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HOLY SHIT PEOPLE, IT'S NOT BAD ENOUGH WE'RE GETTING AN UTENA EXHIBITION RIGHT NOW

THEY. ARE. MAKING. A. NEW. MUSICAL. NEXT. YEAR. START LOSING YOUR SHIT RIGHT NOW

#26 | Back to Top06-10-2013 08:57:35 AM

Yasha
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Re: Utena and racism?

yuzukelly wrote:

I also think it's because Saito seems to like that look. I've read a couple of her other mangas, you can even just google image her work and see Japanese females with tanned males (I read one where one was whisked away by an Arabian prince, I believe) and it's not just one series, it's a pattern I see in her work.  Wasn't she mostly in charge for their looks?  I bet she just wanted to make them special, and since her heroines end up with the special, handsome darker skinned man, she just used that for Anthy and Akio emot-smile

From what little I've read of Saito's manga, I think you're definitely on target. It's showed up in all of her work that I've seen.


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#27 | Back to Top07-07-2013 08:19:15 PM

SexingTouga24/7/365
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Re: Utena and racism?

BlackBeforeRed wrote:

I didn't remember exactly how early we were shown evidence of her not being mindless (been a while since I watched the SC arc) I couldn't remember if her "Saionji sempai" line was in ep 1 or 2 emot-confused  emot-redface  That line sent shivers down my spine even the first time I saw it, what a perfect way to show a glimpse of her true nature. It kind of reminds me of something I saw on tumblr the other day. Someone basically posted a rant about how Anthy was just a mindless doll and the people who appreciated her character or told him to look deeper into her character were all sick fucks who got off on that emot-rolleyes We're given canon evidence that there's a whole lot more to her than that, yet people still project their own issues on to her regardless of what is shown in universe emot-tongue :

I don't know when I figured out that Anthy, on her own, had power and agency; especially in the first arc. It is very, slyly hinted at and, if you watch the whole thing and then re-watching the first arc, it is easier to see.  In the final few arcs her power/agency is more shown vs hinted at; and her mindless doll facade slips.   

On the subject of race in Utena, it never occurred to me, their being Indian, outside of these folks look a bit different/exotic; it had any bearing on the plot. I guess I was blinded by the rampant abuse and sexism.


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#28 | Back to Top07-13-2013 10:12:15 PM

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Re: Utena and racism?

SexingTouga24/7/365 wrote:

I guess I was blinded by the rampant abuse and sexism.

Is it bad that I didn't think of these things as blinding until you mentioned it? emot-rofl


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#29 | Back to Top08-01-2013 09:32:59 PM

zevrem
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Re: Utena and racism?

For anyone who knows about vintage Gainax, you need look no further than Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water. More specifically, the show's namesake.

http://anime-zone.ru/inc/goods_wallpapers/nadia_the_secret_of_blue_water/nadia_the_secret_of_blue_water3.jpg

Visually, the resemblance is obvious. Purple hair, brown skin, weird red, white, and black outfit. It would explain why Anthy's clothes are the way they are; there's nothing to suggest that the colors or the design are in any way thematically significant, which leaves this inspiration as the most convenient explanation.

Then there's the whole "key to the power of a fallen civilization" thing.


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#30 | Back to Top08-02-2013 07:34:08 AM

cherrybonbon
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Re: Utena and racism?

IDK but just fyi when it comes to race its never just as simple as "oh that's just what was chosen for them to look like"

obviously there's a reason why brown/indian people are "exotic" and "different" and paler fairer people are not

often brown characters are highly sexualized, villanous characters

whereas protagonists are usually fairer, especially in western tv and films

there are layers of reasons why Anthy and Akio would be brown, and the rest fair

it reminds me of anthy's post suicidal confessions, where she thinks of herself as lowly, stained, dirty.  a lot of brown women have internalized the idea that they are not desirable.  skin bleaching in india and jamaica is a side effect of this hate.

being white is considered beautiful, hence the heroic utena is white

Last edited by cherrybonbon (08-02-2013 07:38:47 AM)

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#31 | Back to Top08-02-2013 03:03:55 PM

Frau Eva
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Re: Utena and racism?

