Weekly Round-Up, 3-9 April 2024: Shoujo Sci-Fi, Aerith, and Early Bias Training

By: Anime Feminist April 9, 20240 Comments
a child and a cat yokai excitedly watching a pizza bake

AniFem Round-Up

I Was Reincarnated as the 7th Prince so I Can Take My Time Perfecting My Magical Skill – Episode 1

Starts cute before an uncomfortable camera derails it.

The Banished Former Hero Lives as He Pleases – Episode 1

The production design is fun to laugh at, but there’s nothing else here.

An Archdemon’s Dilemma: How to Love Your Elf Bride – Episode 1

Sometimes a work is just conceptually rancid from the ground up.

Bartender: Glass Of God – Episode 1

Perfectly alright, but gets a bit caught up in its own pretensions.

WIND BREAKER – Episode 1

A promising looking “delinquent with a heart of gold” story.

A Salad Bowl of Eccentrics – Episode 1

The fan service drags down what could be a fun reverse isekai.

HIGHSPEED Étoile – Episode 1

The CG is awkwardly done and the writing unfortunately doesn’t give much to latch onto in terms of characters.

A Condition Called Love – Episode 1

Has a lot of promise, although it remains to be seen whether it’ll live up to that.

Astro Note – Episode 1

Will it stand on its own, or will the classic Takahashi Rumiko romance it loves to homage cast too long a shadow?

The Fable – Episode 1

A much more deadpan take on the “civilian yakuza” comedy, but bad direction just makes it feel boring.

Tonari no Yokai-san – Episode 1

A lovely and laid-back show about building community.

Tonbo! – Episode 1

A great little golf anime unfortunately locked away on Amazon.

Mission: Yozakura Family – Episode 1

Very clearly an also-ran to Spy x Family, but it’s not bad as as a popcorn show.

Jellyfish Can’t Swim in the Night – Episode 1

This coming-of-age drama is easily the stand-out of the season so far, barring a couple significant stumbles.

Tadaima, Okaeri – Episode 1

There’s just not much going on, either with actual trials of queer domestic life or fantasy omegaverse conflicts.

Vampire Dormitory – Episode 1

Its leads are good kids, but your interest will depend on your feelings about het crossdressing stories and tolerance for limited animation.

Go! Go! Loser Ranger! – Episode 1

An episode worth recommending for its excellent direction alone.

Chatty AF 204: Bakemonogatari Watchalong – Episodes 1-8

It’s as infamous as it is influential, but is there more to dig into regarding how it writes survivors of trauma and abuse? (Yes, actually)

What’s your most anticipated Spring 2024 premiere?

The season’s getting into full swing.

Beyond AniFem

flowers yet bloom in this rotted church (Bullet Points, Pao Yumol)

FFVII, old and new; Aerith; and gender identity.

what is a woman? truthfully, this is a meaningless question in the context of ffvii, where everyone’s a woman and there are only two genders: aerith and tifa. between the characters of ffvii, sacrifice is the primordial love language, the way one proves the measure of their devotion.  

as andrea long chu suggests in females: “gender is not just the misogynistic expectations a female internalizes but also the process of internalizing itself, the self’s gentle suicide in the name of someone else‘s desires, someone else‘s narcissism” (emphasis hers). 

ffvii is, above everything else, an anthology of gentle suicides. the most explicit of these is aerith’s, an act of martyrdom characterized by holiness and boundless altruism. tifa, on the other hand, embodies internal strength, nurturing a steadfast loyalty to cloud even in the face of his wanton hostility and violent outbursts.  

conversely, to foster intimacy with either love interest, cloud must feminize himself in order to allow them opportunities to demonstrate their strength. aerith relishes in assuming a position of kittenish dominance, while tifa is moved to protect cloud whenever he exhibits extreme weakness. their moments of heroism contrast starkly against the other facets of their feminine dispositions—the wistful and playful qualities that grant them dimension and make them even more attractive. they can embrace their womanhood and their strength without fully losing themselves. 

Black Fans Get Run Out of Fandom All The Time (Stitch’s Media Mix)

How antiblackness can present in apparently progressive fandom spaces.

And fandom is also unsafe for Black fans beyond me. Something that’s scarier because being cruel to a (relative) public figure is A Thing… but these are regular people who are just trying to create and consume in fandom. They’re being told that these spaces aren’t for them and that they should regret ever trying to make these spaces their own. They’re punished for wanting fandom to live up to the progressiveness everyone else puts on it.

If you do nothing else: read Ice’s list and think about the fact that this is what people do to Black folks in fandom.

