Weekly Round-Up, 28 June – 4 July 2023: Accessibility in Game Design, New Tezuka Adaptation, and Unions on Strike

By: Anime Feminist July 4, 20230 Comments
Miorine and Suletta smiling and holding hands at sunset

AniFem Round-Up

What Role Are You Playing? Communication, queerness, and neurodivergence in Yuri is My Job!

The fake dating series’ smart genre parody explores how the tropes of yuri fiction can both provide a safe space for and limit exploring sapphic identity.

The “Heart” of This Queer Body: An intimate look at The Heart of Thomas

A poignant reflection on one of the earliest proto-BL works and its exploration of trauma, assault, and survival as a queer youth.

Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout The Animation – Episode 1

The double-length premiere does its chill-out vibes no favors, and fully half the episode is shot at thigh height.

AYAKA – Episode 1

Aggressively by-the-numbers supernatural battle show that’s fine but destined to be quickly forgotten.

My Tiny Senpai – Episode 1

There are things you COULD unpack about a rom-com where a guy’s female superior is both his nurturing mentor and a ditzy screw-up, but mostly it’s too unremarkable to bother.

Am I Actually the Strongest? – Episode 1

The first of the season’s requisite uninspired wish-fulfillment reincarnation isekai.

Level 1 Demon Lord & One Room Hero – Episode 1

It has some decent fantasy genre jokes, but the sex comedy comes at the expense of a lot of fanservice of the few female characters.

Sweet Reincarnation – Episode 1

Its dedication to grounded worldbuilding is intriguing, but the characters are as flat as cookie trays.

The Dreaming Boy is a Realist – Episode 1

A better production might have elevated this to the level of “lower-tier acceptable shounen rom-com.”

What’s your most anticipated Summer 2023 anime?

Yup, a new season is upon us once again.

June 2023 Patron Newsletter and Staff Recommendations

Bonus recommendations from staff for the summer.

Beyond AniFem

REVIEW: ‘Ōoku: The Inner Chambers’ Is A Near Perfect Adaptation (But Why Tho?, Kate Sánchez)

Review of the 10-episode Yoshinaga adaptation.

Ōoku, as a series, tackles themes of identity that revolve around gender and queerness. It discusses intimacy as a sport, intimacy as love, and intimacy as a necessity in such a way that the audience sees the intersections of gender and sexuality in the palace. It would have been easy for Ōoku: The Inner Chambers to be surface-level in its presentation of it all, but like the manga before it, it dives deep, peeling back layers of history to uncover it all. While the series is ten episodes long, it’s the first episode of the series—which clocks in at 79 minutes—that unravels the mysteries of the inner chamber and how Japan got to this point.

The way Yoshinaga portrayed gender and power in the Edo period by embracing the importance of clans and control, and heritage is perfectly brought into the series. While the first episode details a “current period” where a female Shogun is pushing back on the shadow of masculinity, the choice to tell a story that is concerned with how the world developed in the first place is what makes  Ōoku: The Inner Chambers intriguing. The series tells a robust history and leaves no stone unturned.

Spy x Family’s Unique Studio Collab Helps Prevent Anime Worker Crunch, Says Wit Studio Prez (Kotaku, Isaiah Colbert)

While such assurances given from the top down are worthy of some skepticism, it’s heartening to see overwork treated as a critical problem to be tackled.

Speaking with Kotaku at Anime Expo 2023, Wada revealed that Wit Studio’s collaboration with fellow animation studio CloverWorks (the makers of Wonder Egg Priority) to produce Spy x Family, his favorite anime at the moment, is an unheard-of practice within the anime industry.

“Each studio has its own color and own way of doing things so it’s really, really hard in most cases for multiple anime studios to be working together on a single series,” Wada told Kotaku. “And I believe it was possible only because it was Spy x Family.”

On the production side of Spy x Family, Wada revealed that Wit and CloverWorks split the workload in half episode-wise. Under this model, Wada says fans can “see all the good parts of Wit and CloverWorks melded together to create Spy x Family” while also providing new seasons of the show at a pace that matches fans’ expectations.

Tokyopop, Noir Caesar Produce Graphic Novel Based on Osamu Tezuka’s Alabaster Manga (Anime News Network, Rafael Antonio Pineda)

The original 1970 manga was about a Black Olympic athlete who becomes a serial killer.

Tokyopop and Noir Caesar announced at their Anime Expo panel on Monday that they are producing a graphic novel adaptation of Osamu Tezuka‘s Alabaster manga. The companies added that the reimagined story aims to “add some depth and layers” to the titular main character, and add details about the African American civil rights movement in the 1970s.

North American publisher Digital Manga’s funded a Kickstarter campaign to localize and publish the two-volume Alabaster manga in 2015.

Japan’s Sogo & Seibu union mulls rare department store strike over sell-off to US fund (The Mainichi, Satoshi Tokairin)

Roughly 80% of the company’s employees are members of the union.

In December 1951, Mitsukoshi waged a 48-hour strike, apparently becoming the first major department store in Japan to do so. In the spring of 1957, Fukuoka-based Iwataya (present-day Iwataya-Mitsukoshi) carried out a strike extending more than 50 days. The latest move by the Sogo & Seibu Union is believed to be the first step toward striking since then. According to the union, Sogo & Seibu Co. has some 5,000 employees at its 10 department stores across the country, of which approximately 4,000 are union members.

