Weekly Round-Up, 31 August – 6 September 2022: Police Intimidation, Untenable Production Cycles, and Birdie Wing’s Absurd Golf

By: Anime Feminist September 6, 20220 Comments
Jolyne and her stand

Editor’s Note: This week’s post is particularly dense with heavy topics, including racism, hate speech, sexual harassment, and police brutality. Please proceed with care.

AniFem Round-Up

How My Brain is Different allows the neurodivergent to tell their own stories

Caitlin shares a nonfiction manga of stories from a range of neurodiverse people, collected by an artist who only realized she was ADHD as an adult.

“I am a shadow… The true self…”: Identity and social norms in Persona 4 Golden

While P4 is nominally about rebellion, as Julia Tong notes, its female characters’ stories tend to lead them right back to the situations they felt suffocated by.

Chatty AF 169: Kare Kano (His and Her Circumstances) Watchalong – Episodes 8-13

Caitlin, Dee, and Meru return to talk about Anno’s contributions to the adaptation, the memorable dub, and school bullies.

What’s your favorite magical girl series?

It’s a timeless genre for a reason.

August Staff Recommendations

Every month we put out bonus recs of anime, manga, games, and more for $3 patrons and above.

Beyond AniFem

Online Platforms Like Twitter Are Missing a Brutal Wave of Hate Speech in Japan (Time, Yumiko Sato)

Japanese online discourse is rarely studied or noted, particularly in English-language spaces, allowing hate groups to go unnoted. Since Abe’s assassination, there’s been a particularly large spike in hate speech and hate crimes toward Zainichi Koreans.

Daisuke Tsuji, an associate professor at Osaka University, who has collected data on netto-uyoku for over a decade, says “Only about 2% of internet users in Japan are netto-uyoku.” But their viewpoints are over-represented on the internet, partly because they are among the few Japanese willing to talk about politics, he says. “Unlike in the U.S. or U.K., Japanese don’t really talk about politics in daily conversation. Even on the Internet, it’s a small segment of the population that engages in political discussions.”

Furthermore, the Japanese tendency to avoid conflict is also reflected on social media. In an analysis of Twitter in Japan, researchers found that plenty of progressives were on the site, but they weren’t discussing the same topics as netto-uyoku. Since liberals aren’t actively engaged in creating counter narratives, the viewpoints of netto-uyoku are rarely challenged.

Such cultural factors, plus the normalizing of hate on the Internet, have enabled netto-uyoku to create the impression that their views are more mainstream than they actually are. Their words have the potential to harm hundreds of thousands. There are at least 300,000 people in Japan who are categorized as “special permanent residents,” almost all of whom are Zainichi Koreans—and many thousands more may consider themselves part of this group because of their heritage.

What’s happening to Zainichi Koreans isn’t unique, of course. Minority communities are targeted online all over the world, as a reflection of what happens offline, says Ariadna Matamoros-Fernandez, who studies digital media at Queensland University of Technology. But most major social media platforms struggle to understand how hate is articulated in non-U.S. contexts, she says.

The problem is exacerbated in countries without a proper legal framework to protect minorities. Activists in Japan have been pushing for anti-discrimination laws. Japan passed the Hate Speech Act in 2016, but activists say it didn’t go far enough because it prescribes no penalties. They also say that the lack of explicit government condemnation emboldens those perpetrating ethnic hate.

‘I’ll kill you’: Japan pref. to compensate man over intimidating police interrogation (The Mainichi, Tomokazu Komaki and Satoshi Yamaguchi)

The plaintiff will receive 300,000 yen (approx. $2,140) in compensation and an apology.

According to sources including the police, the plaintiff is a Wakayama resident in his 40s. He was arrested by Wakayamakita Police Station in July 2020 on suspicion of committing violent acts, the legal complaint and other sources said. The police station’s sergeant in his 30s repeatedly told the man things such as, “I’ll make you cry,” “Are you trying to make me mad? I’ll go on a rage,” and, “I’ll bash you to death,” during the interrogation. The man was reportedly hospitalized after being handed a suspended sentence. The interrogation was video recorded, and the man filed a damages suit in June 2021, seeking 1.76 million yen (approx. $12,500) in compensation.

