Weekly Round-Up, 29 September – 5 October 2021: Zombie Land Saga Interview, Beastars Metaphors, and Living as a Foreigner in Japan

By: Anime Feminist October 5, 20210 Comments
Image from the Muteking opening of a smiling fat girl in a 50s-style skirt and pigtails

AniFem Round-Up

Waccha PriMagi! – Episode 1

Colorful magical girl idol show by big name Sato Junichi.

Selection Project – Episode 1

Idol competition title worth it for genre fans but not so much casual viewers.

The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window – Episode 1

Does actual crimes to a well-loved supernatural BL series.

Muteking the Dancing Hero – Episode 1

Relentlessly weird and joyous CGI about a rollerblading tokusatsu hero.

Mieruko-chan – Episode 1

Really good horror with intrusive, irritating fanservice.

Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut – Episode 1

Cold War AU with vampires and romance; not earth-shattering but well-executed.

Tesla Note – Episode 1

Ex-Arm walked so that Tesla Note could fly.

Digimon Ghost Game – Episode 1

Great spooky introduction for franchise newcomers.

The vampire dies in no time – Episode 1

High-octane slapstick that will live or die on its future ensemble.

AMAIM Warrior at the Borderline – Episode 1

Cool robot fights drowned out by nationalist dogwhistles.

The Fruit of Evolution: Before I Knew It, My Life Had It Made – Episode 1

Another boring and derivative videogame-style isekai.

What’s your most anticipated Fall 2021 anime?

What’s caught your eye?

Beyond AniFem

Zombie Land Saga Writer, Producer Explain How Lily Became a Gender Subversive Idol (Anime News Network, Kim Morrissy)

Summary of highlights from a recent interview with the series composer and producer.

A character that the two discuss in detail is Lily, who represents one among many atypical idols in the show’s cast. Takenaka said that she was not an easy character to write, mentioning the need to be “careful and considerate” in dealing with gender issues. The team spent a long time thinking about her character and making sure there was “a suitable balance of comedic and serious scenes.” Because of concerns about whether the message would get across to viewers, many of her lines were rewritten during the recording sessions. He said he was particularly fond of the line “I’m not Masao! I’m Lily!”

Murakoshi remarked that Lily’s gender doesn’t matter to the other members of Franchouchou. “Whether it be someone like Tae, or Lily, who was born a boy, none of that matters to the members. Of course, everyone has their unique background and personality, but after such an absurd thing as becoming zombies, everyone is unfazed by other things and readily accepts whatever differences each other might have. They see past everything and don’t make a big deal of it.”

Transgender man in Japan wants switch recognized without surgery (The Mainichi)

Presently, legal recognition as a trans person requires both bottom surgery and medical sterilization.

Suzuki said he felt uncomfortable being treated as female from a young age, and was diagnosed with gender identity disorder at age 40.

He has undergone masculinizing hormone therapy and surgically removed his breast tissue, but does not want to undergo a sex reassignment operation, which removes reproductive capacity, seeing it as imposing a heavy impact on physical and mental health.

Suzuki told reporters in July, “It is wrong for the state to force an unwanted surgery. There should be various options.” He expressed readiness to eventually appeal to the Supreme Court if his request is rejected.

After filing the request Monday, Suzuki held a press conference with his female partner and said the two intend to marry. “I find it nonsensical that transgender people cannot enjoy marriage equality in Japan” unless they switch genders in their family registers.

What Is My Worth as a Foreigner in Japan? A Pandemic Query (Unseen Japan, Thalia Harris)

A personal essay on experiences of xenophobia living in Japan.

These misunderstandings may seem innocent to a more optimistic eye. However, it’s an extremely harmful misapprehension, which unknowingly can make living in Japan much more difficult for those who seem “foreign”. One of the more extreme examples of this was back in May of this year, when Japanese netizens spread baseless rumors about how foreigners were coming to Japan to receive treatment for COVID-19 specifically to take advantage of the publicly funded health care.

Indeed, it is no secret that many nations, especially my home nation of the United States, have terrible public health care policies. But Japan has never been a popular place for medical tourism, even before the pandemic. Within Asia, the popular medical tourist destinations are Turkey, India, Malaysia, South Korea, and Thailand.

So why would anyone want to come to Japan now under those circumstances?

Sadly, this xenophobic fervor surrounding communicable illnesses is not new, as Yoshii Riki of the Mainichi Shinbun reports.

