Weekly Round-Up, 4-10 October 2023: Indie Manga Kickstarters, Looking for Magical Doremi, and Crunchyroll Lawsuit

By: Anime Feminist October 10, 20230 Comments
Yu and Umika staring at a notecard together

AniFem Round-Up

A Playthrough of a Certain Dude’s VRMMO Life – Episode 1

A better title for this unimaginative take on VRMMO anime might have been, “A Really Boring Dude Plays an MMO Boringly.”

I’m Giving the Disgraced Noble Lady I Rescued a Crash Course in Naughtiness – Episode 1

You might expect another ecchi anime, but it’s really about giving the titular lady the tools to fight back against those who’ve wronged her.

BULLBUSTER – Episode 1

A strong entry in the “fantastical infrastructure” subgenre, though the creative team raises a few eyebrows.

KamiErabi GOD.app – Episode 1

Unless you are also someone with terminal Yoko Taro brainworms, this is not an anime for you.

Paradox Live THE ANIMATION – Episode 1

The weak music segments don’t quite stand up to the bombastic Hypnosis Mic, but the characters and (slightly) more grounded writing have appeal.

The Yuzuki Family’s Four Sons – Episode 1

A sweet show about family and grief.

16bit Sensation: Another Layer – Episode 1

Fingers crossed that this one makes the most of its unique story exploring women passionate about eroge.

UNDER NINJA – Episode 1

The comedy falls flat thanks to dull pacing, and the nationalism around the edges leaves a bad aftertaste.

The Kingdoms of Ruin – Episode 1

A revenge story that wastes its potential by immediately kills the interesting female protagonist so that a guy can feel sad about it.

Tearmoon Empire – Episode 1

Off the bat, your interest in this show may depend on how you feel about the glamorization of royal figures like Marie Antoinette.

Power of Hope ~Precure Full Bloom~ – Episode 1

As long as you’re familiar with the tropes of magical girl team shows, the broad strokes of this excellent episode still land, even without easy access to the show it originates from.

A Returner’s Magic Should Be Special – Episode 1

Returner’s Magic wants to be very serious about slaying a great evil dragon with swords and magic. Our heroes would look great in the most generic knockoff copy of Dragon Quest.

Undead Unluck – Episode 1

Undead Unluck is one part action, one part engaging story, and all parts fraught with its treatment of female lead Fuko and her unlucky body.

My New Boss is Goofy – Episode 1

A fun time if you want a comedy designed for shipping fuel, but feels unlikely to become an overt romance.

The 100 Girlfriends Who Really, Really, Really, Really, REALLY Love You – Episode 1

A rapid-fire comedy that’s somehow one of the more positive depictions of polyamorous dynamics in anime.

The Vexations of a Shut-In Vampire Princess – Episode 1

If you only watch one fantasy yuri series this season about a rich blonde tsundere and the unabashedly forward maid who keeps declaring her passionate love…this one probably wouldn’t be the first pick.

Our Dating Story: The Experienced You and the Inexperienced Me — Episode 1

There is a whole cargo hold’s worth of baggage to unpack about how this show approaches sexual relationships.

Butareba -The Story of a Man Turned Into a Pig- – Episode 1

An especially exhausting example of a wish fulfillment reincarnation isekai.

Protocol: Rain – Episode 1

A mid-tier but enjoyably (e)sports anime with a few rough edges.

I Shall Survive Using Potions! – Episode 1

It isn’t the worst show this season by a long shot, but dull as it is, I doubt it will survive on many watchlists.

Stardust Telepath – Episode 1

A sweet end to the premiere rush that combines aliens, anxiety, and being very gay.

What’s your favorite shoujo/josei title most people don’t know is shojosei?

The confusion seems to happen with tragic regularity.

September 2023 Patron Newsletter and Staff Recommendations

Updates and bonus recommendations from the team if you’re looking for new manga.

Beyond AniFem

Isaki Uta: The Lost & Found Collection (Kickstarter)

The set of stories from the Mine-kun is Asexual author is $20 for a digital set and $85 for a hardcover box.

Isaki Uta is a renowned Japanese manga writer and artist best known for their comics centered about characters navigating their experiences and relationship with their gender and sexual identities. They are known for their short stories Mine-kun is Asexual, Silkscreen, and other stories which have appeared in Éclair: A Girls’ Love Anthology That Resonates in Your Heart and Éclair Blanche. Is Love The Answer? was their first solo work to appear in print in English. 

Now Irodori Comics presents a box set featuring four of their stories, which will appear in English in print for the first time.

