Content Warning: Please note that several of this week’s articles discuss sexual assault, including CSA
Glitzy, entrancingly baffling beefy magical boy show.
Visually stunning but crams in a truck full of exposition to start.
Solid jokes about “realism” in games hamstrung by inconsistent tone.
Fun reboot/90s throwback if not for all the butt shots.
Spec fic juggling a lot of heavy concepts about war and oppression.
Chill reincarnation isekai starring an adult woman (…who now looks like a 17-year-old).
Moody gothic title about living dolls made to serve nobles made of soot.
Do-over time travel story that hasn’t quite sold its lead.
Quiet hobby series about finding joy in a motorcycle.
Caitlin, Peter, and Vrai finish up winter as Spring sprungs.
Heavy on the bullying fetish with a glimmer of hope toward its lead becoming a better person.
Mostly competent but forgettable magical girl series.
2.5D-leaning gymnastics show with infectious energy.
Middle school-set mystery series with beautiful visuals and a fanservice problem.
Which ones bring the good cries?
Beautiful, quiet, and JUST SO SAD.
Meet Voice Actress Fairouz Ai, the Newest JoJo (Unseen Japan, Noah Oskow)
Fairouz, a relatively new star, is one of only a few prominent mixed-race actors working in anime.
Fairouz returned to Japan for middle school, but found it difficult to fit back in. This is when she first picked up a copy of JoJo’s Bizzare Adventure. (And of all arcs, it just happened to be Stone Ocean.) “While reading it, I thought ‘everyone is fighting for what they believe in or what they want to protect. But I only think of myself. It can’t go on this way.’ It made my own concerns seem so trivial.”
She fell so in love with the world of JoJo that she even became involved with the online JoJo community. Soon, she was taking part in informal online group recitations. She loved voicing the characters, and soon was spending her free time memorizing lines and even practicing sound effects. “While I was doing all that, I started thinking ‘if they make a JoJo anime, I want to become a real voice actress and be in it!’ That’s how I first started down this path.”
Her parents were against the career choice, but she eventually convinced them of how much she wanted to become a voice actress. After saving some money during a year spent working as a dental assistant, Fairouz entered seiyuu training school. There, she befriended the aforementioned Uchida Shu; as Hafu and returnees (帰国子女), they felt they were kindred spirits.
The Reasons Behind Tomoko Yamashita’s Update – Sending out a message can be scary. (PixiVision, Ichibo Harada)
Interview with the creator of the BL manga The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window.
── Still, being aware of unconscious bias isn’t easy. Have you ever done something regretful?
I’m sure that my insufficient knowledge and narrow views must have hurt someone in the past and I regret it. However, I think it is safer to come to terms with the fact that you may end up doing something careless and always be cautious. You will never be able to make zero mistakes, and it’s nearly impossible to live your entire life without harming anyone. That is why I try to be as attentive as possible.
── What do you do when you make a mistake? When I was just starting out as a writer, a person I was interviewing kept mentioning one of their parents, but I thought I’d change it to “parents” in the transcript. However, when I showed them the final draft, they pointed out that they grew up with a single mother… Back then, I felt so sorry about my lack of understanding.
What to do when you mess up is always a real head-scratcher, isn’t it? Unfortunately, in real life, there are usually very few chances to recover after hurting someone badly. However, I think that by sharing our mistakes, we can prevent others from repeating them. Our impulse might be to hide them, but for example, a friend of mine made a statement on social media that someone pointed out was a bit thoughtless. They explained what they were thinking when they wrote it and apologized for their lack of research, promising to look up the topic. Afterwards, they realized they had indeed made a discriminatory statement and apologized for it. When I saw that, I realized that’s the kind of person I want to be.
Uncomfortable History (History Today, Eika Tai)
A useful primer article for those unfamiliar with the context for activism around the “comfort women” issue by a writer who has also authored a book on the subject.
Ishida Yoneko is a historian of China. Between the mid-1990s and the late 2010s, she made regular visits to survivors and their families in China’s Shanxi Province with the group she co-founded, the Shanxi Group for Uncovering the Facts. Her encounters with surviving comfort women caused Ishida to change her stance as a historian. When the first survivors began to give their testimonies in the 1990s, a debate began in Japan over whether testimony could constitute historical evidence. The debate reached its climax when the feminist scholar Ueno Chizuko criticised historians for having an unquestioning faith in material evidence while dismissing the value of oral testimonies. Having previously relied on sources produced by historians Ishida and the Shanxi Group looked for first-hand testimony, with the intention of cross-checking accounts.
