Weekly Round-Up, 7-13 February 2024: Tweet-Related Legal Precedent Set, “Mother of the Equality Law” Passes On, and Silent Hill: The Short Message Faceplants

By: Anime Feminist February 13, 20240 Comments
chibi Mao Mao with a cat expression while her sisters bicker in the background

AniFem Round-Up

The Tezuka Revue: How an all-woman theatre troupe influenced the Godfather of Manga

The legendary Takarazuka Revue had a substantial influence on some of Tezuka’s best-known works!

Playing My Song: Queer autistic representation in Given

With the announcement of a second sequel movie, it’s a good time to remember the wonderful, sensitively written TV series.

What shojosei series still needs to be licensed/rescued?

There are still far too many to list.

Beyond AniFem

‘Mother of the equality law’ Ryoko Akamatsu dies at age 94 (The Asahi Shimbun, Sawa Okabayashi, Natsuki Edogawa and Kei Kobayashi)

Akamatsu continued pushing forward in the unfinished fight for equality until her death.

Prior to the gender equality law, it was common for women to be turned away at the door for employment or forced to resign upon marriage or childbirth.

A law ensuring equality in employment was needed for Japan to ratify the United Nations’ Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

Akamatsu went around warning the business world opposed to such a law that if Japan failed to ratify the treaty, its position as a developed country would suffer.

The law was passed after a compromise to limit prohibiting discrimination in hiring and promotion to a duty of effort without penalty.

Some women’s groups criticized the law, but it was later revised and strengthened.

Akamatsu also served as ambassador to Uruguay and as a member of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.

In 1993, she was appointed education minister.

In 2008, Akamatsu became the first woman to chair the Japan Committee for UNICEF.


Even as she reached her 70s, her passion for gender equality remained undiminished.

In 1999, she founded Win Win, an organization that provides financial support to women who wish to enter politics.

Silent Hill: The Short Message buries its most novel concept beneath layers of cringe (Games Radar, Jasmine Gould-Wilson)

The game mines both suicide and online harassment for cheap shock value, boding ill for upcoming games.

To be fair, The Short Message is not the first horror game to juggle these topics, drop the ball, and then boot it even further afield. Poor handling of women’s stories and of mental health in general is so endemic in the horror genre that I’m desensitized to it by now (though I shouldn’t have to be). Imagine my total lack of surprise to once again see the complexities of female adolescence being boiled down to their most stereotypical parts: we are bitches, we are melodramatic, we crave attention, and oh boy do we love killing ourselves to get back at each other.

I’m pretty sick of that narrative. It’s 2024 and we have the internet. You’d expect writers to know by now that horror games can terrify without tropes, and that there’s a lot more to depression and suicidal ideation in young people than the grotesque blame-gamery as seen in 13 Reasons Why. Alas, The Short Message risks regurgitating those damaging ideas seven years since that awful show first aired.

For all the suicide prevention screens and trigger warnings the game throws up between chapters, The Short Message is perfectly happy to exploit these themes to be provocative. Sitting through grim vignette after grim vignette feels like watching episodes of an extremely tragic soap opera, each one more over-the-top than the last as I’m quickly overloaded by the drama of it all. I lose it when Anita starts sobbing over her 200-odd followers demanding “more sexy pics” from her. She then throws herself off a rooftop because she is jealous that she does not have as many followers as her dead friend Maya. Wait, what?

Gundam: The Witch From Mercury’s Lynn and Kana Ichinose Discuss Difficult Parents and Friendships (Anime News Network, Reuben Baron)

Panel and email interviews with the voice actors behind Suletta and Miorine.

Producer Takuya Okamoto joined the panel midway through as a special guest, talking about the process of trying to develop a Gundam series that was different from all previous series and talked about how much the story changed from when the series was first pitched in 2020 to its completion. Clips were screened from Ichinose and Lynn‘s favorite episodes, Episode 21 and Episode 24, respectively. Okamoto discussed how impressed he was with the character development, music, and voice acting in these scenes.

