Weekly Round-Up, 29 June – 5 July 2022: Crunchyroll Translator Wages, X-Gender Manga, and Coming Out

By: Anime Feminist July 5, 20220 Comments
A cartoonish kiwi bird against a yellow backdrop

AniFem Round-Up

Yuri is for Everyone: An analysis of yuri demographics and readership

Nicki “YuriMother” Bauman breaks down the demographics of reader surveys and magazine markets.

Skip Beat!’s Harmful Healing: Forgiving abuse at the cost of self-worth

For over 40 volumes, heroine Kyoko’s rise to fame hsd often focused on forgiving those who bully her–even when they continue to do her harm.

Phantom of the Idol – Episode 1

It’s solid, but its just-okay execution is likely to get lost in the deluge of premieres.

Shoot! Goal to the Future – Episode 1

A next-gen sequel to a beloved 90s soccer series that’s low on charm but high on ANGST.

Engage Kiss – Episode 1

Visually, there’s a lot to like about Engage Kiss. Unfortunately, then you get to the plot.

Lycoris Recoil – Episode 1

Too soon to say if it’s just an energetic “girls with guns” action series or if there’s some deeper commentary going on.

TEPPEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Laughing ’til You Cry – Episode 1

If you’re okay with somewhat flat characters and mile-a-minute jokes, it’s a good time.

League of Nations Air Force Aviation Magic Band Luminous Witches – Episode 1

A spin-off in the Strike Witches universe that’s not impenetrable but spends too much time throwing in characters to leave the best impression.

YUREI DECO – Episode 1

Gorgeous premiere that hopefully won’t devolve into “old man yells at cloud” takes on social media.

My Isekai Life: I Gained a Second Character Class and Became the Strongest Sage in the World! – Episode 1

It’s fine. Unfortunately, it’s not much else.

Tokyo Mew Mew New – Episode 1

Definitely has some hallmarks of a legacy remake, but its sincerity is sweet and infectious.

What’s the best anime or manga about digital media/internet culture?

Now that we’ve got YUREI DECO starting out on this rocky path…

Beyond AniFem

A Transition Telegraphed by Yuri: Learning to Love Myself By Reading about Girls Loving Girls, Guest Post by Meru (Okazu, Meru Clewis)

A lovely post from our own Meru, on their personal journey to coming out as trans.

But in the end, I always seemed to come back to Kashimashi.

It’s meditative, in a way. At least once every year and some, I circle back around to thumbing through physical and digital copies of the series, enough that I’ve even podcasted about it and have a small collection of merch dedicated to the series. When my thoughts go quiet, I drift back to Kashimashi’s storyline, and up until recently, I pondered why I still envied Hazumu when I had long since divorced myself from “she/her” and found mild comfort in “she/they.” As I shifted to the more fitting “they/she” and now fully to “they/them”, it became apparent to me, albeit over the course of about two years: I envied Hazumu’s transition, not their gender. I envied being able to wake up as a version of myself that was different, desired a paradigm shift from feminine to wholly de-gendered, save for the aspects of gender I wanted to play with.

Nowadays, the manga is very outdated, at least to me: the way Hazumu is treated makes me think of the kind of person who views transition, and generally being outside the binary, as something that changes the personality of the individual, versus being something that affirms them. As a feminist, I find it hard to read because there’s a lot of biological essentialism tucked around the edges, leaving very little space for any of the characters to question what it means to be attracted to someone pre- and post-transition, and how that may beautiful broaden their own understandings of their gender and sexuality. It’s also got the world’s worst dad, but… this isn’t about that. Plus, I think that there’s something radical about embracing flawed media: we’re not made of perfect instances after all. Each of us is wholly human: shouldn’t our media be just as messy?

I sit here, today, with an inch of hair, with a prominent mustache above my lips —a natural result of my PCOS and higher testosterone levels— and a gorgeous unibrow as thick as. I use they/them freely, and truncate my name to the more pleasant sounding “Meru” versus the overtly feminine sounding full name that I inch closer to casting aside. 

