Weekly Round-Up, 29 November – 5 December 2023: Union Struggles, Jujutsu Kaisen, and Niantic Lawsuit

By: Anime Feminist December 5, 20230 Comments
Konoha tearfully looking back from a 90s computer screen

AniFem Round-Up

Giant Robots Against Colonialism: Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch From Mercury’s Shakespearean roots

GWitch isn’t just open with its references to The Tempest — it also envisions a hopeful future that resonates with anti-colonial readings of the play.

SHY, Stardust, disability, and the double empathy problem

Stardust’s introduction as an “unfeeling” hero–and Shy’s rejection of that assumption–echoes tensions in how we talk about neurodivergent people and their experiences of empathy.

What anime are you still waiting on as a physical media release?

No matter how often we ask, it will be relevant.

Bonus Podcast (with Transcript) 2023 November: Going Ultra Over-the-Top

The team shares some of the most extra recent faves.

Beyond AniFem

Who Will (and Won’t) Trust Jujutsu Kaisen after Episode 43? (Mage in a Barrel)

A spoiler-heavy breakdown of the most recent episode’s major plot development (and why it sucked).

Before you begin to read, please allow me to inform you that there are spoilers ahead for the anime adaptation of Jujutsu Kaisen up to episode 43. I tell you this because, unlike the lawless land of Twitter where the social contract of posting about weekly shows with some semblance of awareness that many people have lives and can’t watch new episodes immediately when they come out has been left in tatters by the need to chase clout, this blog values preserving your individual experience with a show.

Interview with Tamamushi Oku-sensei / I Don’t Know Which Is Love – Part 1 (The Yuri Times)

First part of a chat with the author following the series’ publication in English.

— Really?! Thank you so much! Well then, could you please tell us the inspiration behind the creation of DoreKoi?

That’s because my editor told me to! (laughs) Before DoreKoi, I was wrapping up my previous series, Cheerful Amnesia. Then the idea for the next series came up: “How about a yuri story where the girl is popular?” I got really interested in it. My debut work in “Manga Time Kirara Miracle” was a yuri harem, so when my editor mentioned it, I immediately said, “Absolutely, I’ll do a yuri harem!” They never mentioned a yuri harem; I was the only one saying it (laughs).

Saying it was good, but actually creating it was tough…, and realized that no wonder everyone else isn’t doing it. There aren’t many yuri harem works, are there?

— Now that you mention it, surprisingly there are not so many yuri harem stories. It was also quite impactful to read in the afterword that it was really tough.

In Manga Time Kirara, there are plenty of stories where a lot of female characters appear, forming something like a yuri harem. However, there are hardly any officially romantic ones. I absolutely wanted to depict girls falling in love with other girls romantically, but when I tried to do it in a romantic context, it became incredibly difficult. When I tried drawing DoreKoi, I realized that handling a yuri harem was quite a hassle (laughs).

In my debut work, there was a unique setup where “everyone falls for the protagonist when they touch her,” so I thought I could draw it if I had some kind of unique setting. I asked my editor, and they said, “No”, which was different from their usual response of “Sure, go ahead”. My previous work, Cheerful Amnesia, was also supervised by the same editor, and they always used to say, “That’s fine”, to everything. But this time, they said, “Oh, it’s better without that,” and I felt a sense of despair, thinking, “But I was sure they’d say it’s fine!” (laughs) So, creating the story became significantly more challenging. I ended up with the current style by thinking about how the protagonist could naturally be popular without any special settings.

Niantic sexual bias lawsuit can proceed after judge blocks arbitration effort (The Verge, Jess Weatherbed)

Arbitration settings overwhelmingly tend to find in favor of employers.

A California judge ruled that a class-action sexual bias lawsuit against Niantic could proceed, blocking the Pokémon Go creator’s attempt to move the suit into arbitration.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Elihu Berle found that allegations raised by two female former employees regarding exposure to a hostile gender-based work environment were protected under the 2021 Ending Forced Arbitration Act.

