Weekly Round-Up, 6-12 March 2024: Gender in Yu-Gi-Oh GX, Joint Custody Laws, and Pokemon’s New Protagonist

By: Anime Feminist March 12, 20240 Comments
the Delicious in Dungeon party dressed in frog-skin body suits

AniFem Round-Up

My Fave is Problematic: I’m in Love with the Villainess

It’s a terrible shame that ILTV’s anime showcases all of the story’s early stumbles but barely scratches the surface of the novels’ inclusivity and ambitious ideas.

The Consequence of No Consequences: Mushoku Tensei and excusing sexual violence

The writing treats sexual assault as trivial and bends over backward to shrug off the way Rudy treats the women around him.

What’s your favorite critically-overlooked anime film?

Since we’re now smack-dab in the middle of awards season.

Beyond AniFem

Get Your Gender On: Jaden Yuki and Yubel (Coherent Cats, Flamwenco Girl)

Yu-Gi-Oh GX dove deep into genderfuckery with season 3’s antagonist-turned-ally.

In Yubel’s mortal life before becoming a duel spirit, alchemists transformed them from a human into a shapeshifting dragon to protect their lover and prince. Young Yubel’s eyes resemble the masculine half of their current form, implying they were assigned male at birth. As part of the process to imbue Yubel with power, the alchemists also transformed their body into a more androgynous one through feminization. Like the Rebis, combining masculinity and femininity unlocked new abilities, making Yubel the prime example of power reflected in gender variance in GX. When Judai accepts Yubel into his heart (and his deck), their power becomes his. Yubel becomes one of Judai’s boss monsters, symbolizing a change in his gameplay as well as gender.

The English dub of GX loses this nuance by portraying Yubel as a woman rather than a nonbinary character. Other characters refer to Yubel as solely “she” and “her,” while a cloth covers their upper body and gives the appearance of two breasts. With that said, the dub retains the transfeminine implication by casting young human Yubel as a different actor with a deeper voice. This implication likely wasn’t lost on the 4kids staff who employed trans voice actress Maddie Blaustein, who played a number of Yu-Gi-Oh characters including GX’s Sartorius. Yubel and Jaden/the Supreme King still fuse into “one spirit” in the dubbed final episode of season 3, creating a combination of man and woman, but the lack of dub for season 4 leaves them ostensibly dead “among the stars.”

Tokyo to cover all eligible applicants for freezing eggs (The Asahi Shimbun, Natsuno Otahara)

The program provides subsidies of up to 300,000 yen.

As of early March, 2,855 women had applied compared to the initially anticipated 300.

The metropolitan government, which earmarked 100 million yen for the subsidies under the initial fiscal 2023 budget, said it plans to divert financial resources from related programs to cover the costs.

The fiscal 2024 budget proposal includes about 500 million yen.

Officials said they plan to meet the wishes of women who want to expand their life planning options.

Under the subsidy program, which started this fiscal year, a woman can receive up to 200,000 yen for the year she freezes her eggs and 20,000 yen annually for a maximum of five years after the procedure.

Women who live in Tokyo between the ages of 18 and 39 are eligible.

Pokémon Horizons: The Series (Episodes 1-12) Review (Anime News Network, MrAJCosplay)

This is the first mainline post-Ash series.

It feels like there’s less of a formula here and that could be due to the absence of a concrete goal from the start. Our main character Liko is the exact opposite of Ash Ketchum. Where Ash was bratty, a bit abrasive, and at times, overconfident in his abilities in the beginning, Liko is timid, gentle, and a bit neurotic. She’s very much a protagonist that I think people of today would find a lot more relatable than they would have twenty years ago. Forget trying to be the very best, like no one ever was, Liko is still in the throes of understanding what kind of Pokémon trainer she even wants to be. It’s like taking May from the Hoenn saga and making her the main character—but handling it a hundred times better. Liko is a great protagonist for this type of series because, while it does feel like she’s being dragged around by everybody else, she is still proactive in her approach to everything. A lot of the major decisions in the series are still up to her—and her arc seems to be about taking charge in a very chaotic world. There’s a lot you can do with that and it has amazing potential.

But Liko isn’t alone; there are a myriad of other characters that cover a variety of different bases. I was a little shocked to find that the cast of this series is roughly double the original. A few episodes in, we get to know Roy who seems to be set up as a dual protagonist alongside Liko as they are both roughly starting from the same place on their journey. Liko is a bit more reserved and polite while Roy feels wilder. Roy represents what we older fans felt like as kids when we were first introduced to Pokémon. They are surrounded by a crew of adults that round things out quite nicely. We don’t get a lot from the Rising Volt Tacklers individually outside of Friede. Though, as a crew, everyone looks distinct with their unique and sometimes goofy designs. Each stands out and there is a strong sense of camaraderie that leaves room to be explored later on.

Japan 3rd-worst work environment for women of 29 OECD states: The Economist (The Mainichi, Tomoko Igarashi)

Nordic countries primarily rounded out the top ten.

In the latest rankings, Japan moved up one place from the previous year, just above Turkey and South Korea. Northern European countries topped the rankings, including Iceland at the top place, Sweden coming in second and Norway in third. France ranked fifth, Britain 19th and the United States 22nd.