Think about how your Black friends – actual, not tokens – are often really reluctant to come off private or talk about racism with any kind of heat. Think about how there are next to no Black BNFs on the level of the most popular person in your fandom. Think about how few Black people can get book deals in and famous for fandom the way white fans do. Think about how few Black people get opportunities in fandom. Think about how it’s hard to stick around in fandom spaces when you’re told that one thing you cannot change about yourself – your Blackness – is what makes you an outsider.

And do better.

Half of anime industry workers log over 225 monthly hours: survey (The Mainichi)

The survey was taken by the Nippon Anime & Film Culture Association.

The survey garnered 323 responses, including 191 from animators, 44 from people involved in directing, 35 from those in producing roles and 23 from voice actors.

Excluding voice actors, who have differing work schedules from others in the industry, 30.4 percent said they worked 10 hours or more daily, with the longest duration being 336 hours in one month.

As for time off, 58.5 percent reported having less than six days per month on average.

Regarding income, 37.7 percent said their monthly income from their jobs was 200,000 yen ($1,300) or lower after taxes and deductions, although the association said the gender wage gap was smaller than that reported overall in Japan.

Asked if they have other jobs, 77.6 percent said they do not.

By job, scriptwriters and those working in the finishing process had the lowest earnings, with over 60 percent saying their monthly take-home pay is below 200,000 yen.

Meanwhile, 65.8 percent of respondents said they had experienced workplace harassment, while 85.6 percent said they had witnessed it.

Debt-laden Tokyo woman lured into overseas prostitution describes abuse by clients (The Mainichi, Shohei Kato)

Four men have been arrested on suspicion of trafficking. The survivor interviewed was coerced into sex work to pay off debts.

All her earnings were handed over to the agent, and some of the cash was likely given to the host as a finder’s fee. Perhaps because she returned to Japan quickly, the woman was not even reimbursed for her airplane tickets. She said regretfully, “I will never get into prostitution overseas again.”

Prostitution in a foreign country is filled with danger. Julian Ryall, a Japan correspondent for the Hong Kong English-language newspaper South China Morning Post, has reported on overseas prostitution. When asked about the kind of risks Japanese prostitutes face abroad, Ryall pointed out, “They are going to be working in these countries illegally if they have traveled on tourist visas. They are going to be controlled, and potentially abused, by the criminal groups that have ‘imported’ them. They are going to be forced to have sex repeatedly every day.”

He also cautioned that such women “are often not going to be paid as the money goes towards paying off their debts,” and are in extremely vulnerable positions due to their lack or protections and rights.

Riei Saito, a Tokyo Bar Association lawyer working to help victimized women in the sex industry recover, also stated, “It’s suspected that antisocial organizations are involved in overseas prostitution, but such structures are difficult to expose. We need to make women recognize how dangerous it is to do this.”

Doctor Elise: The Royal Lady with the Lamp – Anime Series Review (Anime News Network, Rebecca Silverman)

Ends up being a “just read the source material” sort of adaptation.

These issues aside, there’s quite a lot that Doctor Elise: The Royal Lady with the Lamp does right. Chief among them is the underlying story of a young woman trying to excel in a field not typically open to her. While there are female nurses in the story’s world, the actual medical students and doctors are overwhelmingly male, and the implication is also that very few, if any, of them are nobility. As a noble lady, Elise is swimming against the tide as she tries to return to the profession that gave her so much joy as Aoi (Song Jihyun in Korean), and she faces two other significant hurdles of her past life. Before reincarnating post-modern life, Elise was a spoiled brat; when Aoi comes to as Elise, she’s confined to her room for an unspecified act of brattiness. Her terrible handwriting (which doubles as a joke about doctors having illegible penmanship) shows that she was anything but studious, and now she has to work hard to prove that she isn’t the same little girl she was an hour ago. This goes hand-in-hand with her engagement to Crown Prince Linden; previous Elise desired nothing more than to marry him, which eventually led to her (apocryphal) Marie-Antoinette execution. Present Elise needs to get out of the engagement, not just to save her neck but to return to her work in the medical field. No one, and certainly not the king, who wants her bloodline, believes that she’s serious, and she has to prove herself over and over again.

Visual Novel Developers Aren’t Laughing at Palworld’s Predictable April Fools’ Joke (Inverse, Robin Bea)

Mark it as another way Palworld’s cynically derivative.

For Arimia, the insistence on using dating sims in particular as a punchline has a clear cause.

“It feels reminiscent to me of how easily people shrug off the mobile gaming market for adults, namely women, just because in their eyes they’re not ‘real’ games,” Arimia says. “Because a lot of people view all visual novels as dating sims and romance is seen as more feminine, it becomes easier for people to shrug them off and consider them all a joke rather than engage with the medium unironically.”

