Weekly Round-Up, 4-10 May 2022: Bloodborne’s Pregnancy Horror, Animator Vlogging, and Requiem of the Rose King Interview

By: Anime Feminist May 10, 20220 Comments
three heroines goofing together and eating deserts, in a pink color filter

AniFem Round-Up

2022 Spring Three-Episode Check-In

The team checks in on the season in progress to let you know which shows have tripped up and which have outshone their initial impressions.

“I Can’t Wait Around Anymore”: Civilian women’s agency in My Hero Academia versus Fullmetal Alchemist

Caitlin Donovan compares how two shounen megahits handle “keeping secrets for your own good” storylines and what makes Winry so well-rounded.

What’s your go-to anime for tough times?

I think we can all agree that times are indeed tough.

Beyond AniFem

Bloodborne Is Scarier Than Ever In 2022 (Kotaku, Ashley Bardhan)

Revisiting the game and its themes of pregnancy horror in light of the current threat to reproductive rights.

To me, Bloodborne’s crying, bleeding mothers are the shadows in the stories older women used to tell me across their coffee tables, warning me about what womanhood supposedly entails. “Don’t get pregnant—the father will leave you and your body will be destroyed,” they’d say. “Try not to take things too personally—you look weak when you cry.” People hear things like that over coffee tables all across the country, and it makes them fear their bodies and what they’re capable of.

The life-defining consequences Bloodborne’s brutal virgin births have on characters like Arianna and Yharnam make me think of how common it is, even among women, to talk about womanhood as this unwieldy thing we have no control over. Things happen to us, we don’t make things happen. If everything you knew about womanhood came from defeated Sex and the City soundbites and that one point in time people seemed to think that Donald Trump was the sole progenitor of all their problems, you might think that to be a woman is to stand like a phantom until someone tells you to start existing.

But I’m tired of associating womanhood with stories of passivity, fear, and blood. Reproductive justice, which is under attack for the millionth time, needs those stories to change, too.

Reproductive justice goes well beyond the scope of “women’s issues,” but it’s often categorized as one. Because of this, and because of some people’s strange insistence on defining womanhood by the ability to get pregnant, discussions around reproductive justice are often limited in recognizing how reproductive issues affect people in general. Women need to feel like they’re more than just their bodies, and culturally, we need to recognize reproductive justice as an issue that affects everyone in society. Since Politico leaked a draftof the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, we’re perhaps in a now-or-never scenario for turning the tide on both of those things.

Tokyo gov’t plans to start same-sex partnership system in Nov. (The Mainichi)

The certificate does not confer the same rights as marriage but does grant couples the ability to apply for housing together and some medical rights.

Japan does not legally recognize marriage between members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, but many prefectural and local governments issue legally nonbinding certifications recognizing sexual minority couples.

Tokyo will be the ninth among Japan’s 47 prefectures to introduce some form of partnership system following Aomori, Akita, Ibaraki, Gunma, Mie, Osaka, Fukuoka and Saga.

In the draft, an updated version of one released in February, eligibility has been expanded to couples if at least one of them plans to move to the capital within three months, the officials said.

The system will not be limited by nationality, meaning non-Japanese nationals who meet the requirements will also be eligible.

Manga Mavericks EP. 198: “Yona of the Dawn” (Manga Mavericks)

Podcast discussion of the shoujo action fantasy series with several guests, including Caitlin.

We discuss our thoughts on Yona’s growth as a heroine, the complicated relationship between her, Hak, and Su-won, and how the series challenges the concepts of prophecy and the divine authority, exploring what it means to be a leader and what it takes to lead. We also gush and argue about our favorite Dragon Warriors, and champion our favorite supporting characters like Yun, Riri, and (perhaps surprisingly?) Tae-jun! We also speculate about the direction of the story, debate the merits of the Xing arc, explore Yona’s obliviousness and Hak’s brazenness in their slow-burn romance, and explain just why Yona is both a throwback to the 90s shojo fantasies of yore while also being the best possible version of them, and why it satisfies a craving for more action-focused shojo fantasy works that’re so few and far between these days. Yona’s story and world are so rich with detail that we couldn’t contain our discussion to just one podcast, so look forward to another equally meaty Q&A podcast next week to go over even more of our thoughts and theories on the series!

