Weekly Round-Up, 31 January – 6 February 2024: Magical Girl Roller Derby, Persona 3 Reload, and IGN Union

By: Anime Feminist February 6, 20240 Comments
Marcille, Chilchuck, and Senshi making weirded out expressions

AniFem Round-Up

Anime Feminist’s Favorite Films of 2023

We’re taking a run at some new coverage this year.

2024 Winter Three-Episode Check-In

Lot of shows taking unexpected pivots this season.

Chatty AF 200: Revolutionary Girl Utena Watchalong – Part 1

We celebrate 200 episodes by having mega Utena fan Vrai to talk Cy and Chiaki through their very first viewing of the series.

What’s your favorite magical girl series?

There are always new titles to discover, which is great.

Beyond AniFem

WHEELS & ROSES: TV Pilot (Kickstarter)

Fundraiser for a magical girl roller derby pilot.

WHEELS & ROSES is a Sailor Moon meets Roller Derby YA animated coming-of-age series. The story centers on our protagonist Sahara, and her Magical Roller Derby team WHEELS & ROSES! Set in a world of magic, we follow Sahara (protagonist), Danielle, Nina, Kai, and Bree, as they learn what it means to grow as a team, and overcome all odds to become the champions.

Throughout the series, we’ll see how each of our characters learns how to build meaningful relationships and explore who they are as individuals. While most of the show will take place in arenas where bouts (AKA games) will be held, we’d also like to show our characters’ lives, to get a better sense of their different lived experiences. This show is unapologetically queer! Unapologetically soft! As well as unapologetically tough– ’cause duh, roller derby! 

Let’s just say this story was created by the power of magical girls and sports anime!!

Our ultimate goal is to make a fully animated 22-minute pilot episode.

Depending on what financial goal we hit though, we may end up creating either a trailer, or an animated short film, heck or even a graphic novel! The more we fundraise, the more animation we can make! I hope you’ll be a part of this journey to bring this story to life.

24/7 Magical Maiden Mimi (Kickstarter)

Fundraiser for the latest book by ROADQUEEN author Mira Ong Chua.

Lonely, unpopular middle schooler Milo has a secret: he’s actually Magical Maiden Mimi, the plucky heroine that protects the city from the cuddly-yet-vicious aliens that threaten the peace!

When a magical slip-up leaks his identity to the public, Milo finds himself with the fame and admiration he’s always dreamed of…

…But embracing his new popularity might push him away from the things that matter the most.

24/7 Magical Maiden Mimi is a lighthearted fantasy story featuring an LGBTQ+ cast about friendship, presentation, and the power of pursuing your truest self! It is appropriate for general audiences.

IGN Is Forming A Union (Aftermath, Gita Jackson)

Layoffs have swept games-related industries for the last few years.

“We need fair and competitive pay for all, including those who are asked to live and work in some of the most expensive cities in the United States; affordable health insurance; and better diversity, equity, and inclusion across the board,” the Guild wrote in their mission statement. “We need protection against layoffs amid a hectic media landscape, guarantees of reasonable compensation when those layoffs cannot be avoided, as well as protections against generative AI and similar technologies.”

Max Scoville, a senior video producer and host who has worked at IGN for nine years, wrote in a press release that while he’s immensely proud of the work he and his colleagues have done, it’s time for the company to evolve.

“IGN is already an industry leader in entertainment media,” Scoville wrote, “but it’s crucial that we ensure it also continues to be a bastion for the human beings who give it a voice.”

Why ‘Godzilla’ is the Most Potent Metaphor in Media (Black Nerd Problems, Frantz Jerome)

The most recent films in the context of the franchise’s political themes.

Designed as a prequel to the 1954 debut, Minus One explores so much: Government unreliability, anti-war sentiment, the nature of trauma, a staggering amount of the human experience. It posits a more daring and sinister indictment: that Japan’s use of Kamikaze pilots was a prime catalyst for the United States use of atomic weapons against them. Just so we’re clear, the Godzilla IP was used to scrutinize its own country of origin. At that, to inquire as to whether Japan committed a war crime against its own people!

Minus One goes so hard in the paint it don’t even make sense. Writer/Director Takashi Yamazaki originally thought to use his entry into the Godzilla pantheon to talk about the recent governmental response to COVID-19 but thought it would be too similar to Shin Godzilla. Shifting it away from modern times and into immediate post-war Japan gave the movie so much room to showcase the similarities between how the world powers handled atomic fallout and a global pandemic. The ending of this one is another piece of brilliance that leaves you scratching your head and then scouring the Internet for answers. A hallmark of a lot of Godzilla projects is that the ending feels like it isn’t an ending at all. Never in the hopes to eke out a sequel, but to allow the characters, consequences, and context to sit in the minds and hearts of audiences.

Persona 3 Reload Owes Its Queer Characters More Than Erasure (Inverse, Robin Bea)

The remake removes the transphobic beach scene in both versions, not just the localization.

As Kotaku first reported and others who’ve played the game confirm, Persona 3 Reload actually gets rid of the transphobic joke entirely (Yay!) by making the character in question no longer trans (Boo!). In the new release, the woman is a conspiracy theorist trying to sell them special sunscreen, and the boys react with the same dismay they did in the original.

Technically, this is a step up. Both as a trans woman and a person with a conscience, I’m glad to at least see a transphobic joke not being repeated, but the way Atlus made its course correction still leaves me feeling awful. On its own, there’s nothing objectionable about the new scene. But onceyou know that it’s just painting over a transphobic joke, the change feels woefully inadequate.

If the only way Persona 3 Reload can avoid being transphobic is by removing trans people entirely, it’s suggesting that the trans woman was the problem, not the transphobes.

