Weekly Round-Up, 5-11 April 2023: Shoujo Boys, Pokémon GO Accessibility, and TMS Pay Raise

By: Anime Feminist April 12, 20230 Comments
Shima and Mitsuki doing "okay" hand symbol dance moves

AniFem Round-Up

KamiKatsu: Working for God in a Godless World – Episode 1

Downright mesmerizing in its badness.

The Legendary Hero is Dead! – Episode 1

Saddled with one of the worst shounen protagonists in recent memory.

Yuri Is My Job! – Episode 1

A smart parody of Class-S tropes with a fantastic gremlin of a heroine.

My One-Hit Kill Sister – Episode 1

I’m watching a generic isekai! I’m watching an incest show! I’m watching the combination generic isekai incest show!

Opus.COLORs – Episode 1

Has some neat ideas but gets held back by its production limitations.

Otaku Elf – Episode 1

The goofs are held up by unexpectedly solid character writing.

MASHLE: Magic and Muscle – Episode 1

Fantasy allows us to ask exciting, imaginative “what if?” questions, like “what if this guy punched a wizard in the face? Would that be funny or what?”

Magical Destroyers – Episode 1

Simultaneously A Lot and very little at all.

The Café Terrace and Its Goddesses – Episode 1

A harem show that hinges on repeated attempts at sexual assault.

Summoned to Another World for a Second Time – Episode 1

The possibilities are endless but sadly it’s obvious this show isn’t heading in that direction.

Too Cute Crisis – Episode 1

Do you like watching cute animal videos?

Rokudo’s Bad Girls – Episode 1

There are glimmers of interesting thought here, but not enough to keep the show from collapsing under the burden of its own premise.

A Galaxy Next Door – Episode 1

The premise is eyebrow-raising, but the execution is a surprisingly sweet, gentle affair.

Stella of the Theater: World Dai Star – Episode 1

A surprising treat to watch as a showcase about the process of acting.

Insomniacs After School – Episode 1

Has the setup for a lovely story about mental health, IF its female lead has her own character arc outside of helping the male lead.

Why Raeliana Ended Up at the Duke’s Mansion – Episode 1

A good lead cursed by a somewhat stiff production.

Dead Mount Death Play – Episode 1

It’s managed to put so many conceptual hats on top of one another that it’s come round to being kind of entertaining.

The Marginal Service – Episode 1

Just a bag of police brutality-flavored yikes.

Beyond AniFem

Musician Kauan Okamoto alleges talent manager assaulted him (The Mainichi)

Kitegawa’s agency made a statement following the documentary that fails to address any of the actual allegations.

Okamoto’s encounters with Kitagawa started when he had a modeling agency send a video of him singing Justin Bieber’s “Baby” to a manager at Kitagawa’s office. He got invited to a concert in Tokyo, and then to Kitagawa’s home.

“I hope everyone will come forward because it is an outrageous number of victims,” he told reporters at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Tokyo.

Okamoto, 26, estimated dozens of people were selected by Kitagawa as his “favorites” — the ones he saw as talented — to come stay at his home where the alleged abuse occurred. The scandal surfaced after a BBC documentary “Predator,” in which several victims came forward, aired worldwide in March.

Kitagawa died in 2019 and was never charged.

Shukan Bunshun, a Japanese news magazine, first reported the scandal in 1999. Over the years, the reaction from much of mainstream Japanese society has been muted. Johnny’s, which still exists as a company, is behind some of Japan’s biggest stars, including SMAP, KinKi Kids and Arashi.

Anime Boston 2023: What It’s Like to Work in Anime (UPDATED) (Anime News Network, Reuben Baron)

Summary of a panel with five freelance animators.

Working on action scenes comes with challenges. Chansard says that schedules tend to be pretty uniform for animators regardless of the length of complexity of their assigned sequences, and action sequences, by their nature, take longer. Sometimes schedules become downright unmanageable. The schedules for Wonder Egg Priority and Chainsaw Man were cited as particularly bad in this regard, with the latter production having to complete some shots in just two days. Lu had to clean up a shot of the Ghost Devil’s hands in Chainsaw Man Episode 8 in a little over a week while having bronchitis and fearing she might have COVID. Her phone roll that day was filled with hundreds of hand-reference photos, and she ended up drawing around 350 hands in total. Curie was also offered another cut with a two-day deadline but she turned it down.