I always thought, drawing into the "exoticness" of Akio and Anthy's characters--that Ikuhara may have been a bit inspired by the discussion of the mark of Cain from Demian by Herman Hesse(since we know from the Chick Speech that Ikuhara's a fan). The mark of Cain from the Bible was placed on Cain in order that --while he walked the earth for all eternity--others would know he was not to be trusted. This has unfortunately often been extrapolated by racists to be an overall skintone and that dark-skinned people are the children of Cain, since many believed it wouldn't be a traditional "mark" you'd assume to see on someone's face. However, he's a basic run-down of the discussion of the Mark of Cain from Demian. Here's SparkNote's run-down:

Demian then brought up the subject of the day's lecture—the story of Cain and Abel. Demian then offers Sinclair a way of reading the Cain and Abel story that differs from what he learned in class. Demian argues that Cain's mark was something more of an air about him—he was a man of whom others were in awe. People, unable to deal appropriately with men of true worth, incorrectly interpreted this sign as indicating that Cain was in some way evil. Scared of Cain and upset because they were scared, people slandered him since it was their only available revenge. The notion that Cain was marked as evil, then, is to be dismissed as a fabrication of the weak. Sinclair, fascinated by Demian's deviant way of thinking, continued to ponder the matter long after Demian dropped him at his house...

The specifics of Demian's reading are also vital. He argues that the mark of Cain, rather than being a source of embarrassment, actually singles Cain out as being superior to others. This foreshadows the discussion of the mark that Demian and his mother see in Sinclair, the mark that ties him to them. Interestingly, Demian's remark that the mark of Cain was a personality trait and his suggestion that Cain might have been more intelligent presents Cain in very much the same terms in which Sinclair presents Demian at the beginning of the chapter. This further emphasizes the significance of the mark of Cain as something worn by the central figures of this work.

The Mark of Cain--given the behavior of the characters in the book that all have the "Mark of Cain" seems to be questioning the "natural" order of things and knowing that things that are often taken for granted are not eternal truths. Which, it can certainly be argued that Akio and Anthy have a much better understanding of just how big of a lie most eternal truths are, even if they do at the same time not know what else to do but follow along with the story. But the original interpretation of the Mark of Cain does also have that juicy fall from grace and being punished by walking the Earth eternally...which certainly applies to these two. Ikuhara may have not been able to decide how he wanted to portray such a "mark" and just went with a plausible combination of everything.

That being said, someone a while back put up the scans of the manga Ikuhara most likely got Anthy's coloration from....and shit, it is dead on for very many reasons. I think its plausible for both to be true, since in my personal experience, writing something can often be like rolling a big Katamari ball that picks up more and more interpretations and ideas over time. Sometimes you consider making something one way for superficial reasons, you go about your life still thinking, and hear something that justifies using it even more and makes your ultimate decision easier. And god knows Ikuhara will go out of his way to give the most mundane troll answer he can. I think they're both true, in their own way. One doesn't have to negate the other.


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#32 | Back to Top08-02-2013 03:13:18 PM

gorgeousshutin
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Re: Utena and racism?

East Indians, especially East Indian Young Men, are commonly considered exotically beautiful by Japanese young women; this is because their deep set eyes, thin noses, chiseled profiles, and defined figures are seldom seen in native Japanese.  Plus the fact that they're from a different race/culture make them mysterious.  There's a bit of a stereotype there that young East Indians are alien + from ancient culture + beautiful, which I believe works for what Ikuhara intends for Double A.   Thus why Akio is hotness personified, and that Anthy is also considered attractive even when she still got the chunky updo and glasses.  Plus the color is used as visual clue to show "Mamiya" likely not being Tokiko's brother.  There have been a number of East Indian-looking Bishonens in Shoujo anime/manga, most notable example being Shion from Please Save My Earth.

Last edited by gorgeousshutin (08-02-2013 03:17:19 PM)


(PSOH/SKU) Revolutionary Human Leon (Updated to Part 3 as of Sep 26, 2017) / (SKU/MPD) Seinen Kakumei Utena (Updated to Part 43 as of Sep 08, 2017) / (NGE) The End of Hedgehog_s Dilemma (Updated to Part II Chapter 6 as of May 17, 2016) / (BananaFish) Medusa (Updated to Chapter 3 as of Mar 1, 2016)
http://archiveofourown.org/users/gorgeousshutin/works or https://www.fanfiction.net/u/3978886/

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#33 | Back to Top08-05-2013 04:17:34 PM

Yasha
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Re: Utena and racism?

cherrybonbon wrote:

IDK but just fyi when it comes to race its never just as simple as "oh that's just what was chosen for them to look like"

obviously there's a reason why brown/indian people are "exotic" and "different" and paler fairer people are not

often brown characters are highly sexualized, villanous characters

whereas protagonists are usually fairer, especially in western tv and films

there are layers of reasons why Anthy and Akio would be brown, and the rest fair

it reminds me of anthy's post suicidal confessions, where she thinks of herself as lowly, stained, dirty.  a lot of brown women have internalized the idea that they are not desirable.  skin bleaching in india and jamaica is a side effect of this hate.

