Weekly Round-Up, 8-14 March 2023: Grown-Up PreCure, Shojo Beat, and Harassment in the Japanese Film Industry

By: Anime Feminist March 14, 20230 Comments
Sally holds a small shooting star monster while Maple is swarmed by a pack of them

AniFem Round-Up

How Otherside Picnic masterfully uses horror to explore abuse and show healing queer love

Toriko and Sorawo’s bond gives them the strength to heal from the story’s true monsters: the cults and predatory adults that haunt their pasts.

Subverting masculine expectations and complicating the male gaze in My Dress-Up Darling

The show’s consistent pushback against gender roles and focus on the growing emotional closeness between its leads makes discussing its fanservice complicated.

What are some light novels with great female leads?

Time to show off your best recs.

Beyond AniFem

Noir Caesar Entertainment & TOKYOPOP Announce Comics Publishing Initiative (Asian Movie Pulse, Adam Symchuk)

The article includes previews of the first wave of titles to be released.

Noir Caesar Entertainment, a black-owned indie creative company that supports and nourishes content from marginalized communities across various media, announces the forthcoming release of manga-inspired graphic novels to be published in an initiative powered by the iconic publishing brand, TOKYOPOP, beginning this summer.

Utilizing TOKYOPOP‘s extensive channel distribution network, digital marketing resources, and production expertise, Noir Caesar kicks off this collaboration with the print and digital release in July of the coming-of-age martial arts drama, XOGENASYS, and the sci-fi adventure, PRIMUS 7. This will be followed in August by the launch of the gritty crime and redemption saga, TRY AGAIN. Additional new titles will be announced for release by Noir Caesar and TOKYOPOP in coming months.

Wonder Egg Priority and the (Missed) Opportunities of Trans Magic (The Afictionado, Alex Henderson)

How the series undermines itself in its approach to trans identity.

What’s going on with the magic system if it recognises Momoe as a girl due to her felt sense of gender, but misgenders Kaoru and interprets him as a girl despite him clearly identifying as a boy? I want to believe there could be a logistical worldbuilding reason for this, or at least a narrative reason. Maybe it’s a commentary on how trans women are hyper visible in the media and in public discussion but trans men are often hyper invisible?

Alas, I feel like that’s asking too much—if anything, Wonder Egg falls into that trope rather than making any attempt to critique or even acknowledge it. I don’t want to assume that this writing decision was an act of deliberate malice, but, well, maybe it was. More likely, I think, is that this was a clumsy oversight by a creative team who didn’t share Momoe and Kaoru’s perspective and didn’t realise the implications nor the questions they were leaving unanswered. One of the many baffling, disjointed creative decisions that define the back half of the series as the story veers in all directions, getting distracted by shiny new ideas, introducing more characters than it knows what to do with, and ultimately losing empathy for the very teenagers whose traumas it portrays.

And that grinds my gears because, among all the other frustrations that this schlocky and surface-level representation presents, the mishandling of Kaoru is also a massive missed opportunity in terms of Wonder Egg Priority as a piece of queer teen fantasy. There is a story there, in both him and Momoe, that hooks into and plays with genre conventions to explore gender and what it means to navigate gendered spaces.

22 allege sexual harassment, assault by Japan film directors: study (The Mainichi)

70% of respondents also noted working exhaustingly long hours for low pay.

The survey by the Japanese Film Project was conducted between March and June last year while the film industry was rocked by a number of actors and others coming forward as part of the #MeToo movement.

The organization, made up of industry staff, said one of the respondents alleged being touched and propositioned by a drunk producer, while another spoke of being “forced to partake in a sexual scene.”

The online survey received answers from 685 actors and others working in the industry, of which 302 people, or 44 percent, wrote in the optional comment section, often giving detailed accounts.

Forty-nine respondents said they had witnessed instances of sexual assault or sexual harassment by directors and producers, while 46 answered it was abundant or so common that they “could not write it all down.”

5 Women Mangaka You Should Know for Women’s History Month (Black Nerd Problems, Carrie McClain)

Five notable women artists, each working in a different style or genre.

In the modern age of Shojo, suu MORISHITA is one of the hardest working and most relevant creators in the game. Not one person but actually two: the manga creating duo originally met in high-school and were classmates. I have read that “Makiro creates the storyboard/layouts (writer), and Nachiyan illustrates the story.” I have really adored their polished art style of their books and the very engaging, layered stories of their characters. I just feel that they absolutely nail it when it comes to how complicated young adults can be in the genre they create in these realistic, modern day settings. I always really, really like the focuses on equals parts friendships and romance in their work. Their adorable avatar/ artist self-portraits are grains of rice, a version of a character named “Soboku-kun,” that Nachiyan created when they were in high school.  Their latest ongoing manga and also my favorite series by them is A Sign of Affection.

A Sign of Affection is a shojosei genre blurring manga that follows the slow burn-ish romance of new college student Yuki, who is deaf, and the jet-setting, world curious Itsuomi when they meet at the same college. Yuki communicates mostly through Japanese sign language, and Itsuomi happily starts learning. The result is a blooming, beautiful relationship that I cannot get enough of. The manga is simply one of the most thrilling, yet intimate series to hit the Shojo genre in such a long time. I also credit this manga with partially inspiring me to relearn ASL during the pandemic, which I had mostly forgotten from my childhood. Here’s a short but informative interview of these two creators on the Kodansha website that is greatly required reading to learn more about their latest work. They also have the highest honor of being one of my favorite (active) mangaka to follow on Instagram!

Yes! Precure 5, Maho Girls Precure! Series Both Get Sequel Anime for Grown-Ups (Anime News Network, Rafael Antonio Pineda)

The two series originally aired in 2007 and 2016 respectively.

Toei Animation announced two new 20th anniversary projects for its Precure (Pretty Cure) magical girl franchise on Tuesday, specifically for the Yes! Precure 5 and Maho Girls Precure! (Mahō Tsukai Precure!) series. The Kibō no Chikara ~Otona Precure 23~ (Power of Hope ~Grown-Up Precure 23~) will show Yumehara Nozomi and other characters from Yes! Precure 5 and Yes! Precure 5 GoGo! as grown-ups, while the tentatively titled Mahō Tsukai Precure! 2 will be a direct sequel to Maho Girls Precure!. Toei Animation labels both projects as being aimed at grown-up fans.

Kibō no Chikara ~Otona Precure 23~ will premiere on NHK Educational in October, while Mahō Tsukai Precure! 2 will premiere on the late-night “Animazing!!!” block on ABC TV, TV Asahi, and 22 affiliates in 2024.

VIDEO: Interview with indie otome dev Jellyfish Parade.

VIDEO: The rise and fall of manga imprint Shojo Beat.

VIDEO: The dismissive approach to accessibility in Final Fantasy XVI.

THREAD: Primer on manga demographic labels.

TWEET: Video about experiencing racism in Japan as a Black Asian child.


Kodansha is currently offering the first volume free on hundreds of manga, including AniFem favorites Land of the Lustrous and Witch Hat Atelier.

AniFem Community

The past few years have seen a boom of options in English!

For WLW/yuri, TenTen Kakumei, Adachi and Shimamura, and The Executioner and Her Way of Life have gotten anime, and have certain strengths in light novel form.  For good female leads, I haven't read Ascendance of a Bookworm so can't recommend it yet. But I'd say Tearmoon Empire is pretty great, with solid misunderstanding comedy.

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