Since the topic for this week is gender reversals, I want to talk about a specific form of gender reversal or genderbending that has become well known through the popular Fate franchise: the genderbending of real life historical or mythological figures. I think this form of genderbending in Fate is interesting not only because it is most likely the most popular piece of media coming out of Japan that uses this format, but also because of how the purpose, spirit or effort of this genderbending has changed over time as the franchise has gained popularity and shifted to other media formats. Continue reading
I first heard of Your Name when I studying abroad last year in Tokyo from my friends and family. It was the most popular movie at that time and everyone was obsessed. Months later, I finally sat down to watch it, and was mesmerized. The film was visually stunning, had heart-felt music, showcased a lovely storyline of reversal/body swapping with relatable characters. The film shows both the border and grey areas between masculinity and femininity, and modern versus traditional.
Warning: Contains Spoilers!!!
Kimi no na wa, or Your Name, is a highly successful animated Japanese movie. Within the movie, based on a novel, elements of Japanese culture, daily life, and gender are prominent. These can be seen throughout the film as it follows Mitsuha and Taki, both high school students living different lives. Mitsuha lives in a small, conservative town in a family temple while Taki attends school in Tokyo, living with his father and has a part-time job. Although they are both Japanese high school students, their lives can be viewed as opposites. Your Name tackles the differences between boy vs girl and modern vs traditional through having these two characters switch bodies and experience an opposite life. Continue reading
There are three things that can confidently say that I am scared of. The first is AI, second is the deep sea, and the third is writing this blog post. So, to calm my nerves I have decided to make this an opinion piece about the comments, questions, and concerns I have about robots and AI in our developing world. I am sorry to all of you who want to read some well informed and smart academic discussion on developing technology. This will probably be the opposite of that. So here goes nothing, strap in kids its gonna be an anxious ride. Continue reading
This week we looked into the theme of gender identity and sexuality, more specifically LGBT representation in manga and anime. I enjoyed reading both Kazumi Nagaike’s article, “The Sexual and Textual Politics of Japanese Lesbian Comics: Reading Romantic and Erotic Yuri Narratives”, which discussed Yuri manga, otherwise known as female-female (or lesbian) relationships, as well as the article “Wandering Son and Gender Identity” by Paul Jackson, which focused on the manga and subsequent anime Wandering Son, a story about about transgender gender identity: a boy who wants to be a girl, and a girl who wants to be a boy. I found this article particularly interesting, and I found it useful to read a portion of the actual Wandering Son manga before watching an episode of the anime in class. It was interesting to note the similarities and differences between the manga and the anime, and I found it to be an overall beautiful and well-put-together episode that depicted a very real and sincere representation of the struggle that many people go through while discovering who they are as a person, and in exploring their gender identity. The class discussion after this anime was very heartfelt, and it was nice to hear everyone’s comments about the importance of Wandering Son: that it was one of the few representations of transgender people that was both positive and educational and didn’t make fun of the characters. Continue reading
I found this article to be exceptionally interesting, as the erasure of LGBT characters such as Neptune and Uranus has, as both a fan of the original anime and a queer woman, bothered me for years. As someone who grew up watching Sailor Moon, it wasn’t until revisiting the series many years later, this time in the original Japanese, that I realized the odd relationship between “cousins”, Michiru and Haruka (or Amara and Michelle depending on the adaptation), was originally intended to be presented as a romantic relationship between lesbians. This isn’t the only instance in which LGBT characters are erased from the english version of the show, as gay couple Kunzite and Zoisite were presented as heterosexual, genderfluid villain Fisheye was presented as strictly female, and an entire season of the show was omitted for the fact that it centered around the genderfluidity and presentation of the Sailor Starlights, a group of warriors that identify as both male and female. Continue reading
Even though India is a conservative society when it comes to gender equality and age-old prejudices exist against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and trans genders also called the LGBT group, there is a slow change taking place. I was pleasantly surprised to read in an article written by an Indian doctor in a psychiatry journal that argues: Continue reading
Loveless (anime based on the ongoing manga series by Yun Kouga, a dojinshi turned manga writer) tells the story of 12 year old Ritsuka Aoyagi, a high school student who after the death of his older brother, Seimei, undergoes a form of amnesia in which he is almost entirely reborn as a new person. As his mother no longer sees him as the “real” Ritsuka, this leads to parental abuse, and subsequently, psychological issues. One day, he meets the mysterious 20-year-old Soubi Agatsuma, a friend of Seimei’s. This story takes place in a fantasy-esque world in which some people are born as fighting units. The general population is unaware of this fact, but these pairs (also known as spell casters and sacrifices) are apparently made before birth. Ritsuka only finds out about this new world one week before Seimei dies in which he reveals his true name “Beloved” to him. Ritsuka does not know what this means, but after meeting Soubi, Ritsuka is thrown into a battle with him and Soubi partnered up (Soubi as the spell caster and Ritsuka as the sacrifice). However, as Soubi and Seimei were meant to be a fighting unit (their true names are both “Beloved” and Ritsuka’s true name is discovered to be “Loveless” in the first battle), Soubi’s fighting with Ritsuka is seen as “disgusting” and “unnatural,” especially because it is said that when one’s sacrifice dies, the spell caster should also die. The pervasive themes within this series are memory, loss, trauma, and what love really is. Continue reading
This weeks viewing, South Park’s “Tweek x Craig”, brought about an interesting question to myself. Where do ideas originate? And how do those ideas affect those outside of the originator. In this episode of South Park we are confronted with a dilema that emerges for the characters Tweek x Craig; though they are not in a relationship, imagery presenting them in a relationship is viewed by their piers. This idea has now been released to a variety of people and given the attention this idea received it is at the forefront of many of their piers (as well as their towns) perception of these individuals. This shift in perception of Tweek and Craig by so many of the people they interact with daily affects their own perception of their universe, and ultimately their view of each other. By the end of the episode Tweek x Craig’s relationship really isn’t their own relationship, it becomes bigger than them and a focal point for many people throughout South Park. So for the good of the larger community as a whole Tweek x Craig are forced to accept and perform an idea that is foreign to their own perception. Continue reading
That is the question. The imagined fantasies of a fujoshi encompasses that idea in which they imagine two males getting together. However, in contrast with their fantasy, in reality, the two males in question are in fact, not gay at all. In most cases, if not, all cases, most fujoshi tend to ship a straight male with another straight male. Why is that the case? Why not ship a gay male with another gay male? Isn’t it basically the same thing, just the sexuality of the male is different? First and foremost, what is shipping? I think that it was said earlier but in terms of the actual definition, shipping is basically when someone, doesn’t have to be a fujoshi or fudanshi (male counterpart of fujoshi-male who fantasizes male-male relationships), believes that two characters should be together in the romantic context. While there are a lot shippers in the realm of otaku culture, there are also some diehard shippers in which they believe that their ship is absolute and there is no ground for debate. This can also be said for fujoshi. I am inclined to believe even more so. Continue reading