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    NewsAsiaHeidi to talk about uprooting and Mazinger Zeta to address death

    Heidi to talk about uprooting and Mazinger Zeta to address death

    Disseminate information on human rights, feminism, migration, maternity and respectful parenting through a podcast. Nothing out of the ordinary, nothing particularly innovative. If it weren’t for the podcast revolves around anime, manga, and pop culture. From the character of Heidi, which she allows to address the issue of uprooting, through the anime full metal alchemist (2001), to touch on issues as deep and relevant as the concept of genocide, and arriving, this November 25, at The Rose of Versaillesto explain the violence suffered by the women and adolescents present in this story.

    otaku mom is the name that the Peruvian Angela Valverde Ortiz (Sullana, Peru, 42 years old), a social communicator with more than two decades of experience in international cooperation and a lover of Japanese culture, has given her project. Mom because Valverde is the mother of two girls. Otaku —a term to designate people who are very fond of anime and manga— because, as she herself says, “I have loved anime and manga for as long as I can remember”. Animation genres that presented reality in a different way, sometimes cruder, with themes aimed at an already adolescent audience, but which, since they were still cartoons, were broadcast along with other children’s programs on television.

    The stories of anime people who help others simply because they are called to do so, because it seems fair to them, because they can, and because that is the responsibility of the gift, are not so far removed from the reality of those who advocate for a more just world.

    Valverde’s early exposure to that “so complex and fascinating” world produced mixed emotions in him, such as the fear he felt towards the Space Pirate Captain Harlock or towards his reflections on death. “My first death in anime was Professor Morimori Hakase, from Mazinger Zeta. I remember that I cried a lot because a good character had died and at that age (six years old, in 1986) you don’t think that the good guys could die, especially not in a cartoon”. The anime spoke to her realistically, without filters, without infantilizing the concepts and information, placing her in front of a sometimes very harsh reality. Although today, as a mother herself, she acknowledges that she should not have had access to this content at such an early age, she affirms that her experience has left a positive mark on her, sharpening her critical sense and the ability to observe others. she.

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    “In addition, the anime stimulated me to read, since the episodes raised some historical issues and I wanted to know more,” he continues. For this, Valverde fed himself intellectually in the municipal library of Sullana, a Peruvian city in the department of Piura, where he was born and grew up in a humble family. That was how he learned about the French Revolution, through The Rose of Versailles (better known as lady oscar), as he came to read little women Y Ana of Green Gablesthanks to references present in the anime Candy Candy, and as he learned, through the homonymous comic, Tom Sawyer’s adventures.

    The teachings of anime, on the moral values ​​of loyalty and friendship, have been part of Valverde’s intellectual construction, who has never stopped loving the universe linked to Japanese culture. And even though he podcast of Mama Otaku has recently seen the light, in mid-2022, the connection between her humanitarian work and the anime world has always been present.

    Being Athena’s warrior was not an option

    “There was a very specific moment, around the year 2000, when I was consulting for a United Nations agency on a complex humanitarian response. We were at the border, caring for people in a situation of vulnerability, and during a relaxing moment for the team, we began to talk about why we had decided to dedicate ourselves to that job”, recalls Valverde. The moment it was her turn to speak, she replied: “Because being Athena’s warrior was not an option.” She responded quickly and without thinking, referencing the anime. Saint Seiyaknown in the Spanish-speaking world as Knights of the Zodiac. His supervisor at the time, today a friend and next guest of the podcastwas not as surprised as she expected, but rather confirmed that this work (that of a humanitarian aid professional) was a good alternative, since it coincided with the mission of helping others.

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    At that moment, it was very clear to Valverde that “the stories of anime people who help others simply because they are called to do so, because it seems fair to them, because they can and because that is the responsibility of the gift, are not so far from the reality of those who advocate for a more just world”. A very obvious link, despite the fact that in the real world there are no comic book heroes, but people who try, from their spaces of action, to do the right thing and do their bit.

    Promotional image for the Mama Otaku podcast.

    If anime has been part of Valverde’s daily life and work for so many years, it was from January 2022 when Mama Otaku came to life, at first as a Facebook page and then, since July, as podcast. “At first I was afraid to express my opinions so openly and I knew that the subject could generate a lot of discussion,” she confesses, “but I believed in this passion and took the first step. My initial idea was to reach mothers like me to analyze current events, social activism and respectful parenting”. After launching Mama Otaku, also in audio format, the lawyer Judith Cordova Alva and the psychologist Irene Serrano Neira joined the team, and together they brought the series of episodes to life. Witches, cats and animein which, always through anime, it delves deeper into human rights, feminism and gender violence.

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    Today, Mama Otaku is a space that targets a pluralistic and mostly female audience. In it, gender stereotypes are demystified, dissemination and awareness of human rights is made, critical analysis of pop culture is promoted, contrasting the demonization of manga and anime, and denounces, through the analysis of their contents, the normalization of violence. If he looks back at his childhood in Peru, his struggle to study and train, the class and gender discrimination he suffered, and his life as a migrant with few economic resources in Europe, Valverde is clear that there is still a long way to go. to do. “I have lived experiences that have deeply marked me and, on a daily basis, I live professionally and personally the challenges and opportunities of diversity. My husband is Italian and also works in international cooperation, my daughter Ana was born in Ecuador nine years ago and Milena four years ago in Peru”.

    Her experiential wisdom, studies, sisterhood —solidarity between women— and the examples of many “teachers” found on the paths of international cooperation, “relentless as professionals, tough as women, capable, intelligent and very aware of the protection that her team deserves”, defines Valverde, they are part of the spirit of Mama Otaku.

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