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This Week in Anime - Stars Align is Here and It's Hella Queer


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DuskyPredator
It...it's not like I post for you or anything!It...it's not like I post for you or anything!


Joined: 10 Mar 2009
Posts: 13729
Location: Brisbane, Australia
PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2019 11:40 am Reply with quote
The show is certainly one of the two tops of the season for me, and I am happy that others are enjoying it too, even if some of its stuff would have been better over long time. If anything, I am happily surprised that shows like this are getting made. It was my wish after O Maidens in Your Savage Season, that more anime like that could be made, tackling social issues and coming of age stories that can include things like LGBT stuff as a part, rather some other ways it could be sorta framed.

Super hope a trend builds of such great shows. At risk of sounding too sappy or arrogant, I think that they stand the best chance of possible social change if they get enough traction.

Also, really nice that the preview page for this article BBQ, it is such a happy scene.

@ Zunda-mochi
Thanks for the insight. Always so much better to get accounts of things in the setting (Japan) rather than relying on small snippets of view, and people who think they know
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rizuchan
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Joined: 11 Mar 2007
Posts: 853
Location: Kansas
PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2019 11:44 am Reply with quote
Alexis.Anagram wrote:
Maki's dad isn't a credible antagonist, he's a cartoon, and it's asking a lot for me to lean into these scenes where he's just like *dutch angled sinister cackling* and feel for Maki and that trauma he's encountering in those moments at the same time.


I'm glad I wasn't the only one who felt this way. In the episode reviews thread, everyone was giving so much credit to this show for actually depicting abuse, but Maki's dad just seemed ridiculous to me. I didn't want to say anything, because I've never been physically abused, so I didn't want to speak for anyone who might have been by saying I thought he seemed unrealistic in case someone really has gone through something like that.

I also was kind of upset about the way Toma was treated like a hero for standing up to Maki's dad. Like I said, I've never been physically abused, but I have experienced other kinds of abuse as a child... I was very happy when I had a friend acknowledge what I was going through, but if they had confronted my abuser like that, I would have been terrified about them making things worse.
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Alexis.Anagram



Joined: 26 Jan 2011
Posts: 258
Location: Mishopshno
PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2019 12:45 pm Reply with quote
rizuchan wrote:
I'm glad I wasn't the only one who felt this way. In the episode reviews thread, everyone was giving so much credit to this show for actually depicting abuse, but Maki's dad just seemed ridiculous to me. I didn't want to say anything, because I've never been physically abused, so I didn't want to speak for anyone who might have been by saying I thought he seemed unrealistic in case someone really has gone through something like that.

You're entitled to your response whether or not it aligns with others' based on their personal experiences. For me, I think this whole storyline would be more effective if Maki's dad had been largely left out of the show, and his abuse was framed through his retention of the memories, feelings, triggers, etc. which he has to confront. Centering his agency in working through the aftershocks would carry a lot more weight for me, rather than repeatedly victimizing him just to dramatize a sense of constant crisis.

rizuchan wrote:
I also was kind of upset about the way Toma was treated like a hero for standing up to Maki's dad. Like I said, I've never been physically abused, but I have experienced other kinds of abuse as a child... I was very happy when I had a friend acknowledge what I was going through, but if they had confronted my abuser like that, I would have been terrified about them making things worse.

That's also valid. Toma generally feels underdeveloped, so that scene just seemed it was reaching to add some definition to his relationship with Maki, but everything about it from the dad's behavior to Toma's confrontation of him is pitched at such a high register that none of it really lands emotionally. I probably would have felt the same as you in that situation, and some of that does get conveyed through Maki's initial fearful reaction, but the problem with the scene for this show is that its impact feels isolated: there hasn't been much in the way of follow through with Toma, or Maki, or the dynamic they share, and presumably it won't come back around until Maki's dad slouches back into the frame, which makes it seem disconnected from everything else the show is doing and hampers a sense of meaningful progression.
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DuskyPredator
It...it's not like I post for you or anything!It...it's not like I post for you or anything!


Joined: 10 Mar 2009
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Location: Brisbane, Australia
PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2019 8:57 pm Reply with quote
Alexis.Anagram wrote:
That's also valid. Toma generally feels underdeveloped, so that scene just seemed it was reaching to add some definition to his relationship with Maki, but everything about it from the dad's behavior to Toma's confrontation of him is pitched at such a high register that none of it really lands emotionally. I probably would have felt the same as you in that situation, and some of that does get conveyed through Maki's initial fearful reaction, but the problem with the scene for this show is that its impact feels isolated: there hasn't been much in the way of follow through with Toma, or Maki, or the dynamic they share, and presumably it won't come back around until Maki's dad slouches back into the frame, which makes it seem disconnected from everything else the show is doing and hampers a sense of meaningful progression.


Does it? I think it is pretty clear that Toma has some sort screw loose. He reacts to most negative circumstances by getting angry, his mother is afraid of him, his solution against Maki's dad was to threaten to murder him, like he already looked up that he could get off light. And during the barbecue we got some insight from Toma that he admits that he lacks a certain type of empathy that makes Maki such a helpful guy. He did not understand why it might be good for the other players to be a little bit easy on them during their new teams as to boost their confidence, and seemed confused over Mitsue joining them in places despite not really being a part of the team. I suspect Toma has some kind of personality disorder, and the reason he is so drawn to Maki is a part of how empathetic Maki is, being patient with Toma's hard to deal with side.