That may not be the message Atlus is explicitly trying to send, but it’s the one that plenty of people will receive. When I see Atlus erasing a person like me rather than just portraying a trans woman with dignity, it says to me that the only way mainstream culture can avoid transphobia is to get rid of all the pesky trans people raising the issue.

Teachers on leave for mental illness in Japan hit record high (The Mainichi)

The data also includes info on teachers punished for corporal and sexual assault.

The number of teachers who took leave due to mental illness had fluctuated at around 5,000 in recent years, but it surged by more than 1,300 in two years since fiscal 2020, which saw the start of the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Education experts said the rise was partly due to an increased workload caused by the pandemic such as the need to take infection prevention measures, but they also cited a rising trend in complaints from students’ parents.

A shortage of school teachers has been a serious problem in Japan with young people avoiding entering a profession seen as having a heavy workload, the experts said, while also noting that more teachers are taking leave due to illness or childbirth.

The internet goes in search of blame after the death of Hinako Ashihara (The Japan Times, Thu-Huong Ha)

Ashihara lost her life to suicide after deleting a post critical of an adaptation of her work.

What was essentially an industry insider skirmish grew into an all-out social media uproar. Some users sided with Aizawa, criticizing the sudden unexplained changes in the plot and saying Ashihara was being too demanding as a creator and should accept that source material needed to be changed for a mainstream TV audience. Elsewhere, Aizawa was vilified as a gensaku kurrashā, or “original work crusher,” a term for producers and writers who destroy works in the process of adaptation, and fans sided with Ashihara for being poorly treated as a creator. The topic trended for multiple days on X.

Ashihara deleted some of her tweets, leaving up only the “test” post and her apology post from around 1 p.m. on Sunday, the day she was reported missing. In the wake of her death, which was reported on Monday, social media users are doubling down on naming and shaming, in what feels strongly reminiscent of the weeks following the suicide of “Terrace House” star Hana Kimura.

A tweet calling the scriptwriter a murderer has been liked 8,100 times at the time of writing. Another tweet naming a producer who the poster said was as equally to blame as Aizawa as an “original work crusher” has 20,000 likes, while still another with 13,000 likes accuses Nippon TV of not supporting Ashihara and saying its statement on her death was inadequate.

Critics seem chiefly concerned with whether Ashihara’s work as an artist was respected and what the role of a scriptwriter is to begin with. What no one seems to be saying (or maybe the algorithms just aren’t showing) is what responsibility belongs to the rest of us: To the users, for their anonymous pile-ons and trigger-happy responses, the media industry, for adding fuel to the fire, or the platform algorithms, for the way they encourage careless clicking and boost sentiments strongly divided by emotions.

Maternity, baby emergency supplies lacking in Japan municipalities (The Mainichi)

The study encompassed all 1,741 municipalities in Japan.

Some 61.1 percent were found not to have any women in disaster prevention and crisis management departments, according to the study.

Around 14,000 people have lived in evacuation centers for over a month since a 7.6-magnitude earthquake hit the Noto Peninsula on the Sea of Japan coast. While they have been receiving relief supplies, it is not known if they have been able to obtain necessary items when needed.

The study showed that 82.5 percent stocked sanitary napkins, but only 11.9 percent had underwear for women. Some 6.4 percent stored personal alarm devices or whistles.

While 72.5 percent stockpiled baby formula, only 14.3 percent had baby food needed for weaning infants around six months old. The study also found 66.9 percent carried diapers, but only 26.1 percent had baby wipes.

‘Who are you?’ Japan business lobby pushes gov’t to allow spouses to keep original surnames (The Mainchi, Yuki Machino)

Presently, Japanese married couples must both adopt one partner’s surname.

Keidanren has collected a slew of stories about the trouble caused by the single surname requirement, including, “Having to change the last name is ruining my career as the academic papers I’ve written under my maiden name are not being recognized,” and “In some cases, my business name has not been accepted when signing contracts.”

One woman who had been using her original name while working at an international company said her foreign boss didn’t recognize the name shown on her income statements and other documents. “With a Japanese boss, it would’ve been simple to explain, ‘That’s my husband’s last name,’ but since other countries have a separate name system, it takes longer for foreign bosses to understand. I had to get things confirmed multiple times. It was tiring.”

Issues are also arising at small- and medium-sized businesses that are struggling to secure workers to inherit the companies. In a 2021 survey by an organization that promotes women’s succession of businesses, 60% of female business owners said they had been inconvenienced or disadvantaged due to a last name change. Some respondents said that losing the founding family name of the company had led to lowered “brand power” and lost credibility within and outside their company. Some had even been asked, “Who are you?” by clients and banks.

TWEET: Free academic article about how Crunchyroll “capitalized on fan labour to pivot into becoming a legitimate streaming business.”

AniFem Community

It’s especially fantastic to see older titles like Saint Tail and Minky Momo make their way over.

Pre-2000: Ojamajo Doremi. Starts in witchy mischief mode, morphs into raise/protect the magical baby etc. Gets into some serious subjects like Doremi's mom contemplating suicide, and Aiko's mom having a miscarriage contributing to divorce.  Solo: Cardcaptor Sakura Team: Hirogaru Sky Precure. Great mix of characters with lots of personal growth.Wing is definitely a boy but doesn't try to take over, and Butterfly doesn't play the "because I'm an adult" card.  Licensed? An uncensored dub of all the Precure series with no localization. Kids are curious how kids in other countries live- don't hide that it's Japanese. These would be great shows for parents to watch and discuss with their children. We might get this if Toei completes its plan for an international streaming service with *all* it's content.
It’s a tie between Kira Kira Pretty Cure A La Mode and Cardcaptor Sakura! As for ones I want a license for, I adore Go! Princess Pretty Cure and super want CR to license it.
Nurse Angel Ririka! Followed by Princess Tutu and Sailor Moon.

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