plus-Sized Misadventures in Love.

BONUS: A Happy Halloween to one and all with Megan Thee Stallion’s amazing Death the Kid cosplay.

AniFem Community

If anime has a trickle of excellent spooky offerings, manga has a flood.

For my go-to classic horror manga is gonna be Pet Shop of Horrors. It is an underrated shoujo manga that I pretty much enjoy. I really love the atmosphere, the dialogue, the build-ups, the pets within the shop also incredible, and don't forget the homoeroticism between the two protags. It is an old manga, so some part of it is a little bit outdated, though I haven't revisit it in years, but I still hold the manga dearly in my heart.  For the newer title, I'm gonna go with The Summer Hikaru Died. It is an excellent horror manga that give a very strong queer vibe for me. I like how the horror within the series can be interpreted as an allegory of queerness and queer experience, especially with the relationship and the intimacy between the two male leads. It also brings a lot of progressive ideas, such as the stigmatization of others, alienation, identity crisis, separation vs assimilation, internalized discrimination, and griefs. Currently, The Summer Hikaru Died is still ongoing, so I personally don't know where it goes from here. But, I strongly believe that it will continue to be good and can execute the themes that it introduces in a nuanced and meaningful way.  For the adaptation itself, I think both Pet Shop of Horrors and The Summer Hikaru Died will be very good as anime series and I like to see their anime adaptation in the future. But, the problem is horror manga is very difficult to adapt into animation. And the reason for it, in my opinion, is that anime cannot carry the same mystique that manga have especially from the panelling, the anticipation and the use of liminal spaces. But I remain hopeful that anime could still translate horror stories, especially when the Uzumaki anime is on the horizon, we'll see.
jigoku shoujo

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