One thing I have always found a bit curious about English-language academic writing on Japanese animation and comics is that while anime has been the subject of a number of full-length books, such as Anime from Akira to Princess Mononoke, The Anime Machine: A Media Theory of Animation, Frames of Anime: Culture and Image-Building, Anime: A History, and, just last year, Anime: A Critical Introduction, the last general/comprehensive book on manga published in English has been Frederik Schodt’s 1996 Dreamland Japan – the ones that have appeared since are either introductions like the Rough Guide to Manga, or more focused titles such as A Sociology of Japanese Ladies’ Comics and Straight from the Heart: Gender, Intimacy, and the Cultural Production of Shojo Manga.
At the same time, every year, plenty of other writing on manga does appear – in the form of articles in various scholarly journals and chapters in edited collections. In fact, several collections deal with manga specifically – among them are Manga: An Anthology of Global and Cultural Perspectives, Manga’s Cultural Crossroads, Manga and the Representation of Japanese History, and International Perspectives on Shojo and Shojo Manga: The Influence of Girl Culture. Now, one more such collection can be added to the list of English-language academic books on Japanese comics.
Manga Vision: Cultural and Communicative Perspectives
Editors: Sarah Pasfield-Neofitou and Cathy Sell
Publisher: Monash University Publishing (Australia)
Pasfield-Neofitou, Sarah. Introduction – Tuning in to manga: Cultural and communicative perspectives
Section 1: Appropriation and Expansion – Cultural Expression
- Langsford, Claire. Image to object, Illustration to costume: Cosplayers and cosplay ‘ways of seeing’ manga
- Moreno Acosta, Angela. Beyond “Japaneseness”: Representative possibilities of original English Language Manga in Svetlana Chmakova’s Dramacon.
- Rivera Rusca, Renato. The changing role of manga and anime magazines in the Japanese animation industry.
- Bell, Corey. From victim to Kira: Death Note and the misplaced agencies of cosmic justice.
- Turner, Simon. Exploring yaoi fans’ online practices in an online community.
- Baudinette, Thomas. An evaluation of physicality in the bara manga of Bádi magazine.
- Smith, Paul. Finding music in manga: Exploring yaoi through contemporary piano composition
Section 2: Communication and Engagement – Language Exchange
- Aoyama, Tomoko, & Kennett, Belinda. Nodame’s language lessons
- Robertson, Wes. Writing another’s tongue: Orthographic representations of non-fluency in Japanese manga.
- Lee, James F., & Armour, William S. Factors influencing non-native readers’ sequencing of Japanese manga panels.
- Promnitz-Hayashi, Lara. Manga in the English as a Foreign Language Classroom.
- Tanaka, Lidia. Impolite language in manga.
- Zulawnik, Adam Anthony. Ken-Honyaku-ryū: Issues in the translation of controversial texts with focus on the manga comics Hate Korean Wave and Hate Japanese Wave.
- Sell, Cathy, & Pansfield-Neofitou, Sarah. The sound of silence: Translating onomatopoeia and mimesis in Japanese manga
Sell, Cathy. Aterword – Manga spectacles: Manga as a multimodal research tool
Ed. note: Given that this book is published in Australia, it certainly makes sense that the majority of the authors of the individual chapters themselves teach or are graduate students at various Australian universities, although three are currently based in Japan, and one more in Thailand. At least potentially, this allows for a different kind of perspective than a book such as Manga: An Anthology of Global and Cultural Perspectives (of the 24 authors, 10 are identified as teaching or working in the U.S., 7 in Australia, 4 in continental Europe, 2 in Canada, and one in the U.K.).
One more thing that is worth noting when considering this title is that, as can be seen from its list of contents, the scope of this book expands significantly beyond either overviews of manga genres or even literary analysis approaches to particular manga titles. Much of the focus appears to be on looking at additional elements that are often present in manga, at how readers – both in Japan and around the world – actually interact with manga, and at various paratextual issues. Compare this to the many – largely descriptive – essays in the essay collections on manga that have been published so far – such as “Manga in Japanese history”, “Framing manga: On narratives of the Second World War in Japanese manga, 1957-1977”, “Believe in comics: Forms of expression in Barefoot Gen“, and chapters as straight-forward as “What boys will be: A study of shonen manga” and “The manga phenomenon in America”. Manga Vision should not be the first book that introduces anyone to the ideas and practices of academic approaches to Japanese comics. But, it does a great job of adding to/expanding on existing scholarly commentary on manga, and so, should be a title that anyone who is currently working in manga studies should at the very least be aware of, try to read, and at least consider interacting with!
Ed. Note 2: Manga Vision is published both in print and as an e-book. A dedicated website, with content such as chapter abstracts/summaries, photo galleries, and materials intended as supplements to particular chapters, supplements both versions.