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YPIE QuaranTimes Volume 17

Updated: Mar 30

March 10, 2021


Standing Tall by Khadija Dewan,YPIE Scholar 2028


In this Issue


Pandemic News

  • Lost But Not Forgotten

  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Accused of Grossly Underreporting Nursing Home Death Toll

Politics

  • President Biden’s Comments Regarding the Uighur Crisis in China

  • The Recent Coup in Myanmar

  • Texas Senator Ted Cruise Facing Backlash Over Recent Cancun Trip

Entertainment and Lifestyle

  • 3 Reasons Why "WandaVision" is a Success

  • Jojo Siwa Sparks Attention For The LGBTQ+ Community

  • The Chant of Insecure Beings

  • Discussion: Crunchyroll Anime Awards 2021

  • The Mistreatment of Anime Studio Employees

  • Has The Popular Social Media app TikTok Become The Epicenter Of Insecurity?

Our Voices Heard

  • The Texas Power Crisis: 2021

  • Girlboss Feminism: Helpful or Harmful?

  • A Second Pandemic


YPIE QuaranTimes Staff


Editors

Salamatu Lawal, Editor-in-Chief

Catarina Mendes, Politics Editor

Julia Azulay, Entertainment and Lifestyle Editor

Alyssa Lee, Our Voices Heard Editor

Shemar Forbes, Layout Editor & Director of Communications

Yismel Castro, Layout Editor

Contributors

Julia Azulay

Paola Baizan

Graciia Biju

Yismel Castro

Hillary Diaz Castillo

Khadija Dewan

Natalie Flores

Shemar Forbes

Besjana Krasniqi

Salamatu Lawal

Alyssa Lee

Maria Lozada

Catarina Mendes

Amber Morales

Raquel Negrón

Benjamin Rodríguez

Anushka Singh

Sean Vargas-Arcia


Advisor

Max Silverman


Welcome to the YPIE QuaranTimes


Produced by YPIE’s Journalism major, the YPIE QuaranTimes is a way for YPIE students to connect and share experiences during these unprecedented times. YPIE Scholars are using this time in so many creative, meaningful ways. As such, the YPIE Journalism major hopes to highlight all of the talents in our community through this publication.


Pandemic News


Lost But Not Forgotten

By Shemar Forbes, YPIE Scholar 2025


Imagine that you are rummaging through your back pocket for your house keys to unlock the front door, excited to see that special person inside. Grabbing the keys, you finally unlock the door and there they are: lying on the sofa, gazing at the television. Unable to contain yourself, you rush towards that person with open arms, ready to embrace them--but you suddenly wake up and realize it was all just a dream. Then, you start remembering that person is no longer alive and that in fact they have been gone for quite some time. Feeling overwhelmed, your eyes well up with warm tears, rolling down your bare cheeks as you once again come to terms with this painful reality which millions of Americans across the country are facing every single day.


On the evening of Monday, February 22nd, President Joe Biden delivered an emotion-filled eulogy and held a candle-lighting moment of silence at the White House to observe the over 500,000 Americans who have died throughout the course of the coronavirus pandemic. “We often hear people described as ordinary Americans. There’s no such thing. There’s nothing ordinary about them. The people we lost were extraordinary,” he said that evening. “Just like that, so many of them took their last breath alone.”


As someone who lost his baby daughter and first wife in a car accident and later an adult son to brain cancer, President Biden spoke from personal experience, referencing his own losses as he tried to comfort the Americans whose lives have been forever changed by the pandemic. "For the loved ones left behind: I know all too well. I know what it's like to not be there when it happens.” He continued, “I know what it's like when you are there holding their hands, there's a look in their eye and they slip away.”


Despite this “grim, heartbreaking milestone,” President Biden remained optimistic and encouraged Americans to stay hopeful during this depressing time. “We will get through this, I promise you. We ask you to join us to remember. So we can heal.” He went on to say, “To find purpose, and the work ahead to show that there is light in the darkness. This nation will smile again. This nation will know sunny days again. This nation will know joy again. And as we do, we’ll remember each person we’ve lost, the lives they lived, the loved ones they left behind.”


After he finished speaking, President Biden stood outside the White House for a moment of silence at sundown, joined by First Lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and her husband Doug Emhoff. As 500 blazing candles--each representing 1000 people that had died--illuminated the pitch-black scene around them, the U.S. Marine Band played a doleful rendition of the song “Amazing Grace” to close the ceremony.

While President Biden's actions to manage the pandemic are crucial in preventing our country from reaching another tragic milestone, we as a society should also do our part by remaining cautious and taking the time to care for the living in order to prevent more people from dying, as well as continue to honor those who have left us.


