Category: Commentary

Guest Essay: Towards A New Posthuman Ontology – The Anti-Anthropocentrism of Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence

From the editor: So far, the primary purpose of this site has been to serve as a “central point of information about anime and manga studies”, and a collection of resources that would be useful to the anime and manga studies community. However, I also gladly welcome new material, such as actual original commentary on anime/manga. If you would like to contribute an essay on any topic related to anime/manga, whether commentary or original research, please feel free to contact me.

The first such essay that I am happy to feature is “Towards a New Posthuman Ontology – The Anti-Anthropocentrism of Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence“.

Yalun Li is the Co-founder of Dunes Workshop, an inter-disciplinary research and design organization. She is a candidate of Master of Architecture at Harvard University GSD and holds a Bachelor degree of Architecture at Syracuse University with a Philosophy minor. Her research interests include topics on Postmodernism theories in relation to media studies.

Abstract

This essay is an attempt to understand Mamoru Oshii’s films of Ghost in the Shell and Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence as philosophical propositions. Oshii’s films offered a refreshing insight on the role of film where it can purpose, construct and present new theories instead of being only a representational accessory of philosophical thoughts. I am amazed by the sincerity of the films in constructing a genuine decentralized “posthuman” world. The complex system Oshii created and curated through the characters and the references resonates with Deleuze’s Rhizome and Hayles’s “Cognisphere.” Moreover, the films created a poetic and aesthetics atmosphere that made it more powerful than many philosophy texts. (more…)

Publication Trends in Anime and Manga Studies – 2019

Let’s say, you are someone who wants to take the next step, beyond just thinking about anime, and beyond writing about anime for a personal blog or a fan website, and would like to actually publish your writing about anime (or manga, or a related topic) an academic journal, the kind that college professors would read and would assign to their students to read, the kind that would be included in journal databases, the kind that could potentially be referred to in other scholarly articles and even in books! So, where do you go with your writing? Is there such a thing as a “Journal of Anime Studies” – or something similar? 

As it turns out, “sort of”: the first issue of a Journal of Anime and Manga Studies is set to be published this spring. But, another way to approach this same topic is by thinking about the “publication trends” of anime and manga studies more broadly. In general, what journals does scholarly writing on Japanese animation and Japanese comics actually appear in? It is also useful to consider whether are there any particular titles that dominate the field. The actual usefulness of asking these questions is not hard to understand. The answers to them are useful for anyone who is interested in learning about opportunities to publish their research on anime/manga, as well as to scholars who would like to identify specific journals to be aware of to learn about new trends and directions in research. And in a more abstract sense, it is also possible to use the journals that support anime and manga studies as an academic field to get a sense of the field’s overall identity.

Previously, I examined “publication trends in anime/manga studies” for the years from 1993 to 2015 (identifying a total of at least 965 articles), and from 2015 to 2018 (369 articles). For both periods, I also listed the ten journals that carried the largest number of articles. And now, with the list of English-language journal articles and other scholarly publications on anime/manga that appeared in 2019 largely complete, I can extend the analysis to one more year.

Publication Trends in Anime and Manga Studies – 2019 (more…)

“What do we study?”: A content analysis of recent anime and manga studies

In “Global and Local Materialiaties of Anime”, her contribution to the essay collection Television, Japan, and Globalization (Center for Japanese Studies, The University of Michigan, 2010), Mitsuyo Wada-Marciano presented what I still think is one of the sharpest criticisms of “anime studies” as it comes together as an academic field:

With anime studies as a forming discipline, discussions often center on the visually more complex anime “films”, but not on the domestic and mass-produced anime TV series. Big budget anime films such as MetropolisPrincess MononokeGhost in the Shell, and Akira are frequently discussed, along with their contemporary critical themes of technological alienatation, environmental issues, cyborg feminism, and postmodernity, while the majority of TV anime series have been neglected, since an analysis would require an examination of anime’s connections with local audiences and the complex popular culture of Japan.”

Global and Local Materialities of Anime, p. 245

But, does this statement – made in 2010 – still hold today, in 2019? That is, as scholars are making their contributions to anime (and manga) studies right now, what films and TV series and comics are they actually discussing? The same ones over and over again, or new and different titles?

A comprehensive list of English-language scholarly publications on anime/manga that have appeared this year so far would be able to provide at least some of the answers to these kinds of questions. And the Annual Bibliography of Anime and Manga Studies, 2019 is just such a list! (more…)

“Where do I start?”: Anime/Manga Studies in Major Multidisciplinary Databases – A Preliminary Study

A few days ago, I received an e-mail from a graduate student asking for suggestions about “an area in the field of anime & manga that deserves more exploration or doesn’t have enough research at the moment”. Not an uncommon question by any means, especially in the middle of a fall semester – and one I would be glad to answer. But once I started actually considering the question and the possible answers to it, I realized that these answers themselves lead to a whole set of further questions. (more…)

Comment/Response – Found in Translation

How Japanese animation actually reaches audiences outside Japan has been a major topic in anime studies going back to the field’s earliest days, such as with Jonathan Clements’ essay “The mechanics of the US anime and manga industry”, in Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction, 64, 32-44 (1995). