My sister-in-law and I turned to each other mouths wide silently screaming while literally raising our hands to the heavens when Candis Cayne turned around and introduced herself as Ms. Hudson, having known prior that she would be playing a trans character in the episode.
But there is that sidelong way of mention the character was trans, isn’t there? I’ve thought about this.
Ultimately I believe the comments in the episode that expresses Ms. Hudson as trans is done to establish that the character is trans. Without anyone stating or implying at some point “this is a trans woman” the audience would not know and if the audience is not told then the trans representation isn’t there - because although Candis Cayne is a trans woman that does not mean she can only play trans characters as her being a trans woman is very possibly unknown to the audience which is completely fine because her being trans is irrelevant to her being an actor.
In a crafted piece of film media if you want something to be understood you can either explain it visually or verbally but it must be explained to be understood by those engaging with it. If it wasn’t intended by the writers that Ms. Hudson be a trans woman then it wouldn’t be explained.
The tricky issue with establishing a trans character is how said character is positioned to be known as trans to the audience.
In real life a friend introducing a trans person as trans to another person is an asshole move. Joan Watson being the character that says the comment that expresses Ms. Hudson to be trans, having never met her before, I thought an eloquent solution to a difficult goal; particularly as that was the end of it. Nothing was drawn out, nothing was made into a joke, what needed to be explained was without a fuss and most importantly without becoming the defining characteristic of Ms. Hudson.
Ms Hudson being a trans woman wasn’t important to her story in the episode but those writing the story wanted it to be understood that Ms. Hudson is a trans woman.
But here is the bit that is best:
While Watson explains to the audience early on that Ms. Hudson is a trans woman; Ms. Hudson later explains to Watson, and the audience, that she knew how to build a fire due to having been in the Boy Scouts. Ms. Hudson was written to share what she wanted with whom she wanted.
I enjoy that a well known literary character has been adapted into a trans woman - I enjoy much more that the trans character has been written to express themselves on their own terms.
There are people who believe they have so much potential, that by the time their standard of success doesn’t come around, it becomes someone elses fault. These people are generally pretty lazy despite being kinda smart. They’re also really bitter, and everything is someone elses fault.
Displacing whiteness introducing
the risky world of human subjects
peppercorn erotics of saintly-
whore ideals. mummy-daddy issue
issuers love their guilt guidance plentiful dishcloth
servants-fictitious, all the same we
crack bones and our jokes
get on the ground
and scrub stains. cindered childlike
drawings of headless singing rodents on a wall
intimate words in motion, toward the
making of a human bomb
(cantos de vida y esperandza!)
Swiftviewing screen traffic: the popular
multiplex cinemas, of collective
abdications of social
traumas, markets of salt and sand pouring bleached
If you’re into Sailor Moon it is possible none of this is new information - but I thought that Makoto’s school uniform being of the Sukeban style was common knowledge and the amount of discussion and reblogs that post received honestly shocked me, so I figure what harm can be done by elaborating on other basic cultural facts within Sailor Moon huh? <3
The outer scouts, more-so than the inner scouts, have a direct tie to Japanese mythology alongside European mythology due to their Talisman weapons; it is not mere aesthetic reasons that Sailor Uranus wields the Space Sword, Sailor Pluto the Garnet Orb, and Sailor Neptune the Deep Aqua Mirror. The Three Sacred Treasures of Japan (Sanshu no Jingi) are the sword Kusanagi, the jewel Yasakani no Magatama, and the mirror Yata no Kagami.
If we break down the kanji of the Japanese names for the planets much is explained. Roughly the kanji for Uranus (Tenosei) is “Sky King Star”; Neptune (Kaiosei) is “Ocean King Star”; Saturn (Dosei) is “Soil Star”; and Pluto (Meiousei) is “Dead King Star”.
Many people who focus on the European aspects of the Sailor Senshi’s powers note that creator Naoko Takeuchi got Pluto and Saturn powers “mixed up” as Saturn (Cronus) in mythology is widely thought of as the personification of time and Pluto (Hades) is death. In this case Mrs. Takeuchi let the the Japanese names for the planets lead her choice in assigning these two Senshi’s powers.