In regards to one big difference between Witch From Mercury and other Gundam series, Ichinose said via email, “I was first surprised thinking, ‘The first female protagonist…!’, but even in the first Mobile Suit Gundam women were piloting Mobile Suits and fighting on the battlefield, so nowadays it would not have been surprising to see a woman as the main character of a Gundam series. Nevertheless, I am sincerely grateful for the opportunity to voice the role of Suletta Mercury.”

In the email interviews, Ichinose and Lynn revealed they knew very little about the show’s plot and characters going into the production. “I was able to act out Suletta while feeling the same things she felt,” Ichinose explained. “The main character’s Mobile Suit, Gundam Aerial, being the final boss, was one of the scenes that surprised me.” Lynn received some explanation about her character and “was able to predict a few things about Aerial’s secrets,” but was also surprised by the final battle.

Japan top court awards damages to journalist over lawmaker’s ‘likes’ for defaming posts (The Mainichi, Koji Endo)

The recent ruling set a precedent, assessing Sugita’s “likes” in the context of other derisive statements Sugita had made against journalist Ito.

Ito had filed a 2.2-million-yen ($14,700) damages suit against Sugita, a member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), claiming that her likes for posts on Twitter (now X) slandering her had offended her honor. The top court’s First Petty Bench on Feb. 8 dismissed Sugita’s appeal against the Tokyo High Court ruling that awarded Ito 550,000 yen in compensation. The October 2022 high court verdict had deemed Sugita’s actions as insulting behavior that exceeded limits.

It is the first time for the Japanese Supreme Court to recognize liability for damages for “liking” online posts. The five-member First Petty Bench unanimously arrived at the decision, stating that Sugita’s claims did not constitute grounds for appealing the lower court ruling.

According to the earlier rulings by the Tokyo district and high courts, there were multiple anonymous tweets containing a phrase meaning “Ito screwed up sleeping her way (into a job)” in reference to Ito, who had sued a former Tokyo Broadcasting System Television journalist claiming that he sexually assaulted her in April 2015. Sugita pressed likes for 25 of such posts between June and July 2018.

Court approves trans man to change gender without surgery (The Asahi Shimbun)

This court was possible thanks to the precedent set last October, which declared forced sterilization as a prerequisite to legal gender change unconstitutional.

The court also stated that the special law requiring surgery to remove a person’s reproductive capacity violates the “freedom to not have one’s body invaded against one’s will,” which is guaranteed by Article 13 of the Constitution.

“Soft buds have emerged from the asphalt, and I wonder if they will grow,” Usui said at a news conference held in Okayama after the decision, describing his joy.

In addition to sterilization surgery, the special law stipulates that a person must “have genitalia similar in appearance to that of the adopted gender,” which is often called the “appearance requirement.”

The Tsuyama Branch held that Usui met the appearance requirement. However, the court did not indicate whether the appearance requirement is unconstitutional or not.

VIDEO: Interviews with several MAPPA animators about the studio’s working conditions.

VIDEO: A brief(ish) history of shoujo manga.

VIDEO: Analysis of queer eroguro visual novel Manakashi no Yuri wa Akaku Somaru.

VIDEO: “Would a One Console Future Benefit or Harm Accessibility?”

TWEET: Matuoka Kasumi reports on sex workers who have flown overseas to find work due to the weakening of the yen.

AniFem Community

Seriously, we’ve been waiting for some of these for so long.

Kaze to Ki no Uta, 100%. It's a series I've been requesting from publishers for years now, due to its importance both to shojo and BL, as well as its gorgeous artwork. Sadly, the fact that it's a shojo series from the 70s is likely why we'll never see a proper English release, as those supposedly don't sell well.  When it comes to series that need to be rescued, I'll mention Kare Kano and Suppli from Tokyopop and Swan, Moon Child, and Musashi No. 9 from CMX.
Not positive if it counts as shojosei, but Cantarella by You Higuri- the last two volumes!
Nodame Cantabile is probably the #1 show that I would still feel compelled to own on DVD/BluRay if I could.

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