The clunky focus on the importance of making babies suuuuucks.
At the heart of CSM’s story about adolescence and trauma is the friendship between Denji and Power, which stands out all the more in a genre often uninterested in platonic m/f relationships.
Kare Kano remains beloved for its relatable heroine and tackling of childhood trauma. But the later parts of the manga rival Twilight: Breaking Dawn in sketchy decisions.
Caitlin, Dee, and Meru complete their watchalong of GAINAX-produced shoujo anime and cap things off with some manga discussion!
And what makes a good mystery, anyway?
Minor Intimacies of Japanese Literature: Calling Out into the World in Times of Trauma (Positions Politics, Grace En-Yi Ting)
A study of “minor” intimacies—queer, fleeting, repressed—and the importance of reparative reading and queer theory as a voice for those outside accepted categories.
My first year in Hong Kong, I taught Japanese literature only once: in the form of excerpts from Stephen Snyder’s translation of Ogawa Yōko’s The Memory Police, a novel about the disappearance of things, people, and memories on an unnamed island. In the novel, a character comments on how, over the years, the disappearances have made the hearts of the islanders “thinner” and “full of holes.” In class, I told my students that what I had attempted over the past few months was to give them more words, more stories, in the hope that their hearts would never grow thin. I said: I cannot promise that words—and things—will not be taken away from you, but I can use queer and feminist writing to show you the freedom of imagination, varied and remarkable forms of love that have been lifelines for others, that might be the same for you, that might inspire you to “love life and love people around [you] in the deepest ways possible.”
Feminist feelings often involve outrage—the familiar figure of the “killjoy,” the woman who is negative, loud, and always angry. It should be better known that feminism does not only tear down but also nourishes and embraces in ways that might truly extend into lifelines. This queer feminism builds on the tenderness and strength of Margo Okazawa-Rey, Sara Ahmed, and other women of color feminists. In the form of reading practices, it draws most obviously from queer theorist Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s concept of reparative reading. Sedgwick writes, “Because there can be terrible surprises…there can also be good ones,” suggesting that exposing injustice need not rule out practices of pleasure and hope.
Feminist and queer anger is sorely needed in a world of misogyny and hatred for queers, in which racism, xenophobia, and colonialism take on appalling new meaning in divides between Global North and South seen in contexts of the pandemic. But because the world is imperfect, we also need queer feminism that is unabashedly about how we care for others. Within contexts of failure that might break us, we need texts and readings about hope, pleasure, surprise, creativity, generosity, wonder, and love.
As the Buddha’s Temple Bells Toll: Looking Back to Kyoto Animation (Anime Herald, Adam Wescott)
Art as grief and memorial, three years after the KyoAni arson attack.
The Heike Story is concerned with the inevitability of fate and the tragedy of attachment, not just historically but diegetically. As fans have pointed out, many animators and contract studios who have either worked with Kyoto Animation in the past, or were heavily influenced by their output, contributed to the series. Science Saru did not have the infrastructure or the resources to replicate the standard of quality Yamada could rely upon at Kyoto Animation. Yamada herself must have known going in that the production would be a challenge. But she did it anyway, even if all things are impermanent.
While The Heike Story is a compromised work, it ends with a miracle. As Tokuko reaches for her prayer beads, the beads become strings, and thrum. Time rewinds, the fallen flowers return to their branches. This is the gift freely given by Yamada and her crew: the story of the Heike cannot be changed, but it can be retold. Biwa’s friends and family are remembered through song, through verse, and through anime like this one. So do the happy memories of Shigemori’s family persist even as their destruction dominates the narrative.
Popular art mutates over time as historical scars scab over. The collapse of the Twin Towers repeated itself over and over again in American film until the destruction of entire cities on screen became routine. The somber brutality of the first Gojira film transformed over the course of a franchise into camp, as the titular character evolved from a symbol of fear to a grumpy antihero. In both these cases, generational trauma was recycled by the market to sell toys.
Art can’t save lives. It rarely changes minds. It can provide catharsis, but then the argument has been made that catharsis itself quells the drive for a better world. In 2022, when every year feels like five years, making art sometimes feels like a waste of time. What use is a comic strip to make sense of mass death? How could a television series made in a tight time frame do justice to an artist’s personal reckoning with grief? At a time like this, I can’t help but think of a comic strip drawn by hard-working cartoonist Faith Erin Hicks. “Everything is so bad right now,” she says. “And I make comics!!”
KADOKAWA Announces Acquisition of Anime News Network’s Media Business (Anime News Network)
The long-term effects this will have on the ANN editorial team’s level of access and ability to act freely (though we make no disparagement of their intent in that regard) remains to be seen.