Shimmering Waters by Khadija Dewan, YPIE Scholar 2028


New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Accused of Grossly Underreporting Nursing Home Death Toll

By Catarina Mendes, YPIE Scholar 2025


Last March, when the COVID-19 pandemic had just recently become a serious concern here in the U.S., New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo knew he needed to take action to help ease the minds of apprehensive people in New York, and keep the state as safe as possible. In order to lead the state most effectively through this crisis, Cuomo was granted emergency powers, which allowed him to suspend laws and create new ones. This would make it easier for him to facilitate necessary changes to how the state was handling the crisis and direct how people should act throughout its duration.


These expanded powers are what allowed him to issue a directive on March 25th, that would irreversibly and painfully impact the lives of many New York families with loved ones in nursing facilities across the state. The directive stated that nursing facilities could not refuse COVID-19 positive patients who had been discharged from the hospital. It also did not allow the facilities to test these patients for the virus.


Meant to ease the burden on hospitals, which were already inundated with large numbers of patients with the dangerous new COVID-19 virus, the directive, while long since reversed, instead created a tragic outcome that outlasts its lifetime. It is now thought to have contributed to the significant amount of needless senior citizen deaths due to COVID-19.


For a long time, this directive was considered a controversial move; however, Cuomo’s seeming success in curbing the spread of COVID-19 within New York State overshadowed the issue. The state seemed to be doing as well as could be expected with a pandemic occurring. Cuomo was praised for his leadership throughout, even writing a book about it and receiving an Emmy Award.


Eventually, the suspicion that New York’s senior citizen death toll was higher than what was being reported grew to be too much. New York’s Attorney General had actually released a report in late January alleging undercounting of deaths of nursing home residents. Eventually, a top Cuomo aide, Melissa DeRosa, admitted that the Cuomo administration had in fact been concealing the true amount of nursing home deaths that had occurred out of fear.


Cuomo had made it known that New York State was not counting the deaths of nursing home residents who had died after being transported to a hospital. This, state officials said, was to avoid potentially double-counting deaths. New York was the only state to omit counting deaths of nursing home residents in hospitals. Up until recently, the state’s official death toll among nursing home residents had been somewhere around 8,500. When news that New York had been potentially undercounting became widely circulated, however, that total increased by nearly 50%, bringing it to roughly 15,000, which is the highest state death toll among nursing home residents in the nation.


Now, outraged loved ones of those who died are speaking out, and Cuomo is under federal investigation. Many New York State lawmakers are now calling for him to be stripped of the emergency powers that had allowed him to create this devastating situation in the first place. He is still largely refusing to acknowledge the occurrence of this massive oversight with such staggering consequences. It has also been revealed that he has threatened state assemblyman Ron Kim, telling him he would destroy his life if he did not comply in helping conceal the truth.


New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo’s blatant lies about the death count of nursing home residents has caused many people undue pain and uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic. He has continued to benefit from and perpetuate lies and false statistics throughout this crisis, deeply hurting the trust New Yorkers had placed in him, and potentially other government officials. During a global crisis, transparency and safety are extremely valuable in helping people navigate, and Cuomo’s actions over this time have denied people of both.

Politics


President Biden’s Comments Regarding the Uighur Crisis in China

By Paola Baizan, YPIE Scholar 2027


Recently, President Joe Biden has been facing plenty of backlash regarding the comments he made about China’s Uighur crisis. Many say that President Biden has indicated that there is “a different norm” in Xinjiang, China, the area where many Uighur Muslims are largely being mistreated, persecuted, and even killed. As a result, his words have enraged many people.


So what exactly is happening to Uighur Muslims in China?


China has been incarcerating Uighur Muslims in concentration camps for over a decade now. In the most recent years, about 1 to 3,000,000 Uighur Muslims have been detained. In these concentration camps, Uighur Muslims face horrible situations, including starvation and both physical and sexual abuse; however, Chinese officials have been trying to mask these concentration camps as “re-education camps’’ which serve the purpose of “eradicating extremism”.


Not only have Uighur Muslims been imprisoned, but they have also been suffering due to repression in their daily lives, including being forced to work in factories and being placed under house arrest.

This is why when President Biden addressed the concentration camps in China, which hold and torture millions of Muslims, as “a different norm”, many individuals thought of this response as inhumane.


But, as it turns out, President Biden did not refer to the Uighur crisis in China as “a different norm.” The phrase “a different norm” seems to have been misinterpreted and taken out of context.


According to the President, “the central—to vastly overstate it, the central principle of Xi Jinping is that there must be a united, tightly controlled China. And he [Xi Ping, the president of China,] uses his rationale for the things he does based on that. I point out to him, no American president can be sustained as a president if he doesn’t reflect the values of the United States.” He continues and said, “And so the idea I’m not going to speak out against what he’s doing in Hong Kong, what he’s doing with the Uighurs in western mountains of China, and Taiwan, trying to end the One-China policy by making it forceful, I said…by the [way], he said he gets it. Culturally, there are different norms that each country and their leaders are expected to follow.”


When President Biden declared, “Culturally, there are different norms that each country and their leaders are expected to follow,” he was referring to how most Americans expect the president to handle important and global topics, such as human rights violations.


