Weekly Round-Up, 8-14 May 2024: Aggretsuko’s Commodified Rage, Medical GoFundMe, and 50 Years of Hana to Yume

By: Anime Feminist May 14, 20240 Comments
four teen girls with their eyes beady from shock

AniFem Round-Up

BanG Dream! It’s MyGo!!!!! and the value of letting female characters suck

Soyo is a relative rarity for the music gacha subgenre: a sympathetic member of the main cast who’s also kind of a passive-aggressive mean girl.

Designer, DJ, and model Senanan’s latest fashion brand wants to make kawaii for everyone

Senanan has worked in the worlds of fashion design, music, and modeling; she talked with us about returning to work after becoming a mother and her latest project.

Chatty AF 206: Bakemonogatari Watchalong – Episodes 9-15

Toni, Vrai, and Peter return for Nadeko Snake and Tsubasa Cat, talk about examination versus exploitation, and anguish over the now-unfinished streaming status of the series.

What anime most epitomizes the 2000s to you?

That’s 20 years ago now, after all.

Spring 2024 Midseason Podcast Poll

Cast your vote for what shows we make sure to focus on in the midseason podcast.

Beyond AniFem

Help my sister Rachael with medical needs. (GoFundMe)

Voice actress Rachael Lillis, best known as the original voice of Misty and Jessie in Pokémon, is struggling with breast cancer that has spread to her spine.

Hello everyone. I’m trying to raise some funds for my sister Rachael Lillis who is currently in a nursing home facility in Los Angeles. She has been there since late January, but needs personal care at home, particularly a home care nurse. Someone who can cook some simple meals, help her daily, and give her medication. (Unfortunately, Rachael can barely walk due to cancer that has spread to her spine.)

The Beginning of Despair: Aggressive Retsuko and the Sanrioization of Women’s ‘Transgressive Rage’ (Japan Forum; Wesley C. Robertson, Alexandra Hambleton, and Mie Hiramoto)

The full text of the article is available at the link.

The shorts, eventually transformed into a full show on Netflix, were a comedic look at Retsuko’s anger at unfair treatment in the Japanese workplace, casting a critical eye on issues of sexism, harassment, and overwork. But while Retsuko has been explicitly positioned as counter cultural, what does it mean to be transgressive and Sanrio? This paper analyzes this question from a cross-disciplinary perspective, drawing on critical feminist studies, rage studies, media studies, and sociolinguistics. Approaching the framing, content, and speech of Retsuko throughout her media appearances, we argue that while Retsuko is certainly critical of contemporary Japan, her transgression is ultimately limited, with any potential paths to freedom or rebellion hampered by a corporate system that reabsorbs transgressive behavior and sells it back to customers, closing off the potential to imagine new ways of being.

Celebrating 10 Years of Black Nerd Problems (Black Nerd Problems)

Congrats on a decade; the staff shares their favorite memories.

BNP is also the same place where I was able to write more about manga–Shojo and Josei manga, especially. Back in 2014, I wrote my heart out about manga for girls who grew up into women by way of the A Love Letter to Josei Manga editorial. I was overwhelmed by the online response and found so many new online friends and mutuals who also loved manga that catered to girls and women and gave recommendations, consoled me with manga series that did not go the distance, and more. This affirmed me when I came back years later with A Love Letter to Josei Manga Part Two, and these continue to be written pieces that people–especially manga readers connected with and choose to connect back to me on this site.

I gladly credit Black Nerd Problems for being a space for me to connect with other women and gender expansive folks who not only loved comics on the indie and more mainstream fronts, but also manga, web comics, zines, and more. I have been seen the rise and fall of careers of some folks in comics, publications, the popularity of some crowdfunding platforms, and more. I’ve seen creatives who once started their careers in comics with contributing to anthologies or crowdfunding mini comics to go on to make their debuts with graphic novels, welcome parenthood, travel to other countries with their craft, work in gaming, and the list goes on and continues to grow.