The prefectural police explained that the sergeant had admitted to how he acted, saying, “I got angry about his sulking attitude,” and apologized to the victim in a letter. The prefectural police’s inspection division said, “We will respond strictly over the matter.”

Ex-SDF member demands probe into sexual assault claims at Japan base (The Mainichi, Toshiaki Uchihashi)

The woman has currently collected over 100,000 signatures in support of her cause. This article includes detailed discussion of sexual harassment.

Based on Gonoi’s accusations, the GSDF’s police unit sent public prosecutors papers on three male members on suspicion of sexual assault, but prosecutors decided not to indict them. Unhappy with the prosecutors’ decision, Gonoi has filed a formal review request with the Committee for the Inquest of Prosecution. The Defense Ministry is looking into the case to see whether the members’ actions warrant disciplinary measures.

Gonoi called for information regarding harassment within the Self-Defense Forces, and according to her, 146 people including those who claim to be current SDF members came forward. These claims included 101 cases of power harassment, 87 cases of sexual harassment and 38 cases of moral harassment including psychological ill treatment. Gonoi also reported her findings to Parliamentary Vice-Minister Kimura.

Uncle From Another World Insider Paints Gloomy Picture of Anime’s Production Schedule (Anime News Network, Lynzee Loveridge)

Ichii previously spoke up about low wages at MAPPA.

Ichii wrote that he worked on the episode 10’s storyboarding and oversaw the voice work. He also mentioned an incident where he reminded a staff member to “not treat a person I introduced to them carelessly, and to please act appropriately through the final episode.”

He wrote his initial tweet on August 27. The following day he shared there were only three days until the next episode was scheduled to air and no staff were available. The official website for the anime announced on August 31 that the anime’s eighth episode and beyond are delayed indefinitely, due to rapid increases in COVID-19 infections within Atelier Pontdarc and other studios involved in the anime’s production. The anime will instead re-run episodes 3-6 throughout September. The site will announce when the anime will resume at a later date.

The anime already suffered a two-week delay of its fifth episode from its scheduled August 3 airing to August 17 due to a similar spread of COVID-19 within the studio. A total of 14,193 new COVID-19 infections were reported in Tokyo, where Atelier Pontdarc is located, on September 1. The area is currently trending downward in new infections after a surge in late July. Based on prefecture population size, Tokyo’s infection rate is low when compared with other areas of the country and is down 38% compared to two weeks ago.

The Journey Animation Manager Sara Oulddaddah (Anime News Network, Lynzee Loveridge)

Oulddaddah, a member of Saudi women gamer community GCON, was asked about the “political controversy” leading to boycotts of Saudi Arabian media and claimed her production studio is apolitical.

As one of the first female animation managers in Saudi Arabia, what has your journey been from a female point of view? Did you have any hurdles getting into this position?

OULDDADDAH: So, I specifically come from more an art background. I’m an artist, mangaka, and I’ve been working with GCON, the female community for game developers, artists and gamers, and also a lot of mentorship programs, initiatives for young talents for over 10 years. I worked on helping females develop their skills and find their place and voice in the field because there were not a lot of them in there. [I wanted to] create, you know, one place for them so they can get together and communicate together.. So this I think has led me to the current position as well, and I do come from a technical management background. So it kind of helped me understand how to create a system, in establishing some sort of efficient working system.

When I first came into Manga Production, I was working on the art direction. After that, my role gradually expanded to include production management. And I’m very thankful for our CEO Dr. Essam Bukhary and our management for their support for the females, because they have trusted me. They have believed in me that I could lead the animation and manga department. Now I’ve been doing this for the last three years. I’m also happy to announce that over – I think 68% – of our creative team are very talented females. I’m very happy about that.