Crunchyroll Settles in Class Action Suit Regarding User Information Privacy (Anime News Network, Rafael Antonio Pineda)

The compensation per US-based complainant is estimated to be roughly $30.

Eligible users must submit a claim form by December 12, 2023.

The class action lawsuit alleged that Crunchyroll violated the United States’ Video Privacy Protection Act by disclosing subscribers’ personally identifiable information to Facebook and other third-party companies. Sony Pictures Entertainment and Crunchyroll denied the claim, but have decided to settle “to avoid the uncertainties and expenses associated with continuing the case.”

Over 37,000 call for end to Japan schools’ ‘hair discrimination’ rules in petition to gov’t (The Mainichi, Yoshiko Yukinaga)

Experts also pointed to the rules as a legitimization of bullying and exclusion among students.

The signatures were submitted to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology on Sept. 7 by Japan for Black Lives, an organization raising awareness on racial discrimination and human rights issues. The organization’s representative Naomi Kawahara commented, “Mistaken perceptions in schools should be corrected quickly.”

The petition calls for a ban on discrimination and revision of problematic school rules. It also calls to create opportunities to learn from experts about the existence of hair colors and textures other than straight, black hair and about hairstyles designed to protect the hair, as well as for officials to hear from those involved and their families.

“To try to restrict people with uniform rules while disregarding their innate individual characteristics is a case of ceasing to think, and is a discriminatory act that excludes those who do not have straight, black hair,” Kawahara pointed out.

The organization has received several specific examples of such discrimination, with comments including, “I am of mixed Middle East heritage. I have curly hair and submitted a certificate to prove it was natural,” “My natural hair color is light but I was suspected of dyeing my hair and several teachers persistently touched it,” and, “I was forbidden from wearing my hair in a bun or braiding it, and the number of plaits was restricted.”

The masculinization of deprivation: Transformations in industrial and labor patterns and the emergence of the Men’s Crisis in Japan (Taylor & Francis Online, Kimio Ito and Allison Alexi)

Online publication of an article originally included in Gender, Family and Work in the 21st Century: Challenges and Transformations.

A movement for gender equality, begun in earnest in the 1970s, has prompted fundamental changes to work and family lives in Japan. Despite this, discussions about shifting gender structures have frequently focused on women, leaving men’s gender issues in the shadows. This article explores the last 50 years of labor and family changes from a gendered perspective, and the major historical and civilizational shifts behind those changing patterns. Focusing specifically on a crisis of masculinity, which I label the “Men’s Crisis,” this article examines the structural transformations in industry, labor, and society that we are currently confronting. Since the 1990s, the “Men’s Crisis” has become increasingly visible in Japanese society. Because the “Men’s Crisis” is spreading as an unidentified, invisible problem today, most men feel an unexplained, or unexplainable, deprivation. In other words, what I call the “masculinization of deprivation” has emerged. In order to advance gender equality and increase women’s participation in society, we must also contend with the vital policies surrounding men as gendered people, which have been ignored in the past. In particular, significant policy proposals are necessary, specifically those that acknowledge men’s needs for counseling and advice, as well as the links between men and care.

Only 37% of Japan national universities check sexual violence history when hiring teachers (The Mainichi, Yongho Lee)

The same ministry may conduct a survey of private institutions in future.

In recent years, social criticism of sexual violence at educational institutions has been increasing. In April last year, the law on the prevention of sexual violence against students by teachers came into effect, requiring education boards and school corporations to check a database when hiring teachers at elementary, junior high and high schools to see if their teaching licenses had been revoked due to sexual violence in the past.

To prevent sexual harassment and sexual violence at universities as well, the education ministry first surveyed all 86 national universities in June this year to check the status of their efforts, and received responses from all of the institutions. Thirty-two universities, or 37%, required prospective faculty members to report their disciplinary records when they were hired. At another four universities, only some departments required such reports. When asked about the criteria for disciplinary action against faculty members who engaged in sexual violence or sexual harassment, 70 universities, or 81%, connected the severity of the punishment, such as dismissal or suspension, to the specific acts and their level of malignancy.

Meanwhile, as many as 31 universities, or 36%, did not clearly indicate that students were included as potential victims of sexual violence or sexual harassment, referring only to problems “between superiors and subordinates in the workplace” or using similar expressions about the relationships in which sexual violence or sexual harassment could occur.

Alabaster: The Graphic Novel (Kickstarter)

Crowdfunding page for Noir Caesar’s reimagining of the 1970 Tezuka title.

