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a-homo asked: You're right, Western media is certainly no better with this kind of thing. I just know that I've seen a lot of these scenarios done in animes geared towards young females, and this really worries me. The last thing I want to see is a young girl thinking it would be romantic to be in this situation and be saved by their ideal guy :I

It  is concerning, but as I said, I don’t think I’m the one to address it other than warning for specific instances and explaining why they made me personally uncomfortable when they come up in discussion. Japanese feminists and activists are more than capable of addressing the issue with better understanding and context than I.

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a-homo asked: Have you noticed the many near rape experiences casually portrayed in anime? I remember watching an anime and this guy was about to force himself on this girl but his brother burst in and distracted him so the girl got away. It wasn't even like he tried to actively stop him. He just opened the door, stood there and said something and then the girl took the chance to get away. Then she ran to the guy by the door and turned to the other guy spouting some cliche "I won't lose to you!" speech.

(cont.) It was like she or the brother who interrupted them were even phased by it. This is rather upsetting because these kinds of scenarios are done so often and it’s like no one thinks twice that these male characters are forcing themselves on these girls.

Yeah, I’ve noticed. I don’t think it’s my place to critique anime as a whole though, just note and warn people when specific instances come up because I need to discuss stuff that triggers or bothers me and note it so others wont be triggered.

It’s not like near-rape experiences don’t tend to get casually or otherwise problematically portrayed in Western media too.There’s a zillion examples. I certainly don’t think we have any superiority regarding the issue, it just expresses itself in different ways.

If anyone critiques a  trend like this in anime as a medium, it should be a Japanese person, not a white girl. I’ll stick to noting trends in Western media.

For instance, DC Comics doesn’t seem to believe men can get raped. Also “rape-as-origin” is still very heavy. I can talk about that stuff all day.

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luna-whiskers:

Sailor Moon: Where to Begin

So you’re excited for the Sailor Moon reboot, but you haven’t watched the show since you were eight years old.  Or perhaps you have never—gasp!—had the pleasure of experiencing the pretty sailor suited soldiers.  You want to get into this thing before Sailor Moon Crystal comes out this summer, but it’s intimidating trying to break into a 20-year-old fandom.  Worry not, friends!  This primer is for you.

What is Sailor Moon?

Sailor Moon is a manga, an anime, a stage musical, and a live action show about a teenage magical girl who is the reincarnation of a moon princess.  It’s about friendship and love and fighting evil with magical jewelry.  

Did you say musical?

I most definitely said musical.

Where do I start? 

Anywhere you like!  But let’s begin with the original: 

* * * THE MANGA * * * 

Buy || Read Online

Written in 1992 by Naoko Takeuchi, the manga is considered the foundation on which all other versions, including the upcoming Sailor Moon Crystal, are based.  The current English-language edition, released by Kodansha Comics, consists of 14 volumes, and is widely available in bookstores.  

Wait!  I had some of the manga in the 90s, and it looked different, and the main character was named Bunny.

That version, released by Tokyopop, was based on the first edition of the Japanese manga.  Because it was released while the English dub of the anime was still on TV, characters were called by their English names for the sake of consistency.  The modern Kodansha version retained the original Japanese names. 

I went to the bookstore and they also had this thing called Sailor V.  What’s that about?

Sailor V is the prequel to the Sailor Moon manga.  You do not need to be familiar with it to understand Sailor Moon, but it is a good read and I recommend it.

* * * THE ORIGINAL ANIME * * * 

Buy || Download

At 200 episodes and three movies, the original Sailor Moon anime is likely the most iconic and well-known version.  While it has been confirmed that the new anime will not be a direct adaptation of the original one, it will almost definitely be taking cues from many of its most memorable aspects.

200 Episodes?  That’s way too much!

The anime is broken up into 5 seasons, with each season spanning its own story arc.  Season One is only 46 episodes long, and can be enjoyed on its own.  At this time, we do not know whether Sailor Moon Crystal will cover the events of the other four seasons.

What about the English dub?  That’s what I watched as a kid.

