‘Otona Joshi no Anime Time’: Stories For Adult Womyn [Review]
Otona Joshi no Anime Time is a truly unique story, but to understand it, there are some terms involved.
Everyone is familiar with “shounen” and “shoujo” series within the anime and manga community. Most notably it is rare for a “shoujo” manga to be animated so imagine how difficult it is for a “josei” series to get animated.
In case anyone is not familiar:
Josei is a genre geared towards adult womyn, which focuses primary on older womyn stories and their experiences.
Granted shoujo narratives are now beginning to challenge the stereotypical stories they are often known for with amazing series like Akatsuki no Yona, Gakuen Alice, and Skip Beat. However, it does not change the fact that those stories focus on the coming of age of young womyn. Josei films like Otona Joshi no Anime Time focus specifically on adult womyn that have grown out of their teenage years and are facing realities pertaining to their age and life experiences. While I personally enjoy a select few shoujo series, its frustrating at times not to see stories that reflect the complexities of the lives of people who have been there and done that.
Interestingly in 2011, NHK (Nippon Hōsō Kyōkai) Japan’s broadcasting channel decided to help produce an animated short by a prominent womyn novelist named Kei Yuikawa. Kei Yuikawa is known for her dark psychological female driven books for their adult womyn audience. That short was so successful that in 2013 it inspired three more episodes to be produced by different novelists such as Amy Yamada. Yamada is known for discussing controversial topics such as racism, sexuality, and interracial marriage (things that are rarely talked about in Japan).
Then there are the other writers such as Mitsuyo Kakuta and Fumio Yamamoto that focus on depicting the lives of womyn in their mid 30’s to 40’s. So if it came out in 2013 why am I talking about it now? The simple answer is that these four anime shorts from Otona Joshi no Anime Time did not get as much attention aboard as it did in Japan. Since the stories in all four episodes are self-contained, I will not be discussing the plot to each episode in order to avoid spoilers.
However, I will discuss the major themes that resonated throughout Otona Joshi no Anime Time. One of the main questions the womyn ask themselves is, are they truly happy with their current lives? There is a definite sense of regret over their past decisions that affected their current lives in prominent ways.
Despite that feeling it does not stop these womyn from finding happiness on their own terms. That happiness might not mean conventional nuclear family happiness, but ultimately, it is all about being at a place where one feels content. The stories of each womyn is unique and their narratives tell us that even as we get older, things don’t get easier, but that should not stop you from finding your place in the world. Contrary to what most young people think we do not have it made once we are in our 20’s or 30’s. We still struggle to find love, acceptance, a job that pays well, learn about ourselves, and finding stability.
I am happy that Otona Joshi no Anime Time and NHK at least gave the opportunity to these womyn novelists for these stories to be told. In a medium that is saturated with high school girls, fan-service and ecchi anime geared towards the male gaze, hopefully this will encourage others to produce more josei series.