Weekly Round-Up, 7-13 June 2023: Pride Recommendations, CBR Layoffs, and Abuse Investigation

By: Anime Feminist June 13, 20230 Comments
end card illustration of Miorine and Prospera facing away from each other, with Miorine in the foreground

Content Warning: Excerpts included in this post discuss police brutality/racial profiling and suicidal ideation/planning.

AniFem Round-Up

Akane-Banashi: Writing women protagonists using Battle Shounen tropes

The series not only applies the flashy techniques, play-by-plays, and mysterious mentors to the world of rakugo but to a story with a major focus on women.

Forcing Yourself for Love: Hotaru, Sailor Moon, and “Overcoming Disability” Narratives

Hotaru’s story is complicated, pushing back against her dehumanization as a disabled person but also celebrating when she “pushes herself” to normalcy

Chatty AF 186: Death Parade Retrospective – Part 2

Caitlin, Cy, and Toni celebrate the 10th anniversary of a cult classic and dig into its portrayals of women, motherhood, and the question of transformative justice.

What’s your current favorite LGBTQ+ manga?

Seems like we’re almost spoiled for choice compared to years past.

May 2023 Patron Newsletter and Staff Recommendations

The team shares some throwback favorites.

Beyond AniFem

Celebrate PRIDE with Nine LGBTQ+ Stories! (Yen Press, Allison Joung)

Bite-sized recs of LGBTQ+ titles from Yen Press’ catalogue.

Takebe’s a delinquent who’s ready to let go of her past, but her old rival Soramori drops into her life and challenges her to a duelfor a chance to start dating her! Catch These Hands! is a series that’ll have you laughing, while being charmed with a story of two women navigating their way through the quirks of a new relationship and discovering things about someone they thought they already knew. It’s also a fairly short read with the series being completed at 4 total volumes, so Catch These Hands! is a great start for people looking to get started in the GL genre!

This Pride Month, Catch Up With the Traumatized Sapphics of The Witch From Mercury (Gizmodo, James Whitbrook)

In case you hadn’t yet caught wind of how excellent the series is.

But anyway, even as its second season has leaned further and harder into the kinds of conflict-driven trauma and angst that have defined prior Gundam shows, the series remains incredibly gay, even as the aforementioned trauma has driven Miorine and Suletta’s relationship—and their status as Bride and Groom—to a breaking point. Almost every other episode of G-Witch, as it’s affectionally known by fans, has brought with it either some kind of horrifying act of violence to forever change the lives of our heroes and the people within their orbits, or some kind of shocking revelatory backstory reveal designed to do much the same thing. And yet, in spite of all that, and in spite of the story inevitably bringing its martial conflicts to the forefront after they largely simmered in the background of season one, the heart of the drama in G-Witch’s second season has always been the will-they-won’t-they story of Suletta, Miorine, and the extremely clear feelings the two have for each other.

The duo’s narrative this season is full of romantic tropes just laser-focused for you to feel a distinctly homosexual angst for these two character you’re downright yearning to see reunited on their own terms. For much of season two Miorine and Suletta has been separated by both distance and circumstance. At first, Miorine struggled to accept the choices Suletta made to protect her at the climax of season one; as the season has progressed, Miorine has realized not just how much she truly cared for Suletta’s well-being and happiness navigating the controlling revenge plots of the latter’s mother, Lady Prospera, but how much she is willing to go through and sacrifice to ensure that happiness… even if she is currently not a part of it.

Japan’s lower house passes contentious LGBT understanding bill (The Mainichi)

Protestors are already speaking out against the bill, which is they believe may do more harm than good.

The bill is aimed primarily at banning unjust discrimination against people based on sexual orientation as Japan lags behind the other Group of Seven advanced nations in terms of legal protections for sexual minorities.

One of the most controversial aspects of the bill is a clause stipulating, “All citizens can live with peace of mind,” which has been lambasted by critics for prioritizing safeguarding the rights of the majority in society rather than sexual minorities.

The bill that cleared the lower house on Tuesday, if made law, would impose additional challenges and hardships on sexual minorities, the Japan Alliance for LGBT Legislation said in a statement.