When asked if there were “any actual repercussions for China?”, President Biden responded, “Well, there will be repercussions for China. And he [Xi Jinping] knows that.” Clearly, President Biden does not find the Uighur crisis acceptable, as he indicates that China is expected to face consequences.


Although many misinterpreted President Biden’s remarks about the Uighur Crisis, he did not claim to agree with what is occurring, and after looking at other comments he made regarding the crisis, it is clear that he does not condone this violation of human rights.


City Nights by Khadija Dewan,YPIE Scholar 2028


The Recent Coup in Myanmar

By Graciia Biju, YPIE Scholar 2028


On February 1, 2021, the military of Myanmar overthrew the country’s democratic government in a coup d’état by arresting the country’s civilian leaders, shutting off the internet in attempts to restrict communication with other countries and cutting off flights in hopes of preventing citizens from fleeing to other countries.


Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, was governed by strict military rule from 1962 until 2011. In 2011, the country's ousted civilian leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, led the nation's first civilian government, the National League for Democracy (NLD) party, in opposition to the long-standing military rule. In November of 2020, the NLD won the general election with the most votes.


The armed forces did not accept the election results and were demanding a recount of the vote, alleging widespread fraud. This led to the coup d’etat after the NLD, the nation's leading civilian party, won 397 parliamentary seats out of 476, and Aung San Suu Kyi once again became the President of Myanmar.


In response to Aung San Suu Kyi taking power, the military arrested her and handed power to the Army Chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.


Several major world leaders expressed their concern regarding the coup and quickly condemned it, demanding that Myanmar’s military immediately free Aung San Suu Kyi and other arrested government officials. They also stated that the military should honor the November election results. UN Secretary-General António Guterres said that the coup d’etat was a "serious blow to democratic reforms.


As of now, the military is back in charge and has declared a year-long state of emergency.

People in Myanmar reacted to this coup with widespread protests. The protestors included teachers, lawyers, students, bank officers, and government workers. All the people protesting are aware of the risks they might face while protesting, but they say that they cannot accept a future under military rule.


Numerous countries around the world have also condemned the military takeover. As of now, people are unsure of where the future of the country is heading, as there are widespread protests against the stratocracy in Myanmar. However, some experts suggest that there are still hopes that this conflict can be resolved through negotiation.



Texas Senator Ted Cruz Facing Backlash Over Recent Cancun Trip

By Catarina Mendes, YPIE Scholar 2025


Texas Senator Ted Cruz has outraged Texans and others across the country with his recent family trip to Cancún, Mexico. As the state endured unprecedented weather, with a massive snow and ice storm that left the entire lone-star state under a Winter Storm Warning, Cruz and his family took a trip to the well-known Mexican vacation hotspot.


When Cruz was spotted flying out with his family from a Houston airport, backlash quickly emerged. He returned to Texas the next day and justified the trip by saying it had been a treat for his daughters, who had suggested the idea that school had been canceled for the week due to the weather. He maintained that this was never meant to be a vacation for him; rather, he was simply accompanying his girls on the trip as a responsible father.


However, it was later revealed that Cruz had in fact intended to remain in the warm paradise for the week, and when the controversy erupted, he had quickly changed his flight booking to return the next day. Upon his arrival back in Texas, he even requested and received a police escort. His wife and kids remained in Mexico for the duration of the week.


Since the incident, he has been attempting damage control. He has apologized for his actions, admitting it was a mistake, but not everyone believes him. He has also attempted to draw attention away from himself, by accusing the media of focusing too much attention on him and not enough on the ongoing crisis. Recently, he even joked about the whole situation at the Conservative Political Action Conference, saying, "Orlando is awesome. It's not as nice as Cancun, but it’s nice.” Critics have been quick to denounce the joke, saying that it was in poor taste. No one has yet gotten over his actions, and it was widely viewed as insensitive to make light of his mistake in such a manner.


Ted Cruz’s vacation came at a time when millions of Texans were struggling in the wake of a massive winter storm, which had prompted both state and federal disaster declarations. As Texas is so far South, it usually doesn’t see much snow at all or such cold temperatures. The storm caused significant disruption to daily life, a situation where people are called to stand together in solidarity and support one another. As a leader, Ted Cruz seemingly abandoned his responsibility to the people of Texas to stand with them during this trying time.


Entertainment and Lifestyle


3 Reasons Why "WandaVision" Is a Success

By Hillary Diaz Castillo, YPIE Scholar 2025

When WandaVision started airing on January 15th, the world exploded. Well, not literally, and it was technically only the world of Marvel’s fandom that went wild. From its first episode, this mini-series following the life of Wanda Maximoff after the death of Vision and her questionable form of dealing with grief became an instant hit. Critics and fans of the show alike agreed that this show was a success. However, what factors of the story contribute to its overall success and devoted following? Here are three reasons why WandaVision is the show of the moment:


1. The Marvel Formula

For years, Marvel Studios has been the backbone of the superhero genre. The films engendered by the company have surprised and captivated the public for the last decade. With a solid balance of comedy and action, these films guarantee you a fun time. However, innovation is not something that the studio has managed to perfect in relation to storylines until the release of WandaVision.