being white is considered beautiful, hence the heroic utena is white

So what you're saying is the show is inherently racist, as is every other show with darker-skinned characters? Not gonna lie, that's a pretty broad application of racism when the color of Anthy or Akio's skin is never mentioned directly, and would have no impact whatsoever on their characters if it was changed to any other color in the visible spectrum. Most of what you're saying seems pretty eye-of-the-beholder; I can see people interpreting it in the ways that you've mentioned, but I can also see them interpreting it in other ways based on whatever cultural background they come from.

Or maybe not. I don't know. Does anyone think that if their skin was white it would have made a difference to anything that went on in the show or the characters of Anthy and Akio? We know my vote here, but this is an interesting aspect to think about and I'd like to hear some other points of view.


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#34 | Back to Top08-05-2013 04:25:45 PM

zevrem
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Re: Utena and racism?

What cherrybonbon seems to be saying is that all the characters are in their stereotypical roles. The white people are altruistic/privileged, and the brown people are hypersexualized and overambitious. But of course the same is true of the white people. emot-biggrin


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#35 | Back to Top08-05-2013 04:44:50 PM

Yasha
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Re: Utena and racism?

I guess? To be honest, that doesn't ring any bells with me, which is why I was saying those are probably culturally-dependent stereotypes that say more about the watcher than the show.

Also, this video is terrible, but it is racist and so at least a little on topic. I think we can all agree at least that if there is racism in SKU, it's not this type. Although they may have something in common...


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#36 | Back to Top08-05-2013 05:24:35 PM

zevrem
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Re: Utena and racism?

Anything that has multiple races in it will have people crying "racism," regardless of what the individual people are like.


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#37 | Back to Top08-05-2013 05:46:37 PM

Kita-Ysabell
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Re: Utena and racism?

Yasha wrote:

Although they may have something in common...

Lemme guess... they were both made on acid, and feature adults screwing 17-year-olds?

But seriously, was that even a serious video, or was it meant as a parody?

And cherrybonbon, if you're going to say "there's a lot of layers to this," it might help the discussion if you would care to unpack those layers.

I think my take on it is that, while viewing SKU in the light of Western racial issues can sometimes produce an interesting result- like the mention of Anthy's suicidal confession- the show doesn't have a whole lot to say about race, at least in part because while the show makes use of many Western tropes, it isn't ultimately a Western show.  So while I won't say that the discussion itself isn't valuable in it's own right, I will say that the show isn't really a part of that discussion.

Mind you, all the other characters are Japanese, including the "heroic," pale-skinned Utena, and would, in the United States, be considered "people of color."  Which isn't to say that Japan doesn't get up to some pretty racist nonsense, but... this is not the same thing as Western racial issues.


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#38 | Back to Top08-05-2013 06:52:00 PM

Yasha
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Re: Utena and racism?

Kita-Ysabell wrote:

But seriously, was that even a serious video, or was it meant as a parody?

It was actually "funny", as in the band thought they were being funny but they suffer from a case of terminal stupidity so that worked out badly for them. The internet's frothing rage over this video is the part that's actually funny (meaning no disrespect to the people who have been discriminated against; I'm not laughing at the rage over the video, the part that's hilarious is seeing people get crucified for stupidity).

This pretty much sums up my feelings on the video itself.

Kita-Ysabell wrote:

And cherrybonbon, if you're going to say "there's a lot of layers to this," it might help the discussion if you would care to unpack those layers.

I think my take on it is that, while viewing SKU in the light of Western racial issues can sometimes produce an interesting result- like the mention of Anthy's suicidal confession- the show doesn't have a whole lot to say about race, at least in part because while the show makes use of many Western tropes, it isn't ultimately a Western show.  So while I won't say that the discussion itself isn't valuable in it's own right, I will say that the show isn't really a part of that discussion.

Mind you, all the other characters are Japanese, including the "heroic," pale-skinned Utena, and would, in the United States, be considered "people of color."  Which isn't to say that Japan doesn't get up to some pretty racist nonsense, but... this is not the same thing as Western racial issues.

I wish I'd seen either of those shows, so I'd know what about them was racist. Either way though you've got a very good point. If we're talking about inherent racism in the show itself, we should be looking at it from the perspective of Japanese stereotypes. Too bad I don't know any... I think gorgeousshutin probably knows more about this stuff.


