What is Rainbow Releases?
Rainbow Releases is a panel held at various anime conventions. We aim to bring attention to anime and manga of interest to LGBTQ people and allies, since they can be difficult to find all in one place. We include titles based on LGBTQ content, which is not the same as cataloging every LGBTQ-related series. It would be impossible to be aware of every single series out there, and this is ultimately a personal project. If a title is inaccurate/offensive or simply not to our personal tastes, we are not likely to recommend it, though others are free to check it out on their own. Attendees are allowed to leave at any time for whatever reason, no judgement.
What counts as “LGBTQ” anime and manga?
This is difficult to answer. In this case, LGBTQ is an adjective that categorizes anime and manga based on their relation to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, etc. identity and culture. It is not a hard and fast rule. We categorize anime and manga as LGBTQ for a variety of reasons, some of which are more obvious than others. Anime and manga created by LGBTQ people, featuring characters described with LGBTQ terminology, and/or about real world LGBTQ topics are prioritized.
Where is [insert series here]?
As a rule, we don’t include “mature”-rated manga and anime because their presence would necessitate a mature rating for our panel. We aim to make Rainbow Releases as accessible as possible, which includes allowing LGBTQ and ally youth to attend. We’ve made exceptions to this in the past, but no longer.
As stated above, selection of titles comes down to our discovery of them as well as personal taste. If you have an anime or manga in mind you feel has been overlooked, feel free to chime in (during Q&A or in the blog post comments) with your thoughts on it. However, please don’t frame your comments as accusatory as if we’ve deliberately ignored or erased it. If we simply aren’t unaware of a series, we’ve probably put thought into whether to include it or not.
With that said, titles are liable to fall through the cracks in our system. We generally limit our scope of manga to print to manage our workload and budget, but there are plenty more series that only see digital releases. Focusing on first volumes admittedly doesn’t account for LGBTQ characters introduced down the line (like Alluka in Hunter x Hunter). We may discuss such series in our other work. We don’t claim to be an authority on LGBTQ anime and manga, but we hope Rainbow Releases can serve as starting point for those interested in LGBTQ-related series.
So what do you tend to include?
I’m glad you asked.
- Openly LGBTQ staff (Yuhki Kamatani)
- Manga print releases
- Anime streaming
- Use of LGBTQ terminology (Stars Align)
- Multiple LGBTQ major characters (Our Dreams at Dusk)
- Confirmed LGBTQ main characters (Yuri on Ice)
- LGBTQ macro-sociological issues (legal partnerships in I Married My Best Friend to Shut My Parents Up)
- LGBTQ micro-sociological issues (My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness)
- Print releases
- First volumes
- Anime blu-rays/DVDs
- Yuri (The Conditions of Paradise)
- Boys love (Classmates)
- LGBTQ themes (Descending Stories)
- Place in LGBTQ culture (Banana Fish)
- Influential/classic (The Rose of Versailles)
- Exploration of relevant genres (BL Metamorphosis)
- LGBTQ-friendly (My Androgynous Boyfriend)
- Upcoming projects by creators of interest (Kunihiko Ikuhara)
- Rereleases (Tokyo Godfathers in theaters)
- Sequels (Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card)
- Remakes/Reboots (Devilman Crybaby)
- Exploration of gender roles and/or gender expression (Monthly Girls Nozaki-kun)
- Clarification on ambiguous/misleading series (My Androgynous Boyfriend)
- Light novels connected to an established anime/manga series (Bloom Into You: Regarding Sayaka Saeki)
- Live action connected to an established anime/manga series (My Brother’s Husband drama)
- Digital-only releases of manga (I Wanna Be Your Girl)
- Caricatures of LGBTQ people
- Incidental minor LGBTQ characters in long-running series
- Tokyopop releases (see this article by Jennifer de Guzman and this blog post by Alex de Campi)
- M-rated titles
- Video games