After several months of intensive work, I am pleased to announce the final program for this year’s AX Anime and Manga Studies Symposium. Running over all four days of Anime Expo, the largest anime convention in the U.S., the Symposium brings together a group of scholars who are interested in presenting their academic research on topics related to Japanese animation and Japanese comics directly to Anime Expo’s attendees. The symposium has several goals – to foster the development of a community of anime/manga studies, to give scholars an opportunity to share their work with an appreciative and understanding audience, and to introduce attendees to the practices of academic research. The Symposium does not have a particular theme – it is meant to welcome different kinds of approaches, drawing on a variety of sources and research methods. This year, it features over 20 speakers, including faculty members, graduate students, undergraduates, and independent scholars. The full program consists of a keynote address, three special guest lectures, a special roundtable discussion, and five sessions of individual presentations. The exact dates and times for all of the sessions will be confirmed in the coming days.
AX 2016 Academic Program
Friday, July 1
6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Anime for Aspiring Filmmakers: Lessons from the USC School of Cinematic Arts
Why should American film students pay attention to anime? In the AX Anime and Manga Studies Symposium Keynote Address, Prof. Ellen Seiter, holder of the University of Southern California’s Stephen K. Nenno Endowed Chair in Television Studies, shares her thoughts on the distinctive visual, dramatic and narrative language of Japanese animation in film and television, and on what aspiring filmmakers can learn from anime directors such as the late Satoshi Kon, especially in the contemporary environment of digital production and distribution.
Prof. Ellen Seiter (University of Southern California)
Dr. Seiter received her BA in Anthropology from UCLA, and her MFA and PHD degrees in film from Northwestern University. Dr. Seiter specializes in audience research – anime being the most fascinating case study of all, children and youth media, semiotics, intellectual property law and media economics. Books she has authored include The Internet Playground: Children’s Access, Entertainment and Mis-Education (Peter Lang, 2005), Television and New Media Audiences (Oxford, 1999), and Sold Separately: Children and Parents in Consumer Culture (Rutgers, 1993). Her most recent work, The Creative Artist’s Legal Guide: Copyright, Trademark and Contracts in Film and Digital Media Production, which she co-authored with her attorney brother Bill Seiter was published in 2012 by Yale University Press. She is currently writing a book on Teen TV series for Routledge.
7:45 p.m. – 8:45 p.m.
Session 1: Words, Scripts, Implications: Creating Meaning in Anime and Manga
- Sounding Out the Pictures: Manga Sound Effects, Meanings, and Translation
Andrew John Smith (Indiana University of Pennsylvania)
This talk looks to discuss the unique world of comic sound effects, specifically those found in manga. Although many readers may not think about them directly, sound effects affect their ability to read, enjoy, and understand graphic texts—meaning that an inability to understand them can stop understanding, and changing them can potentially cause a disastrous misreading. Sound effects can carry just as much meaning, weight, and import as the dialogue and art they accompany, and this discussion looks to introduce that concept and expand the scope of what can be studied when it comes to graphic works.
- Can the Pop-Idol Speak?: The Role of Voice in Satoshi Kon’s Films
John Ballarino (Bridgewater State University)
Satoshi Kon’s Perfect Blue is a film about identity: the conflict of the film is driven by the divide that exist between how people perceive the main character, Mima, as a commercial commodity and a woman, and in turn how Mima perceives herself. I analyze how this is portrayed symbolically throughout the film through the motif of Mima’s voice, developing being owned and sold by others to being entirely her own. This provides a useful approach to better understand the outside influences influencing her identity and development as a character, revealing a strong criticism of the expectations of women in a patriarchal society.
- Drawing Lines between Boys and Girls: What do we Mean by “Shōnen” and “Shōjo”?
Mia Lewis (Stanford University)
While manga combines image and text, it divides boys and girls. In bookstores in Japan manga is divided primarily by the gender of the target audience, often separated onto different floors in larger bookstores. This reflects the gendered division that begins in manga zasshi [comics magazines] and continues through the media mix chain. This talk will briefly overview how this distinction has been discussed in previous scholarship, and shifted over the years. This talk will also introduce preliminary results from my ongoing research on the divisions between these genres. One of these research projects examines how the reader’s sections in shōjo manga proscribe the ideal work to readers and aspiring artists to a far greater extent than their shōnen equivalents. The other examines formalist distinctions between contemporary shōnen and shōjo manga in order to explore what it means when we open a comic, glance at it, and declare it to be one or the other.