The group called it legislation that “ignores the interests of LGBT people and instead caters to the side that exacerbates discrimination.”

Ep 20 – Gankutsuou (Part 1) – French People… In Space!! (Anime is Lit)

Spoiler-free discussion of the show’s overall themes and source material.

Finally, Anime is Lit covers the most Literature of Anime – “Gankutsuou”, the artistic 2004 adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ classic (and long) novel “The Count of Monte Cristo” …IN SPACE! with vampires!

Joined by Gankustuou aficionado Vrai Kaiser, we explore the anime’s approach to the novel, as well as the thematic contrasts, visual design, and the creators’ own inspirations. This episode is a spoiler-free discussion for fans and newbies alike. We cover plenty of interesting aspects from our research on both the original text and the anime’s creation, which we hope will encourage newcomers to watch the anime. All the spoilers are all hiding in the second half our our discussion for our next episode.

Inside the CBR layoffs and bad week (The Beat, Heidi MacDonald)

Much of the site’s senior editorial staff has been laid off to make way for “major structural changes.”

The statement that CBR was looking to “create a more positive culture,” as you might expect, drew a lot of comment. The Beat spoke with several people close to the CBR situation, and a picture emerged that this “positive culture” might not be so positive. 

We’re told that those removed were actually standing up for writers, with Swiderski, Gerding and Baggett pushing back against more changes along the lines of what Puc reported. Writers were being asked to do more work while shrinking the Pay Per View rates. The situation was described to me by one person as “working writers to the bone.”

The situation is so dire that in addition to the three editors, I’m told two HR people were laid off, who also objected to the demands that management was making on writers, who, as a reminder, are contractors, not employees. That HR people risked their jobs – and lost them –  to stand up for the rights of contract workers is a situation I’ve not heard of before, and quite the indictment of Valnet’s working conditions. 

Meet the man who gets frisked by the Tokyo police five times a year (The Japan Times, Baye McNeil)

Article includes extensive discussion of police brutality and harassment.

“And certain areas I just won’t go to now. And if I have a beer, I won’t drink it in public. Anything that would make me look sketchy or stand out any more than I already do, I won’t do. I feel like really little stuff like that can make a big difference. I never thought I’d have to do that kinda stuff here, though.”

“Why did you think that?” I asked.

“Just because, you know, I don’t know … I really don’t,” he said, and laughed.

“Seriously, though …”

“I mean, here it’s like, you’re Japanese or you’re not,” he said. “And that’s kind of the end of it. But, after I gave them my ID card, which says that I’m not a dangerous person, that I’m legit, I’m employed, I’m a taxpayer, and they saw everything was in order, I thought that would be enough. But it wasn’t.

“The worst thing for me, though, is the humiliation,” Freeman adds. “I’m here trying to break whatever preconception America has given them of us, trying hard to do some good here, and these random stupid little incidents undermine that. They always seem to happen close to my job, or close to my home, where people know my face. And when Japanese people see a black person with a cop, I know they’re thinking ‘Yappari!’ (‘Just as I thought!’), because a stereotype is being reinforced.

“Then when they see me with my ikebana, I get asked am I lost or something. And I have to explain that this is my art. And you can see their eyes opening. But every time they see me get stopped by a cop, their eyes close.”

Johnny’s panel won’t uncover extent of abuse by Kitagawa (The Asahi Shimbun, Bunna Takizawa and Yohei Goto)

As survivors continue to come forward (detailed discussion of CSA at link) the story has gained a wider reach, including the Prime Minister.

While the panel said it will acknowledge that the allegations are true, it stressed it will not conduct a “thorough investigation” covering current and former members to reveal yet-unknown abuse cases.

Panel leader Makoto Hayashi, a lawyer and a former prosecutor-general, said the purpose of the investigation is “to examine what was wrong with Johnny & Associates’ past responses (to the sexual abuse), propose measures to prevent a recurrence in terms of governance, and ask (Johnny & Associates) to put them into action.”

Another panel member, Nozomu Asukai, a psychiatrist and board chair at the Victim Support Center of Tokyo, a public interest organization for victims of crimes and traffic accidents, said a comprehensive investigation into the sex abuse allegations could have a harmful effect on the victims.

