Weekly Round-Up, 8-14 February 2023: PreCure Novels, Obligation Chocolate, and Capitalist Hell in Yakuza 0

By: Anime Feminist February 14, 20230 Comments
Euphy hiding behind a smiling Anis

AniFem Round-Up

Remixing Expectations: Queer representation and gender euphoria in D4DJ Groovy Mix

Brock K. notes how the series has raised the bar for other idol gacha titles, particularly through the overt queer romance between two members of new unit UniChØrd.

The Phantom of Ghost Stories: Double standards in the war on “localization”

Jairus Taylor goes over the history of gag dubs following the infamous Ghost Stories, and which localization choices are considered okay versus “political.”

What is anime’s greatest love story?

For the holidays.

January 2023 Patron Newsletter and Staff Recommendations

News from the team and additional recommendations.

Bonus Podcast (with Transcript) 2023 January: Anime Backlog Resolutions Return

How we did on the shows we planned to catch up on last year, and resolutions for 2023.

Beyond AniFem

LGBTQ groups demand Japan adopt equal rights law by G7 (The Mainichi)

More than 60% of the Japanese public support marriage equality.

In recent years, more than 200 local municipalities, including Tokyo, have introduced certificates of partnerships for same-sex couples allowing them to rent apartments and sign documents in medical emergencies, and for inheritance. Still, the certificates are not legally binding and same-sex couples are often barred from visiting each other in the hospital and from getting access to other services available to married couples.

Campaigns for equal rights for sexual minorities have faced resistance from conservatives in Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s governing Liberal Democratic Party. An attempt to enact an equality awareness promotion law ahead of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics was quashed by the party.

Amid national outrage over Arai’s remarks, the party’s secretary general, Toshimitsu Motegi, said he planned to start preparing for legislation to promote awareness of LGBTQ rights, but some conservatives have already shown resistance. A group of non-partisan lawmakers also said they hope to enact an equality law by the G-7 summit.

The Girl That Can’t Get a Girlfriend Review (Anime News Network, Christopher Farris)

The single-volume autobiography title from the popular butch/butch yuri artist.

This presentation works well enough in the perhaps now-expected framework of an autobiographical diary comic style. Mieri’s sketchy little figure of an avatar is endearingly expressive while pointedly obscuring any actual perception of how she might feel about her supposedly inappreciable appearance (though her occasional reflective descriptions as “an otaku with the fashion sense of a twelve-year-old” or “a gross otaku who draws cartoon lesbians while giggling to myself” can be darkly funny). On the flip side, she can draw the crap out of some hot butch lesbians; you can sense the aesthetic preferences of an artist brought up on anime and manga who would be attracted to types like Jay and Ash. Also notably, Mieri being a long-term Japanese-American transplant seems to have allowed her to handle the English treatment of her comic’s script herself, meaning so many of the terminally-online text choices like “My brain noped into another dimension” or “hot Grill i can’t” come off that much more authentic, which is vital in a pointedly personal story like this one.

The Girl That Can’t Get a Girlfriend is not an incredibly dense deep-dive into someone’s psyche, even for those who especially empathize with Mieri. Nor does it seem obligated to assign itself some arbiter of the queer experience. It is a simple, interesting reminder that everyone’s engagement with romance will be different, at least by a little bit. There’s no universal road to recovering self-esteem. However, it is still downright heartening and cathartic to see Mieri make some progress by the end, not necessarily because of personal intervention by anybody close to her, but merely out of incidental self-realization. Apart from the spots of bleak relatability, that sense of hope rings just as encouraging, inspiring other people to root for themselves as they may come to root for Mieri.

For-adults PreCure novels get re-release for grown-up fans of magical girl anime series (SoraNews24, Casey Baseel)

The novels were originally published from 2015 to 2016.

The novels are authored by members of the PreCure anime scriptwriting team. While the “for-adults” designation seems to be in reference to the reading level, so there’s no need to fear that the books have been stuffed full of explicit sex and violence, but publisher Kodansha promise that you can look forward to original stories not shown in the anime, giving deeper insight into the various Cures’ thoughts and emotions in the way only a novel can.

All six novels are available in both print and digital formats from Amazon Japan now, and if that’s still not enough PreCure for you, we’ve got a report on the giant mural in Tokyo that featured every magical girl in the series right here.