Japanese retail giant Seven & i Holdings Co., which owns Sogo & Seibu Co., sealed a contract in November 2022 to sell the department store unit to U.S.-based investment fund Fortress Investment Group LLC. The sale value is estimated at roughly 200 billion yen (approx. $1.4 billion), and the unit had been scheduled to be sold in February this year. However, talks over tenant composition and other issues dragged on, forcing the sale to be pushed back twice. Currently, there is no set deadline for the planned sell-off.

According to the labor union, the operator of Seibu & Sogo department stores has not provided a detailed explanation about staff employment and business continuation in relation to the sell-off, while Seven & i Holdings has claimed that it has a “confidentiality obligation.” Regarding collective bargaining sought by the union, Seven & i Holdings has taken the position that it “cannot comply as we are not the employer.”

Voice Directing in Anime and the Dubbing Industry (ft. Shawn Gann) (Baka Banter Podcast)

Podcast interview with casting director Shawn Gann.

Ionatan and Ravi are joined by Shawn Gann, a voice director and actor at Crunchyroll, to discuss anime dubbing. They talk about Shawn’s advocacy for diversity in the industry, the process for voice directing from getting assigned a series to working with actors in the studio, and particularly memorable experiences directing titles such as ‘Fruits Basket’ and ‘Horimiya.’

Japan LGBT law watered down amid culture war on transgender issues (The Mainichi)

Panic over trans women existing in public gendered spaces spurred changes in the law’s wording. Article includes discussion of transmisogynistic rhetoric.

Changing one’s gender in Japan is not simple and comes with five conditions. Anyone wishing to do so must be over 18, unmarried, have no children below the age of majority, have no reproductive system or the inability to reproduce, and ensure their outer organs resemble those of the sex they intend to change to.

Fulfilling the final two conditions requires expensive surgeries. With the exception of the United States, where rules differ by state, other G-7 countries do not require surgery to change gender.

But while voices in Japan’s transgender community maintain that public bathing facilities are effectively inaccessible to them, rising acceptance of transgender people in other countries and Japan’s gradual lifting of coronavirus border rules to inbound tourism and other foreign nationals could yet complicate matters.

A mid-April incident at a Tokyo bathhouse underlined the risks. There, a Japanese woman in her 30s complained to staff that a foreign pre-operative transgender woman had entered the same outdoor bath as her with two other women.

The bathhouse then called the police, a measure it said it takes as a matter of process when problems arise. The transgender woman was taken to a police station, where police eventually decided not to arrest her because her ID showed she was female and she had come with two others, according to the Japanese woman who complained.

S. California Hotel Workers Union States Strike Will Start ‘At Any Moment’ (Updated) (Anime News Network, Crystalyn Hodgkins)

One of the striking hotels hosted several panels at this year’s Anime Expo. Updates on the strike can be found at their website (flashing light warning).

UNITE HERE Local 11, Southern California’s largest hospitality union, did reach a deal on Wednesday with the largest hotel employer, Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites. That hotel will not be affected in the strike.

The union had announced on its website on June 9 that its members have voted to authorize a strike at dozens of hotels “as early as July 4th weekend” if an agreement is not reached. The union stated it was calling for a strike amongst 15,000 workers, which would make it “the largest hotel worker strike in modern US industry.”

This year’s Anime Expo is taking place in Los Angeles on July 1-4.

Update: The UNITE HERE Local 11 union confirmed on Sunday morning that its workers are on strike at hotels in downtown Los Angeles and Santa Monica.

‘Zainichi’ Korean A-bomb survivor’s outspoken final years remembered as ‘treasure’ (The Mainichi, Kazuki Iwamoto)

Remembrance of Lee Jeong-keun, who hid his Korean heritage for many years but became a prominent speaker in his last decades.

The staff member in charge of caring for hibakusha set to join Peace Boat’s tours was Yasuho Ue, now 39. Upon learning of Lee’s Korean heritage, Ue urged him to speak about his experiences using his Korean name from that point on. On Jan. 24, 2012, Lee and nine other hibakusha departed from the Port of Yokohama on a roughly 3 1/2-month tour until early May.

During the tour, the atomic bombing survivors gave speeches at 12 events held during stops to 22 cities in 21 countries covering Asia, Africa, Europe and South America. Lee offered his accounts under his real name.

Afterward, Lee went on to share his experiences of the atomic bombing and living through anti-Korean discrimination five or six times a month, mainly before audiences of students on field trips. Even after being diagnosed with appendix cancer in January 2022, he continued to pass on his experiences until several months before his death.

The young people who attended his speeches heard Lee’s message: “None of you are responsible for the past, but we are responsible for the future. Let’s never become the type of people who would bring about another war.”

According to records compiled by the municipal governments of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, between 5,000 and 8,000 people of Korean descent fell victim to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Others are thought to have survived the bombing but many tended not to publicize the fact out of fear of double discrimination targeting both their ethnicity and radiation exposure. In some cases, the health handbooks given out to those officially recognized as hibakusha were only discovered as relatives went through the belongings of those who recently passed away.

VIDEO: Examining the difference between accessibility menus and a holistic approach to accessibility in overall game design.

VIDEO: Spoiler-heavy essay about Tears of the Kingdom’s exploration of support structures.

AniFem Community

It’s looking like a dry season, but not without a few bright spots.

Horimiya Piece is a nice bonus to those who enjoyed the first season, even if it isn’t another proper season. Other than that, Undead Murder Farce and Dark Gathering look like pretty cool supernatural/horror series.  But that’s about it. This season is dry af.
Ooku. I've been wanting to see that manga animated for years. And I'm glad its finally getting a anime adaption like it deserves.

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