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#39 | Back to Top08-06-2013 11:20:07 AM

cherrybonbon
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Re: Utena and racism?

Kita-Ysabell wrote:

Yasha wrote:

Although they may have something in common...

Lemme guess... they were both made on acid, and feature adults screwing 17-year-olds?

But seriously, was that even a serious video, or was it meant as a parody?

And cherrybonbon, if you're going to say "there's a lot of layers to this," it might help the discussion if you would care to unpack those layers.

I think my take on it is that, while viewing SKU in the light of Western racial issues can sometimes produce an interesting result- like the mention of Anthy's suicidal confession- the show doesn't have a whole lot to say about race, at least in part because while the show makes use of many Western tropes, it isn't ultimately a Western show.  So while I won't say that the discussion itself isn't valuable in it's own right, I will say that the show isn't really a part of that discussion.

Mind you, all the other characters are Japanese, including the "heroic," pale-skinned Utena, and would, in the United States, be considered "people of color."  Which isn't to say that Japan doesn't get up to some pretty racist nonsense, but... this is not the same thing as Western racial issues.

Where did ideas of light/dark come from?  Colonialism and white imperialism.

The characters are Japanese but do not have Japanese attributes, like most anime.  If the characters had smallers eyes and flatter noses (the art style definitely goes for a European look with high, pointed noses and large blue/green eyes - hell, this anime is based upon Rose of Versailles, roses, tea, etc) then maybe you'd have a point.  But just because they speak Japanese does not mean their appearance is Japanese.  Just because Anthy and Akio speak Japanese does not take away from the fact they are explicitly made to look South Asian, bindi and all.

It's not a Western perspective, it's a global perspective.  The only people who think of darker skin as beautiful as a whole are white people who tan.  The rest of the world, people of color, are struggling to come to terms with their skin in such a white washed world, and suffer the consequences of white supremacy, both residual from the past, and today.

What exactly is unique in the Japanese perspective of race?  That fairer is better?  With the BB cream makeup to lighten your skin, the pale faced, rounded eyed models on billboards?  Please.

Last edited by cherrybonbon (08-06-2013 01:35:03 PM)

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#40 | Back to Top08-06-2013 03:51:40 PM

crystalwren
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Re: Utena and racism?

http://ic.pics.livejournal.com/crystalwren_fic/10718119/13829/13829_original.gif

Last edited by crystalwren (08-06-2013 03:55:21 PM)

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#41 | Back to Top08-06-2013 06:27:03 PM

Kita-Ysabell
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Re: Utena and racism?

I would make a snarky comment about the PC-ness of this giff, but I wouldn't want to escalate the situation.

cherrybonbon, I hope I'm mistaking your tone, but I feel that it tends towards unwarranted sarcasm.  I understand that race and racism is an emotionally charged subject, but I hope that we can keep the tone of this discussion respectful.  That said, I'm going to give this one more shot, and if it continues to escalate, I'll step out.  I would like to clarify that my intent is not to deny or diminish issues of racial or ethnic inequality, or to deny the role that media plays in these issues.  Rather, my intent is to distinguish between the different contexts in which SKU may be viewed and and the context in which it was created, and to evaluate the possibility of its racial or ethnic content within these different contexts.

As far as the characters being or not being Japanese, (the concept of European imperialism's success or failure in Japan would be a super interesting topic, if someone wants to look into it) yes, there are some manga and anime artists that have a more ethnically-Japanese-looking art style.  But I think the reason that SKU's art style isn't like that is twofold- first, that seems to be a more recent development in anime and manga, and second, I suspect that SKU's character designs were meant to be stylistic and expressive.  The eyes and brows are bigger not as a mark of race or ethnicity (keep in mind that the darker-skinned characters have the same designs, just palate-swapped) but because it draws attention to the character's facial affect, allowing us to interpret their emotions.

And are they culturally Japanese?  Allow me to exercise my extensive knowledge of Japanese culture, as drawn almost exclusively from anime and manga!  (i.e: someone with greater knowledge, please come in and do a better job of this)  Well, they wear school uniforms, which is common in Japan, and also the UK, but maybe not so much any more, and... Latin America?  Also I think Africa.  But not in the US.  Ohtori is an academy that combines many levels of education, which is common in Japan, but nowhere else that I know of.

The architecture of the school is Neo-Classical, not traditional Japanese, but seeing how Japan is a post-industrial country, expecting 100% of buildings in Japan to be traditional Japanese architecture would just be silly.  They drink lots of tea, which broadly stereotypical knowledge tells me is common in east-Asian countries and Britain, and what we see of it looks more like black tea than green tea, but this tea might be exceptional in that it is actually all rose-themed.  And let us not forget that it is Anthy and Akio, our least-likely-to-be-Japanese characters, who most often supply the possibly-exceptional tea.