I have been honored to see all the different layers and nuances of fans and creatives who have engaged with BNP and all of us who have been part of contributing to the site in some fashion. I know Black Nerd Problems means something different to us all, yet I think the connection is perhaps the great gift that this site all of the years of it existing and all of us existing all with it. Thank you so much for allowing me to come along for the ride and hanging tight with us all these years! –Carrie

Nagoya court allows man to take surname of same-sex partner (The Asahi Shimbun, Toshinari Takahashi)

Beforehand, having different surnames as parents often meant having to out themselves to strangers.

The current Family Registration Law does not recognize same-sex marriages, but it states that a person may change his or her surname after obtaining permission from a family court if there are unavoidable circumstances to do so.

The Nagoya Family Court in March this year ruled in the case that it is “socially acceptable to provide same-sex couples with the same level of legal protections as opposite-sex couples to a certain extent,” according to the lawyers.

The court deemed the actual living conditions of Takami and Ono were “equivalent to marriage” and recognized they have been experiencing difficulties in their social life.

The court granted the surname change on grounds that their situation falls under “unavoidable circumstances” in the Family Registration Law.

“Achieving marriage equality is still necessary, but we hope that this decision will expand the option of eliminating the disadvantage of having to use different surnames among same-sex couples,” one of the lawyers said.

Nun alleging sexual abuse by Tendai priest in Japan seeks relief amid skepticism (Pt. 3) (The Mainichi, Rino Yoshida)

This is the final part of a three-part series; includes detailed discussion of sexual assault.

Miyako Shirakawa, a psychiatrist who treats trauma victims of sexual violence, points out that in sexual violence in religion, it is often hard to recognize the perpetrator’s actions, and the victim’s complaints are easily ignored.

Moreover, victims themselves are less likely to come forward because they view the accusations themselves as “blasphemy or a betrayal of God,” she said.

“Sexual violence within religion is easily concealed, and if it is sexual violence done by someone in a position of authority, victims are often not believed by those around them.”

It is more likely to occur in religious communities where there is a power disparity, such as in master-disciple relationships, where the perpetrator uses doctrine and religious beliefs to brainwash the victim to justify their sexual violence, she said.

Shirakawa added victims’ worldview of their own faith is often shattered by the sexual violence they experience within their religion.

Japan police lecture school staff on how to ask children about possible abuse (The Mainichi, Masahiko Sasaki)

Teachers can both be the first to notice abuse, and can help a child feel more comfortable when legal officials are conducting interviews regarding abuse.

“Teachers are in a position to notice changes in children first,” pointed out the division’s chief abuse prevention specialist Hiromi Miyoshi, who served as the lecturer.

The lecture provided concrete tips on how to avoid suggestive questioning. For example, when a child says, “Mom bumped into me,” one should not ask, “Your mom hit you?” This is because children find it difficult to articulate events in sequence and tend to conform with the opinions of familiar adults. Depending on how questions are posed, children can easily be influenced or led, and memories can be altered.

In Japan, “judicial interviews” have been introduced in investigative settings where the police, prosecutors and child consultation centers collaborate to interview the child just once as a principle. The aim is to create an atmosphere in which the child can speak spontaneously without being led, and to prevent secondary victimization by repeatedly asking the child about what happened, which could cause them to relive the experience.

During the lecture, Miyoshi emphasized, “It’s important to simply just listen to the child’s story to smoothly transition to a judicial interview.”

Okazu Staff takes on Yuri Is My Job, Volume 12 (Okazu)

Multiple looks at the most recent volume of the series and its heavy subject matter.

Yuri Is My Job, Volume 12 came out in English from the fantastic team at Kodansha and it was…a lot. I had reviewed it in Japanese almost a year ago, and it was a lot then, too. After discussion with Okazu Staff Writers, I decided that it was big enough and complicated enough that no one person ought to have to shoulder it. So, welcome to the very first Okazu Staff Writers Group Review. Here you will find 5 perspectives on this volume, each from people whose opinions you trust, but who are all quite different people.

CW for this volume and these reviews: sexual assault, emotional manipulation, trauma.

Tokyo firm ordered to pay $24,000 over indirect gender discrimination in rent benefits (The Mainichi, Kenji Tatsumi)

This ruling makes promising precedent for cases of “indirect” discrimination.

