Weekly Round-Up, 5-11 January 2022: Winter Premieres, Animator Unionization, and New Higashimura Manga

By: Anime Feminist January 11, 20220 Comments
Pecorine, Karyl, and Yuki in a coral forest, looking confused

AniFem Round-Up

Tokyo 24th Ward – Episode 1

An ambitious, intriguing bit of spec-fic from the Steins;Gate author that’s already facing down production issues.

Orient – Episode 1

A strongly okay shounen battler only for genre enthusiasts.

Police in a Pod – Episode 1

Barely disguised copaganda written as a recruitment ad by a former cop.

In the Land of Leadale – Episode 1

A mostly nice rebirth isekai undermined somewhat by ableism folded into the premise.

Girls’ Frontline – Episode 1

Gacha adaptation about girls who are guns and also carry guns. You know if it’s for you or not.

SLOW LOOP – Episode 1

Not the worst hobby anime but hard to recommend over a half dozen stronger options.

Cue! – Episode 1

If you want to chill out to a very, very low-stakes idol-adjacent series about cute girls being friends and doing their best, this may be one for you.

World’s End Harem – Episode 1

A porno concept without the dignity to be porn.

My Dress-Up Darling – Episode 1

Instantly endearing rom-com whose major drawback is the persistent level of horniness in its high school setting.

The Strongest Sage with the Weakest Crest – Episode 1

It’s another painfully generic fantasy series about an overpowered protagonist.

Akebi’s Sailor Uniform – Episode 1

Beautifully animated but there’s an undercurrent of creepiness that’s hard to shake.

Miss KUROITSU from the Monster Development Department – Episode 1

A surprisingly fun work-com riff on the super sentai genre.

Requiem of the Rose King – Episode 1

Queer, gothic, and gorgeous, this is a heavy but striking Shakespearean tragedy.

Sasaki and Miyano – Episode 1

A sweet ray of rom-com sunshine about a boy bonding with his crush over the latter’s love of BL manga.

Rusted Armors – Episode 1

Apparently hideous CGI nightmares are going to be a seasonal thing now.

Futsal Boys!!!!! – Episode 1

Yup, these boys sure are playing futsal. If only there was anything remotely interesting to say about them beyond that.


A vibrant, energetic post-apocalyptic action series; though not everyone might be in the mood for its illness-ravaged setting at the moment.

She Professed Herself Pupil of the Wise Man – Episode 1

Its one unique feature as yet another MMO isekai is the male main character waking up as a girl, but it spends most of its time on boring exposition instead.

The Genius Prince’s Guide to Raising a Nation Out of Debt – Episode 1

A show has failed as a comedy when you look at the smarmy protagonist and think “guillotine this man.”

Tribe Nine – Episode 1

It’s not deep but it IS about playing dystopian murder baseball to solve gang disputes, and that’s amazing.

What was your favorite Fall 2021 anime?

Tell us your faves before we reveal our team recs.

Chatty AF 154: 2021 Fall Wrap-Up

Dee, Peter, and Vrai look back on the fall season, from vampire astronauts to precious princes, with some side chat on sequels.

Beyond AniFem

Why The Anime Industry Lacks Unions And How That Could Change: A Veteran Producer Speaks (Cartoon Brew, Alex Dudok De Wit)

Video conversation and summary between veteran producer Masuo Ueda and character designer Terumi Nishii about their industry experiences.

Ueda notes that anime voice actors and screenwriters do have union representation, and believes the rest of the industry can get there too. He has one key recommendation:

The unionization effort should start with senior artists.

The likes of animation directors and character designers, as well as renowned animators, are crucial to successful productions, and should use their bargaining power. “I believe that the first step would be to build up that sort of leverage,” says Ueda. With time, representation could expand to others. He adds that fans can do their bit by “supporting” unionization.

Black Hair in Video Games Is Terrible. These 3D Artists Are Changing That. (Vice News, Trone Dowd)

Artists are creating an open source database of Black hairstyles for use and reference in character models.

In games like the Elder Scrolls series, Destiny, and other non-NBA sports video games like the WWE 2K series, Black hairstyles feel like an afterthought thanks to absurdly limited options, if any exist at all. Black players looking for anything that’s not cornrows, dreads, or an afro are typically out of luck unless they want go with a racially ambiguous buzz cut or a bald head.
“It’s either very high, puffy, and tight, or it’s weird succubus dreads,” Adams said. “There is no real in-between where you showcase that stuff working really well, where you do that zoom in and you get the textures and things that you’d want to see on these characters.”
Japanese developed games released in the U.S., like Capcom’s Monster Hunter World, have fared much worse, with some titles ignoring the existence of textured hair altogether. Monster Hunter World players didn’t see any Black hairstyles added to the game until the release of a paid expansion nearly two years after its initial release.

