Weekly Round-Up, 9-15 June 2021: Anime Outsourcing, BL Games in English, and History of Japan

By: Anime Feminist June 15, 20210 Comments
Tohru (Fruits Basket) embracing a sleeping, contented orange cat

AniFem Round-Up

How No More Heroes tackles otaku toxicity

Lucas DeRuyter spotlights the sad life of Travis Touchdown and the game’s satire of toxic masculinity in fandom.

Race, power dynamics, and the missed opportunities of Great Pretender

Beata examines how the globe-trotting heist series treats its characters of color, from successes to major fumbles.

2021 Pride Month Resources

Readings and resources on current issues facing the LGBTQIA+ community.

Beyond AniFem

Chelsea Schieder on Comfort Women denialism, the Japanese Right, the Asia-Pacific, and Coed Revolution (Time to Say Goodbye)

Podcast interview about the scholar’s work on modern right-wing movements in Japan and women’s involvement in the student protests of the 70s and 80s.

We talk more about Comfort Women denialism, the Japanese online right (netto uyoku ネット右翼), and the history and present state of Japanese studies and east Asia geopolitics. How did the U.S. encumber a reckoning with the Japanese empire? How are Comfort Women and the war in China (1937-1945) taught in Japan today? How do these issues reflect shifting power struggles between Japan, Korea, China, and the rest of Asia? 

We then talk about Chelsea’s recently released book Coed Revolution, focusing on the role of women students in Japan’s “new left” but also asking questions about the legacy of the “new left” and its place in the pivotal 1970s/80s transformation of politics and society, in Japan and around the world. 

Gender-free uniforms adopted at new junior high school in east Japan city (The Mainichi, Hashimoto Toshiaki)

The school is the fourth middle school in Chiba’s Tokatsu area to adopt this policy.

The boys’ uniforms consist of a blazer, pants and a tie. The girls’ uniforms comprise a blazer, skirt, pants, a tie and ribbon, and students can choose any combination such as pants and ribbon, or a skirt and a tie, regardless of gender when they purchase the uniforms.

The free choice of school uniforms is gradually spreading across the country in consideration of sexual minorities and other factors. A representative of the school facilities division of the city’s education board said, “There is consideration for LGBT and other sexual minorities, but that’s not the only reason. Some children prefer to wear pants rather than skirts to protect them from the cold in winter or to ride bicycles to school, and we have responded to the diverse needs of these children.”

What are Japanese experts’ opinions on consent for sex between an adult and child? (The Mainichi, Kanno Ran)

House of Representatives member Honda Hiranao stated it would be “absurd” for a 50-year-old to be arrested for having sex with a 14-year-old; the backlash to his statement has reopened conversations about raising Japan’s national age of consent (note: some of the quotes included in this piece might be triggering for CSA survivors).

Sakura Kamitani, a lawyer who has represented victims and a member of the review committee, explained, “There are so many cases where a child aged around 13 or 14 is suddenly pressured by an adult to engage in sexual activities, but because they were unable to say anything, it is deemed that there was no assault or threat, and thus the cases cannot be punished under the Penal Code. It is because of this reality that we have been considering raising the age limit. The main point of contention was what to do in the case of a pair of 13-year-olds or 14-year-olds.”

According to the report, it was pointed out that if the age was raised from the current 13, even equal romantic relationships between children of the same age group could be punished, but discussions were held in the direction of exempting such cases from punishment.

In short, based on the discussions of the Justice Ministry’s review committee, the argument that “not all sexual acts should be punished because even adults and children can have serious relationships” is unacceptable.

What Actually Is Anime Outsourcing? – The Historical Context And Current Reality Of Anime’s Life Support (Sakuga Blog, kViN)

A history of the anime industry’s practice of subcontracting episodes going back to the 60s.

What’s the takeaway from all of this, then? For starters, there’s the fact that anime outsourcing is neither new nor inherently a problem. Thoroughly positive examples, as well as benign neutral ones, have continued to exist to this day, but tend to be ignored because most viewers have stigmatized the practice to the point that they’ll never even consider that that one cool episode might have been subcontracted elsewhere. On the other hand, the worsening conditions have made the inherent problems stand out even more, as the collapsing schedules exacerbate the issues of remote production models. We’re in a situation where many outsourced episodes turn out very poorly, and yet it’s only with liberal outsourcing practices that the current level of output can be sustained at all.

The brunt of the blame for all this tends to go to studios overseas, even though most high responsibility tasks remain in Japan; if you see people vehemently throwing foreign workers under the bus, keep in mind that their motivation is likely not the quality of the work but something darker. Instead, I encourage you to direct the blame where it should usually be: to the higher-ups demanding an impossible number of anime a year, because they’re the ones who’ve ruined yet another practice; remember how 2nd key animation was invented to allow a certain ace action animator to participate in more scenes, before overproduction turned it into a means to rescue rushed layouts? Funny how the problems usually come from that same direction, huh.

Moonchime Studios to Release BL Game Tokyo Onmyoji in English (Blerdy Otome)

Plot and character blurbs for the 18+ visual novel set to come out at the end of this year.

Moonchime Studios is a visual novel game publisher specializing in joseimuke games. Through the Moonchime Localization brand we publish localized Japanese games to most regions of the world. While we partner with bigger companies to help them reach their full potential, indies are also part of our vision to give a voice to creators that usually don’t see their works published outside of Japan.

VIDEO: History professor discusses and critiques viral video “History of Japan.”

TWEET: Free ebook available of new text doing a queer reading of the Tale of Genji.

TWEET: JAST BLUE’s translation of cult classic fantasy BL game Lamento has been cancelled due to poor English sales of previous Nitro+Chiral games, but they are attempting to continue negotiation.

TWEET: Excepts from an editorial on gender inequality written by the editor-in-chief of The Japan Times in 1948.

TWEET: Class this Thursday, 6/17, on enacting antiracist pedagogy in Japanese Studies.

AniFem Community

In addition to the resources provided in this month’s resource post, we encourage you to read up on today’s catastrophic rollback of rights for the queer community in Hungary and continue spreading awareness if you’re part of the international community.

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