83% of women in Japan don’t want to give ‘obligatory’ chocolates on Valentine’s Day: poll (The Mainichi, Yuki Machino)

The percentage of men interested in receiving girichoko was also down considerably among most age groups.

With the coronavirus pandemic and changes in society, the widespread practice of “giri choko” (obligatory chocolates) in the country seems to be disappearing. The research firm Intage Inc. conducted an online survey of 2,633 men and women aged 15 to 79 nationwide in January. According to the results, only 8.2% of a total of 1,325 women that responded said they will “give giri choco.”

When those currently employed were asked what they thought of the obligatory chocolates at their workplace, the majority of women, 82.8%, answered that they did not want to give them to their colleagues. By age group, from 20s to 70s, the percentage of “don’t want to give” was 75.4% in the lowest age group, those in their 20s, while the percentage was around 80 to 90% for the other age groups.

Live Your Own Way: What Running a Hostess Club in Yakuza 0 Can Teach Us About Life Under Capitalism (Haywire Magazine, Harry Mackin)

The game and Majima’s arc as a metaphor for surviving under capitalism.

At every twist and turn of the plot, Majima’s abusers in the Yakuza manipulate the best parts of him for their own profit. He is a known commodity to them precisely because he possesses the morality they can manipulate. Just like the rest of their victims, they dangle something he wants in front of him and reap the profits.

And the most bitter irony of all is that Majima (and Kiryu’s) manipulators gave him those morals in the first place. Both Majima and Kiryu joined the Yakuza for apparently altruistic reasons – to stand for something. Some lost ideal of the noble Yakuza—defenders of the downtrodden, masters of their own destinies—was all either of the lost boys had to hold onto growing up. And it was all a lie fed to starry-eyed young men so the people who never really believed in any of it could profit off of their futile striving. Sound familiar?

As Yakuza 0 reveals, Kiryu and Majima become who they are because they refuse to give up this altruism. But, as Yakuza 0 also threatens, this same heroism may make it possible for their manipulators to exploit them forever.

Is there any way out? The obvious solution is the answer Majima’s abusers themselves presumably arrived at: nothing is true. Morality, virtue, and all that jazz are for suckers. To be anything but a sucker in a world like this means to give up on all of that and pursue one thing: profit. Beliefs are just tools you can use against the people who hold them. 

Based on who he seems to be in the other games, it might seem as though Majima comes to this conclusion by the end of Yakuza 0 himself. In the game’s greatest twist of all, however, it reveals that Majima’s act actually serves a very different purpose. And it reveals this, at least in part, through its adorable little dress up game.

Dual-use identity cards could reveal people’s sexual identity (The Asahi Shimbun, Yoshikatsu Nakajima)

This headline is misleading; the unaltered cards actually reveal an individual’s legal gender marker.

The government has received requests to scrap the gender section on the My Number card.

In October 2015, the advocacy group jid.jp submitted a written request to the government.

In response, the government devised ways for a card case to be distributed to cardholders when their health insurance card is issued. The case covers the ID number and the gender section when the card is inserted into it.

The general incorporated association has been urging the government to eliminate the gender section, but no other measures have been taken.

But jid.jp points out that the card case that covers the sensitive information is not enough to fulfill the purpose, saying that it would be meaningless if the case is torn and that the gender section on the front side can be easily exposed when the card is removed from it.

VIDEO: Analysis of the major themes of josei darling Chihayafuru.

TWEET: Japanese-language article discussing Gwen Stefani’s statements about Japan and the subject of cultural appropriation.

TWEET: Japanese-language article discussing ONIMAI in light of current Japanese laws around trans health care. Chiaki also touches on this article slightly.

THREAD: A personal statement alleging sexual and psychological abuse by voice actor Mike Haimoto.

AniFem Community

These are some excellent runners-up to the image from the Talk post.

I'm gonna cheat a little by mentioning donghua but Xie Lian and Hua Cheng from Heaven Official's Blessing invented love. They've both been through so much, both together and individually, and it only strengthens how secure and loved they feel in their relationship. Even when the plot gets a little too winding, the central love story always pulls me along and keeps me involved in the story.

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