“The ruling is a watershed moment for sexual harassment and gender bias cases, because it clarifies that the protections of the 2021 Ending Forced Arbitration Act do indeed encompass cases in which sexual overtures are not the focus,” said attorney Genie Harrison in a press release.

The lawsuit was first filed in July by an anonymous female employee who accused Niantic of creating a “boys club,” and alleged that the company denied equal pay to women employees and women of color and devalued their work. An amended complaint was then filed in September by a second former employee who said sexism had impeded her career advancement at Niantic, and that a group of female employees were banned from using the term “boys club” to describe the company.

NHK Posts Human Rights Guidelines for Kōhaku Song Contest (Anime News Network, Joanna Cayanan)

This is a first in the ultra-popular program’s 44-year history.

NHK previously stated in September that it will “not make new requests to entertainers from … [the agency] to perform in its programs for the time being” in response to the Johnny Kitagawa sexual abuse scandal.

Still seemingly related to the scandal, NHK posted the following guidelines:

We respect human rights and individuality, and aim to create an orderly production venue where everyone can demonstrate their full ability in every phase of content production. We prohibit sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of performers, and do not tolerate malicious harassment or discriminatory or offensive behavior.

We do not tolerate discrimination based on race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, disability, political ideology, sex, age, or gender for any reason at the production venue.

We do not tolerate labor practices that violate human rights, such as forced labor.

We respect the human rights of children, and do not tolerate child labor or child abuse. Regarding minor performers, we will adhere to related laws and regulations such as the Labor Standards Act.

We will consider the physical and mental health of each performer and aim to ensure a safe and secure environment.

All NHK executives will respect the human rights of performers. We request that talent agencies and other clients related to performers agree to these guidelines.

Doug Bowser: Nintendo doesn’t have unions because of “high degree of job satisfaction and engagement” (Eurogamer, Matt Wales)

Bowser’s statements feel disingenuous in light of multiple complaints in recent years.

However, while workers at Nintendo have yet to unionise, the company has previously been accused of interfering with unionisation efforts. A QA contractor made the allegations in 2022, saying they had been fired after asking about unionisation – although Nintendo insisted the firing happened because the worker had disclosed “confidential information”. Even so, the parties reached a settlement that same year, and Nintendo was ordered to display a notice informing employees they “WILL NOT” be fired or stopped from discussing unionisation.

Notably, a second, similar allegation was made against Nintendo (and hiring agency Aston Carter, which was also named in the earlier complaint) in August 2022.

Despite Doug Bowser’s assertions Nintendo employees enjoy a “high degree of job satisfaction and engagement” based on “feedback”, several reports from last year painted a very different picture from the perspective of contract workers at the company. Extensive investigations from both IGN and Kotaku claimed contractors were often treated like ‘second-class citizens’ by Nintendo compared to their full-time colleagues.

Starbucks Japan workers form labor union, plan to urge staff at other cafes to join (The Mainichi, Miyuki Fujisawa)

The group is now reaching out to encourage others and taking labor consultations.

The Starbucks Union Japan was formed on Nov. 1 and currently has three members. The union is calling on the company to raise wages, reduce labor shortages and permit employees to wear badges and other accessories that represent sexual diversity. Members are also requesting that Starbucks Japan install chairs at cash registers and establish a system for reinstating employees after they have studied abroad.

One of the founding members, Souru Kawabata, 23, who works as a regular employee at a Starbucks store in Tokyo, was hired under the company’s employment system for people with disabilities and earns approximately 160,000 yen (about $1,100) per month, excluding tax. According to the Shutoken Seinen Union (metropolitan youth union), which Kawabata is a member of, he sent a written petition to the company this July that asked for a wage increase and other improvements. Kawabata also held a collective bargaining session, but the company apparently rejected all of his demands.

At a press conference held in Tokyo on Nov. 29, Kawabata said, “It’s hard to make a living because my wages are low. I want to make this a workplace where not only me but others can also work with peace of mind.”