The English dub is its own entity, with different names and different personalities for many of the characters.  In addition, it only covered the first four seasons, and some scenes and episodes were skipped.  You can enjoy it on its own, but you will be missing out on a lot of content.

* * * MUSICALS AND LIVE ACTION * * * 

Watch Musicals || Watch Live Action

The musicals, called Seramyu, ran from 1993 to 2005 and again in 2013, with a constantly evolving storyline.  The recent 2013 musical, La Reconquista, ran as part of the 20th Anniversary celebrations.  

The live action series, called Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, is a 49-episode super sentai-style TV drama that aired in 2003.  It covers the events of the first season of the anime (or first story arc of the manga), with its own unique take on the story and characters.  While easy to pass over because of the cheesy CG animation and fight choreography, the live action is charming and well-written.  

Do I have to know any of this to enjoy Sailor Moon Crystal?

Probably not!  The new anime will be its own entity, starting from the beginning, not a continuation of existing canon.  But with so much great content out there to enjoy already, why not take advantage of it?  Sailor Moon is great in any incarnation!  

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emiliers:

hisanakagami:

hisanakagami:

fandomsandfeminism:

So here is the rough draft for my “Anime and Feminism 101” panel that might be happening at San Japan. 

A few notes:

  • This is obviously not a transcript, but just the ppt slides. I’ve timed myself going through them with the commentary I want to add, and it takes about 30 minutes to go through it.
  • It is subject to change between now and San Japan.

If you have any suggestions/corrections, PLEASE add them! 

Edit: Reorganized the slides to take up less space on dash.

I disagree with so much of this. I am getting fed up with Western audiences in general but especially with anime (since I am Japanese). This is culturally imperialist, white feminist drivel (but it’s not only white women that do this) and it reeks of hypocrisy - you can’t preach this kind of stuff when the West is also sexist. If you are not Japanese then you don’t have any right to decide which parts of our media are definitely sexist or feminist. I can’t believe you were trying to “educate” people on this topic at a god damn panel.

Hell, the Western market contributes to less than 1% of the anime industry and Westerners are probably one of the worst things for the industry. The majority of them practise piracy and don’t spend a cent yet continue to complain about the quality of anime, demand that studios produce xyz and even whine when their free fansubs aren’t released on express. I once saw some people on a Hourou Musuko post recommending that everyone use KissAnime instead of Crunchyroll because Crunchyroll didn’t have a large selection (since it was legal and was a pay-to-use service created to support anime producers)…just how spoiled are you people?

There is no such genre called “Girl Coming of Age” and the “Magical Girl” genre was a huge contributing factor to the popularisation of moe (fanservice through infantilsation). Funny how you have Madoka and Sora no Woto listed as “feminist series” when they are both moe shows aimed towards adult males. Many people were discussing how Madoka was pretentious lolicon but no one on tumblr thought about the social context until Urobuchi’s interview spread over to tumblr. Misty/Kasumi from Pokemon is still sexualised, she was often used for fanservice scenes (which may not have appeared in the English dubbed versions) and Pokemon’s primary demographic is young males. This kind of “innocent fanservice” is very common among kodomo anime but again, you won’t realise anything without being raised in the culture.

I’m also rolling my eyes pretty hard at how you want anime to subvert gender roles but also believe anime is feminist for presenting girliness as a strength. Japan is a very conservative society and girls being encouraged to be feminine through children’s TV is a way of keeping gender conformity. That’s not a feminist message. There is so much pressure in Japanese society to follow these gender roles. A tomboy is seen as lacking in submissiveness and feminine charm and will often be told in her life that she will be unworthy of marriage and will never be a “real woman”. 

The standard for a “girly girl” is much higher in Japan and girls that don’t reach it are viewed as “manly” since masculinity is the default. This was largely a result of Western imperialists threatening Japanese men (wow what a surprise) after the Meiji era. These Japanese men decided that they would have to become tougher and that they had to stop the “feminization” of their culture by instilling stricter roles onto the Japanese population.