Noir Caesar reimagines Alabaster as a contemporary graphic novel in collaboration with Tezuka Productions. Alabaster, a reinterpretation of Ralph Ellison’s novel “The Invisible Man,” is about a former successful Black athlete, James Block, who is stilted and wronged by his girlfriend and after a violent outburst is imprisoned. There, James meets a disgraced scientist in prison that directs him to a solution to his problems—a laser gun that turns its subject invisible or kills them upon usage and entrusts the device to him thereafter. After serving his prison sentence and locating the device, James disfigures himself in a failed experiment that turns him partially translucent, like alabaster. Angry and looking for revenge, with his new identity, Alabaster wreaks havoc on bigots and hypocrites alike.

Shattering Boundaries: Sailor Moon’s Impact on my Queer Identity (Anime Herald, Beatriz Verneaux)

On the franchise’s importance as the Crystal reboot comes to a close.

When Haruka appears in the series, the rest of the cast believes she is a boy. The girls, especially Usagi, Rei, Minako, and Makoto, develop a crush on her. But the fun thing that makes Sailor Moon stand out in its queer representation is that they continue to nurture crushes on Haruka even after discovering she is a girl.

The series pushed boundaries further in the final season, Sailor Stars, when they introduced the Sailor Starlights. They are sailor guardians from outer space who come to Earth on a secret mission. To achieve their goals, the Starlights appear as male pop stars. Their leader, Kou Seiya, or Sailor Star Fighter, captivated and confused me from the get-go, and they had the same effect on Sailor Moon, herself. Usagi felt conflicted, and drawn towards them as both a male civilian and a sailor guardian. As I became enthralled by this complexity, I researched everything I could about the character. I eventually discovered their image song, The One-Sided Love as Far Apart as the Galaxy, in which the character debates their duality and who they can be as both Seiya and Sailor Star Fighter.

It was clear to me that Seiya was both male and female and, much like Haruka, they embodied the two genders within one person. And it was clear to me that I experienced the same duality.

Tokyo ward tests metaverse office for disabled, seeks full support by FY 2028 (The Mainichi, Yusuke Kato)

The goal is to create barrier-free support for those who cannot visit an office to obtain services in-person.

During the test phase, the virtual office is only accessible to some groups of people with disabilities as designated by the ward. Inside the virtual office are a general information lobby and a consultation room staffed with the ward’s department of welfare for the disabled. Users can exchange messages through audio and chats.

The ward has been digitizing various procedures in a bid to make its services equally available without physically visiting the office to all residents regardless of where they live and whether they have disabilities. Of the 2,697 procedures offered by the ward, 1,112 have already been digitized. Further, online consultations are available at 103 of the ward’s 139 departments offering consultation services.

The trial launch of the metaverse office is part of this policy. After applying user requests taken during the experiment, the ward aims to make the metaverse service available in all departments and to all ward residents by fiscal 2028, when the municipal government buildings are scheduled to be relocated.

VIDEO: Looking for Magical Doremi and how reflection can be constructive.

VIDEO: Gender play and presentation in shoujo manga.

AniFem Community

Someday we’ll crack through that “shoujo is exclusively romance” misconception.

I like Children of the Whale, that most people ignore it is published in a shôjo magazine.  Here, in France, shôjo is often reduced to "teen romance at school" in the mind of a lot of people. So for a long time, each time a publisher wants to publish a shôjo that doesn't stick to that vision, they put it under another label (Children of the Whale is in a seinen collection in France). Adventure shôjos can be labelled as shôjo (for example, Yona) as long as there is clearly a love story inside.  For josei, the label starts to timidly emerge in France. It doesn't mean no josei were published before that, as we had quite a lot (my favorite being Honey & Clover), but they were labeled as shôjo or as seinen. Kana, an old french publisher with a pretty nice editorial line created a new label called "Life" a few years ago, that is part of their "Big" collection and the mangas are selled as seinen, but most of them are josei. My favorite one is, by far, Ikoku Nikki (Entre les lignes in french, wich means "between the lines"), a really touching feminist josei that, here, is labelled as a seinen, like many other mangas.
A lot of horror stuff, including a good chunk of Junji Ito's stuff and a lot of Kazuo Umezu's stuff ran in shojo magazines. A few big shojo magazines even had dedicated horror spinoffs. I think Ciao still does (although the demographic definitely skews younger).
I remember seeing "My Love Story!!" claimed as shounen back when it aired, but it's actually shoujo. Similarly, I saw a lot of comments believing "Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu" was shounen or seinen, but it's josei.

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