Also, there is kendo.  I know for a fact that kendo is practiced outside of Japan, but it did originate there, and the way that it is presented suggests that it lends the characters that practice it a kind of traditional-ness, which would be more likely if the story did indeed take place in Japan.  And I think there's an explanation on this site somewhere about how Saionji is a likely practitioner of Shinto, which exists almost exclusively in Japan aside from a couple of shrines in the US, which could literally be counted on one hand.  And while they are sometimes omitted, (one could, if one wished, go over the script with a fine-toothed comb, identify the situations in which this is true, and speculate as to why) the characters sometimes enact small rituals- greeting, parting, bowing, etc.- that are distinctly Japanese.

So I believe that the evidence suggests that either a) the characters are ethnically and culturally Japanese, and the show takes place in Japan, or b) the characters are ethnically and culturally abstract and the show takes place in a Japanese-normative void.  That second suggestion is totally legit, by the way.  Also possibly Britain is involved.

Lastly, if you're going to say that ideas that ideas of skin color come from the European conquest of non-European countries, but that an attitude that presumes this is not inherently tied to European-influenced cultures... I'm sorry, but that isn't a cohesive argument.  Japan has it's own history, and it's own issues.  Not being a scholar of these issues, I feel unable to speak to them very much, aside from saying that to state that they are identical to racial issues as seen in Western countries is ethnocentric, and I cannot say that I agree.


Yasha wrote:

I wish I'd seen either of those shows, so I'd know what about them was racist.

Yeah, the OMGWTFBBQ-RACISM doesn't show up for a while, and... I don't know whether it's worse in the anime or manga format.  Kuroshitsuji has the Chinese and Indian characters who... well, the Indian characters are uncomfortably over-the-top.  And the Chinese characters seem almost to draw on good 'ole Victorian racism, just to up the WTF factor.  And Eyeshield-21... yeah.  The American characters show up, and they bring an African-American team member, who grew up in the slums, is "genetically" good at sports, and whose spirit animal is a black panther.  It only gets worse from there.

Oh, and I forgot all the anime characters that look like they walked out of a minstrel show.  emot-gonk

Granted, this might be a case of missing context, but... it's still pretty questionable.

Last edited by Kita-Ysabell (08-06-2013 06:36:25 PM)


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#42 | Back to Top08-06-2013 06:37:44 PM

Yasha
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Re: Utena and racism?

I'd also like to add that there's a shot or two of Tokyo Tower in SKU. We did definitively identify it at one point, and I'll hunt up the screencap of it and edit it in when I find it.


So, yeah, it's in Japan. emot-redface

Kita-Ysabell wrote:

Yasha wrote:

I wish I'd seen either of those shows, so I'd know what about them was racist.

Yeah, the OMGWTFBBQ-RACISM doesn't show up for a while, and... I don't know whether it's worse in the anime or manga format.  Kuroshitsuji has the Chinese and Indian characters who... well, the Indian characters are uncomfortably over-the-top.  And the Chinese characters seem almost to draw on good 'ole Victorian racism, just to up the WTF factor.  And Eyeshield-21... yeah.  The American characters show up, and they bring an African-American team member, who grew up in the slums, is "genetically" good at sports, and whose spirit animal is a black panther.  It only gets worse from there.

Oh, and I forgot all the anime characters that look like they walked out of a minstrel show.  emot-gonk

Granted, this might be a case of missing context, but... it's still pretty questionable.

Oh man, that's terrible. In comparison to these shows, SKU really has very little to offer in terms of racism. emot-gonk


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#43 | Back to Top08-06-2013 06:47:15 PM

Yasha
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Re: Utena and racism?

D-d-double posting! But this deserves its own post.

Raven Nightshade wrote:

Giovanna wrote:

THAT SAID...lookie!

http://i133.photobucket.com/albums/q60/mrsakioohtori/PDVD_460.jpg

It says Tokyo.

Victory is mine!

I flipped the picture around and apparently the address is 8-1-something Ogikubo 1-chome, Suginami ward, Tokyo prefecture.

It's strange though...Suginami-ku is extra-super-landlocked, so I guess the water we see in the pan-out is actually a river.

Razara wrote:

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/TokyoTower.jpg
That's Tokyo Tower in the background, isn't it?

Link here.


Thank you, Razara and Raven Nightshade!


