Weekly Round-Up, 7-13 December 2022: Gekiga Manga, Rankin/Bass Rudolph’s Creation, and Why “Bara” is an Outdated Term

By: Anime Feminist December 13, 20220 Comments
The girls of DIY making peace signs and smiling

AniFem Round-Up

Making Up and Making Waves: How Tropical-Rouge! PreCure rewrote narratives of femininity and fairy tales

Magical girls and cosmetic marketing have long been linked; the new PreCure reframes makeup as a tool of confidence and friendship.

The Day I Became a God and the mistreatment of disabled people

Maeda Jun’s recent series took a harsh turn in its final third, using its heroine’s disability as a shocking twist and then claiming she could be healed with the power of love.

Chatty AF 175: Sex Ed 120% – Part 2

Dee, Vrai, and Alex talk about the edutainment comedy manga Sex Ed 120% and its tackling of subjects like consent, gender identity, and abortion.

What’s the best anime you discovered thanks to a recommendation?

Sharing anime that someone ends up liking might be the best feeling.

Beyond AniFem

Japanese Trans Woman Wins Workplace Harassment Case (Human Rights Watch, Kanae Doi and Kyle Knight)

Activists are currently pushing for a reform of legal definitions involving gender identity.

The government in Japan’s Kanagawa Prefecture has awarded a transgender woman workplace compensation after recognizing her depression was the result of harassment she faced from her supervisor. Despite her requests, the woman’s supervisor repeatedly refused to refer to her with female pronouns, which resulted in her taking leave from work and seeking mental health services.

Japan has not ratified the International Labor Organization’s convention dealing with workplace discrimination, but its national labor laws prohibit harassment based on sexual orientation and gender identity. This case is a significant victory for reinforcing transgender peoples’ limited legal protections in Japan, but it also highlights the legal system’s barriers for trans people. Though the trans woman in this case explained to her boss that she identified as a woman, because of the extreme hurdles created by Japanese laws, she was still legally recognized as male, which her boss used to insist he could still address her as a man.

Holiday Review #8 – TALK TO MY BACK (The Manga Test Drive, Megan D)

Work by one of the first successful female gekiga artists, whose translation comes with a biography of the creator.

A lot of that has to do with its themes.  Murasaki is dealing with ideas that a lot of married women (with and without children) grapple with at some point or another.  Our nameless heroine struggles with defining her identity beyond “wife” and “mother,” the personal and financial satisfaction and independence that can come from a job outside the home, the complicated stew of feelings a mother can feel towards her growing children, and grappling with the loneliness and resentment she feels towards a spouse who is seldom available, demands just as much of her attention as her children when he is around, and who becomes increasingly insecure about his wife’s increasing independence and willingness to assert herself.  True to life, there are no quick fixes nor any neat and tidy endings for any of these issues.  She simply has to find what few moments of happiness and satisfaction she can grasp and enjoy them while she may.

More than anything, though, my appreciation for this book is similar to that I had for the Kanako Inuki book I reviewed earlier this month.  Gekiga manga is still rather underrepresented in English-language manga and it’s something I rarely talk about on here.  Some of has to do with its comparative rarity, its age, and its daunting critical reputation, but it’s also the fact that gekiga manga was so often and overwhelming male in its perspective.  Murasaki was apparently one of the first women to find success in gekiga, and her career took off around the same point that josei manga first came into being.  Talk To My Back is kind of the perfect intersection of the two in how it combines gekiga’s more literary structures and frank confrontation of societal norms with josei’s willingness to explore the hearts and minds of adult women.

SO TELL ME… ABOUT HIROSHIMA: Woman exposed before birth hopes to spread survivors’ messages (The Asahi Shimbun, Rikuri Kuroda)

Part of a series of articles collated in response to escalating fears that Russia may utilize atomic weaponry following its invasion of Ukraine.

Ms. Shizue Watanabe, now 77, was exposed to the atomic bomb when she was still in her mother’s womb. She joined a nationwide association of prenatally exposed atomic bomb survivors and has helped compile accounts of experiences written by its members.

Ms. Watanabe felt helpless when she heard the news that Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested the use of nuclear weapons. “I felt what I have done so far has flowed off like sand,” she thought.

However, as she watched other association members working as positively as before, she strongly thinks: “We are always in a position to speak out about atomic bomb experiences. I can’t see it as someone else’s business.” She became more engaged and took on the moderator’s role at the general meeting of the association. “Just as I started talking about what happened after 70 years passed, someone may come out with their experiences 80 years later.”

Man gets suspended term for damaging Korean int’l school in Osaka (The Asahi Shimbun)

The man was not convicted of a hate crime, though even then that sentence does not carry criminal penalties in much of Japan.

In handing down the ruling, the judge said it is “only natural for other people to have different political views in a democratic society, and countering it with violence cannot be tolerated.”

The court does not take the anxiety he caused to students and other people via his actions lightly, the judge added.

The Korea International School expressed dissatisfaction with the court’s decision.

“It is insufficient and deeply regrettable that crimes of discrimination against Koreans in Japan have been overlooked,” the school said in a statement.