Agency mulls removing gender box from new My Number Card (The Asahi Shimbun, Junki Watanabe)

The cards are currently planned to be introduced in 2026.

There has been concerns over the privacy aspect of the gender indication on the My Number Card, with some people with a gender identity disorder saying that it would force them to come out.

The draft also includes recommending the possible development of an application that would read the information, including gender, from the card’s IC chip.

Meanwhile, as for the 12-digit individual number, the study group will continue discussions toward writing it on the back of the card as at present since it has become a common practice to check the name and the number by looking at the card.

Some members of the study group, however, argue that inclusion of the personal number on the face of the card is unnecessary for security reasons.

Neighborhood Story Manga Volume 1 Review (Anime News Network, Rebecca Silverman)

The predecessor to Paradise Kiss is finally out in English.

What Mikako doesn’t entirely realize is that Tsutomu, her mother, and her friend Risa have her number, albeit to differing degrees. It also doesn’t fully occur to her that everyone else may be doing a variation of the same thing – Risa’s got a few secrets that her punk exterior masks, and Mariko is struggling to figure out who she is and is using her exterior to work it out. She’s a relatively minor character, but also one of the most interesting, and not just because her pursuit of Tsutomu kickstarts the story. Mariko is known at school as “Nice Body-ko,” which was frankly just as horrifying a nickname in 1994 as it is now. It reduces her to her physical appearance and sexual encounters, something that Mariko doesn’t seem to realize isn’t a great thing. When Tsutomu comes over to her apartment, her shock that he doesn’t want to have sex is telling – Mariko’s value, both in her mind and socially, has been inextricably tied to her sex appeal. She tells Tsutomu that he’s the only boy ever to refuse her offer of sex and eventually confesses that she came to Yaza Arts at least as much to put some distance between her and her childhood crush as to study interior design. As with Mikako’s at times outlandish wardrobe, Mariko uses her body to project an image. Unlike the younger girl, though, Mariko’s is tied to toxic ideas of what makes a woman valuable, as we can see when she changes her style after Tsutomu remarks on her casual at-home wear and in the implication that she doesn’t even enjoy sex that much; it’s just what she thinks she has to do.

Much of this volume is about how Mikako learns to see beyond the surface everyone projects, including herself. Underneath everything, she’s still the little girl who pierced her ears in the third grade because her parents were fighting, the kid who would rather sleep outside on a playground than leave a stray kitten alone. She’s afraid of change but equally afraid of not changing, and right now, the former is what’s driving her actions. That allows Yazawa to do what she does best: capture the edge-of-tears feeling of teen emotions. Last Quarter may be my favorite Yazawa manga and the one that made me cry, but this one comes very, very close. Mikako is the embodiment of the kid who has decided that it’s better to stand out than to fade away, a fully realized character even in the opening pages of her story. The character interactions are wonderful, but it’s Mikako who owns the book.

VIDEO: A short intro to some of shoujo’s traits not just as demographic but genre umbrella.

VIDEO: The tragic death of CMX, a label that brought over several niche and classic shoujo titles.

AniFem Community

Keep sending those requests, readers.

Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu, and the odds are... not good. Since it seems like we don't get physical releases in the US without an English dub, and it's one of the most undubbable anime out there, I don't foresee it happening, maybe ever. I'm still kicking myself for not getting it for the few years it was purchasable on itunes.
It’s not something I have to have, but as long as we’re dreaming I would really, REALLY love a Kira Kira Pretty Cure A La Mode DVD or BR set with the Crunchyroll subs, and it comes with a plushie of human Pikario. I would love a subbed Go! Princess Pretty Cure one too with a plushie set of Haruka and Kanata.
Ojamajo Doremi I will spend so much money.   Cries at Discotek for the 20th time.
The unreleased in America season 2 of Hajime no Ippo and the streaming only release of season 3.

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