This is reflected in video games such as Persona 4 where Naoto pretended to be a boy because she wasn’t as feminine as society told her she should have been. She wanted to be a detective but to do that she would have to avoid being seen as a weak girl and to gain respect by posing as man. All you tumblr anime feminists went off to interpret her as a trans man and continued to piss on anyone that tried to tell you otherwise. Chihiro from Dangan Ronpa is another example of the problems with these strict gender roles. Don’t project your Western values onto Japanese society.

Often times tomboy may not be considered masculine from a Western perspective, and in fact very feminine instead. Many Japanese feminists are arguing for an abolition of gender roles on children’s TV, they don’t want presenting either masculinity or femininity as a strength. Japan is a traditionalist, homogeneous society with a deep focus on collectivism. If boys and girls were encouraged to focus on their own traits rather than doing just what their gender expected them then that would be pretty damn feminist. 

You are applying Western politics onto Japanese media while practising cultural imperialism and you don’t give a fuck how actual Japanese people feel about it, you just want to boost your ego as you post long-ass essays about anime onto tumblr to prove how much of a “feminist” you are. Why did I never see anyone call out Hayao Miyazaki on his bullshit in “The Wind Rises”? He was glorifying the designer of the Zero’s Engine, Jiro Horikoshi. It was a fighter aircraft that was built with Chinese and Korean slave labour, then used to massacre these peoples. Nah, you were too busy crying over his disdain for otaku and wondering whether Kill La Kill was a metaphor for puberty.

Here’s the post with the powerpoint presentation for those that are seeing the version without it (I don’t know why tumblr user morubito removed it when they reblogged it).

I want to clear up some points:

  • Do not send fandomsandfeminism any hate mail but I do want you to all to be more critical of these tumblr “feminists” and the weird essays they write about cultures that aren’t their own
  • I never said trans or queer headcanons were bad but a lot of people believe they are actually canon and shut down anyone that disagrees by calling them homophobic or transphobic. Chihiro and Naoto (and now Robin Newman too), are not trans. The gender system in Japan is much more rigid and these “gender-blender” themes (this is actually a genre btw) are critiques of strict gender roles. If you think “gender noncomformity = transgender” then you are probably sexist, and kinda racist too in this context. I personally think Naoto and Chihiro are terrible characters to heacanon as transgender ugh.. Especially Naoto in the original Japanese version of the game.
  • I can’t believe anti-social justice and anti-feminists are reblogging this. This post is not for you, I am not your ally. I want you to stand 3984398439482309 feet away from me. I believe social justice is great and I am a feminist. I also happen to be a queer (bisexual) Japanese trans woman (born intersex but assigned male at birth).
  • You are free to interpret anime how you wish but performing a “feminist analysis” over it? No, don’t do that. Feminism is very political and it is deeply rooted in Western thought. Also Japanese feminism exists and I recommend you to read up on that.
  • Femininity isn’t revolutionary and weaponized femininity is bullshit. Men all over the world want women to be feminine, it keeps them in their place. This is more pronounced in places like Japan. Women should be allowed to make their own choices but must also recognise that the choices they make don’t just happen in a vacuum.
  • I would really like to hear other Japanese people to contribute to these discussions more. East Asians such as the Chinese and Koreans due to our shared histories and cultural ties with Japan should also be prioritised, along with nations that were affected by Japanese imperialism (which includes China and Korea again), as well as the voices of people of colour in general. Hearing white people voices all over anime is a nightmare.

OK, so I’ve been meaning to find some coherent way to reply to this, but then I realized that I’m never going to write anything if I keep hedging. And since OP asked for more contribution from East Asians, here I am.

Speaking of which, since I believe any discussion about Important Things should start from the disclosure of the speaker’s standpoint… I am a Chinese/Taiwanese-American girl. I was born in America, but I grew up in Taiwan, and I still live in Taiwan during the summer season. All my (blood-related) relatives are either Chinese or Taiwanese.

Having said that, I would also like to point out that, while yes the East Asian countries all had close cultural ties etc. etc. etc., that by no means indicates that my experience as Taiwanese is comparable to the experience of Japanese folks. I am still looking at this issue from a different cultural lens.