Within Saturn’s (Dosei) kanji is “soil”, which in fact does relate back to Cronus who was also the deity of blight and sowing. Two familiar personifications were born from the iconography of Saturn and Cronus: Father Time (Chronos) and the Grim Reaper (from the scythes that Cronus and Saturn held). For the most part in classical mythology, Cronus and Saturn - not Hades and Pluto! - were said to have held scythes. Sailor Saturn wields her Silence Glaive weapon, a large scythe, and is feared by the other Senshi as the solider of ruin and birth.
As for Sailor Pluto she is explicitly stated to be the daughter of Cronus within the manga (“Sailor Pluto’s mission and situation are entirely different from that of Princess Selenity’s four guardian soldiers. She carries the blood of the god in charge of time, Cronus. She lives between time, the solitary guardian of the door of the underworld. Time is the last inviolable territory. Since ages ago, the Door of Space-Time has been off-limits, and Sailor Pluto was the one who enforced that.” -Sailor Moon, Vol. 5, Act 19) which explains her association with time while ALSO being the guardian of the underworld; the dead planet; Pluto/Hades. This should shed light on her “Dead Scream” attack, which can seem out of place if you are focusing just on her time manipulative powers.
Neptune’s powers obviously relate to the ocean. Easy.
Uranus is a bit tricky. Haruka is the Senshi of flight - so what the hell is up with “World Shaking”? The attack seems confusing in relationship to the sky but I have to point out that all she does to summon her power is grip the air. A common misconception is that Sailor Uranus is throwing a ball of energy at the ground, which is kind of what it looks like, but what she is really doing is collecting energy from the sky and merely touching the earth. The ground in her attack animation breaks up at the force of her collected wind-based-energy as it shoots towards her enemies.
I’m late to Attack on Titan; I have a baby and the show was on my back burner forever because it didn’t appeal to me (and morbidly it still doesn’t, I watch out of a mix of spite and outsider intrigue primarily but I am way invested and I hate myself for it lol) so obviously I am utterly devastated I am also late to all the drama. That entire General Dot Pixis thing? It is all so interesting!
In case you didn’t know AoT creator Hajime Isayama bases his series in a highly militarized world and for the character of Dot Pixis a big-wig general he modeled the bald mustached man after a real life Imperial Japanese general named Yoshifuru Akiyama - which created an extreme uproar online among fans in Asia.
North Americans and Europeans are likely to be aware that the Japanese have a history of not owning up to their war crimes by hiding under a blanket of willful ignorance. Japanese text books leave out Japanese war crimes; Japanese war crimes are thus not often acknowledged or even known by a bulk of the Japanese public; the Japanese government does not want other countries to bring up or acknowledge past crimes and gets really pissy when they do; The Japanese government has yet to release a formal apology for crimes committed during any wars the Japanese have partaken in that the people of surrounding countries have accepted; Japan is not the popular kid in Asia.
Lets step back so as to get a bigger view of how real and problematic this issue truly is.
I’m gonna talk about a guy real quick, a Japanese colonel - not Akiyama Yoshifuru, we’ll get back to him later - but a dude from World War II named Tsuji Masanobu.
This guy was a sick, gross, sadistic, misogynistic, dickcheese. If you can think of a WWII Japanese war crime he was probably behind the scenes of it. Massacres in Singapore; The Bataan death march; the Manila massacre; Guadalcanal’s last bloody stand and the suicide fox holes; the kill all prisoners initiative. The icing on the cake is that this motherfucker was documented by his own press corps to have eaten the liver of an allied fighter pilot. Tsuji Masanobu cannibalized and allowed the cannibalization of allied prisoners under his steward. Wow, he was probably executed or died in prison right?
