In describing any academic field, one important factor to consider is where the scholars who participate in that field actually publish their work. Are there only a few journals that account for the majority of published scholarship? Or do articles appear in many different ones? For that matter, is it possible to define a list of “core” journals for a given field/area?

With regards to anime/manga studies, this “where do we publish” question can be approached both subjectively – as I have done by highlighting a number of journals that, in my opinion/experience, have been particularly welcoming to articles on Japanese animation and Japanese comics, and objectively, by identifying nearly 1,000 individual articles on anime/manga that were published in various English-language journals between 1993 and 2015 and recording the specific journals that these articles appeared in. As I found, these articles appeared in more than 450 individual journals; with approximately 8% of the total in the International Journal of Comic Art, and a total of approximately 25% in the top ten journals.

The academic/scholarly journal with the next-highest number of articles on Japanese animation is Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal. Probably the most high-profile academic journal on animation and related topics, over its 11 years of publication, it has already published 24 individual articles on anime. And, two much appear in its latest November 2016 issue. I would argue that these articles – because of the journal that they appear in, and the backgrounds and institutional affiliations of their authors – can be presented as the epitome of how scholars writing in English currently approach Japanese animation.

Roquet, Paul. From animation to augmentation: Denno Coil and the authentic self. Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 11(3), 228-245.

denno-coil“When cities are covered over with layers of augmented reality, what shadows are cast by this new ability to see? The Japanese anime series Dennō Coilexplores exactly this question, following a group of children living in a near-future society where augmented reality glasses have become as essential to daily life as smartphones have today. Comparing debates over ‘seamful’ design in ubiquitous computing with the role of the alpha channel in digital image compositing, the author argues for understanding the sensory environments of augmented reality as part of a longer history of bringing the animated image out into the spaces of everyday life. This article explores the new physical and psychological demands placed on individuals as they seek to navigate the protocols of this newly augmented world, while cultivating and conditioning what the author calls the ‘composited self’.”

The author is an assistant professor of Japanese Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The classes he teaches include “Introduction to Japanese Culture” and “Digital Media in Japan and Korea”, and he has previously published on anime in the 2014 “Origins” volume of Mechademia, and in Representations. To the best of my knowledge, this is the first English-language scholarly article on Denno Coil (note: in its current U.S. home video release, this series is titled Den-noh Coil)

Hernandez-Perez, Manuel. Animation, branding and authorship in the construction of the ‘anti-Disney’ ethos: Hayao Miyazaki’s works and persona through Disney film criticism. Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 11(3), 297-313.

“Walt Disney (1901–1966) is one of the most important figures in the history of cinema, but he may also be one of the most criticized. Adjectives referring to Disney in their different forms (‘Japanese Disney’, ‘Asian Disney’, ‘Disney from the Orient’, etc.), have also been applied to the analysis of Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki (1941–). Disney’s legacy has been reviewed and examined through different theoretical lenses derived from cultural studies and film criticism. In contrast, scholarship and cultural criticism have decoded Miyazaki’s works in terms of auteurism. These approaches also emphasize similarities based on high quality of production and individual signatures while differentiating between ideological and cultural readings of each author’s legacy. In this construction of what has been referred to as ‘anti-Disney’, the most common strategies of classical auteurism act together, including the mythical construction of the creator’s persona through cultural criticism and other film paratexts. In order to better understand the role of authorship in animation, a distinction between brand, style and creator’s persona is suggested.”

Dr. Hernandez-Perez is a Lecturer in Digital Design at the University of Hull (UK). His contributions to anime/manga studies include a chapter on U.S. “manga-style” comics, in the essay collection Global Manga: Japanese Comics ‘Without’ Japan?, and presentations at conferences such as last year’s “Exploring 30 Years of Studio Ghibli”, which this article in part draws on.

2 Comments on New Issue – Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal

  1. Have you analysed how well Bradford’s law of scattering applies to the field of anime/manga studies?

  2. Not yet – but, given that I do have the comprehensive list, something like this shouldn’t be too hard to put together. With, of course, the caveat that, hey, it’s not really a “law” as much as a general principle. And, anyways, again, given the numbers I found in the top ten journals, I don’t think it will apply at all.

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