The intriguing series implements a peculiar format that is refreshing in comparison to other films from the Marvel Universe. In the first episode, the audience is introduced to a typical American sitcom from the 50’s. Here, Wanda and Vision are presented as a recently married couple that just moved to the town of Westview and are trying to hide their powers from their nosy neighbor.

With innocent and relatable humor, one is aware that it is not a typical Marvel production. Since each episode is meant to represent a decade, the show manages to explore a different type of humor and uses clever references to iconic sitcoms, such as Malcolm in the Middle, Bewitched, Modern Family and much more. Indeed, this is a refreshing structure.

2. Suspense

A significant aspect of the show lies in the little information that the audience is provided with.

Why did Wanda create this fantasy? Is someone behind her? Who is the real villain of WandaVision? What are the true intentions of S.W.O.R.D?

Beneath the atmosphere of sweetness and simplicity, such questions emerged with the purpose of intriguing and unsettling the audience. Since one cannot simply binge-watch the series, the fans have to patiently wait each week for answers. The information revealed in each episode only prompts more questions in regard to the plot of the show and the course that the showrunners are taking. Because of this, devoted fans have been religiously watching WandaVision, all while sharing their theories and thoughts on social media.

For the first time in a while, Marvel has every one of us on the edge of our seats.

3. Performance

Wanda has always been an enigma as a character. From her first appearance in Avengers: Age of Ultron, there has been a mystery to her persona and her motives are barely explored throughout the films. In the miniseries, she is the star of the show, making it nearly impossible to take your focus off her. Elizabeth Olsen’s amazing performance has us both intrigued by and afraid of Wanda. In this project, the actress is capable of exploring more layers to humanity and the pain of her character in such a way that doesn’t make you doubt her commitment to the project.

Paul Bettany also steals the show with his charming performance as Vision. With an undeniable charisma and passion, the actor embodies this lovable character perfectly. The chemistry that he and Olsen have is a vital factor in the development of the relationship of the main protagonists, which lies at the heart of the show. While the secrets and the action are still present for the audience to analyze, the marriage of Wanda and Vision is the glue that pulls the show together. Thanks to Olsen and Bettany, the audience can envision the complexity of their relationship.


Temporary Struggles by Khadija Dewan,YPIE Scholar 2028


Jojo Siwa Sparks Attention For The LGBTQ+ Community

By Sean Vargas-Arcia, YPIE Scholar 2026


On January 22, 17-year-old dancer, performer, and internet sensation, “JoJo” Siwa, officially came out as a lesbian on Twitter.


She posted a picture of her wearing a T-shirt which stated, “Best. Gay. Cousin. Ever.” with the caption “My cousin got me a new shirt.” In addition, Siwa then posted a one-month anniversary picture about her girlfriend on February 8th, saying they had been best friends for over a year.


Since Siwa’s coming out, she has not lost followers or subscribers, with her fans and colleagues only expressing acceptance.


JoJo Siwa’s reveal has since led to a spark in the activity of LGBTQ+ rights movements. As of February 25th, the Equality Act has been passed in the United States, which is a bill of rights for LGBTQ+ citizens.


The bill prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, public accommodations, education, credit, and jury service.


Furthermore, this bill will allow JoJo Siwa to continue her role as a public figure. Regardless of her sexuality, she will continue to serve as a role model for the youth and generations to come.


The Chant of Insecure Beings

By Khadija Dewan, YPIE Scholar 2028


I look at models and I look in the mirror,

I look at models and I wish I was thinner.

I look at models and I see perfection,

I look at myself and wish they were my reflection.


I wish my thighs would, like them, have a gap,

And I wish my pores, like theirs, weren’t trapped.

I wish my hair, like theirs, would flow,

Like luscious rivers with a beautiful glow.


I wish the media would accept imperfection too,

For these standards have left me broken and askew.

I wish all the girls on my feed weren’t slender,

As people of different bodies deserve to feel better.


All bodies deserve love, as do all faces,

No matter their cultures, ethnicities, or races.

But the media shadowbans those who aren’t thin,

And those who are colored surely won’t win.


Maybe one day the media will be better,

And won’t title people ugly or “Heathers.”

Maybe one day we will all be equals,

But until then there will be insecure people.


Inosuke by Benjamin Rodríguez, YPIE Scholar 2028


Discussion: Crunchyroll Anime Awards 2021

By Maria Lozada, YPIE Scholar 2025


On February 19, 2021, the on-demand streaming service, Crunchyroll, hosted their annual Anime Awards, a celebration of all the amazing and high-quality anime productions made in the past year. Although a multitude of anime creators and production teams experienced setbacks and anime plot-worthy difficulties due to the pandemic, this past year has rewarded fans with a myriad of new or continued animes which they relied on for comfort and entertainment.