Edit: And more discussion of it here! We even found some of the character's residences (almost). So I think we can conclude that the characters are actually in Japan, and would be subject to Japanese prejudices rather than North American prejudices. Also, assuming that North American or European prejudices are the only relevant ones is sort of.... yeah. That's pretty inherently culturally chauvinist in itself.

Last edited by Yasha (08-06-2013 06:51:36 PM)


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#44 | Back to Top08-06-2013 08:09:34 PM

cherrybonbon
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Posts: 10

Re: Utena and racism?

Lol.  The Japanese are just as racist towards foreigners/other ethnicities as North America/Europe.  Just because anime fans view Japan through rose colored lenses and can't find any fault in its society doesn't erase the xenophobia and racism that is prevalent and perpetuated.

What's even more insulting than what I'm being accused of (Eurocentric interpretations of SKU) is how the defense of race in SKU on this board, dismissing any notion of racism or racial theory, really mimics the reality of white privilege and turning a blind eye to what people of color see and interpret through their experiences.

Maybe Japanese don't see or relate to certain situations Akio and Anthy are involved in in a certain way because they have never had to live in a world that sees them as different or outsiders because of their skin.  (The argument that skin color is never addressed in SKU is irrelevant - microaggressions over race often do not address it directly, but its still felt in other ways)  Maybe that is the same with a lot of people watching SKU.  There really aren't too many dark skinned anime characters, really.  So why should they?  Especially when its very pronounced and specified to two people (three for Mamiya but umm yea) in a sea of pale adolescents in Ohtori.

So when someone says, hey, Anthy's a slave, and now she's liberated.  Anthy's a goddess to Akio, but a punching bag to the pale girls.  That Akio and Anthy are tied so deeply, against a pale faced arena.  Us versus them.  How Akio is expected to be a prince, perfect and giving, or else he's seen as a threat and deserving of people's anger and blame.  (Maybe if Travyon Martin acted perfect and princely, he'd still be alive, right?)

Ohhhh, it's just brother and sister.  Ohhhhh, it's cuz she's a rose bride.   Ohhhhh, illusions and metaphors.

Okay.

I just find it interesting that people can write a whole essay on a statue referenced in an episode, but they just can't find it in themselves to comment on skin color besides "lol thats just saito, she just loves the brownies!!".  Enlighten me?

Last edited by cherrybonbon (08-06-2013 08:28:35 PM)

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#45 | Back to Top08-06-2013 09:11:00 PM

Yasha
Bitch Queen
From: Edmonton, AB, Canada
Registered: 10-15-2006
Posts: 6018
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Re: Utena and racism?

Guess what? If you can't discuss this without the superiority and disdain, I'll suspend you! Your snark isn't making you any friends here, and my rule of thumb is if you're making the discussion worse by joining it, you're better off outside of it.

Now, to address your points:

Lol.  The Japanese are just as racist towards foreigners/other ethnicities as North America/Europe.  Just because anime fans view Japan through rose colored lenses and can't find any fault in its society doesn't erase the xenophobia and racism that is prevalent and perpetuated.

We never said Japan was great, we in fact said that Japan had its own set of prejudices and it would probably be better to judge a Japanese show set in Japan by Japanese prejudices.

What's even more insulting than what I'm being accused of (Eurocentric interpretations of SKU) is how the defense of race in SKU on this board, dismissing any notion of racism or racial theory, really mimics the reality of white privilege and turning a blind eye to what people of color see and interpret through their experiences.

You are asserting that we should judge the show by an arbitrary set of preconceptions that you have about race. You are also asserting that these prejudices are European/North American but that they're the only applicable prejudices worldwide. So I think my point stands pretty well.

Maybe Japanese don't see or relate to certain situations Akio and Anthy are involved in in a certain way because they have never had to live in a world that sees them as different or outsiders because of their skin.  (The argument that skin color is never addressed in SKU is irrelevant - microaggressions over race often do not address it directly, but its still felt in other ways)  Maybe that is the same with a lot of people watching SKU.  There really aren't too many dark skinned anime characters, really.  So why should they?  Especially when its very pronounced and specified to two people (three for Mamiya but umm yea) in a sea of pale adolescents in Ohtori.

So when someone says, hey, Anthy's a slave, and now she's liberated.  Anthy's a goddess to Akio, but a punching bag to the pale girls.  That Akio and Anthy are tied so deeply, against a pale faced arena.  Us versus them.  How Akio is expected to be a prince, perfect and giving, or else he's seen as a threat and deserving of people's anger and blame.  (Maybe if Travyon Martin acted perfect and princely, he'd still be alive, right?)