By 1952 Tsuji Masanobu was elected by the people of Ishikawa prefecture to serve in the house of representatives AND had two national best selling books. Only seven years after Japanese surrender and a war criminal as heinous as Tsuji Masanobu is directly helping shape the new political landscape of the Asian-Pacific.
Now pretend you’re the rest of Asia, hell pretend you are Singapore. You’re lookin’ over at this new democracy taking shape and - wait! - who is that staring back at you? Tsuji fuckin’ Masanobu. ‘Cause a bunch of people voted for him. And he remained in Japanese politics into the 1960s.
Super fucked up, right?
That is why foreign relations between Japan and it’s neighbors is massively shitty because pathological brutal pigjizz who organized and executed massacres, encouraged suicide, personally beat prisoners, and ate other human beings get statues in their home towns dedicated to them.
But don’t get on your high horse America and Europe - oh no. Stay firmly planted on the ground because the milieu of willful forgetting and the rehabilitation of war criminals in the Japanese public consciousness, going from war criminals to openly being regarded as victims, was encouraged by allied forces.
Why? Well, it is actually really simple as most super horrible things are:
The immense suffering, loss of life, and horrible acts of atrocious inhumane brutality perpetrated against China and Korea during WWII was purposefully swept under the rug because they were “going Communist”. An invisible hand (wink-wink nudge-nudge) directed Allied attention almost exclusively towards the holocaust. The European Theater was intentionally made the focus of victory and bravery and the location of the greatest of all war crimes because treating (potential) communist as people was not, evidently, an option. The proof of the degree of discouragement pushed by ally forces is in how this is possibly the first time you’ve even heard of Tsuji Masanobu - and yet not. You probably do kind of know him in an albeit fucked up way in of itself.
Most European and North American folks are probably aware of that super racist Japanese caricature, you know the one; glasses, bald, buck teeth, big ears? That is Tsuji Masanobu. Wellll, he was one of the basis for the image of anti-Japanese allied propaganda anyway. Sure the officers Tsuji Masanobu had constantly chastised for being not brutal enough, soft, and ineffective were executed for their crimes by the allied trials but Masanobu, literally the face effective in fueling and demonizing an entire people so as to motivate ally soldiers, was pardoned and allowed to run for political office in an ally influenced election. So guess who isn’t that popular with the rest of Asia either?
Right. So, now that the wound is sore lets go back to Yoshifuru Akiyama.
Yoshifuru Akiyama was a Japanese general during the first Sino-Japanese war, a war fought between China and Japan over who controlled Korea. He is the older brother of general Saneyuki Akiyama who was the massive strategic force behind the battle of Port Arthur and by extension the Port Arthur Massacre during the first Sino-Japanese War. Yoshifuru and his Calvary were instrumental in capturing the port.
It is not relevant that Yoshifuru Akiyama did not have a direct hand in War Crimes other than being on the side of an invading force; among neighboring countries and Attack on Titian fans the war Yoshifuru served in continues to be a reminder of a difficult and oppressive time period in history. A lot of the anger bubbling up from learning about how a brash, strategic, and honorable character like Dot Pixis is “based on” a real general doesn’t necessarily stem from (just) the actions of Yoshifuru and his role in shared war and history - but rather from the perspective of if Dot Pixis is taken from Yoshifuru then who are the titians?
It isn’t surprising that the titans are up for grabs for what it is they represent since they’ve yet to be given a solid metaphorical attachment, and it isn’t surprising that some people take offense at what they perceive them to be.
Here’s some pages from my latest zine ‘Skate Puke’.
‘Skate Puke’ is a skateboarding edition of Brain Puke. It’s a 20 page, black and white photocopy zine on coloured paper, featuring a selection of funny ink drawings, all based around skateboarding, in a hand-numbered edition of 20.
You can see the rest of the zine on my website here.
This is a handful of hand painted postcards, made using spray paint and emulsion. I’ve made a load more of these, some of which are for sale at the womenswear store FINCH, in Norwich (alongside some of my zines) and the rest I will be selling the Norwich Zine Fair on Saturday 11th April.