Therefore, one can probably imagine the excitement of the anime community when voting time for the Anime Awards was approaching. About a week before the awards show, my brother (a fellow avid anime watcher) and I made a day out of our voting. Our day involved setting up our T.V. to watch the release of the nominations, with a plate of popcorn, soda, and our phones open to the voting section of the Crunchyroll app. Our excitement was palpable in the way we held our breaths as the nominations finally appeared on the screen.


However, we experienced great disappointment as there was a repetition of the animes nominated in numerous categories. Although I was satisfied with my votes and later on with the winners of the awards, I’m still disappointed that certain animes didn’t at least receive a nomination and a few that were nominated didn’t get a nomination in the categories they deserved to obtain one in.


Below, I will be sharing with you my earnest and personal opinions on who should have gotten a nomination in various categories for this year's Crunchyroll Anime Awards.

1. Haikyuu!!: To the Top


Haikyuu!!: To the Top had a great number of nominations, including the categories of Best Boy, Best Protagonist, and Best Opening Sequence, and its protagonist, Hinata Shoyo, actually won the Best Boy category. However, I would have gladly (read with teary eyes) replaced all three of those nominations for the singular and prestigious nomination of Anime of the Year.


If you have not watched this masterpiece of an anime, I can confirm with all of my being that you are missing out on a wonderful experience. Haikyuu!! has arguably the best quality and most prevalent character developments in a sports/shounen/slice of life anime. With likable and relatable characters who aspire to grow and better themselves in volleyball for their own unique reasons, engaging storytelling and action sequences, and an increasingly shocking plot, this anime is deserving of such an honor as the Anime of the Year nomination.


*Available on VRV.


2. No Guns Life Season 2


Season 2 of No Guns Life completely remastered and improved what the first season had accomplished. With uncovered truths from both protagonists and antagonists, its unconventional central themes of corruption and dehumanization, top-notch character development in a great number of its main characters, and extraordinary world-building through its imagery, a nomination for any category would have been deserved.


However, what further establishes this anime’s distinctive worth is its character design. No Guns Life has a unique and non-traditional character design that is hardly utilized in modern-day anime. Its gritty noir style is evident in both the setting and the character designs, which is a world-building technique of its own. A nomination for Best Character Design would have been well earned.


*Available on Hulu, Funimation, and Amazon Prime.


3. The Millionaire Detective Balance: Unlimited


The Millionaire Detective Balance: Unlimited surpassed all of my expectations in the second half of its series. Characterized by its dazzling display of subtle storytelling and outstanding action sequences, this anime was an excellent watch. Although nominated for Best Ending Sequence and Best VA Performance (JP), I believe a nomination for Best Protagonist would have been suitable as well.


At first glance, Daisuke Kambe’s portrayal seemed cliche and over-played. With his rich young bachelor confidence, self-righteous and rude behavior towards those deemed lesser than him by their monetary value, and his reckless actions when serving justice, he seemed like a basic inconsiderate person whose wealth preceded him.

However, big and shocking revelations were made in the second half of the show, developing Daisuke’s backstory through well-placed storytelling, compelling and compassionate enough to change most ideas of what the show really was like. As a big character development enthusiast, I appreciated that this show took it to another level, setting up interesting dynamics between characters, and elevating what one thought was Daisuke’s rude attitude to the unique and captivating person that he actually is.


Therefore, Daisuke Kambe absolutely deserved a nomination for Best Protagonist at this year's Anime Awards.


*Available on Netflix, Funimation, and Crunchyroll.


4. Fire Force Season 2


At the beginning of the first episode of season 2, we are introduced to the main characters having a break from work to then being directly thrust into the action as a big explosion goes off and they must protect civilians. Fire Force Season 2 emphasized the importance placed on fight-action sequences, which continued to increase in relevance and intrigue viewers as the show progressed. As such, I was deeply disappointed to realize Fire Force failed to receive a nomination for the fitting category of Best Fight Scene.


The quality of the multiple fight scenes Fire Force has is wonderful, filled with beautiful animations and soundtrack to enhance the experience, impressive backstories and easy-to-follow plot lines. Every fight scene enhances the important qualities each character possesses, whether they are main characters or side characters. In particular, either “Adolla-Graced Shinra vs the Demon in White” or “Adolla-Possessed Shinra vs Arthur,” “Ogun,” “Captain Hague,” and “Lieutenant Pan” deserved a Best Fight Scene nomination.


*Available on Crunchyroll, VRV, Hulu, and Funimation.


5. Great Pretender


Although Great Pretender received multiple nominations during this year’s Anime Awards, including Best Character Design, Best Ending and Best Opening Sequence, Best Score, Best Girl, Best Drama and Best Director to Anime of the Year, it did not win in a single category.