According to the ruling, the 44-year-old woman has been working for AGC subsidiary AGC Green-Tech Co. based in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward since 2008 as a regular employee doing a general job. AGC Green-Tech has a housing program in which the company acts as the tenant and pays up to 80% of the rent for career-track employees, but the woman only received a monthly housing allowance of under 20,000 yen (about $120) because she was not a career-track worker.

The ruling noted that the disparity in the financial benefits of the generous rent allowance was “quite large.” Of a total of 34 career-track employees who worked at AGC Green-Tech between 1999 and 2020, only one was female, and the ruling pointed out that the benefit was, in effect, applicable only to men.

The company argued that “the system was only available to career-track employees because of the possibility of transfers (to different areas),” but the court found no rational reason for limiting the system to such employees, stating that career-track workers were able to use it regardless of whether or not there was a specific possibility of transfer. In addition to the damages, the court also ordered a compensation fee of 500,000 yen (about $3,200).

Pop Star Crystal Kay on Singing Anime Songs and Growing Up Mixed-Race in Japan (Anime News Network, Richard Eisenbeis)

Kay’s first big hit among anime fans was doing an ending theme for Fullmetal Alchemist.

Kay is often seen as a pioneer for interracial acts in Japan, paving the way for those to follow like Thelma Aoyama and JERO. “It’s really nice to hear that and it makes me proud,” Kay smiled. “Because they saw that there’s representation, they had the motivation to be like, ‘Oh, I can do this, too.’ To be acknowledged that you’re the reason that helped them pave their way. That’s an honor.”

Of course, at the time as a teen, the thought of being a trailblazer never really occurred to her. “There wasn’t a moment where I was like, ‘Oh, I’m alone. I’m doing this all by myself,’ because I was just so busy. I didn’t really have a moment to just stand there and think about that, really, because I was like, ‘I have homework. I have basketball. I have a promo on the weekend.’ So I was just surviving day to day, trying to get through it.”

That said, Kay was more than aware of being different from most Japanese people. She found herself in a perpetual identity crisis when it came to being mixed-race and the idea of being Japanese. “[I remember] not really understanding where I stood or not really being able to be proud that I’m half-black and half-Korean, because it was kind of like, I’m a double minority—especially being here,” she told me. “[Japan is] a homogeneous society and country, so there’s no place to really stand up and be out and proud about that kind of stuff.”

Luckily, over the years, Kay seems to have found her center—largely thanks to going abroad. “It presents me an opportunity to kind of think of that kind of stuff when I’m outside [of Japan] because everywhere else is so diverse and blunt and it’s kind of like, you have to be sure of who you are, and where you’re from,” Kay explained. “I feel more comfortable about who I am, and I see my uniqueness as a charm or a weapon and not a minus.”

VIDEO: Celebrating mega-shoujo magazine Hana to Yume’s 50th anniversary.

AniFem Community

Lot of fun, different ways for folks to interpret this question.

Whew, it's rough to realize how many of my faves are 20+ years old now!  Were you watching anime in the 00s? What’s the snapshot of the era to you? >> I feel like Haruhi is the snapshot of the era / turning point, where you can kind of point to a pre-Haruhi anime scene and a post-Haruhi anime scene.  Is your favorite at the time different from your favorite now? >> My favorite 2000s show at the time was Full Metal Panic! Nowadays it's Gankutsuou: Count of Monte Cristo. But I also just finished the original Spice & Wolf (just in time for the new show!) and it's found its way into my heart.
This is going to be a weird one, but Heat Guy J  It was the first HUGE crack in the armor of the industry, and a symbol of EVERY ONE of the mistakes they were making. An expensive license, bought sight unseen, which was savaged in fansub runs; Geneon had a turd they had no chance of selling to folks
I feel like the other 2006 show staring a girl named Haruhi takes the prize.  Hare Hare Yukai and God Knows were some of the first universal (western) cultural touchpoints, right when anime internet culture started to escape fandom webrings into something less niche - which is the 2000's to me.
I can't choose one, but all the VN adaptations from Kiminozo, FSN, Clannad, Air, Kanon, Higurashi, Shuffle etc. to the what I call "decadent" original works like Paranoia Agent, Texhnolyze, Ergo Proxy, Kaiba, Wolf's Rain etc. epitomize it for me.

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