Pay for beginning animators is per cut, so those who can work fast and get more cuts completed have an advantage over those who work slower. Those who can both animate quickly and build strong working relationships sometimes have the opportunity for a “bond” with a studio — not a formal contract, but a verbal agreement to work with one studio that will pay them more. HAMIL has such a bond with Studio White Fox. Chansard said he’s been paid very well as a full-time animator on One Piece, where he’s particularly proud of his work on the Kaido vs. Yamato fight in Episode 1048.

If you’re not a “speed demon,” as Lu describes Chansard, working in anime can be a frustrating experience. The different panelists each had different methods of dealing with these frustrations. Kamau likes to multitask when the work becomes mind-numbing and emphasizes making time for hobbies. Fypher tries to hyperfocus on doing the best possible job on the parts he finds most frustrating. HAMIL also recommends taking breaks when possible and advises against perfectionism. Lu recommends crying to relieve frustration; she’s also now taking a full-time job with Spencer Wan‘s Studio Grackle, which will allow her a more reasonable schedule than freelancing has and give her time to pursue personal projects such as “Yaoguai,” a short film about monsters from Chinese mythology.

The Real Impact Of Pokémon Go‘s Changes That Niantic Won’t Face (Kotaku, Kenneth Shepard)

Niantic is rolling back the Remote Raiding feature that made the game more accessible.

While Niantic was seeking feedback ahead of launching these changes, it sounds like when the company was looking for feedback on Remote Raid restrictions, it hadn’t settled on a specific number for how many of these battles players would be able to partake in on a daily basis. “We had no clue if it was going to be three or five or 10 or 20,” Sarumi says.

Now, swaths of the Pokémon Go community are left wondering if the game is really for them anymore. Remote Raids have been one of the only parts of the game’s infrastructure that felt accommodating to those who live in rural areas or have a disability that makes walking around to play difficult or impossible, even if they weren’t explicitly designed with such players in mind, but rather were just a response to people being stuck at home at the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic.

Erica “smollock” Chamblee is a Pokémon Go player who lives in what she calls a “very small farming community.” She says it takes her 20 minutes to get to the nearest grocery store and the town has around five PokéStops. The most populated area has three gyms, but cell service is spotty, so even the gyms in the area go unused. Though she has played Pokémon Go since it launched in 2016, Chamblee says Remote Raids actually made the game playable, and helped her connect with other users despite being in a place Pokémon Go never felt built for.

Anime Studio TMS Entertainment Restructures Employee Pay to Give Higher Base Salary (Crunchyroll, Daryl Harding)

The starting salary for new employees will be 260,000 yen a month.

This only affects salaried employees at TMS Entertainment, which includes those in production, sales, office workers and some animators. Like many anime studios across Japan, the company uses freelancers to fill its anime production ranks, who likely will not benefit from this increase.

TMS Entertainment was able to increase the base salary of employees by cutting advanced prepayments for overtime as well as spreading out bonuses over the year rather than all at once. It is not known if the yearly salary has increased due to this restructuring. TMS says that the change was to balance out the ratio between the base salary and yearly earnings and stabilize the income of its employees 

In comparison to other studios in Japan who have publically confirmed salaries for staff members: MAPPA is currently hiring for its production department with a salary that starts at 240,000 yen (US$1,823) including overtime, Studio Ghibli hired for Miyazaki’s latest film at 250,000 yen (US$1,898) per month and Kyoto Animation’s base salary is 186,000 yen (US$1,412) with allowances that top out at 30,000 yen per month. Though, it should be noted that the cost of living in Kyoto is 30% lower than in Tokyo.

Even If Tempest (Nintendo Switch) Otome Review (Blerdy Otome, Naja)

The first Switch-exclusive game from Voltage studios.

In a style reminiscent of Ace Attorney, Anastasia and her chosen LI investigate the witch’s crimes by interrogating witnesses, collecting evidence, and unlocking special skills that will help you discover which of five suspects (Sacrificia) are the true culprit (Membra) that is being manipulated by the the Witch. Rather than feeling out of place, the trials seamlessly fit in with Even if Tempest‘s story and add a fun interactive element that you don’t see often in otome games.