Every nomination was well-earned as this anime elevated the boundaries of what anime is and can be, in an artistic and emotional sense. The central themes of playing pretend with one’s identity, class struggles in society, and moral ambiguity greatly inspire the audience to sympathize with and root for the characters, regardless of faults such as their criminal acts or their profession as con artists.


This would not work if the show’s cast were not as endearing and interesting as it is. The character Edamura is a scrappy fish out of water trying to act like he is amphibious. Then there is Abby, the gang’s abrasive and fearless jack of all trades and muscle, Cynthia, the charismatic big sister, and Laurent, who just oozes untrustworthy slimy gentleman thief and relishes it.


Watching how each gang member plays off the others is a joy to behold, especially as it becomes apparent that they actually like and trust one another, despite how they might act. With an amazing soundtrack, enthralling storyline, realistic and relatively relatable backstories and uniquely colorful and captivating animations, Great Pretender deserved to win any of the categories it was nominated for.


*Available on Netflix and Reelgood.


Nevertheless, whether or not an anime received a nomination or an award does not determine its value or quality. One does not need Laurent Thierry to win Best VA Performance (EN) to know that Aaron Philips did an extraordinary job in his voiceover for Great Pretender. Regardless of who won and who lost, the Crunchyroll Anime Awards are a great medium through which anime fans can celebrate a successful year filled with brilliant anime productions and argue day and night over which anime deserves to win more.


The Mistreatment of Anime Studio Employees

By Besjana Krasniqi, YPIE Scholar 2028


Studio Mappa, a Japanese animation company, is a widely known and revered animation studio network throughout Japan and America, and is best known for producing a wide variety of animated shows. Some of their most popular shows include Kakegurui, Attack on Titan: The Final Season, and Jujitsu Kasien. In 2020 alone, Studio Mappa has animated eight different shows, one of which was a season for the popular series titled Jujutsu Kasien, which won Crunchyroll’s 2020 Anime of the year award. Recently, however, there has been much controversy over whether or not Studio Mappa employees are being overworked.


On average, Japanese animators work about 12-18 hours a day, which is much longer than the average workday for various other Japanese professions. For example, according to The Mainichi, Japanese junior high school teachers work 8 hours a day, or 56 hours a week. To further put this into perspective, the NT Daily states that there are reports in Japan of animators working a total of 400-600 hours a month.


In regards to pay, the NT Daily also reveals that animators in Japan are paid 200 yen (less than 2 dollars) per drawing. On average, it takes an animator one hour to complete a drawing, and if they work 12 hours a day, they are merely making 24 dollars a day at most. That means that even if your title is a huge hit, like Attack on Titan, you won’t be earning a lot of money.


The salary for these animators is determined through a volume system. Thus, they get paid according to the number of drawings they produce. This gives animators the impression that they need to work more hours in order to receive more money per day’s worth of work.


Mappa also picked up Attack on Titan: The Final Season, which Wit Studio stated that they wouldn't be working on after the third season of production because it would take up too much time. While the popular show was rejected by multiple studios, due to the large amount of work needed to animate it, Studio Mappa decided to pick it up whilst having another seven shows in production. In an interview with Yūichirō Hayashi, the director of the highly anticipated final season. Mr. Hayashi appeared to have severe eye bags and seemed to be extremely sleep-deprived. It’s believed that Mr. Hayashi was pushing himself in order to preserve the original design of the manga in the final season, even though he was working with a new set of staff members. Mappa Studios was also pressured by the Production Committee to have this done in a year.


Studio Mappa’s preservation of the manga


The pressure of animating these nationally favored shows causes a lot of strain on the animators who are creating the highly anticipated content. This can cause the employees to experience breakdowns and may have severe tolls on their physical health. The extreme amount of stress can also lead to suicide for some individuals. If everyone were to appreciate the hard work these animators do and show them some gratitude, perhaps it will make their jobs a bit easier.


TikTok: The Epicenter of Insecurity

By Amber Morales, YPIE Scholar 2028

Beauty standards have been around for decades. For many years, women and men of all ages have spent much of their lives attempting to conform to societal beauty standards, and social media serves to perpetuate such standards.


As a whole, social media is a strong source of communication, and it provides various people with an easily accessible platform to express their opinions and biases. Recently, however, the popular app, TikTok, has contributed to the rise of insecurity, specifically amongst the youth.


TikTok is a social media platform that allows its users to create videos of various genres, including skits, cooking videos, dance performances, and other activities of interest within a 60-second timeframe. The app has gained tremendous popularity over the years and is most notable for its dance and beauty-related challenges.


In general, TikTok is often viewed as an innocent and “light-hearted” social media platform to non-social media users. However, a lot of its content contributes to a division among young, impressionable teenagers.


The majority of social media users are concerned with sensitive content on the platform such as self-deprecating humor and the glamorization of insecurities. According to the student-based newspaper, The Voice, the “comment section” of a creator's TikTok video may affect them in a negative way due to the threats and hurtful comments that other users may leave behind. In my opinion, TikTok has become the epicenter of negative body images and has surpassed other social media platforms with this issue as well.