Christopher Macdonald, President of ANN (To be appointed as the Publisher of the new company), says: ”I am excited by this opportunity to work with Kadokawa and Kadokawa World Entertainment to dramatically improve Anime News Network during the course of the coming years. Myself and all of ANN’s staff remain entirely dedicated to the standards of professional, exhaustive, and editorially independent journalism that ANN is already known for and we believe that Kadokawa‘s resources will be a great benefit to ANN’s journalism and our readers.”
Kurt Hassler, Chief Executive Officer of KWE and Managing Director and Publisher of YP, says: “For over twenty years, ANN has distinguished itself by providing a window of news and information about Japanese content and establishing a community where fans can interact and share their enthusiasm. This acquisition represents an opportunity not only for KADOKAWA to better and more effectively highlight its own content but to enhance ANN’s mission to grow the global audience for manga and anime as a whole while expanding the boundaries of what the site can offer users.”
Marmalade Boy (with Lucy from CLAMPcast) (Shojo & Tell)
Podcast discussion of perhaps the biggest progenitor of the stepsibling rom-com.
MARMALADE BOY is a quintessential shojo that has it all: Swingers! Step-sibling romance! Student-teacher relationships! And it does it all in a fast-paced eight volumes. In this episode, Lucy from the CLAMPcast podcast and Shojo & Tell host Ashley answer a ton of listener questions, which cover topics ranging from MARMALADE BOY’s place in shojo history, our feelings about Meiko and Namura, how Miki and Yuu’s parents rank against other manga parents, what we hope for from Seven Seas’ upcoming rerelease of the manga, and much more. (Hint: We definitely hope for less sentences like “I love you, Yuu!”)
Classroom policy discriminates against disabled kids, parents say (The Asahi Shimbun, Rie Kowaka)
Legal representation calls the requirement a violation of children’s right to education.
But in the new policy, issued in April, the ministry calls on students taking lessons in special needs classes to increase their time in these classes.
It dictates that children requiring special needs will now have to spend at least half their time at school attending special needs classes.
That means they will be deprived of opportunities to interact with children without disabilities and learn together, the parents said.
Municipalities in Osaka Prefecture, including Hirakata and Higashi-Osaka, have set their guidelines in line with the ministry’s revised policy.
Parents of disabled schoolchildren blasted the step as a breach of the children’s human rights and, in a statement submitted to the bar association, called for the ministry to retract its policy.
Schools search for ways to stop physical abuse in sports clubs (The Asahi Shimbun)
Roughly 4,100 disciplinary cases involving educators who physically assaulted students were recorded in 2013.
Educators such as Masuko are seeking to end the abuse at the source, by creating healthier coaching practices.
She advises coaches on how to provide clearer instructions, compliment students on their strengths and gently correct issues instead of demanding perfection.
Her strategies align with new guidelines compiled by the education ministry after a highly publicized 2012 case, where a Sakuranomiya High School student, who was verbally and physically abused by a basketball coach, killed himself.
Local boards of education created their own rules to address the issue.
Nippon Sport Science University is also recognizing the cyclic nature of abuse, acknowledging that many student athletes will become teachers and coaches themselves and must be shown a better way.
Ex-Bayonetta Actress Asks Fans To Donate Boycott Money To Anti-Abortion Group (Kotaku, Ethan Gach)
Taylor’s actions as the controversy unfolds continue to poison the important advocacy work addressing better pay for voice actors.
But Bloomberg later reported that Taylor was actually offered closer to $4,000 per session, with the total pay for the project being closer to $15,000. Negotiations with Platinum reportedly only broke down after she refused to budge on higher pay and residuals from future sales. While Taylor denied ever demanding a six-figure sum for the project, she ultimately confirmed that the $4,000 number referenced in the original videos was for a brief cameo after she’d already been replaced by Hale, rather than for voicing the entire project as she’d originally led fans to believe.
Even prior to today’s promotion of [anti-choice charity] Billboards 4Life, Taylor had come under scrutiny by some fans over who she followed on Twitter and what tweets she Liked. Regardless of Taylor’s beliefs and behavior, the is right that the story of low pay in games and beyond resonates with people. Not just voice talent, but developers across the industry, often face uneven pay and exploitative working conditions. Boycotting a particular game is unlikely to fix that. Unions might.
TWEET: Ishiwatari Daisuke confirms that Bridget was always intended to be trans.
THREAD: Discussion of the dearth of diversity in casting for live-action Japanese media.
TWEET: Upcoming manga release focusing on suicide prevention.