Affection That Devours: Beastars and Relationships (The Afictionado, Alex Henderson)

Wrangling the predator-prey metaphors of the Beastars anime.

We can read Legoshi’s hunger for Haru, and the way he deals with it, as a direct metaphor for the “animal instincts” of men and how they all have destructive hormonal desire within them inherently that they must overcome to be functional in relationships. It’s a metaphor that somewhat relies on gender stereotypes that are… worth discussion, I think, but are also quite reductive and don’t give men a lot of credit.

Though admittedly, it does also allow for addressing the idea that men are forcibly slotted into “predator” or “protector” archetypes when they’re assumed to have these inherent strengths and instincts. You can either be the hero or the monster, the big bad wolf who eats the girl or the huntsman who slays it and saves her. But that’s a post for another day.

The question is, then: is the base, carnivorous instinct a stand-in for sexual desire? And if so, is devouring a metaphor for sexual violence? This would track pretty neatly, but it’s complicated in season two when we see more devourings and near-devourings, each between carnivore/herbivore relationships that hold parallels to Legoshi and Haru but aren’t necessarily all romantic or sexual. It’s throughout season two that the metaphor in “devouring” becomes, if not entirely unhinged from sex, more complex. It’s here that those deeper underlayers are revealed, and the conversation about relationships and power within the series really gets buzzing.

Founding Japan’s 1st engineering faculty at a women’s university: interview (The Mainichi, Yusuke Kato)

Interview with the future dean of Nara Women’s University’s Faculty of Engineering.

Meiji Fujita: There are very few women working as engineers, and that’s a global problem. It’s no exaggeration to say that engineering is a male-dominated world. However, the world of engineering will be expanded if women contribute perspectives on design, functionality and other things that only they can bring. We thought we had to act as a women’s university to overcome the assumption that “engineering is a men’s field.”

MS: Specifically, what fields can students study?

MF: Our curriculum consists of two major fields: environmental design and human information. In the environmental design field, students will learn from engineers such as architects and those in environmental engineering about design methods to improve the environment around us, and will conduct research on materials that will be the bases of industrial products on the molecular level. In the human information field, students will learn programming, data analysis, “medical and biological engineering,” which is a fused realm of medicine and engineering, among other disciplines, and will acquire abilities that can contribute to the development of hardware, software, health care, welfare and other things.

Once-reluctant lawyer hailed as hero for foreign technical interns (The Asahi Shimbun, Takehiko Sawaji)

Profile of unionist and advocate lawyer Ibusuki Shoichi.

He had seen small and midsize companies mistreat their employees, but the circumstances facing overseas trainees were far worse, “more like slave labor,” he said.

His many years of commitment to the issue were cited in the commendation by the State Department in July.

Ibusuki said he is still determined to bring an end to the framework of the trainee program.

The intern program is intended to provide skills that trainees can use after they return to their home countries. However, complaints are rife about employers forcing them to do menial or dangerous tasks under terrible working conditions.

The government has continued the program, saying it contributes to international society.

VIDEO: Slightly outside our usual wheelhouse, but an excellent baseline primer on the world of danmei.

TWEET: Academic paper about the label of “hafu” in Japan.

TWEET: Request for deregulation of immigration and vaccination support for international students in Japan.

TWEET: Interview with Black manga creator Strange Keith.

AniFem Community

We’re already hip-deep in premieres—what are you watching?

I'm excited to watch Komi Can't Communicate. As an anime-only viewer it looks like a typical high school comedy, but I'm interested to see what makes it so special. It's a pity Netflix isn't simulcasting the series, but I'll bear with the three-week delay.  I didn't put down The Vampire Dies In No Time on my watchlist but I'm glad I checked out its first episode. Even though it milked its hilarious but predictable gag for all its worth, it also has its unexpectedly funny moments. Plus there's a cute animal mascot!
I'm so excited for Pride of Orange! As a hockey fan and anime fan, this show fits so perfectly in the overlap of my Venn diagram. From what I've seen, the game action looks to be animated pretty well and accurately too (no body checking is allowed in the women's game, so you're not gonna see these gals getting absolutely wrecked in the corners to get knocked off the puck, but it also means the game has a different kind of strategy and finesse). Hopefully Puraora raises awareness of hockey in Japan and more folks can get into this great game!

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