Tag: Manga

New Media Economy, Supporting Lesbian Works & Crowdfunding Classic Yuri Anime

cross-posted from Voices on the Square

UPDATE: Now 166 backers, $10,140 funded of $13,000; 78% funded, 22% to go with 9 days remaining.

What in the Sam Hill is “Yuri Anime”, and what in the Sam Hill does it have to do with supporting Lesbian works?

Erica Friedman at Yuricon starts out an explanation of the term “yuri” by writing:

The term Yuri (η™Ύεˆ) is used to refer to stories that contain romantic or sexual relationships between girls or women or, sometimes more generally, stories with a lesbian character.

Yuri is not a dominant niche in Japanese manga (ie, serialized graphic novels), but it does hold a place in the market, and sometimes this shows up in anime that are based on either a yuri manga, or a manga with a yuri side-stream.

Now, manga and anime are commercial media, and so Sturgeon’s Law applies: 90% of everything is crud. Indeed, we might say that what makes somebody a “fan” of a genre is an appreciation of not just the 10% of the genre that is good, but an appreciation of some of the 90% that is crud.

Every genre has its history. From what I understand, part of the history of yuri is the “tragic lesbian”. And the “Tragic Lesbian” features strongly in “Oniisama E”, aka Dear Brother, originally created as a manga by the manga-ka (manga artists) Riyoka Ikeda in 1975, and made into an anime by Tezuka Productions in 1991.

Now, I’m not a media reviewer, and you can read Okazu non-review for a non-review or skim the Wikipedia Oniisama_e… page if you need an extended introduction to this melodrama.

However, if you reside in North America, you can, instead, stream it starting with Episode One: The Magnificant One as Nanako Misonoo, a first year student, starts her life in High School and encounters the “stars” of the school, “Hana no Sainte-Juste (Rei), Kaoru-no-kimi (Kaoru), and Miya-sama (Fukiko)” (according to the Wikipedia machine ~ I want to avoid charges of plagiarizing from Wikipedia).

Now, to see that free stream, you’ll have to sign up for a membership at the AnimeSols.com site,

That is not a bootleg stream: that is a legitimate stream under permission of the rights owner.

But, how can a more than twenty-year-old anime series that has never had an English license be available with a legitimate, free streaming?

Well, that is a story about what the AnimeSols.com site is, and what its trying to accomplish.

Tokyo Youth Healthy Development Ordinance Designed With An Eye Toward Political Censorship

Cross-posted to CandyBullets.

– In any manga, anime, or pictures (most likely including games).

– That feature sexual acts or sexual like acts that would be illegal in real life OR any sexual acts or sexual like acts or implication of a sexual relationship between close relatives OR those who can not marry if they were real AND

– Where the depiction / representation of the relationship is presented in an unjustifiably glorified or overly emphasized manner.

=> Is considered harmful to a minor’s mental health regarding sexuality, and therefore the Tokyo Metropolitan Government shall have the power to unilaterally restrict the material. where the sexual or sexual like act is considered to be excessively disrupting of social order.

That is the criteria for censorship for the scary new Tokyo Youth Healthy Development Ordinance. This is a list of what marriages are currently illegal in Japan today;

1) Marrying to one’s self or anyone of the same sex.

2) Marrying an immediate blood relative. (Children and parent, grandchild and grandmother, etc.)

3) Marriage between a relative by affinity within the third degree. (Siblings, uncle and nephew, etc.)

4) Marriage between two relatives formed by marriage in a parental relationship. (A husband and his wife’s mother or his mother-in-law.) This holds true even after divorce or if the spouse has died.

5) Marriage between an adopted child or adopted child’s spouse with his or her adopting parents, their immediate siblings, their blood relatives, etc. (An adopted son’s divorced wife and the father of one of the adopting parents, etc.) This holds true even after divorce or if the adoption is nullified.

As you can see problems begin to arise quickly. To start with the most glaring problem, the bill gives power to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to censor material that “glorifies” same-sex relationships, this should be an immediate warning bell. The bills stated purpose (“… promoting the healthy development of people under the age of 18 by restricting their access to material that is carefully considered harmful by the Government.) was a warning bell (i.e. terrifying) from the start. The bill slipped in under the radar however do in large part to its author and champion, the Tokyo Metropolitan Governor, an ex-tv personality famous for his snake oil charm, Shintaro Ishihara assured worries with claims he intended to merely go after so-called rorikon (lolicon) and shotacon titles, given that the bill didn’t even aim to censor them entirely per se but merely keep them from minors the bill appeared benign. It wasn’t. The first problems that began to appear were with the claims of “Restriction of Access”, this was a convenient story cooked up by Ishihara’s teem that did a lot to stave off criticism, the idea was that titles “censored” by the government would reappear under an “Adults Only” label, but this was immediately proven to be a sort of impossible catch-22; in the very first batch of manga the government announced it was censoring, Masahiro Itosugi, the mangaka of Aki-Sora (one of the titles being censored), announced the manga was going out of print because it didn’t qualify for the adult label… and it wasn’t allowed to be published without the adult label. Check mate. Furthermore, in Japan, if a manga series is relegated to the adult section, it will destroy the sales. This means publishers will no longer try to confront controversial or hot button issues, because even if they are one of the lucky ones and they aren’t removed from the market entirely they’ll end up deep in the red by being regulated to to the adult section under the absurdly vague parameters of this law.

Stumbling toward the future in niche media markets

Burning the Midnight Oil for Breaking the Silicon Cage

A Chinese firm exporting knockoffs that threaten to undermine the sales of an American industry. It seems like a common enough story. Who I feel the most sympathy for are the poor workers toiling long hours creating the originals that are being pirated, mostly at low wages, and add the high cost of a Tokyo apartment and a surprising number still live with their pare….

Huh? Tokyo? American industry? Ah, yes, the small segment of American publishing that translates and publishes the work of Japanese mangaka. While the superstars of the industry in Japan are quite well paid, as in most creative arts, the majority live on far more modest incomes and beginners working as assistants work at quite miserable rates of pay.

And while it is a niche industry, we find a fascinating interface of old media and new media, copyright and bootleg crowdsource, not quite there yet legitimate Internet distribution versus … well, the massive hosts in China.

This story is part of the story of the creation of the next economy: the dematerialization of information promising substantial material gains, but the collapse of old ways of doing things threatening the livelihoods of vulnerable creative artists.

Can the Hero Model Save the Publishing Industry?

Burning the Midnight Oil for Breaking the Silicon Cage

Some time ago, I asked the question, What Can Newspaper Reporting Learn from Yuricon?. Now I turn the question on its head to ask what Yuricon can learn from Yuricon.

This is set up by Erica Friedman (@Yuricon on Twitter), posing a hypothetical at the Yuricon blog … would they pay upfront:

  • $50 for a 5 issue subscription to a 200 page per issue manga (graphic novel)
  • $60 for 4 issues of a 300 page per issue manga
  • $75 for 3 issues of a 450 page per issue manga

For several days, until I put ChrisCook and Erica’s “5 things Niche Companies Do Right”, I was in this “modern meaning of the term ‘subscription'” mode of thinking. But then I made a wisecrack, and it got me thinking of an older meaning of the term “subscription”, and what might be termed a “Hero Model of Publishing”.