Ohhhh, it's just brother and sister.  Ohhhhh, it's cuz she's a rose bride.   Ohhhhh, illusions and metaphors.

Okay.

I just find it interesting that people can write a whole essay on a statue referenced in an episode, but they just can't find it in themselves to comment on skin color besides "lol thats just saito, she just loves the brownies!!".  Enlighten me?

You're still saying that if the characters were white, none of that would have happened? Am I understanding that clearly? Because basically what I'm reading is that racist actions against Anthy and Akio are the basis of the story itself and their skin color made the whole show possible-- that if they were white, the show wouldn't have happened.

When Chiho Saito tends to put dark-skinned characters in pretty much wherever she needs a sexy character, I very much doubt this is the case, but if you want you're quite free to believe that.


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#46 | Back to Top08-06-2013 09:51:44 PM

gorgeousshutin
Bare Footman
Registered: 04-11-2012
Posts: 1312
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Re: Utena and racism?

cherrybonbon wrote:

What's even more insulting than what I'm being accused of (Eurocentric interpretations of SKU) is how the defense of race in SKU on this board, dismissing any notion of racism or racial theory, really mimics the reality of white privilege and turning a blind eye to what people of color see and interpret through their experiences.

If one wants to find more reasons behind the Be Papas making Anthy Indian, then this could also make for a valid (if unproven) possibility.

The key factor driving gender inequality (Note: in India) is the preference for boys. This is because boys are deemed to be more useful than girls. Boys are given the exclusive rights to inherit the family name and properties and they are viewed as additional status for their family. Not only that, they are also believed to have a higher economic utility as they can provide additional labor in agriculture. Another factor is that of religious practices, which can only be performed by males for their parents' afterlife. All these factors make sons more attractive. Moreover, expensive dowry of daughters further discourages parents from having daughters.[9][10] Thus, a combination of factors has shaped the imbalanced view of sexes.


(PSOH/SKU) Revolutionary Human Leon (Updated to Part 3 as of Sep 26, 2017) / (SKU/MPD) Seinen Kakumei Utena (Updated to Part 43 as of Sep 08, 2017) / (NGE) The End of Hedgehog_s Dilemma (Updated to Part II Chapter 6 as of May 17, 2016) / (BananaFish) Medusa (Updated to Chapter 3 as of Mar 1, 2016)
http://archiveofourown.org/users/gorgeousshutin/works or https://www.fanfiction.net/u/3978886/

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#47 | Back to Top08-06-2013 10:20:49 PM

cherrybonbon
Banned
Registered: 07-27-2013
Posts: 10

Re: Utena and racism?

Yasha wrote:

You're still saying that if the characters were white, none of that would have happened? Am I understanding that clearly? Because basically what I'm reading is that racist actions against Anthy and Akio are the basis of the story itself and their skin color made the whole show possible-- that if they were white, the show wouldn't have happened.

When Chiho Saito tends to put dark-skinned characters in pretty much wherever she needs a sexy character, I very much doubt this is the case, but if you want you're quite free to believe that.

How am I typing that is "superiority and disdain"?  I don't have any ill will to anyone, I'm just typing out my thoughts (please post specifically what I did to merit a ban threaten).  Now, if you don't LIKE those thoughts, that's more of your own problem, not mine.  And the fact you're threatening me with a ban already has me thinking this conversation is making you uncomfortable.  It should.  Race problems are extremely uncomfortable, and discussing them when most don't give them a second thought should invoke some sort of reaction.  Anyway,

Because of the way the story is set up, if Anthy and Akio were white, everything would still be as it was, however,

What we are addressing is the OP's friend's reaction.  Seeing Anthy, a girl of color, being treated in such a way by white characters, is much more tinged with meaning than had she been white.  That's not something you can take away from the audience.  That's not something you can explain away, if that is how they feel.  Because they are bringing THEIR experiences with race INTO an anime that neither confirms nor denies racial tensions outright. 

I just disagree with everyone dismissing the OP's friend's very pronounced distaste as if they know better / have better understanding / are superior as you say.  Because that reaction is not isolated at all.  Introduce SKU to people unaware of anime as a whole and you will see similar reactions.

Hell, there's already been people on youtube commenting on how Anthy gets slapped around, lol.

You just can't erase the race equation from the anime because race is still so very weaved into our own heads as people and as viewers.  And as long as it continues to interfere with power structures, inequality, and oppression in our society, YES, we will look at Anthy and Akio with those feelings in mind.