On their trips to Shanxi the group interviewed villagers and studied the geography and topography of villages occupied by the Japanese, publishing their findings in a 2004 book, Kōdo no mura no seibōryoku (‘Sexual Violence in Villages in a Yellow Land’). Ishida found the women’s testimonies to be fragmentary. What they told her often changed from one occasion to another. Yet Ishida decided to accept what they said on each occasion, encouraging them to repeat their testimonies. Over time, they began to speak about their ordeals more coherently.
Ishida also read wenshi ziliao, literary and historical materials collected by the Chinese state and widely acknowledged as comprehensive primary sources for Chinese regional history. In the wenshi ziliao of Yu County she found many descriptions of Japan’s atrocities and the Chinese resistance, but none of sexual violence. The memories of illiterate women, especially their memories about sexual matters, were never recorded.
Teens assume caregiver roles at home, struggle to focus on school (The Asahi Shimbun, Ryuichi Hisanaga and Atsuko Hatayama)
1 in 20 school-aged children have reported taking on a caretaker role for members of their family.
From December 2020, the health ministry conducted the national survey targeting second-year public junior high school students and second-year public high school students. It collected 13,777 responses.
In the findings, 5.7 percent of the second-year junior high school students said they “took care of a family member,” while 4.1 percent of the second-year high school students said they did so.
The findings correspond to about 55,000 second-year junior high school students and 42,000 second-year high school students deemed to be young caretakers, according to ministry estimates.
Some of the students said they took care of not only their grandparents and parents but also their younger siblings, including babies.
The Real Problem With Lolicon (Tossing the Word Salad w/ Bella)
The author’s account of being groomed as a young teen who read lolicon works by an adult online “friend.”
Well, as our “friendship” grew, his focus on lolicon started to broaden. But because I’d spoken with him enough, well, I didn’t think much of it. He began to ask me what I thought of the age of consent, and as a 14 year-old, well, I thought it was too low. Why? Because I was a 14-year-old, that’s why. Duh. So I agreed with him, and that’s when he started telling me about his MAIN passion: lobbying local and federal governments to lower the age of consent to 12.
That’s not a typo: 12.
But here was the thing: I’d been talking with him for long enough that I didn’t think that was weird. As a fourteen year-old, I thought, I didn’t see the problem if a thirteen year-old wanted to have sex. What was the big deal? And, really, if that thirteen year-old wanted to have an older partner, it was all consensual anyway, so it wasn’t REALLY creepy. Yeah?
Of course, this isn’t remotely true. Children are not capable of giving consent to adults, because they’re barely capable of giving it to each other. Adults are smarter, older, and have more ways of bending permeable minds to their will. Which is what Justin did to me. At the time, I would laugh at all the jokes about NAMBLA in South Park, but didn’t realize that my new “friend” believed literally all of the same shit. Because I was a kid. Because I was stupid. Because he was taking advantage of both of those things.
Teachers told: Color of kids’ underwear none of your business (The Asahi Shimbun)
Teachers were previously allowed to check students underwear to see if it was regulation white.
On the issue of “white underclothing,” the association noted that white garments can be seen through clothes. Teachers were called upon to visually check that appropriate underwear was being worn.
The tradition is now viewed as being embarrassing to children and may constitute “an extra human rights violation.”
In the study, a lawyer asked four male and female junior high school children about the undergarment regulation, and confirmed school operators had required “female students to show their bra straps to determine their color as part of the clothing checkup.”
Among other criteria viewed as going against human rights were “different uniform rules for boys and girls” reported at 35 prefectural schools and one urging students to “explain their natural hair attributes, such as red and curly hair,” at three schools. Both practices have been dropped.
TWEET: Video on how Japan’s closed borders have harmed those living there on visas.
TWEET: Link to article examining the seemingly “unimportant” trends of shoujo manga, regarding its depictions of sweets and body image.
TWEET: Link to translated primary sources about historical grassroots movements in Japan.
THREAD: Resources for sexual assault survivors in Japan.
This is a heavy week for links, so we might as well cap it off by talking about sad anime.