My Fave is Problematic: Bleach
E.B. Hutchins looks back on one of the most influential series of her teen years, the arcs that hold up and the bits that have aged badly.
Work Sucks, I Know: The Marxist horror of Aggretsuko
Jeremy Tauber lays out the basics of Marxist analysis, alienation from labor, and structures of oppression we’re all trying to survive, just like Retsuko.
Chatty AF 173: 2022 Fall Mid-Season Check-In
Vrai, Caitlin, and Peter check in on the absolutely stacked Fall season!
What anime works best as an ad for the source material?
Sometimes a show falls short, but it gets a good story out there.
A Discussion Among Unions – 100% Union Power at Little Secret (Anime News Network, Kalai Chik)
The panel gathered union activists for voice actors across a number of mediums including VFX, games, and animation.
Closing off the discussion, Evie asked about people’s hesitations about joining unions. The five panelists addressed concerns and offered solutions to challenges they’ve seen in their industries. Arguably, the biggest hurdle is demystifying unions in the minds of workers. They fear retaliation from employers, and companies use that to their advantage.
“There’s a real culture of silence in visual effects, games, and animation,” said Patch. “People seem to think that an NDA might have some sort of magical power and take away your federal rights to organize, but that’s not true.” Companies have the advantage as they have the complete lists of employees, whereas organizations have the uphill battle of gathering crew lists and contacting other workers. “The number one thing that people should understand is that you have the power. You have rights. The law gives you rights, but more so as a union,” said Patch.
McCarley echoed Gonzalez’s early point of worker concerns over being the first person to put their neck on the line. When gathering signatures for CODA, McCarley reassured other actors that they would be able to stay anonymous until they had “70% of their target.” This way, they would be protected by other names in the industry.
Often, the ones who are most able to help lead by example and mobilize union efforts are the ones who have job stability. McCarley put his role as Mob on the line to get Crunchyroll to sit down for #JustAMeeting. Ultimately, Crunchyroll did not come to the table, and McCarley lost that job. But he shrugged and said he was doing alright.
Silent Hill: Shattered Memories—A Good Dad Is Hard To Define (Paste, Madeline Blondeau)
The game explores one young woman’s trauma and definitions of good fatherhood.
Shattered Memories and its probing questions about family trauma defined a lot of my high school life. Most horror games up until that point I played for gross-out thrills and disturbing imagery. But this was one that felt personal—like it understood the trauma I was going through. By that point, my dad had cheated on my mom, and almost run off to start another family. My mom reacted with a persistent lie that she had stomach cancer for months, as her business partner robbed her blind and her husband’s family tried to have her locked up in a psych ward.
Suffice it to say, my family was fucked-up.
In Shattered Memories, people with fucked-up families are the narrative’s raison d’etre. Through its four endings, it takes a nuanced look at the narratives we construct about our childhoods. In one of four ways, Harry is exposed for the man he actually was. One is a loving father through a messy divorce. The other three are either a drunk, a serial adulterer, or an ineffectual and sad man abused by his wife. Cheryl can either choose to accept reality or embrace the constructed Harry, which dictates the conclusion of the main narrative arc.
Survey: 48% of sexual minority teens considered suicide past year (The Asahi Shimbun)
23% of respondents who’d struggled with suicidal ideation were teenagers.
“Sexual minorities have been covered by government measures to prevent suicides and support those feeling lonely and isolated, but they are still largely uncared for at prefectural and municipal levels,” said Mika Yakushi, who heads ReBit. “We need to extend assistance in an all-inclusive manner.”
When ReBit compared responses from the teens with those provided in a nationwide suicide awareness survey conducted in 2021 by Nippon Foundation, another nonprofit organization, both the percentage of those who contemplated suicide and the percentage of those who attempted suicide during the past year were three to four times higher among sexual minorities.
The new survey also showed that 29 percent of LGBTQ+ teens often or always feel lonely.