Just as they’re often associated with femininity, visual novels can also be an outlet for other marginalized creators, which could explain why they’re targets for a segment of the gaming audience that’s outspoken against any attempt to improve diversity.

“The accessibility and low production costs behind visual novels have helped marginalized people share the stories they want to tell in a way that other storytelling vehicles can’t,” Mado says. That point is borne out by a look at the indie storefront Itch.io, where one of the most common tags shared among visual novels is “LGBT.”

300 people protest in Tokyo against Israel’s bloody invasion of Gaza as war enters 7th month (The Mainichi, Yoshiya Goto)

There have also been ongoing protests by individuals.

Responding to the “solidarity action” initiated by a group in Hokkaido that has spread across Japan, the event in Tokyo was organized by the Students and Youths for Palestine association and drew about 300 people.

Association member and bookstore employee Natsuki Minamoto, 25, said, “I feel tremendous anger at the genocide that has been happening over the past six months. I urge the Japanese government to immediately sever economic and military ties with Israel and impose economic sanctions similar to those against Russia.” Tatiana, 26, who has a Palestinian father and Japanese mother, stated in her speech, “What kind of terrifying world are we living in? We are demanding an end to mass killings and crimes against humanity.”

According to health authorities in Gaza, as of April 7, 31,175 people had died in the conflict in the Gaza Strip, with an estimated 70% being children and women.

Yuri Indie Visual Novel Without a Voice Blooming Edition Coming to Kickstarter (Blerdy Otome, Naja)

The game is a dark fairytale visual novel.

Both of these updates are now live as of April 5th on Steam and itch.io.

To celebrate this director’s cut of the game now being available, a Kickstarter has also been launched to fund physical copies of the Blooming Edition of Without a Voice as well as exclusive merch of the game. The Kickstarter campaign will run for 1 month, starting April 5th.

Teacher in quest to tackle sexism before kids know what it means (The Asahi Shimbun, Takuro Negishi)

Hoshino Toshiki creates lessons for grade schoolers about gender bias.

In his mid-20s, Hoshino came out of the closet and told his father he was gay. His family took him to a hospital.

Distraught, Hoshino felt he was the only one in the family struggling with a sexual stereotype.

Which is why he was so shocked when his younger sister confessed she had felt victimized by him.

“You are the eldest son in our family, so our parents gave you special treatment,” his sister said. “They would say I did not need to do well at school because I was a girl.”

The comment was the first time Hoshino gave any thought to the notion he belonged to an advantaged group of people at least in one respect. He had never questioned his parents’ stance of holding high expectations for their oldest son.

He was rocked by the realization he received privileges just because he is male.


Hoshino has spent nearly 16 years working as a teacher. Casual acts and conversations are usually his catalyst for raising gender issues in front of kids.

Through his interactions with children, Hoshino came to realize that some boys are bound by “masculinity.”

Shouting “You must die” and “I will kill you” was how one boy tried to fix problems, always resorting to violence and verbal abuse when he faced a situation not to his liking.

Another boy hated having to pretend he liked fighting but could not admit it for fear of being perceived as weak.

“People generally expect boys to be ‘strong’ and can fail to listen to their dislikes and anxieties properly,” Hoshino reckoned. “For these children, it could be difficult to express their true emotions through words.”

VIDEO: The crucial influence of shoujo sci-fi.

AniFem Community

Lots to look forward to (if you can figure out where it’s streaming).

New show: Whisper Me a Love Song. Love the manga, was glad to see it's getting an adaption.  Returning: Yuru Camp 3. One of my favorite anime of all time, literally one of the reasons I even watch anime.  Biggest good surprise: Jellyfish Can't Swim in the Night. Looked interesting, but was floored with just HOW good looking and well written it seems to be.  Biggest negative surprise: Spice and Wolf. Not that it's bad, it's just... the same. Other than one or two things that hew closer to the books, it's basically shot-for-shot the same as the previous show, though I guess we'll see if that trend continues.
For new series, I have five anime that I am so excited to see, Train to the End of the World, Jellyfish Can’t Swim in the Night, Tonari no Yokai-san, Whisper Me a Love Song, and The Grimm Variations.  For sequel and returning shows, I am gonna go with Sound! Euphonium 3, Delicious in Dungeon, and Laid-Back Camp season 3.  So far, they live up to what I expected them to be, although Laid-Back Camp season 3 experience a little bit of a let down in terms of animation, while Whisper Me a Love Song and The Grimm Variations remain to be seen. Overall, I enjoy the premieres and here hope for them to stay the course or surprise me in good ways even.
I enjoyed reading the first few vols of Kaiju No 8 a while back, so that's probably the main event for me (I'd love to see Go Go Loser Ranger but it's not on my sites)

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