A beautiful action series that’s thin on plot and chemistry between the leads.
Not terrible, but terrified of letting a second go by without expository dialogue.
A hockey/idol mashup that forgets to convey why the characters or the audience should care about what’s happening.
Loaded with style and a solid premise, but keeps getting distracted with fanservice of very young characters.
Serviceable but not likely to draw in anyone not already interested in the franchise.
Dives so far into grimdark that it comes out hilarious.
A father-daughter adventure story off to an incredible start.
A sweet premiere about two outcasts; its ultimate success will depend on how it handles its disability writing and whether it unpacks its heroine’s need to mother.
If you wanted to watch a good-looking reincarnation fantasy series where the toddler protagonist isn’t the actual worst, we have good news!
How does the phrase “extremely camp vampire idols” grab you?
A slow but engrossing story about a student trying to find a way to live off of his newfound artistic dreams.
A mostly competent but forgettable CGI fantasy action series.
Well, it’s annoying. But mostly because it’s a supposed rom-com with no chemistry, and also the heroine being short and young-looking for her age translates visually to “eight-year-old.”
Pretty decent robot punchfest with some interesting subtext about militarism, though it might just embrace its many, many otaku references instead.
Vrai, Peter, and Mercedez look back at a sequel-heavy 2021 Summer season!
What are the ingredients that make the genre’s best of the best?
New labor leader hopes to help women crack the glass ceiling (The Asahi Shimbun, Mari Fujisaki)
Yoshino Tomoko will be the eight head of Rengo, Japan’s largest labor organization.
“I have told younger women (at local affiliated labor groups), ‘Don’t miss an opportunity,’” she said. “So, I thought I would lose their trust if I turn down this offer.”
After graduating from high school, Yoshino joined Juki Corp., a company that manufactures sewing machines. She was praised for persisting with ballet lessons since childhood and became a full-time official at a union for Juki at the age of 19.
Yoshino pushed the company, which had only a few female workers, to introduce a child care leave system after two years of negotiations.
She continued to devote herself to pushing for greater workplace flexibility, such as shorter working hours for those raising children and parental leave for those who need to take care of sick or injured children.
The Overlooked American Survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (Time, Olivia B Waxman)
Interview with historian Naoko Wake about her recent book, American Survivors: Trans-Pacific Memories of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Why was America’s response so different from Japan’s?
On the American side, I think it just brings up many unwanted questions. World War II is still considered to be a “good war,” and many people do not want to raise any ethical or legal questions about that narrative. [The existence of] American survivors raises too many questions about the war, about nuclear weapons, about humanity.
There’s an increasingly intense conversation around whether America should apologize. It’s a useful conversation to have, but actually, if there’s any apology made, I think it should be a recognition of the global damage the bombings incurred on the bodies and the psyches of people from so many different backgrounds. It has to be based on the historical understanding of global damage driven in many ways by colonialism and structural inequality.
First Impressions: The Inn Between BL Demo Review (Blerdy Otome, Naja)
Review of the two-hour demo for the upcoming game.
There were some great features in the demo that definitely set it apart, like the fun phone mechanic–you can all and text characters using a phone interface and the game is fully voiced in English, which is always a plus! I loved the vocal performances and I really hope that the final release of the game will be fully voiced as well (or partial).
The game is heavily inspired by Japanese lore and mythology, but with a modern twist so there is this otherworldly feeling throughout that I think lends itself well to mysterious vibe of the story. It kind of gives you the feeling that even amidst the hustle an bustle of our modern livess there’s still a bit of magic just around the next corner. Also if you’re a cat lover, you’ll love The Inn Between, not only is Myka a cat lover but a lot of the mystical stuff that happens in the game is cat themed and there’s a (totally not creepy) black cat spirit guide that appears from time to time to help Myka.
Queer Echoes: Koike Chikyoku, Unlikely Warrior Artist (Unseen Japan, Nyri Bakkalian)
A short biography of an artist who became a samurai, and who was also likely queer.
It is in trying to piece together something of her personal life that I found a recurring theme in all the biographical sketches I could access. Ishikawa ken-shi (A History of Ishikawa Prefecture) Vol. 3 says “Chikyoku detested men. It was her custom, even in lodgings on the road, to put up a sign cordoning off her quarters and forbidding their entry.” Other biographical dictionaries take a very similar tack. But Teisei zōho Nihon bijutsu gaka jinmei shōden, an early Taisho era biographical dictionary of Japanese artists, goes into a bit more detail:
“It was in her nature to loathe marriage; she remained single for the rest of her life. Her usual distaste for men was an intense habit, and even on the road, she would rope off her bedroom and did not allow men to enter. Even the male owners of these establishments were inconvenienced by this inclination.”