By category, Japan ranked worst in the ratio of women in managerial positions at 14.6%, significantly lower than the OECD average of 34.2%. The Czech Republic, which ranked highest in this category at 46%, saw a drastic increase from 2018 at 24.8%.

Japan ranked third to last in the ratio of female executives at 18%, versus the OECD average of 33%. It also ranked third from the bottom in the wage gap between men and women, with women making 21.3% less than men on average.

Technology, Gender, and Sexuality in Anime (ft. Aurélie Petit) (Baka Banter Podcast)

Podcast discussion, currently audio-only.

Ionatan and Ravi are joined by Aurélie Petit, a doctoral candidate in film studies at Concordia University, to discuss the intersection between technology, gender, and sexuality as it relates to anime. They break down her research on the history of animated pornography, how online anime communities have developed exclusionary practices towards women, and the role that artificial intelligence plays in the anime industry. Then, they cover her catalog of animated films that portray sexuality and eroticism.

Bill before the Diet to grant joint custody to divorced parents (The Asahi Shimbun, Kazumichi Kubota)

Current law exclusively awards single-parent custody.

Strong concerns were initially raised that if one parent has more power in the relationship, he or she could force the other into joint custody, allowing domestic violence and abuse to continue even after the divorce.

Among the major points of discussion in Diet deliberations will likely be how to prevent domestic violence and abuse, as well as strengthening the family court system. This is because the new law will stipulate that the family courts play a greater role in making decisions about joint custody and coordinating differences of opinion between divorced couples.

In cases of uncontested divorce, the legislation calls on the spouses to discuss and decide whether joint custody will be put in place or if one parent would have sole custody.

If no agreement can be reached, the family court would decide after looking into the relationship between the parents and child.

The court would be called on to grant sole custody by placing priority on ensuring that the interests of the child are not hurt due to domestic violence or abuse on the part of one parent.

Fathers of Japan babies who die of abuse on day of birth rarely identified: agency report (The Mainichi, Yuta Hiratsuka and Ran Kanno)

Article includes extensive discussion of infanticide and ableism.

Ten experts who reviewed the statistics, including university professors, summarized, “In many cases, mothers were unable to discuss their pregnancies with their partners and gave birth without receiving appropriate support, resulting in the death of their children.”

In countless cases, women lacking necessary support who have given birth to a baby are arrested for murder or for abandoning the baby’s body. On the other hand, men who are the fathers are almost never arrested. A senior prefectural police official said, “The questioning of these men is voluntary. If they refuse a DNA test to determine the parent-child relationship, we cannot perform it.”

Fumihiko Kawasaki, 72, director of the Children’s Rainbow Center training facility, in Yokohama, for child consultation center staff has been verifying cases of deaths of newborn babies. “The numbers show the presence of irresponsible men. Women who have been pushed into a corner have become the perpetrators,” he said.

More than 40% of single elderly women struggle to live in poverty (The Asahi Shimbun, Yuki Nikaido, Amane Shimazaki and Takuro Negishi)

There are currently few safety nets for the elderly outside of pensions.

According to the welfare ministry’s 2022 survey on elderly pensioners, 62 percent of men receive monthly pensions of 150,000 yen or more, however, 61 percent of women receive less than 100,000 yen per month.

“Pensions meant to support the elderly are modeled on a family-centric, or more specifically, a male-centric basis,” Abe said.

The pensions are designed so that recipients get more than 50 percent of the average after-tax income of working-age people. In fiscal 2024 starting in April, the monthly amount is set to be about 230,000 yen.

However, the pension system is modeled on households in which the men work for 40 years earning the average male wage, while women remain housewives all their lives. This model assumes that households will have national pensions for both spouses and a husband’s employee pension.

Women, who worked part time and were not enrolled in employee pensions, often receive only national pensions.

Even for those who worked as full-time employees or civil servants and were enrolled in employee pensions, many women receive lower benefits than men due to the wage gap and shorter periods of employment resulting from career breaks during child-rearing years.

VIDEO: Interview with Jujutsu Kaisen animator Li Cree.

VIDEO: The Poe Clan podcast discussion (audio only)

AniFem Community

In addition to the excellent question responses this week, we want to take a moment to acknowledge the deaths of two legends in the anime and manga world: manga artist Toriyama Akira and legendary voice actress TARAKO. Both were only in their sixties.

2006's Tekkon Kinkreet. An aesthetically gorgeous, gritty and psychedelic masterpiece that absolutely nobody talks about. It's about two codependent homeless kids fighting for turf in a ~1960s Japanese slum, to give a really crappy summary.  Feral children, yakuza, the death and survival of innocence, whimsy and freedom of youth juxtaposed with the entrapments of adulthood, a fantastic portrayal of mental illness and neurodivergence in kids, ambiguously-extradimensional beings-as-evil land developers... This movie has it all. I've honestly lost count of how many times I've seen it.
The Revue Starlight movie. It is genuinely great and has some of the best animation and cgi for an anime show/movie ever, not to mention how genius all the musical numbers are. It seems that hardly anyone has watched it and it's a real shame. It's completely watchable without watching the series but it does help to have that context.
Twilight of the Cockroaches is one of those movies that had so much attention for a period of time but I swear no one talks about it now. It's a special favorite of mine, I even have it on VHS!

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