Tokyo same-sex partnership plans highlight road ahead for LGBTQ rights (The Mainichi)

Interviews with several activists about the current state of the fight for marriage equality in Japan and what battles lay immediately ahead.

Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward became the first to introduce a same-sex partnership certificate program in 2015. As of January this year, a total of 147 municipalities across Japan have introduced similar systems, according to activist group Marriage For All Japan.

However, often these partnerships are not recognized beyond their jurisdictions, and none of them are legally binding, meaning that it is up to individual institutions like hospitals and real estate agents to choose to accept them or not.

It can be one of a number of sometimes overlapping barriers that LGBTQ people face. Japan also lacks laws that prohibit discrimination of LGBTQ people, and transgender people specifically are legally required to be sterilized as part of the gender reassignment process.

Only once they have undergone compulsory sterilization, completed gender reassignment surgery, and changed their gender to male on their family registry can a transgender man, for example, marry a cisgender woman whose gender identity matches her sex at birth.

Spotlighting Indigenous Creators: Hiosik Brings Culture to Life via Cosplay (Funimation Blog, Taylor Cross)

Part of an ongoing series of interviews with BIPOC cosplayers.

How can the cosplay community improve in regard to Indigenous cosplayers and makers? 

Give them a follow; feature them and their work. Some like to do a twist of adding Indigenous regalia to a cosplay, and some like to cosplay just to cosplay. Both are great!

There’s a convention for “Indiginerds” called Indigenous Comic-Con. It’s a convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico, that showcases Indigenous pop culture through art, comics, storytelling and much more. They welcome everyone to attend.

A lot of Indigenous people are big fans of pop culture. We love superheroes, anime and video games. A lot of us can’t wait to see our stories shared and for us to see the first-ever Indigenous Marvel superhero. 

What would you like to see in terms of Indigenous representation in anime? 

Not only to see more Indigenous characters with unique stories and backgrounds, but to bring on board Indigenous actors as well to voice them. 

Japanese Women Are Fighting Back Against Pervasive Sexism (The Nation, Christine Levy)

Broad overview of several large ongoing issues being tackled by Japanese feminists.

Women began demanding the right to vote as soon as “universal” adult male suffrage was granted in 1925. But in 1941, the World War II forced them to disband their campaign organizations and join the Patriotic Women’s Association, and, in 1942, the Greater Japan Women’s Association (membership compulsory for all aged 20 or over). This was a considerable setback.

Despite postwar democratic reforms, the conservative right’s virtual monopoly on power (the LDP has been in government almost continuously since 1955) was an obstacle to progress on gender equality, adding to the stagnation in social attitudes and politics.

Even so, there have been signs of change in recent years. In January 2021, Akiko Matsuo, founder of the feminist publisher Etc.books, opened Tokyo’s first feminist bookshop. In March 2019, Matsuo and feminist writer Minori Kitahara had launched Japan’s #MeToo #WithYou movement, calling for demonstrations against the acquittals of four men accused of sexual assault.

INTERVIEW: Ed Chavez On How Denpa Connects People Through Beautiful Books (Crunchyroll, Cayla Coats)

In-depth with the head of indie publisher Denpa about the publishing process and their titles.

You know, I heard that there’s actually a shortage of paper, and manga publishers are having trouble keeping up with demand.

Chavez: It’s a little bit of this and a little bit of that. In regard to the supply chain, it’s not really the paper that’s the shortage — though that’s always kind of an issue. Right now, with the U.S. renegotiating NAFTA, tariffs are a problem, and most of the paper we get here in the States tends to come from Canada. That can be a bit of an issue sometimes, but for the most part, a chunk of that rumor came from … well, you might recall at the beginning of the pandemic, it wasn’t like the toilet paper companies couldn’t make enough toilet paper. There was actually an abundance of material for industrial purposes, but not for residential. People who should’ve been in offices were now spending that time at home, right? Because the machines aren’t the same, the paper took a bit of time to start going out to traditional retail and consumer retail. With regard to the printing industry, it had a similar type of problem but from a slightly different angle. It’s actually a little more analogous to the issue we have with meat processing. The concern that printing has is because of the need to suddenly distance people. If you had a full staff on a Monday through Friday basis, they’d be able to get out X number of books. But, because they had to bring that down in some states to less than half of what their capacity was, that means the output was significantly reduced, while the number of orders remained the same. That was really the more significant problem. Acquiring a supply of paper wasn’t much of an issue. While a lot of book production is automated, there weren’t enough people operating the machines to handle all of this printing.

