The team shares their favorite new titles and sequels from the past season.
Iris Von Gonten discusses how two original anime from the same year explored similar topics to varying degrees of success.
Leans heavily on its live-action predecessor and treats its female characters terribly.
Dreams for summer con season.
Bring Back More Magic[al Girls] (Anime News Network, Rebecca Silverman)
A list of magical girl anime that would be great to see in English or rebooted as modern series.
While the original [Phantom Thief Jeanne] anime series isn’t terrible, it also isn’t quite as true to the manga as it could be, both in deviating from Tanemura’s plot entirely in places, but also in how it was taken down a few notches in terms of the darkness of the story. These darker elements are integral to the story’s overall theme about how no one can devalue you – you are the ultimate arbiter of your own worth. That’s not a theme that becomes irrelevant over time, and if anything, it’s one that bears repeating, something magical girl series are in a very good position to do. Maron, Phantom Thief Jeanne‘s heroine, is essentially abandoned by her parents, and her bond with the angel Finn Fish gives her both someone to care for and receive care from, as well as a purpose by giving her the power to transform into the eponymous phantom thief. (Plus a plot twist that predates Puella Magi Madoka Magica‘s use of the same and almost certainly influenced it.) Maron’s story involves Jeanne d’Arc, as the title suggests, and while it perhaps isn’t any more accurate than any other anime usage of the character, it is well done in terms of how Maron learns to believe in herself and to see beyond the cult of female “purity.” The series also has a strong magical boy character in Chiaki/Phantom Thief Sinbad, who is both Maron’s rival and love interest in a way that gives him as much of a stake in their relationship as she has, if not more – he’s no Tuxedo Mask, chucking a rose and saying something cryptically encouraging, and we’re seeing that kind of character become more common with Takumi in Delicious Party Pretty Cure and Touma and Hughie in Waccha PriMagi!. Why not bring back this series and add another to the roster?
The 7 Best BDSM Sex Games To Play, Learn, And Experiment With Kink (Kotaku, Ashley Bardhan)
Brief game suggestions with some real-life educational commentary alongside.
No matter what you’re here for, though, remember—“real life BDSM is a lot different from video games,” Mistress Shayla Lange, co-creator of educational BDSM web series 7 Days of Domination, told me. “Something that is really hot in a game might be overwhelming or unpleasant in person.”
Though many NSFW video games employ aspects of BDSM that may spark your interest, not every depiction of BDSM in games translates well to the actual bedroom. Some sex games even perpetuate dangerous misconceptions about women and kink, so it’s important you know that a video game fantasy can’t exist out of your head. The seven games you’ll find in this slideshow are dignified introductions to the subculture. They’ll help make your game time stimulating while Mistress Shayla advises on how you can get ready for the real thing, if you’re ready for it.
Taboo romances in shojo manga: analyzing age gaps (Shojo Corner, StarsaMaria)
Discussion of the range of power dynamics in age gap stories and how they can attract or repel.
The answer to that question is up to the individual reader. While some fans don’t bat an eye at step-sibling romances because the couple in question isn’t related by blood (well, usually), and typically meet as teenagers so they weren’t raised as siblings, others are completely icked out by the idea and won’t bother reading series featuring such couples. Another risqué trope that’s pervasive in romance shojo manga is age gaps. Many shojo manga feature romances between teenage girls and men in their 20s, sometimes in the form of student-teacher pairings. And while some readers run away from series featuring even slight age gaps, others love such dynamics and consider the trope to be their guilty pleasure.
My first manga that featured an age gap was Dengeki Daisy. Teru, the series’ main female character, is 16, while her protector and love interest Kurosaki is 24. One of my main impressions of this series, which I read over a decade ago, was my surprise that I wasn’t significantly bothered by the main couple’s age difference. In real life, I am adamantly against age gaps of even a few years when the younger partner is at or even slightly above the age of consent, because I fear that the older individual might exploit their younger partner.
But the reason I’ve been okay with age gap romances in shojo manga is precisely because I’m in the safety of fiction. I know that no one in the real world is being exploited or manipulated if two fictional characters who have an eight-year age difference end up dating, even though such an outcome would unfortunately be likely in reality. And while that may be my reasoning, I completely respect and understand why age-gap romances may be completely off-putting for other fans.
While there has been some talk of reform, there is not yet concrete action to speak of.
According to the union, when the three asked for advice from the Sendai office of the Organization for Technical Intern Training, which oversees the internship program, they were effectively told by an OTIT official to quit the union to get their jobs back.
The union protested, calling the request a violation of the right of workers to join a labor union, and the OTIT later admitted the advice was inappropriate. In early June, the OTIT finally told the Vietnamese women that they would be allowed to change jobs.
The OTIT, which is supposed to conduct on-site inspections of companies and supervising organizations and protect trainees’ human rights, was established jointly by the Justice Ministry and Labor Ministry in 2017 to ensure the smooth running of the internship program. Instead, many argue it has all but shirked its responsibilities to the trainees.
According to the Justice Ministry, some 276,000 foreigners were employed in Japan under the training program at the end of 2021. Vietnamese accounted for 58.1 percent of the total, followed by Chinese at 13.6 percent and Indonesians at 9.1 percent.
In fiscal 2020, the OTIT received some 13,300 consultations by foreign trainees in their native languages, 3,210 of which were about “management-related” problems such as bullying and harassment — roughly double the amount from the previous year.
Love Com (Lovely Complex) Pt. 1 (with Loyola Rankin) (Shojo & Tell)
Podcast discussion of the first part of the rom-com series.
Discusses volumes 1–8 of LOVE COM by Aya Nakahara. Ashley and Loyola are here to discuss the first half of the romantic comedy LOVE COM, aka Lovely Complex, which is the romcom that all other romcoms should aspire to. We gush about how cute Risa and Otani are, the impeccable comedic timing, the emotional levity that hits home, and so much more. Loyola is subjected to Ashley making her take the quizzes at the end of volume 8, to hilarious results.
Boys Love Visual Novels You Need to Play (Blerdy Otome, Naja)
Gaming recs of BL VNs available in English (editor’s note: some of these have pretty heavy content warnings, so make sure you look that up if you’re intrigued).
Night/Shade: You’re the Drug is a newer indie visual novel that’ll definitely put you in the mind of Nitro+chiral’s Dramatical Murder—especially with it’s neon colored aesthetic and crime riddled city setting. But, that’s where the comparisons end, this intense crime thriller delves into the seedy underbelly of the city of Sobena. 27 year old drug dealer Sasha is caught in the middle of a dangerous struggle between two powerful crime syndicates. To protect those he holds dear, Sasha will have to put it all on the line or risk losing it all. I was HOOKED on this game! There is so much more going on outside of Sasha and his “romance” and the devs do a phenomenal job of fleshing out ALL the characters and creating such genuine interactions. Though, be warned, this game EARNS its 18+ rating.
VIDEO: Interview with UK born Japanese Lecturer, Warren Stanislaus on what it’s like to teach Japanese students about the cross section of Japanese and African History.
VIDEO: Breakdown of the incorrect assumption that shoujo has no variety.
TWEET: Information about the restoration of Indian-Japanese co-production Ramayana: The Legend of Prince Rama.
THREAD: Link to an interview with head of Japan’s Social Democratic Party, Fukushima Mizuho, on anti-feminist backlash and the religious right in Japan.
It’s summer con season, so let’s stay safe but dream big.