I see myself in hands held, in kisses traded between sapphic, feminine characters so in love with their partners that it becomes their sole reason for breathing. I find my own heart, genderless as it is, in series like Roadqueens, Our Teachers Are Dating, and My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness. (Really, anything Nagata Kabi writes, if we’re being 100% honest here.) Because of Yuri, my life is full of a desire to exist, and the more and more I see myself reflected in each manga or light novel I devour, the more and more Yuri guides me towards becoming who I desire to be.

LGBTQ Manga Review – X-Gender Volume 1 (Tumblr, YuriMother)

Review of the recently released autobiographical manga.

Moving on, both during and between the dating events, Miyazaki recounts frequent conversations with other LGBTQ+ people. Many of these conversations and Miyazaki’s narration of their identity prelude more educational panels and pages that describe various aspects of LGBTQ+ life and identity. These range from lessons aimed at beginners, like defining different gender identities and sexualities, to the advanced content covering the terminology in lesbian relationships and the physical changes one may experience during hormone therapy.

No matter how niche these lessons get, Miyazaki breaks each down wonderfully, with clear explanations that are approachable yet still convey an astounding amount of nuance and detail required by intersectional conversations. The illustrations in these sections are the best in the volume, supplementing each point in an engaging and informative manner. It is worth noting that X-Gender was serialized in a Kodansha’s seinen Young Magazine the 3rd and may well have been one of many readers’ first formal educational exposures to queerness. For that, I commend both the manga and its creator.

However, Miyazaki’s most impactful moments are in the brilliant ways they describe their complex experiences with gender and sexuality. As an autobiography, X-Gender focuses on their relationship to the events within, which deftly convey their emotions, assisted by excellent visuals. It is a strange blend of forlorn sympathetic content, oddly humorous expressions, and quirky yet revealing expulsions- “Won’t somebody lend me a dick?” But, the impact is tremendous whichever way they communicate these exceptionally intimate feelings.

Black Dragon Society: Japan’s Secret Imperialist Clique (Unseen Japan, Alyssa Pearl Fusek)

History of a right-wing society from the early 20th century.

Political rallies became another propaganda tactic. In 1918, the Kokuryukai hosted the “People’s Rally on China Policy” and called for the government to support Sun Yat-sen, a close confidant of the Kokuryukai. The rally reportedly attracted 30,000 attendees.

They also held the “Rally to Promote the Abolition of Racial Discrimination” to campaign for a racial non-discrimination measure in the League of Nations charter. When Japan failed to do this, the Kokuryukai formed the League for the Equality of Races to address the “America problem.” The 1924 US legislation banning Japanese and Chinese immigration led to more rallies, which were attended by Diet members, distinguished scholars, and other political activists.

Like the Genyosha, the Kokuryukai didn’t shy from using more violent tactics to get their message across. In 1919, members publicly humiliated the Osaka Asahi president by dragging him through the city streets before leaving him lashed to a lamppost. In 1925 Uchida himself was implicated in a plot to assassinate Prime Minister Sato Takaaki (加藤 高明), who earned the Kokuryukai’s distaste for his help in drafting a universal suffrage bill.

Five Great LGBTQ+ Series with Disappointing Anime Adaptations (Fashionable Tinfoil Accessories, Vrai Kaiser)

Manga and light novels and why their adaptations fell short.

This one’s going to be on the controversial side, as this series had more production resources and managed to reach a higher degree of popularity than any of the other titles on this list. But I will always, unfailingly, count it as a missed opportunity. The original Banana Fish is a compelling, pulpy crime thriller and one of the most beloved shoujo manga of the 1980s, on that had a pivotal influence on the development of BL as a genre. It has a sympathetic depiction of a sexual assault survivor in Ash, and his and Eiji’s powerful, unbreakable relationship stuck powerfully in a generation’s memory.