On the other side, some of the stuff that’s been put out, especially very recently, is a little dubious. For example, [in January of 2021], we announced that we were going to do reprints on a few of our books. We put out the word back in January knowing that this was going to happen. I made it public, just in case the reprints were delayed, accounting for a few extra weeks on the off-chance that we were impacted the books would be out of stock at our warehouse. What I did there was forecast far enough to make a reprint to avoid customer disruption. What I find frustrating, particularly for some of the larger publishers that have been leaning on the paper shortage narrative is that they could do this sort of forecasting much easier than we can. They have larger staff and, in many cases, better distributors like Random House or Simon & Schuster and the like. Why they decide not to do that sort of forecasting I feel is a little dubious, when I can do that with a staff of three people. Even in my position, I’m able to do the math to not have those disruptions. We got the books in and the customer didn’t notice an issue at all.

Visa violators to sue Japan over long detainment lasting years (The Asahi Shimbun, Yuri Murakami)

The pair are seeking damages of roughly 30 million yen.

The plaintiffs are Heydar Safari Diman, 53, an Iranian national, and Deniz, 42, a Turkish national, who asked that only his first name be used. 

According to the lawsuit, Heydar came to Japan in 1991 after fleeing from his home country. Deniz did the same in 2007.

Both applied for refugee status but their applications were denied.

Both were designated for deportation, and have been detained off and on and received provisional release status repeatedly for more than 10 years.

The period of detainment was a total of about four to five years.

Their mental conditions deteriorated due to stress, according to the court claim.

They suffered emotional trauma because they were detained without being told how long their terms of confinement would be.

“It is clear that (their detainment) lacked rationality and necessity,” the court claim said.

Webtoon Publishes Akiko Higashimura’s A Fake Affair Manga (Anime News Network, Alex Mateo)

The title ran from 2017 to 2019 in Japan.

Webtoon is publishing Akiko Higashimura‘s A Fake Affair (Gisō Furin) manga in English. All chapters launched on the service on Sunday. The first five chapters and the prologue chapter are available for free. Free users must wait for new chapters or create an account and pay to access more chapters.

The manga’s story begins when the protagonist goes vacationing abroad after tiring of dating, and has a “forbidden encounter” with a handsome man on the plane.

Diverse Games to Keep an Eye Out for in 2022 (Blerdy Otome, Naja)

Blurbs and links for a range of visual novels coming out this year.

As a Black gamer I am always on the look out for diverse games, so once again I did a call for games with planned 2022 release dates that feature characters and stories centered around often underrepresented groups–and as always the community provided!

Thank you to everyone who sent me their projects or shared the tweet–you guys are the real MVPs! So, I spent some time shifting through all the responses and checking out game pages for this post and y’all I am excited for all of these games! If you’re like me and you’ve been craving more diversity in your games, this is the list for YOU!

TWEET: Link to reporting survey for people who’ve experienced racial profiling in Japan.

AniFem Community

It was a quiet season, but the highs were VERY high.

Heike Monogatari and Ranking of Kings are pretty much tied in terms of my enjoyment, but I guess if I had to choose I'd pick Heike since it is fully completed.  My favorite carryover was Aquatope, I didn't get around to Let's Make a Mug's continuation, but look forward to that later.  Outside of what felt like a limp final episode, I was pretty surprised by how invested I got in Taisho Otome Fairytale. It wasn't mind blowing by any means, but it was better than I expected after the first couple episodes.  A slightly disappointing outcome for me was Komi Can't Communicate, which I enjoyed, but which felt a bit oversold to me. Usually, my enjoyment of it was directly tied to how involved Najimi was in a given plot, and every other character just felt rote at best and yikes at worst.
Waccha PriMagi! was amazing (thus far, it's ongoing)! I love cute sparkly shoujo, and this one has some wonderful characters! I love Matsuri and Myamu's dynamic and the development in their relationship and their character arcs. Lemon Kokoa is amazing, too, what an inspiration.

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