Yoshinoya will stop screening foreigners out of recruiting events (The Asahi Shimbun, Hideaki Sato)

The beef bowl chain came under fire for prescreening foreign applicants out from recruitment events.

When the incident first came to light, Yoshinoya Holdings cited previous cases where it had to cancel job offers for foreign nationals studying in Japan because they were unable to obtain work visas. It admitted it has been screening out applicants it assumed were foreign nationals from its recruitment events since 2021.

However, the company will warn foreign students at these events about the possibility they may be unable to obtain work visas after receiving a job offer, it said.

The latest flap comes in the wake of another scandal just weeks ago, when the company fired a managing director for making derogatory remarks about young women.

Nationality not the only issue at exclusive golf clubs in Japan (The Asahi Shimbun, Hwang Chui)

This trend of “unwritten rules” is noted to be fairly common at golf clubs across the country.

Despite being a naturalized Japanese, a man born to ethnic Korean parents was refused membership to an exclusive golf club in Gifu Prefecture on grounds its quota for non-Japanese was full.

When the fortysomething man, who obtained Japanese citizenship in 2018, sought an explanation, a representative of the Aigi Country Club cited his country of origin.

“Our club has a quota for foreign nationals and former foreign nationals who have become naturalized Japanese and restricts new memberships,” she said in a phone call on Feb. 20. “We currently have no vacancies in that quota.”

When he applied for membership, the man, who lives in Kuwana, Mie Prefecture, and runs a cleaning services company, submitted a copy of an extract of his family register which stated he had South Korean citizenship when he was naturalized.

“If only you could accept (our decision),” a director of the club told him three days later in a phone call the man recorded.

In March, the man sent a written notice to the club through his lawyer, demanding an apology and payment of 3 million yen ($23,500) in compensation, contending its denial of membership constituted “groundless discrimination.”

The Anime Staff and Creator of Requiem of the Rose King (Anime News Network, Rebecca Silverman)

Short interviews with the manga creator, director, and series composer.

ANN: While most of Requiem of the Rose King follows the action of Shakespeare’s Henry VI Part Three and Richard III, you incorporate a character from Henry VI Part One as well, Joan of Arc. What made you decide to use Joan’s ghost in your version of the story?

AYA KANNO: It’s related to her final lines in Henry VI Part One where she curses the Plantagenet line. It is also a statement about how the medieval world saw gender as strictly binary. Joan’s actions and Richard’s body both embody male and female characteristics. The idea for androgynous comes from Plato’s usage of “andrognos”, which refers to mythical beings that possess both a male and female half.

ANN: Did you have any expectations and concerns about the story being adapted into anime form?

KANNO: I was hoping that the parts some readers said were difficult to understand would be made clearer in the anime. Although I think these are good points about the manga, it does have a complex story, abstract dialogue, and drawings with a lot of details in them.

I worried about whether the multiple main themes of this manga (Shakespeare, history, gender issues, etc.) would all be understood and depicted with the right balance.

There were also the visual elements to consider. While animation has its own limitations, I was able to provide an acceptable degree of input.

ANN: How did you decide to incorporate Jane Shore into the story?

KANNO: Among the female characters in Shakespeare’s work, she possesses elements that don’t appear elsewhere: she is a peasant who possesses a certain degree of modern ideas. I felt that I needed a woman like her in the story. Due to the length constraints of the anime, there was a suggestion to cut Jane’s appearances, but I asked for her to remain because she is an important character.

VIDEO: Vlog from an animator about her struggles working in the post-Covid industry.

TWEET: Link to a Twitch discussion about racism in the VTuber space from a Twitter account dedicated to boosting Black indie creators. The VOD of the discussion is archived.

THREAD: Look at a recently released special issue of academic journal Sexualities focused on “Queer Asia.”

THREAD: Discussion on use of “boku” by AFAB people and the varieties of gender presentation it can encompass.

AniFem Community

It seems we can all agree that those camp girls are extremely soothing.

Hakumei & Mikochi: Tiny Little Life in the Woods! <3
Chihayafuru. Maybe not what people would immediately think of, but when I'm feeling down, nothing cheers me up quite like watching Chihaya try her best for something she's totally passionate about. That show is just complete comfort-food for me, I love it.

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