It is not a secret that trends on this app have been detrimental to the youth’s mental health. Consider, for example, the TikTok challenges that display society's "ideal body image". The “side profile challenge” was a popular trend in which users would record their facial side view, flaunting their defined jawline. This trend sparked a broad conversation among individuals who felt personally attacked and insecure for not having a strong jawline.


From my perspective, this trend actively encouraged the unnecessary flaunting of one's jawline, which portrayed the idea that a sharp jawline is an attractive feature and an individual who lacks one is deemed less attractive by society.


While TikTok itself is not viewed as harmful, it is believed that users who leave negative and spiteful comments contribute to the damaging effects of the app and create a space where other users felt free to do the same.


Another example of a trend that became toxic was “The Silhouette Challenge.” Individuals who participated in this trend would apply a Snapchat filter called “vin rouge” to their video which would make the background of the video red in color and the individual's silhouette black. People would then strike a pose in their underwear to emphasize their figure and promote body confidence. For the most part, the comments of these videos were polite and encouraging.


Despite the positive message this challenge was set out to convey, heartless individuals began removing this Snapchat filter from people’s TikTok videos in order to reveal users’ clothing that was worn underneath. Those who fell victim to having their videos altered without their consent felt violated and were discouraged from creating more content.


Tik Tok contains many challenges that push the narrative of specific beauty standards, which may lead to the development of insecurities among young people. Moreover, numerous users on social media who came across this app have agreed that it has contributed to the damaging effects of beauty standards.


What is your opinion? Given the information provided in this article, do you agree that TikTok has become or is becoming the epicenter of insecurity?


Our Voices Heard


The Texas Power Crisis: 2021

By Raquel Negrón, YPIE Scholar 2026


Harsh winter temperatures have recently slammed Texas, leaving families to suffer greatly while awaiting relief.


The unexpected change in weather launched the state into shock and left a trail of rubble in its wake. On February 11th, roads were frozen over and neighborhoods were left covered in snow. Things started to take a turn for the worse once the electric grid operator lost power because it was not equipped for the intensity of these kinds of winter storms.


This has had ghastly effects on the well-being of many families. Without power, some individuals were unable to survive longer than a week, causing a sharp increase in the death count.


Many were unaware of the severity of the state of their communities and their own homes, given the intense conditions. Freezing temperatures damaged water pipes, causing many homes to collapse, and in turn, left families with nowhere to go. As a result, hotels in many areas began to fill up.


Many sites and organizations have been created to combat this crisis and provide relief to those in need.


Troops from Fort Hood, Texas are currently helping jail inmates that are suffering due to a loss of water. The Texas National Guard has stepped in to help distribute 4,000 boxes of food to the San Antonio National Food Bank to help out those struggling financially.


The country as a whole has continued to make efforts to assist Texas throughout its crisis. Although we are still in the midst of a pandemic, enduring a lockdown, and are faced with a growing death count, we still find the strength to come together for our fellow Americans in times like these.


Imagine by Khadija Dewan,YPIE Scholar 2028


Girlboss Feminism: Helpful or Harmful?

By Anushka Singh, YPIE Scholar 2028 and Natalie Flores, YPIE Scholar 2028


The term “girlboss” is used to describe a confident, idealistic, career-centric woman who pursues her goals in life instead of working for others or settling down. However, a “girlboss” does not necessarily have to be an entrepreneur. The title is applied to the many women who feel empowered by their job, social media popularity or are simply wealthy.


The term was popularized in mainstream media by Sophia Amoruso, the founder of the fashion company Nasty Gal. This paragon of for-profit feminism said at her new company’s launch, “Girlboss is a feeling, a philosophy. It’s a way for women to reframe success for ourselves, on our terms, for the first time in history.” Female-oriented magazines and online media companies like BuzzFeed, Cosmopolitan, and Seventeen have all contributed to making this capitalist breed of feminism skyrocket into mainstream use.


This type of corporate feminism took hold in society mainly due to its marketability. The word “Girlboss” was pasted on every type of merchandise one could imagine--notebooks, binders, briefcases, scores of which were sold among the general public. Some individuals found genuine “empowerment” from being called and working as a “girlboss,” finding it to be a way to own their femininity and traditional “girliness.”


The term’s exposure to the working world as well as what it represented was a gateway for many women to research more about feminism. Often, they learn more about other, more radical areas of feminism that fought for true change for women, rather than a performative symbol that does not represent the collective experience of most working women.


Despite its shiny exterior and pinkwashing, the “girlboss” movement has made feminism and the genuine, ugly issues that women face into something that can be marketed and sold. The word itself, “girl”, is a phrase used to refer to young women. In the workplace, it is often used to infantilize and condescend female employees by making the idea of a woman being in charge less intimidating. By default, being feminine is portrayed as a weakness in the workplace, as men likely will not take you seriously. Yet time and time again, studies have shown that actively involving women in leadership roles can stimulate innovation and improve a company’s decision-making.