By contrast, only 3 percent of those aged 16 through 19 gave the same response to a similar question in a Cabinet Secretariat survey conducted last year.
Shrine workers protest Shinto body’s anti-LGBT pamphlet (The Asahi Shimbun, Maiko Ito)
The pamphlet was handed out to members of the Diet during a meeting back in June. Article includes reproduction of queerphobic hate speech.
A group calling itself “Shinto LGBTQ plus Liaison Council” posted a statement to this effect on Twitter on Nov. 14.
A shrine worker in the Kansai region who identifies as non-binary played a coordinating role in the protest after learning about the brochure distributed at the gathering of lawmakers in June.
“Apologies should be offered for spreading prejudice and discriminating against sexual minorities,” said one protester in the statement. “The leaflet should be retracted, and its publication should cease immediately.”
Copies of the pamphlet were handed out to legislators who back an ideology similar to that espoused by Shinto Seiji Renmei, or the Shinto Association of Spiritual Leadership, during a meeting of Diet members held June 13 at a Tokyo hotel.
The association is a support group of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.
‘She Loves to Cook, and She Loves to Eat’ Manga Launches Marriage Equality Charity Shop (Anime News Network, Kim Morrissy)
The shop will be open until December 16th, and proceeds will be donated to Marriage for All Japan.
Manga creator Sakaomi Yuzaki commented: “I’ve always found it mystifying that this country, where there exists so many Girls’ Love and Boys’ Love works about homosexual relationships, still does not legally recognize same-sex marriage. For all the freedom we receive to depict sexual minorities in fiction, their rights are restricted in reality. I want people who enjoy this story to be aware of that situation. As someone who draws homosexual love, I proposed this She Loves to Cook, and She Loves to Eat charity project out of my desire to help somehow. You can love who you want and be who you want. I want this society to be a place where anyone can choose the future they want. Will you take this step towards that reality with me?”
Yuzaki also drew illustrations of the manga’s characters with Pride flags for the shop’s website. The illustrations include Nomoto and Kasuga with the Lesbian flag, Yako with the Asexual and Lesbian flags, and Nagumo with the Questioning flag.
6th Grader Interviews LGBTQ+ People, Makes Picture Book for Kids (Unseen Japan, Alyssa Pearl Fusek)
At present, there is no requirement to include discussion of LGBTQ+ people in school curriculum.
Education about sexual minorities in Japanese schools is relatively non-existent. But one 6th grader named Ui is hoping to educate children about LGBTQ+ people with her picture book “So That Everyone May Smile” (みんな えがおになれますように).
Published in September by Gekkan, the 53-page book features whimsical art and interviews with LGBTQ+ people in a simple Q&A format. Along with everyday people, Ui also sat down with high-profile celebrities like former fencer and transgender activist Sugiyama Fumino and Japanese literature professor Robert Campbell.
Ui is no stranger to publishing. She already made a splash with “I Love School: What to Do Before and After Becoming an Elementary School Student” (しょうがっこうがだいすき ～しょうがくせいになるまでに、やるといいこと。しょうがくせいになったら、やるといいこと。), a fun preparatory guide for children just entering elementary school, which sold 100,000 copies.
Ui wanted her new work to be a picture book specifically geared toward children younger than her. “I did a lot of research and learned that a lot of elementary school kids, and even kids younger than that, struggle with gender identity,” she said. “I figured that if people understood from a young age that everyone’s a little bit different, then bullying would stop.” 
VIDEO: Do It Yourself!! and the shift in “cute girl” series over the years.
TWEET: Footage from the Tokyo Trans March 2022.
TWEET: Pixiv has implemented a very broad restriction on selling 18+ art content that bans child exploitation and bestiality but also encompasses a number of fetish subgenres.
TWEET: Article link detailing sexual assault allegations against photojournalist Ryuichi Hirokawa.
At least now there’s a much higher likelihood that the source will be licensed too.
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