I in all honesty think the boys handled the dad situation really poorly, because they might have over extended what power they actually have, and it is going to bite them. The best they could have done was go to the police to fight with genuine evidence of abuse that would hopefully be able to keep him away. But they are dumb kids. My other worry is that I fear Toma may end up becoming jealous, that he sees Maki as his friend, almost like a belonging, and not like how friendly Maki is with others. Due to his personality disorder, I suspect Toma is not protecting Maki from abusive dad and story of insecure adopted boy, due to one might call normal empathy reasons, and there is a possibility that Toma might become twisted. It is why Toma's mum is afraid of him, even it still does not mean it is the best way, that makes him feel more like a monster.
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Heishi



Joined: 06 Mar 2016
Posts: 1060
PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2019 3:06 am Reply with quote
Zunda-mochi wrote:
#874695 wrote:
Sometimes you gotta ask youself...
How are japanese authors, that live in an ultra conservative society, capable of delivering good queer stories without feeling forced?

Meanwhile Americans just.... Try to stick to an agenda instead of telling good stories with those queer elements. I dont know man haha

Also I love this show, Im not a queer person and I really don't care a lot about that stuff, but I like it when some stories manage to add those elements in a satisfactory way


As a queer Japanese here, I have to LAUGH at your comment here, because it just reeks of a LOT of ignorance and just lack of insight and knowledge in general.

Ultra conservative? Not all of us are ultra conservative here, and there are plenty of us that hate this kind of mindset, especially me and the younger generations here.
Like, FYI we DID HAVE a good history of Japanese queer culture here but you western imperialists come in, tell US that us being queer is bad, and ever since then everyone here had to live in the closet until THIS CENTURY now. There is still homophobia and transphobia here, but at least we are slowly getting accepted, getting same-sex partnership in a growing number of prefectures, and weeding out those 'ultra conservatives and bigots' in our country as well as actually CALLING them out on it!
I still remember the time there were people who THOUGHT that Japan was accepting of us queers just because of BL portraying it as a non-issue, but when I told them no, there ARE people that hate us here in Japan, I got told I was some 'fake Japanese' because I didn't 'act like a typical Japanese.' ...Even though I am and live here!
And uh, in the past, Japanese entertainment, especially anime too, HAS made fun of us A LOT but again, nowadays THAT'S slowly changing.
Basically we HAVE had a queer culture, we have had it for a VERY long time here in Japan, but it was NOT as open and talked about until recently, and it's thanks to the internet.

What I have seen in the US regarding queer representation, is that most MAJOR entertainment companies just want to eat our queer cake but leave only VERY little crumbs for us in terms of any kind of humanized representation. In fact, it's just no surprise that either it's the executives and producers who call the shots to bait us, OR you just have a team of only straight writers in the production. Which is why I prefer reading a lot of independent works by actual queer artists and authors, as well a carefully picking out certain BL and GL manga (and finding out if they are written by a queer mangaka because I want to support them more really) that I can enjoy reading without getting that awful feeling of being some punching bag to some cis-straight author.
Which is why I enjoy watching this anime A LOT because FINALLY! Some good queer representation in Japan that doesn't treat us (as well as queer kids that are in the middle of exploring themselves too) as being abnormal!

My rant over, back to Stars Align and the subject of adoption that caught my eye:

As told by my mom when I asked (during watching a drama with a women OBSESSED with having a baby), was that in Japan, adoption is not considered or even taken seriously as an option to have a kid is because of the strong belief of genetic bloodlines and that a kid that is NOT related to you genetically is like...'inferior.' (Which, honestly, I think is a bunch of BS).
We have foster care and child care institutions, but apparently they aren't in good condition because I government here just doesn't care about them. As well as, it made me realize why the hell whenever I see the news here about why a kid always ends up dead in the end: it's because they ALWAYS end up BACK to the abusive parents rather then get taken away by them despite the evidence and situation presented to them, as well as due to the lack of protection for them (A good article about all this can be found here which is where I found out about this).

So seeing Rintaro's situation and stuff just feels like a breath of fresh air and great they actually show someone like him... Because almost the mindset in Japan about adoption is negative and LOT of Japanese media doesn't ever portray adopted kids or kids in child care institutions with sympathy at all.
Also, most of the mom's, as well as parenting in general portrayed in this show while negative, is sadly true in Japanese social situations in households as well as globally where it's ALWAYS 'pushed on' to the mother/women's JOB to be maintaining the house as well as the kids. Like honestly also, except for Maki's mom's trans male friend, who I think is more of a better dad to him, some of the fathers (unless they are not mentioned or don't exist) in this show are terrible too since either they just don't help with the child rearing, are abusive also, or let the mother run the show without telling her that it's NOT good for their son, is what I'm seeing in all this.


Well, I'm glad there are more liberal Japanese like you.

However, I would caution you about the ultra nationalistic right wing in Japan.
Anything critical of established Japanese society and culture is bound to stir some severe ire from the far right, to the point you might get deaths threats and such.
Bringing up subjects like WW 2, Hirohito's role in it, and Yasukuni is still a huge no no and the right wing will do its best to overtake any minority opinion.
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yuna49



Joined: 27 Aug 2008
Posts: 3188
PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2019 9:57 am Reply with quote
DuskyPredator wrote:
My other worry is that I fear Toma may end up becoming jealous, that he sees Maki as his friend, almost like a belonging, and not like how friendly Maki is with others.

I think the scene at the barbeque showed Toma's jealousy. He was not alone and sullen just because that's his personality. He was jealous, especially of the guy from the other team who seemed to make friends with Maki pretty quickly. He may also be jealous of Maki's more easy familiarity with others, but I think he wants to keep Maki to himself, too.
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Errinundra
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Joined: 14 Jun 2008
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Location: Melbourne, Oz
PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2019 4:36 pm Reply with quote
Posts removed. A reminder that this is a thread about Stars Align, not about ethnic legitimacy.
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