Let’s Play a Love Game: Cycles of hunger (Haywire Magazine, Eric Cline)

How BL puzzle game Boys Tale explores but ultimately fumbles exploring cycles of abuse.

This approach ultimately feels antithetical to the narrative’s own success. On the one hand, reading about this sort of messy and dubious BL sexuality is certainly less visceral and disturbing than being subjected to clear-cut, realistically depicted sexual assault. While the content may justifiably make many potential players uncomfortable, it is of a sort that is largely expected in its genre. Nonetheless, the game’s core concern as a product (to be a porn game whose contents must be enjoyable for its audience) largely undercuts the narrative and thematic concerns. Sia and Hansel’s sexual journey together is far too brief, shallowly written, and concerned with titillation to be successful as a story of a victim furthering the cycle of their own abuse. While such a character arc could be incredibly messy and prone to controversy, it would at least confront the change in Hansel’s behavior directly. It would also allow the opportunity to develop the character further beyond the limits of archetype he never manages to shed here.

From premise to execution, Boys Tale is representative of both the best and worst aspects of niche sex and romance games. The concept (folklore but pornified) is basic on its own, but the implications for the characters’ development are very promising. Such is the case with Hansel, whose role reversal in becoming like the witch who originally tried to eat him could provide groundwork for a story about cycles of abuse. Unfortunately, Boys Tale isn’t actually interested in allowing its characters to have depth beyond (or perhaps even comparable to) that of their fairytale counterparts. Much like his younger self’s bread crumbs, the elder Hansel finds his hopes and potential dashed to sate an outside force’s hunger.

Whiffs and Aces: Birdie Wings’ Mixed Depiction of Golf (Anime News Network, Lucas DeRuyter)

As expected, the show misses the technical aspects but gets to some emotional truths.

Golf is a deeply repetitious sport where a serious player will polish a number of swings for different situations to a mirror sheen and then engrave this process into their muscle memory. Professional golfers train to ensure that their feet placement, weight distribution, posture, grip, backswing, and follow-through are exactly what they need to be to hit the exact shot they want from any lie (i.e. the position of the golf ball in relation to the golfer) imaginable. Because the process of swinging a golf club is so heavily tied to a player’s physique and preferences, it’d be impossible for someone to lie about their identity and impersonate another golfer.

Anyone whose job involves paying attention to these players would be able to tell from a practice swing that the person in the tee box is not who they claim to be. Now, maybe it’s possible that Birdie Wing is doing some kind of commentary here and subtly drawing attention to the long-standing issues of women’s sports being underfunded and underreported, implying that there aren’t enough people paying attention to catch this fraud or care to address it. However, the anime then goes on to depict women’s golf as the cornerstone of every society in its world, so it’s more likely that the team behind the show is just uninterested in basing their lesbian golf drama on the realities of the sport.

Or even reality in general, considering the assassinations by rocket launcher, squishy prosthetic arms, and Eve teeing off without wearing a collared shirt! I cannot stress how much basic dress code is drilled into a young person learning golf. As someone who saw half a dozen kids ejected from high school golf practice for wearing jeans instead of khakis, my eye twitched every time Eve took the course while dressed like a valley girl on a summer vacay to Big Bear.

THREAD: Discussing the connection between pro-Vic Mignogna harassment and the now-defunct doxxing site KiwiFarms.

TWEET: The live-action Wotakoi movie will stream free in the US, but requires pre-registration.

THREAD: Japanese-language comic by a Deaf artist on how she learned to understand sound effects through context clues, including a smart vending machine.

AniFem Community

These are all good, but you know what we need? A wider variety of new magical girls in addition to the established franchises.

My first magical girl was Sailor Moon.  My favorite older series (and also favorite anime of all time) is Revolutionary Girl Utena.  My favorite modern series is Futari wa Pretty Cure.
It's tie between Cardcaptor Sakura and Kira Kira Pretty Cure A La Mode. They're both series about the healing power of love, and they both contain favorite characters of mine.

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