“Being covered by (the investigation) itself would put a mental burden on the victims,” Asukai said at the news conference.

BPO Watchdog Group Publishes Complaint About Toxic Subset of Oshi no Ko Fandom (Anime News Network, Kim Morrissy)

Akasaka Aka has not made any statement on the issue.

he Broadcasting Ethics & Program Improvement Organization (BPO) normally publishes viewer complaints about the content shown on Japanese TV, but this time the watchdog group fielded a different kind of criticism. At least one viewer wrote in to complain last month about a toxic subset of a certain anime’s fandom.

In its May summary, the BPO published the following under the “Drama/Anime” section: “In an anime, there was an episode in which a female character in a dating reality show receives harassment and contemplates suicide. Because the portrayal evokes a real-life incident, the relatives of the woman who suicided expressed their discomfort online, and they have been receiving excessive harassment from a subset of the show’s fans. The production company and broadcaster created the impetus behind these attacks on individuals—should there not be an announcement of some sort to address this?”

Anti-Romance Visual Novel ‘Club Suicide’ To Get English DLSite Garumani Translation (Noisy Pixel, Ivanir Ignacchitti)

The article doesn’t specify whether the otome game will have a human translator or utilize DLSite’s machine translation software.

Club Suicide is a visual novel developed by MORPATH and published by Celtia. It was originally released on PC in 2020 and its unique concept caught the otome fandom by storm with many western players interested in getting it. A Japanese-only Complete Edition with upgrades to its visual and sound aspects, new scenarios for every route, extra endings, and a different engine was released on Steam on June 5, 2023.

Club Suicide tells the story of a young girl called Shindou Ringo. Having a hard time socializing, she often skips school, but one day she decides to go to classes and ends up finding a weird recruitment poster to a “Club Suicide”. She had contemplated the idea before but had never been serious about doing it.

Once there, Ringo meets five boys seriously planning their deaths. Unable to tell them she has never been serious about the prospect, she will now have to spend the next seven days with them, seeing them commit to their plans in full as they try to deal with their attachments to this world. Just like other otome games, she’ll be able to spend more time with one of them leading to their specific route, but don’t expect it to end up romantic in nature.

VIDEO: Upcoming games showcase focusing on accessibility features.

AniFem Community

We’re writing down new things to check out already.

My first pick would be She Loves to Cook, and She Loves to Eat. It's a great manga with plus-sized lead and a very beautiful message of body positivity and eating culture, plus it is very cute. Come to Hand also a very delightful BL manga that I am enjoying right now, it is just so cute and sweet, the characters are adults who handle their problem in a mature way, the relationship is so healthy and it encourage communication in a relationship, and it is one of the best if not the best manga that depict age gap relationship and student-teacher relationship, period. After We Gazed at the Starry Sky is also a very beautiful BL manga that that features disabled lead and in my opinion it handle the disability element pretty good. I love the dynamic between the couple and the art is gorgeous. Love is Probably Around the Corner is also a very tasteful BL manga that discuss burn-out, the death of creativity, the importance of support network, and the difficulty of do what you like to do in the era of capitalism. it is a beautiful short story that resonates with me a lot. The last one is Touch Within the Abyss. First of all, the ART! oh My God! the art is so beautiful, especially the eyes, it looks amazing, the sex scenes also drawn really beautifully that it convey the emotion, the longing, and the intimacy between the characters, it is so intimate that I have to look a way while reading it. The story itself is a really good short BL romance with blind main character. it is a really good take on generational trauma, exclusion, abandonment issue, disability in the form of blindness, and found family.
Im really liking “I Think My Son Is Gay” so far. Its a slice of life manga about a mom trying to support her pretty obviously closeted son Hiroki while giving him space to come out on his own accord. Its very sweet while still acknowledging some of the more subtle bigotry that queer people can often face. Also, Hiroki’s brother is extremely ace/aro coded which i always like. The arts really cute and its still ongoing. Currently I think there are 4 volumes out in english although each chapter is pretty short. I also have quite liked “Our Dreams at Dusk”, “My Brothers Husband”, and “Bloom Into You”.

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