The “Women in Anime” event at the 17th annual LA Femme International Film Festival on Thursday had an international producer and vice president for Women in Animation, Jinko Gotoh, interviewing Minako Fujiyoshi.
Fujiyoshi spoke at an online panel that exists to highlight the work of women producers, writers, and directors from around the world.
She discussed the conditions for women in the animation business happily revealing that the number of women working in the anime industry has increased considerably over the past 20 years since she began her career at TMS.
The working environment has also improved considerably and they don’t have to go through the daily tough, dirty, and “you can’t go home” lives.
She pointed out, that with increased employees it has become difficult to to be promoted as well, irrespective of the gender and it is important for people to develop individual strengths that will get them noticed.
Although women are taken for granted for the role of production assistants due to the need for strong communication skills and empathy, the job is not easy at all.
It requires a tremendous amount of effort for them to advance in the workplace over a long period of time because of factors like marriage and childbirth.
Asked what she thinks is the biggest obstacle to women advancing in the anime industry, Fujiyoshi talked about how it can be hard for a woman to return to work after having a baby, because her job might have been filled.
She said, “If there is a way to create an environment where it is possible to devote to work for long periods of time, I think the industry would improve overall.”
“If I had gotten married or had kids in my twenties or thirties, this interview right now about me as a producer would not even be a possibility.”
Fujiyoshi is the first female producer at TMS Entertainment and has worked on MEGALOBOX and MEGALOBOX 2: NOMAD, among other titles.
When they turned to her to ask about Megalobox, “The scripts for MEGALOBOX 1 and 2 were created solely by the director, two screenwriters, and myself,” Fujiyoshi said.
“The director and screenwriters were all male, so they would try to depict women in a way men see as ideal, through character lines and actions. However, as a woman myself, I thought, ‘I don’t like this kind of woman.”
She laughed, and continued to say she had a lot of different opinions. “However, it doesn’t mean it is ‘correct’ just because I said so, as a woman myself. . . If the director and screenwriters agreed, they would fix it, but, I also remember heavily discussing our opinions.”
In the core part of the story, it centers on Joe’s struggles to redeem himself for a grave mistake. There Fujiyoshi mentioned a surprising difference between her perspective and that of the male members of the team: The men wanted the other characters to forgive Joe at an earlier stage of the story, while she was firm in her belief that it was too early to forgive him.
She highlighted Joe’s desire to seek validation through fighting in Megalobox tournaments, and mused that perhaps the male staff members were swayed by a sentimental desire to have that kind of reckless urge forgiven. She described herself as being “annoyingly strict” on this matter.
This talk also moved to female characters in MEGALOBOX 2: NOMAD, and how the creators brought out their individuality.
At the end, Fujiyoshi thanked all of the fans, and the panel revealed the first two episodes of MEGALOBOX 2: NOMAD.