Shayna looks into both the yuri visual novel’s honest depictions of queer youth but also its troubling student/teacher relationships, explicit underage sex, and themes of nonconsensual voyeurism.
Nina Morales traces the impact of the western witch archetype on anime from the 1960s to the present.
A bit of fictional romance for February.
Bullied Out of Japan: Part 1 (Savvy Kenya in Japan, Dr. Harriet Ocharo)
A 3-part series detailing the intense bullying Dr. Ocharo’s son faced while attending school in Tokyo.
I finally understood what was happening.
The reason he got so angry in class was because of the constant correction by everyone, in addition to the specific case of bullying by Roy. The other kids seem to have studied ahead (sometimes attending kumon/after school drills – something I found out by talking to lots of people) and are ready with answers the next day. I hadn’t been enforcing homework either, but I had no idea the extent of the effect this was having on him. So these kids had all singled out my son as the target of correction, and once he started working out his answers, they were ready to correct him. They blurted out answers while he was working it out, and that made him lose it and his confidence in the process. They would, in a chorus, tell him to sit down if he stood up in class, even if he was going to the toilet.
Worse, when he came back from the Hokenshitsu after 20-30 minutes, he’d missed a huge part of the lesson and so the other kids were ready to correct him as he tried to catch up, making him angry and creating a vicious cycle.
Solicitation of chapters for a book on pre-2000 fandom practices, in particular hoping to see more women and BAME submissions. The deadline is April 30th.
The book will be co-edited by Helen McCarthy, independent scholar and author of a dozen books on anime and manga published in eight languages, and Dr. Darren-Jon Ashmore, Professor of Anthropology, Yamanashi Gakuin University. It aims to record and share research into the origins and history of worldwide anime and manga fandom in the pre-broadband era. Much of this history was originally recorded in ephemera with tiny circulations, such as fanzines and newsletters, on now-defunct bulletin boards or chat sites. As the fans who created these archives move on, rescuing and evaluating their material becomes more urgent.
Hiranishi plans to release a book of all her currently completed works in English.
Yuri manga artist Mieri Hiranishi has declared her intention to start publishing physical editions of her Yuri manga after a successful Patreon launch. The independent artist began started posting her work to Tumblr in 2012. In 2015, she uploaded a short Yuri manga, Born This Way, to Pixiv and submitted it to Kodansha’s Manga Scout Fes#3, where it, unfortunately, was not picked up. Hiranishi finally got the attention she deserved when her autobiographical manga essay The Moment I Realized I Wasn’t Straight (also known as I Guess I’m not Straight, went viral in Yurijin communities at the beginning of this year.
You Should Be Participating (Medium, Ben Creighton)
A retrospective on how Team Four Star’s desire to emulate traditional media models was a failure.
When a group of us decided to pool our talents and form an “abridging super group” called Team Four Star, it seemed like the next logical step. We now had the best editors, writers, and voice actors working together, specializing in what we were best at. Production values improved until, by around the second season of our flagship series, they were indistinguishable from professional media.
And that’s where it all started to go wrong. We thought we were on the right track. We were making the media better. Everyone wants better media, don’t they?
That’s not the highest priority in a participatory culture, which is what the abridging community had been.
New from Saturday A.M., Where Blackness & Manga Intersect: “Orisha” (Black Nerd Problems, Ja-Quan Greene)
A review of the new manga’s first chapter in Saturday A.M. magazine.
Real issues, like young Aboki struggling with acceptance because of his unique complexion, get woven together with bold fantasy elements, such as our protagonist’s rare encounter with a dying Orisha. The run-in changes everything about the trajectory of this young man’s life. Saturday A.M. magazine founder, Frederick L. Jones, has another hit on his hands with this one-of-a-kind, all-African manga written and drawn by Nigerian artist, Huzayfa Umar. The world’s most diverse Shonen comics anthology has created an action-fantasy series that doesn’t shy away from some hard-hitting topics and the deep-rooted issues communities often face.
Off the rip, I need to give a huge shout out to Umar for his incredible job with the artwork. Not only does the manga flow beautifully, but his attention to detail puts many of your favorite artists to shame! The ability to create a wide range of facial expressions is one of my demands for excellence, which he does well, but the portrayal of black hair is often an easy mark of artists who don’t care enough or just don’t get it. Umar has clearly grown up around the various styles of hair, long and short. You can see the textures every time a new character is introduced, which produces a similar feeling to when you meet a new person and are wholeheartedly impressed with their hurr do. Whether it be braids, locs or a fro, I get the impression Zayf is using real world experience for his character depictions.
The Struggle for Japan’s Returnee Kids (Unseen Japan, Thalia Harris)
Excerpt from a larger thesis about the experiences of multicultural children living in Japan.
As mentioned before, returnee children have a need to nurture their foreign experiences, but not at the cost of their place in Japanese society. It’s important to know that it’s not a notion of living in a “free”, usually Western society versus a “restrictive” Japanese society. Rather, it’s a matter of societal expectations.
On top of that, since returnee children are of Japanese descent or nationality, they’re expected to still “be Japanese.” For example, their ability to read the room (kuuki o yomu) is supposed to be innate, as Nihonjiron—the history, collective cultural identity and borderline stereotypical representations of Japan–suggests that Japanese culture is passed down through nature rather than nurture.
Non-Asian foreigners are exempt from this expectation because they don’t “look” Japanese.
According to a 2008 Japan Times article, there are a few instances where returnee children struggle to strike a balance between their multiple cultures. One boy didn’t stand up for himself when he was bullied at school, and when his mother asked why, he responded “kuuki o yomenakucha“–“I couldn’t read the room”.
Is Jeweler Richard This Season’s Hidden Gem? (Anime News Network, Nick Dupree and Steve Jones)
A discussion of the quiet case series’ focus on societal pressure and prejudice.
NICK: Granted, it does end up feeling a little like an after-school special where every episode Seigi learns a new lesson about being an inclusive and considering person, but most of the individual stories are crafted with enough personality to still land. Like with Mami’s story, part of what makes it a compelling conflict is that neither she or her would-be fiance are trying to hurt one another. But the societal forces at play around them causes it to happen anyway.
STEVE: If Ikuhara’s anime have taught me anything, it’s that society is always the villain (especially when you’re queer). Thankfully, Richard seems to have double-majored in both mineralogy and psychology, so he always has a sage word to help guide his clients through their tribulations.
TWEET: Information about Japan’s first Trans Pride March
THREAD: Discussion of the reason Korean and Chinese fans were so upset by a recent MHA villain named after concentration camp victims
THREAD: On the very narrow, cishet bros-only version of “sex positivity” Interspecies Reviewers adheres to despite its theoretically inclusive world
We’re enjoying all those good ships (even if we wish there was more ace and polyamorous rep out there).