According to the ruling, Tachikawa entered the school on April 5 and caused damage to the first floor after setting fire to a cardboard box.

FEATURE: How the given Anime English Dub Is a Gift From the LGBTQ Community (Crunchyroll, Briana Lawrence)

Article about the predominantly LGBTQ+ staff producing the given dub. There is no mention made of Crunchyroll’s refusal to allow its workers, queer or straight, to unionize.

When reaching out to David Wald (he/him) — the director, script supervisor, and co-writer for the given dub — he confirmed that a lot of the production team for the dub is queer. This includes the main four characters of the series: Brandon McInnis (he/him) as Mafuyu Sato, Josh Grelle (they/them) as Ritsuka Uenoyama, Y. Chang (he/him) as Haruki Nakayama, and Jonah Scott (he/him) as Akihiko Kaji. 

Wald went on to mention co-writer and Mafuyu’s fluff-nugget pupper, Marissa Lenti (she/they), J Michael Tatum (he/him) who plays Ugetsu Murata, Hayden Daviau (they/them) who plays Yayoi Uenoyama, Brendan Blaber (he/him) who plays Yuki Yoshida, Joshua Waters (he/they) who plays Shizusumi Yagi and Kellen Goff (he/him) who plays Koji Yatake.   

When talking about the importance of representation the conversation is more than a desire to see our stories being told, it’s a desire to be included in those stories. Having the LGBTQ community behind the scenes is just as important as what we see on-screen, and part of the love I saw for given when the dub was released included praise over its cast and crew. 

The Okinawans helping black kōji to thrive (The Japan Times, Melinda Joe)

Profile of the distillery preserving the ingredient key to a classic liquor important to the Ryukyu Kingdom.

From 1429 until 1879, the Ryukyu Kingdom rose to prominence as a hub for maritime trade between China, Japan and Southeast Asia. Trade with Siam (present-day Thailand) brought rice, alcohol, sappanwood and pepper to the islands. Originally inspired by the Thai liquor lao khao, awamori dates back to around 1470, when the Ryukyuans adapted Thai distillation techniques to make local spirits.

Though refined over the years, the production process has remained largely unchanged for the past five centuries. Long-grain Indica rice imported from Thailand is still used to make awamori throughout the Okinawan archipelago, a hilly region ill-suited to rice cultivation, in part because of the variety’s affinity with black kōji-kin – a hearty relative of the Aspergillus mold used to convert starches to sugars in the production of sake, soy sauce and miso. After soaking and steaming, the rice is inoculated with kōji-kin; roughly 24 hours later, water and yeast are added, and the mash is left to ferment for 10 to 20 days before distillation. Finally, the awamori is aged in earthenware pots to yield a smoother, more rounded flavor.

89-yr-old Tokyo woman continues to invent, inspired by problems she faces in daily life (The Mainichi, Shota Harumashi)

Sato is currently working on her next invention, slippers with geta attached.

Eleven years ago, Mieko Sato, a resident of Machida, Tokyo, created a tool to open plastic bottles using only a small amount of force. The rubber tool, named “Plastic bottle akeru-kun,” is available at co-operative stores nationwide for 400 yen (about $3) per piece, and 30,000 to 40,000 of them are sold each year.

While she is now advanced in years, Sato says with a smile, “I don’t have time to die.”

The tool is made by hand by cutting a rubber tube into a 4-centimeter length, dyeing it, drilling holes in it, and threading a string through it.

The inspiration for the product came when Sato felt her strength waning as she began having difficulty unscrewing the caps of plastic bottles. The prototype, which was made with a flat rubber band, prevented the lid from slipping, allowing it to be opened without much effort.

The Complicated Man Who Made ‘Rudolph’ (Animation Obsessive)

Short history of Morinaga Tadahito, director of the famous Rankin-Bass feature.

Mochinaga never warmed to outsourcing for the Americans. He called these “the days of hard battle and bitter fights.” On a visit to China in the ‘70s, he told artists to think twice before taking outsource work. These projects taught animators to ignore their own culture, he said, and the influx of foreign money had a distorting effect on the local industry.

And yet, as Daisy Yan Du noted:

… from a longer-term and more positive perspective, working on outsourced projects trained many talented Japanese animators and earned revenue that kept the studios and the entire animation industry alive, which contributed to the rise of Japanese animation on the global stage in the late 1980s and 1990s.

Mochinaga’s work for the Japanese government had helped to establish Japanese cel animation. His work for the communist faction (and, later, government) in China had changed the course of that country’s animation. And his return to the now-capitalist Japan, to make TV shows and specials for the Americans, had brought stop-motion films to a broader audience and buoyed Japanese animation as a whole.

THREAD: Info on the move away from using “bara” toward “gei comi.”

THREAD: Following backlash, the hate group LGB Alliance has been removed from Twitch’s list of affiliated charities; Autism Speaks remains on the list at present.

AniFem Community

We’re so glad we helped folks find some good titles too!

I remember purchasing the VHS tapes of Eva due to constant reviews in some now dead gaming magazine.
This site recommended us Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu and now, I can't stop talking about it :p

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