Last year, I opened up the blog for commissions: an offer to review anything. I’ve rarely written reviews, so this felt like a good way of motivating me into the practice. Sadly, a lot of frustrating things IRL took me out of my comfort zone for blogging for quite a while. I never want to publish anything I haven’t been able to focus on properly, especially if it’s been commissioned by a fan of the blog, so these pieces are coming out a lot later than intended. 2021 is a new year for UEM! though, and a new year for me. It’s high time we got back to talking about anime here.
With all that said, let’s get to it.
Continue reading Reviews: Hundred, Yuuki Yuuna, Upotte!!
Last year, The Japan Red Cross society sparked outrage by using Uzaki-chan in their promotional material; her big chest was deemed ‘inappropriate’ for the public eye. This month, another controvery has been stirred up around another anime girl in advertisement. In a collaboration with JA Nansun, a group that assists farmers in several areas of Shizuoka, Love Live’s Chika Takami appears as an ambassador for the group’s citrus fruit, Nishiura Mikan. While this attracted praise from Love Live! fans, it also sparked criticism from some Japanese women who, uninterested in the idol franchise, simply saw the way her skirt clung to her body and accused the poster of sexualizing women. Continue reading Fetishizing Modesty: Thoughts on the Love Live! Poster Controversy
Thanks to Netflix’s Castelvania and the Internet’s unrelenting desire to argue about everything, the ‘but is it anime’ controversy has been reignited in full force. A few months ago, Mother’s Basement attempted to cash in on the debate by proclaiming that “Avatar is an anime. F*** you. Fight me”. Now that one of his sponsors has begun to co-produce anime – a project for which the music video of Porter Robinson’s Shelter may have been a test-pilot – it’s important that we continue to think about how the West has defined anime, and how that definition is becoming problematic. Has it ever been productive to think of ‘anime’ as only what the Japanese make?
In all senses of form, style and subject matter, Castlevania has screamed ‘anime’ to everyone. It’s only the production credits that hold some stubborn voices back from accepting it into the ‘anime’ sphere. If this is anime, they ask, then how do we draw the line between it and cartoons?
We need to revisit ‘anime’, as a loanword, in the wider context of how definitions develop. Continue reading Defining ‘Anime’: A Linguistic Look
An anime about making anime and celebrating the industry wins multiple awards from the industry. Passing comments might be skeptical of how self-centered the anime business has become. But those who have watched Shirobako know well how deeply it deserves its accolades. It’s a coming-of-age story that abandons the typical high school setting, but retains the moe aesthetic for its femicentic main cast. Combining the realistic struggles of a workplace with the hyperreal glaze of cute girls and boundless enthusiasm, it’s got both reality and moe firmly in its heart, and comments often on how the two conflict and co-operate in various capacities.
The success of Shirobako has however attracted a lot of attention from critics seeking to downplay its value for women, affirm the lie of ‘anime is a boys club’ to fabricate outrage, and use the show as a platform for continuing the anti-moe sentiment permeating much of our Western community. Continue reading Moe, Maturity and Reading Like a Man: Beneath the Surface of Shirobako