So, without further ado…

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In light of the stuff I’m seeing on my dash lately, I’m reminded of my own mistakes and all, so I’d like the reiterate: now when I review anime and manga, I’m always going to preface with “this is from a western context, and while it’s from my point of view as a feminist, I am merely talking about what elements of each series are feminist-friendly, empowering, inspiring or subversive from my western context and what might be triggering, alienating and problematic, so people can easier find stuff to enjoy.”

And obviously when I’m analyzing characters, it’s the same. This is from my context, I have no idea how it might be interpreted differently by its primary audience nor do I have much idea of the intent on the author- except in some cases where it’s fairly obviously stated (ie Hiromu Arakawa stating she included working women because she wanted to reflect her own experience, that she obviously deliberately turned around some shonen tropes regarding women even if I can’t say for sure the full extent, Naoko Takeuchi stating flatly that she meant for Sailor Moon to inspire girls and to send the message “girls are strong”)

I guess how i sort of feel is similar to what tumblr user emiiliers said more authoritatively and eloquently- Western fandom does exist, and discussions should exist within it so 1. gross things don’t happen/get excused by said fandmo and 2. we realized what sort of representation lacking in our culture that maybe this non-Western media is giving us unintentionally (ie we lack heroes who don’t shame femininity, which is why magical girls are so eye-opening to some Western women) and other things… but we need to make sure to keep in mind this is only our context and acknowledge it was created in a different one.  We’re not the primary audience, and so we must make sure not to drive out or talk over the primary audience. Basically read what emiliers said i can’t say it right.

ANYWAY

I’m meaning to edit the fma feminist analysis posts to clarify that better and add a disclaimer. Maybe I should be more thorough and do that with all the other post series.

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noirsam asked: Im suprised you did not mentioned Akuma No Riddle in your tv tropes synopsis of spring 2014 anime.

A class at a girls’ boarding school consists solely of a regular girl and assassins targeting her. One of the assassins starts to develop feelings for her. Not a comedy.

there it is

Tags: noirsam anime
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im reading tv tropes synopsis of spring 2014 anime and…

A boy moves into a hall filled with weird perverts and a girl he likes.

that’s called high school, kid

A highschool boy fights against the penguin empire with the help of a giant robot.

yeah fuck the penguin empire it’s about time someone did something about that

An action romance set in a world where Japan remained secluded by driving off foreigners with ancient giant robots.

 the most awesome possible way to combat potential imperialism

In a fantasy world, a young man is now retired after a war has ended. He ends up following a sorceress that carries a coffin in hopes of finding a new meaning to his life.

as you do

A yuri 4koma about a catlike girl and a doglike girl.

what

A boy decides to become friends with a girl who can only retain memories for a week.

eternal sunshine of the anime mind

At a magic high school, a boy is at the bottom of his class and his sister is at the top

Well of course, sisters are better at magic

Tags: anime
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Okay since I’m getting all thinky I think I’ll just„, make a tiny post to give some updates on the developments with this blog, specific this review

Since the recent to-do with “Kill la kill” I’ve been rethinking how I approach things so you might have noticed I changed my little introduction paragraph and even this post a tad to be more focused on the feminist friendly aspect. It’s still called the feminist review bc it’s me, as a feminist, reviewing stuff from that perspective and any other name would be too confusing.

I came from the belief that everything has problematic elements and ppl should call whatever they think does well and inspires them as a feminist “feminist”  (as long as they acknowledge the problematic parts ofc) bc seriously follow ur dreams! But I think I need to be a little less black-and-white in how I approach things w/ non-Western media or I could be prescribing my own cultural perception onto that, so I’ll be a tad more cautious about that here.

The review is to talk about what I find inspiring and positive and progressive about each piece of media wrt to gender and other things and warn for problematic elements- to better help people find lady-friendly anime and manga.

Obviously the reviews transformed a lot- I at first did categories i.e. separate sections on each aspect- race ,gender, size and weight) but that proved to be too restricting, especially since those things often intersected of course.