An Incurable Case of Love (with Alex Yates) (Shojo and Tell)
Podcast discussion of the seven volume josei series.
We’re back with a cute josei series! It’s like GREY’S ANATOMY, but with a more contained cast and a lot more sexual harassment from the patients. Sakura has had a crush on Dr. Tendo since she saw him save a stranger in the streets, but when they finally start working together, he’s not exactly the kindly doctor she imagined him to be. Shojo & Tell host Ashley is joined by Alex Yates of The Yona Podcast to talk about this blossoming workplace romance, boundary setting in relationships, and more. How ’bout that turn with Nice Guy Nishi??
Among 36 countries, Japan lagged behind in STEM fields.
Among STEM fields, the proportion of women entering natural sciences, mathematics and statistics at the tertiary education level in Japan was at 27 percent, far below the OECD average of 52 percent, according to their Education at a Glance 2021 report.
The report, released in mid-September, examined the ratio of females enrolled in tertiary education in 2019, with Japan reporting its ratio for fiscal 2018 ended March 2019.
Slovakia had the highest share at 65 percent, followed by Poland at 63 percent. The Czech Republic and Lithuania were both at 60 percent.
Japan lagged largely behind the second-lowest Belgium, where the rate was at 40 percent.
What did the 9 years of the Abe and Suga administrations look like to Okinawa activist? (The Mainichi, Takayasu Endo)
Yamashiro Hiroji recently stepped down as chairman of the Okinawa Peace Movement Center after spending years protesting the relocation of US Military Bases to Okinawa.
In October 2016, Yamashiro was arrested by the prefectural police. At the time, construction work to relocate several U.S. military helipads to the Takae district of the northern prefectural village of Higashi had begun, and Yamashiro and others were there raising their voices against the construction work. Yamashiro was arrested for alleged destruction of property by cutting barbed wire that had been put up to prevent people from entering the premises of the helipads. Other charges were added on, including interference with the duties of a public servant. A year and a half prior to his arrest, Yamashiro had been diagnosed with malignant lymphoma and had been recuperating for about six months. His stay in detention — during which he could not meet with his doctor — lasted approximately five months, and he was handed down a suspended prison sentence.
Why did the Abe and Suga administrations proceed so heavy-handedly with the Henoko construction? Yamashiro explained, “Japan and the U.S. see Henoko as a strategically important location with regards to China. Building “a substitute base for Futenma” is just a pretext. The real purpose is to build a new base with high usability.”
The reason Yamashiro opposes the construction of bases is because he believes “another war must never be fought in Okinawa.” Seventy-six years ago, Okinawa became the site of ground fighting between Japan and the U.S.; one in four local residents are said to have lost their lives. Yamashiro’s father, who was 17 years old at the time, was mobilized, and was taken prisoner by the U.S. in Mabuni (currently the southern prefectural city of Itoman), said to have been where the last major battle took place. He was sent to Hawaii, where he spent time in a concentration camp. Yamashiro’s mother, meanwhile, faced fierce ground fighting between Japan and the U.S. on the western Pacific island of Tinian, where she had immigrated to, and saw many people die.
Hayao Miyazaki, Union Man (Animation Obsessive)
A short history of Miyzaki’s time as general secretary of Toei’s labor union in the 1960s.
Still, he was making friends. One was Isao Takahata — vice president of the union during Miyazaki’s stint as general secretary.
Known as “Paku-san,” allegedly because of sounds he’d made while eating, Takahata was an imposing figure. He’d joined Toei in 1959, rising to the role of assistant director on The Little Prince and the Eight-Headed Dragon (1963). Miyazaki described him as a “scary person” with plenty of enemies in management, but “very smart” and cool. Takahata remembered Miyazaki as “very young and naive.”3
They liked each other. Often, they talked about movies and animation rather than union work. Animator Yasuo Ōtsuka, a friend of Takahata’s, was another member of their circle.
Their politics were far to the left. Miyazaki was a Marxist with an affinity for Maoist China. (While he later drifted away from Marx and Mao, he’s stayed strongly progressive.) Takahata, for his part, was a Marxist for life. During the Vietnam War, Miyazaki said that he and his friends were rooting for the Viet Cong.
THREAD: Unpacking the history of Mun Ok Ju, and the fact that she earned money as a comfort woman doesn’t make her less of a victim.
TWEET: News that Tokyopop’s German division will translate Light Novels to German from the English translations.
Idols can be a tough genre to understand for newcomers, so it’s nice to talk about what makes a good title shine.