The normalization of this term brought light to one of the innumerable double standards for women: “girlboss” directly infantilized women, meanwhile, no one was referring to grown men as boys. You would never hear a male worker referred to as a “boy boss” because men will always be the default for power. It is ingrained in our society and anything that has to do with women in a position of power is considered an oddity.


Corporate feminism is not intersectional at all, it only applauds and validates extremely privileged cisgender white women. All it does is make room for a few white, cis, straight, middle to upper-class women to place themselves amongst the men and make the workplace appear less misogynistic. It does not alter the workplace dynamic in the slightest as it still manages to go untouched by systemic change. To be able to make a difference and to break through barriers, the attempts of systemic reform have to target the institutions themselves, working from the outside in, not inside out.


Using this form of “woke” capitalism is a way to ensure that businesses and society feel like they are “doing their part” by whispering sweet nothings and producing pretty merchandise; all in hopes of deceiving activists to make them think there is immense progress for women taking place. In reality, issues such as the wage gap, sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and countless others still continue to plague the lives of women in the workplace today. This false sense of advancement is only true for a certain demographic of working women who thrive in a system that is ultimately harmful.


At the end of the day, being a feminist should be all about women simply wanting to be treated equally within society and not wanting their options in life to be dictated by their gender as well as addressing issues they face without censoring themselves in an effort to make these discussions easily digestible for the general public. It is extremely difficult for young women in this day and age to be expected to fit the mold of a self-starting, strong, empowered woman.


Instead of making women’s hardships more agreeable and less representative of the struggles they experience as a collective, real legislation, activism, and reform are required to bring equality to women in the workplace and in society as a whole.


A Second Pandemic

By Yismel Castro, YPIE Scholar 2025


The rise of COVID-19 has impacted the world in various ways. This virus brought an incredible amount of death, pain, and desperation, while simultaneously fueling one of the greatest monsters in America: racism.

The first cases of COVID-19 were discovered in Wuhan, China in late 2019. The origin of this virus bolstered a sense of entitlement in some individuals who now feel like it is their duty to make people of Asian descent “pay” for the spread of the coronavirus.


There has been an incredible spike in hate crimes against people with an Asian background throughout the country. The stabbing of a 36-year-old man on February 25, 2021, is the most recent attack that has reportedly taken place in New York State. The aggressor, Salman Muflihi, a 23-year-old, was charged with second-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault, second-degree assault, and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, according to records. No hate-crime charges have been filed against him because, as stated by the Manhattan District Attorney's office, "We are continuing to investigate and may bring additional charges if warranted."


Similarly, in San Francisco, there has been a rise in attacks on elderly Asian Americans in the Bay Area. Vicha Ratanapakdee, an 84-year-old from Thailand, was killed after being virulently attacked while out on a morning walk on January 28, 2021. According to San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, a 19-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder and elder abuse in the case.


There are numerous other cases of violence against the Asian community, such as the man who decided to violently shove three unprovoking individuals on the afternoon of January 31, 2021. He injured a 91-year-old man, a 60-year-old man, and a 55-year-old woman near Oakland's Chinatown neighborhood. These incidents do not appear to be directly connected; however, their occurrence raises concerns around the rise of Anti-Asian hate crimes, which have become more prevalent since the information surfaced that COVID-19 originated in Wuhan, China.


Several human rights groups began to take notice of the pattern of violent incidents against Asian Americans. “Stop AAPI Hate” began collecting reports of racism and discrimination against Asian Americans on March 19, 2020, upon seeing instances of xenophobia increase with the spread of the coronavirus.


The organization received more than 2,800 firsthand reports of anti-Asian hate crimes across 47 states and Washington, DC, according to data. Of these reports, about 71% were cases of verbal harassment and shunning or avoidance made up about 21%. Approximately 9% of the incidents involved physical assaults, and 6% included being purposely coughed or spit on.


John C. Yang, the President, and Executive Director of the civil rights organization of Asian Americans Advancing Justice attributes the spread of Asian-Hate to the former president, Donald J. Trump, who regularly referred to the coronavirus as the “China Virus.”


He mentions how this might have conditioned individuals to think of “Asian Americans as foreigners and engage in this xenophobic behavior. And that is hard to undo, notwithstanding the current administration." Other experts, however, attribute these occurrences to the insecurity and fear brought on by the pandemic, stating that individuals may be searching for a scapegoat in a situation of such disaster to ameliorate their fears.


Despite what the reasons may be, the world is currently facing two pandemics: COVID-19 and the monster of racism. These criminals need to face the full weight of the law in order to set the proper precedent and to prevent more of these crimes from taking place.



Learn more about the YPIE QuaranTimes.

Interested in contributing? Email YPIEQuaranTimes@gmail.com or Max Silverman, YPIE QuaranTimes Advisor and Director, College Readiness.













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