Then I did a freehand review and did a star rating and synopsis for each section at the end, copying feministdisney shamelessly, so people could deal with a non structured review by checking the bottom if there was a certain category and so I was sure not to miss anything. But many found the ratings problematic, esp since I used five stars to simply mean “wide range of representation with no objectivly horrifying issues” yet it could be taken to mean “perfect”- so I ditched the stars and realized,And it’s really not my place to “rate” how well it does with race etc, especially with media from a country whose cultural context I’m not a part of).

So I realized duh! I’ll just do the nonstructred review and synopsis at the end without stars that just objectively states what level of representation it has and how that is dealt with.

(For example from a recent review: 

Women and Gender: Sci-fi coming of age narrative where women are central, active and important with a heavy emphasis on complex female relationships and women helping each other.

LGBTQ: No representation

Race and Culture: No races and cultures outside Japan shown, period. I can’t even remember if we ever even learned if the cyber-glasses were popular on a global scale or just in Japan.)

So the road has had bumps, but I’m learning hopefully! And I hope I continue to learn and this blog continues to be a good resource for people! 

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The Great Feminist Manga and Anime Review: Dennou Coil

These reviews are to examine the feminist-friendly elements of each series as well as the problematic elements. 

In other words,this is simply meant to be a guide to recommend anime feminists like me might enjoy and also give warning of any elements that might disturb or affect someone. I am also aware I am limited by my white, Western feminist context in these reviews and thus, can’t really give anything other than the perspective of a Western feminist fan on various themes. I can only say what these series mean to me and what I take away from them as an outsider who is not the primary audience. If I get something wrong or if you are aware something has an entirely different connotation in Japanese culture that I am not privy to, I would love to hear about it so please feel free to tell me about it.

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Dennou Coil (Commonly translated as either Cyber Coil or Coil: A Circle of Childrencould probably be best described as a 26 episode sci-fi coming-of-age story focused around two sixth-grade girls and their mysterious connection. This alone would make it a good pick for this review, but it also boasts a nicely varied and interesting cast of ladies as the majority of the main characters, including an older woman, has some empowering themes that include women overcoming exploitation and that which is holding them back as well as dealing with mental illness and it has relatively few problematic/alienating elements.

In addition to this, it’s just an extremely high quality series overall. The animation is great, taking clear inspiration from Studio Ghibli in it’s style and generally being very fluid and interesting to watch. The soundtrack is simply beautiful, particularly the violin-centered piece that plays during tragic or tense moments, the world building is thorough and complex and just wow. Your mileage may vary on how deeply it resonates with you, but objectively, I can call this anime a masterpiece, just because of the incredible production values and clear amount of effort and thought put into everything.

If the show has any flaws, I’d say it’s that sometimes it’s hard to keep up with the technical terms and that the first half of the story is somewhat slow. But stick around if you find that to be the case, because the second half really kicks into high gear, with constant twists and turns. Also, some of the revelations/explanations of character motivation and happenings come pretty late in the game sometimes in the form of exposition (once, egregiously, it was “as you know, Bob” exposition) but it’s true being confused does keep you hooked and watching to find out what the heck is going on. But these flaws are pretty minor compared to most shows, and they don’t detract much from this being an incredibly high quality and well done anime!

Sadly the series is not licensed except for an dramatically overpriced low quality ipad thing, so you can find a torrent here.

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The basic premise of Dennou Coil- It’s 2026, and cyber-glasses are incredibly popular among children. These glasses allow you to see a virtual world overlaid with the real world wherever you go (also you can email, call each other, and bring up music pretty instantly). The perks of this include virtual pets- the protagonist has a virtual dog- and other virtual objects, like currency. When you put on the virtual glasses, you also get a “cyberbody” overlaid with your real one. You can damage someone’s virtual body and they won’t be physically harmed, but the person has to pay to restore their virtual self. The main way to damage virtual objects and bodies is using a beam you shoot out of your forehead, or stuff similar to ofuda (paper talismans, they can also be used to track stuff). You can also conjure shields and things.

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ok i need to mention that the soundtrack to this goddamn show is amazing

(Source: unexpectedheroes)