Last edited by cherrybonbon (08-06-2013 10:36:26 PM)

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#48 | Back to Top08-07-2013 12:48:04 AM

Yasha
Bitch Queen
From: Edmonton, AB, Canada
Registered: 10-15-2006
Posts: 6018
Website

Re: Utena and racism?

cherrybonbon wrote:

How am I typing that is "superiority and disdain"?  I don't have any ill will to anyone, I'm just typing out my thoughts (please post specifically what I did to merit a ban threaten).

For evidence, please see almost the entirety of your last post. "Lol" "Ohhhh, it's cuz she's a Rose Bride." "I just find it interesting that people can write a whole essay on a statue referenced in an episode, but they just can't find it in themselves to comment on skin color besides "lol thats just saito, she just loves the brownies!!".  Enlighten me?"

If you don't realize that that reeks of condescension and ridicule directed at the other posters in the thread, consider yourself "enlightened."

As to your arguments, honestly, I didn't read the last bunch. Why would I bother if you can't carry on a conversation without insulting the people you're conversing with?


Edited to remove unnecessary aggression. Too much meat in my diet, I think! emot-keke

Edit 2: I just caught this part:

cherrybonbon wrote:

And the fact you're threatening me with a ban already has me thinking this conversation is making you uncomfortable.

Actually, you know, it has a lot more to do with your disrespectful attitude. There might be points worth discussing, as the two below me have shown, but I'm not willing to wade through your attitude to get to them. If you can post respectfully, do so-- it's in the rules. Did you read them?

Last edited by Yasha (08-07-2013 07:14:27 PM)


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#49 | Back to Top08-07-2013 08:03:50 AM

Decrescent Daytripper
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Registered: 04-09-2007
Posts: 2788

Re: Utena and racism?

cherrybonbon wrote:

Seeing Anthy, a girl of color, being treated in such a way by white characters, is much more tinged with meaning than had she been white.

As far as my memory goes, there aren't any white people in SKU. There are some characters who are represented with lighter skin, but those are the default characters. Anthy and Akio are dark to separate them, to distance them from the indigenous/normative cast.

Is there a racial and cultural motivation to that? Does it affect the audience in particular ways? Quite possibly and most likely. But no one avoids being hurt in SKU, and rarely does any character avoid being hurt or disenfranchised repeatedly, and both Akio and Anthy are presented as something attractive and enduring for the majority of the series, with their wickedness only coming out late and having, to my memory, no racial or ethnic qualifiers.

But, as Yasha said, differing opinions or examples are welcome, while dismissive language or an insulting tone are not.

cherrybonbon wrote:

[i]f Anthy and Akio were white...

This, I think, comes to the core. They aren't, but neither is anyone else. No one, in a Japanese context, is going to look at a drawing of Wakaba or a scene or Shiori and Touga, and immediately think "they must be white people." They're understood to be Japanese, until shown to be other, the same way in a white-dominant society, "white" is the default assumption we have for a drawing that doesn't spell out its otherness.

While there are issues with lighter and darker skin, foreigners and locals, in Japanese culture, those are separate from a white/nonwhite dichotomy, and conflating even the prizing of lighter skin with "whiteness" is dangerous and misleading.


My Brain is the Wakaba and Shiori Funtime Hour. With limited commercial interruption.

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#50 | Back to Top08-07-2013 10:35:08 AM

gorgeousshutin
Bare Footman
Registered: 04-11-2012
Posts: 1312
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Re: Utena and racism?

Decrescent Daytripper wrote:

and conflating even the prizing of lighter skin with "whiteness" is dangerous and misleading.

This I can agree with.  Lighter skin has been equated with delicate fairness (as in baby-like, unmarred, untoughened by the sun) since ancient times in Japan and China.  It has much more to do with a feminine beauty-ideal than Caucasian-ness, thus why it's mostly the girls who crave having pale skin, while boys tend to tan themselves (except those who aim to appear as androgynous bishonens).

Last edited by gorgeousshutin (08-07-2013 11:15:27 AM)


(PSOH/SKU) Revolutionary Human Leon (Updated to Part 3 as of Sep 26, 2017) / (SKU/MPD) Seinen Kakumei Utena (Updated to Part 43 as of Sep 08, 2017) / (NGE) The End of Hedgehog_s Dilemma (Updated to Part II Chapter 6 as of May 17, 2016) / (BananaFish) Medusa (Updated to Chapter 3 as of Mar 1, 2016)
http://archiveofourown.org/users/gorgeousshutin/works or https://www.fanfiction.net/u/3978886/

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