It’s also the most powerfully 1980s thing you’ll ever read, with a lot of elements that aged with the grace of sour milk: Eiji and Ash’s deeply emotional but physically chaste bond is structured in contrast to the people in Ash’s life who reduced him to his body, but it gets pretty dicey when every male character who does show sexual desire for men is a rapist, a pedophile, or both; the tackling of 1980s racial politics is hit-or-miss at best; and it staples on a bullshit Midnight Cowboy-esque ending that feels like a remnant of an early draft more than the satisfying conclusion to a story about a survivor facing down his demons and finding someone he can truly trust.

When the 2018 anime announced it was going to take place in modern day, it seemed like a fantastic opportunity to take what worked about the series and strip out the parts that didn’t—DEVILMAN crybaby had done something similar not six months earlier. Unfortunately, the producer seemed passionate about recreating the original work as exactly as possible, but with iPads. Not only does this carry over all the problems with the original work in a world that’s left it behind (although even when the manga was running, its contemporary Earthian had gay angels telling God to fuck off), it creates a host of new inconsistencies. Banana Fish was an extremely then-modern and temporally situated work, and the anime put no thought into how attitudes and legal systems around social welfare, LGBTQ+ rights, the internet, or the culture-shattering influence of 9/11 might fundamentally change the details of the story even if the broad strokes held true. It just changed Ash’s brother serving in Vietnam to an unnamed Middle Eastern war and called it a day. This one ends up being the most painful to me, because it’s competent enough that we likely won’t see it revisited again in our lifetime, and yet it can’t help but feel like a case of nostalgia strangling an opportunity for a genuinely modern version of a classic.

VIDEO: Updated video on the (still) unlivable wages paid to Crunchyroll translators after the merger with Funimation.

VIDEO: Podcast discussion of the Story of Saiunkoku manga.

VIDEO: Postmortem of the disastrous 7SEEDS anime adaptation.

TWEET: News of a new manga about a pair of mixed-race Black Japanese siblings.

THREAD: Info about a pamphlet of anti-LGBTQ+ hate speech distributed at a recent LDP meeting.

TWEET: Info about a game bundle raising money for the National Network of Abortion Funds.

AniFem Community

Thanks for bringing up some great classics, AniFam.

Digimon 02 basically predicted toxic online culture decades before it became an acknowledged issue. The Digimon Kaiser is a surprisingly accurate representation of trolls, cyber bullies, hackers, griefers and other types of people who use the internet to abuse others. He feels intense uncontrollable rage at the world because his parents are abusing him by using him as a replacement for his dead brother. But since he is just a 11 yr kid he feels powerless to do anything about it. The result is he takes out his rage and anger towards society on the internet/Digital World. Were he can feel powerful because he believes there are no consequences for his actions.  Ken Ichijouji is only able to change once he realizes that the Digital World/Internet. Isn't "just a game" but a real world were his actions have real consequences ( a moral that sadly most people still haven't learned). This leads to Ken having a emotional breakdown which is compounded by pre existing childhood trauma. Which he is only able to truly cope with once he learns how to build meaningful relationship with others.  What I find interesting about Digimon 02's message and the Digimon franchises themes in general. Is that unlike most fiction that depicts online spaces as a escape from reality. Digimon treats online spaces as a extension of reality. There is no clear division between the digital world and the real world. Rather what happens in one invariably affects the other. Ken Ichijouji's mistake was assuming that the artificial nature of the Digital World meant that it was something truly detached from reality and his actions didn't have consequences.  This message. That digital spaces are real. Even though the medium might make it feel fake. Has only become increasingly important after 2 decades after Digimon 02 was made. Because right wing extremist keep using the internet as a means to organize and recruit. And people keep dismissing the issue. With "its only online" and "social media isn't real life". And then multiple countries elect fascist dictators into office and people react with. How did this happen?

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