Even if Tempest employs a linear narrative style, with each route building on their predecessors to tell a more cohesive overarching story. Each layer reveals a small piece of the story with the conclusion only being revealed after completing all of the character routes. Most otome games have branching, self contained routes, but I kind of like the interconnected story because it really allows for some great worldbuilding and character development.

This is such an immersive story and world, and I really enjoyed learning more about it in each new route. The fairytale inspirations of Even if Tempest are hard to miss, but the dark twists and turns make for a more memorable experience. I especially loved the lore surrounding the Kingdom of Hystorica and the Goddess Norn. A lot of Hystorica’s history is entrenched in its worship of the goddess and it was interesting seeing how much of a role that played in the overall story. It’s very reminiscent of the importance of Amaterasu in the story of Olympia Soiree.

Marry, F—, or Kill with Alternative Manga Artist Shiu Yoshijima (Anime News Network, Rueben Baron)

Mini-interview from Anime Boston.

Are there any plans to translate any of your manga into English? Which one of your works would you like published English first and why?

I don’t have any works that have been translated into English yet. There’s a published book [in Japan] called Poison Yuri Anthology, and there’s one particular story in that I would like foreign fans to enjoy, which is about a death god and a nurse. If I were to choose one particular to translate, I would choose that story.

To explain the plot, it’s a yuri manga, so it’s about the love story between a death god and a nurse, and the irony is a death god can only visit the nurse’s place if someone dies. So there’s this bit of an ironic situation, a bit of a conflicting idea, because both the death god and the nurse are in love with each other, but they can’t see each other due to the death god’s nature of only being able to show up if someone dies. Personally, I think this is a very intriguing story and a story I personally like, so I want my foreign audiences to enjoy it as well.

Based on the common subject matter in your art, I challenge you to a game of Marry, F—, or Kill. Your options are centaurs, mermaids, and bunny girls.

I would probably marry a centaur. Because you’ll be living together with this person, I figure it would be pretty useful to have a method of transportation in the form of a centaur. If I were to kill, I would probably kill a mermaid because there’s a legend that if you kill a mermaid, and you have its meat, you can obtain eternal life, so I would like to try that out if I had the chance. For the last option, I simply think bunny girls are cute, and so if I were to have sexual intercourse with them, I would probably pick the bunny girl.

School rules and the curse of ‘Japaneseness’: US writer decries Japan’s ‘papercut racism’ (The Mainichi, Yoshiko Yukinaga)

Commentary from journalist Baye McNeil on the recent story of a student who was not allowed to sit with his classmates at graduation because he wore cornrows.

A rising number of Black people have been murdered by white police officers in the U.S. Racism can kill. But McNeil likens the racism experienced by Black people in Japan to paper cuts. “The wounds may be small, but repeated every day, are very painful and can become soul-destroying.”

As an example, McNeil says that half the time he takes the bus or train, nobody will sit next to him, even when it’s jam-packed. There are also people who get up and leave when they see him. Being avoided makes him feel sad and humiliated. According to McNeil, children with foreign roots are subjected to similar experiences. For example, even if they’re born in Japan, they may be asked with surprise, “You can read kanji (written characters)?” While deeply hurtful, Japanese people often don’t recognize this as discrimination, he adds.

McNeil says the problem with school rules is that “they are made with the ‘regular Japanese person’ in mind. For the average Japanese person, it’s only a matter of following the rules and adapting. But the same rules may bring about huge burdens for children with foreign roots.” The students can be pressured to change things beyond their control, such as their natural hair color and texture, physique, or native culture.

VIDEO: On shoujo boys and boys reading shoujo.

VIDEO: Retrospective on Tomo-chan is a Girl.

THREAD: Stand-up comic Lisa Wallen reports on her bad experience as a guest at SakuraCon.

AniFem Community

Truly, anime recruitment can be suffering.

I'm gonna go with "Maria the Virgin Witch", the title could be really misleading, when I first heard about it I thought it's a ecchi anime but it's not, it has little to no fanservice even, it's a thoughtful exploration of women's experience, tackling the misogyny within society and human beliefs, touching on purity and rape culture, subverting madonna/whore archetype, surprisingly accurate historical portray of the era that it inspired from, and it goes beyond by presenting queer religion.
A recent one is Nagatoro,it starts out pretty uncomfortable after a few episodes it mellows down a lot and it's about its 2 adorkable leads not sure how to be around each other but slowly making progress and figuring it out

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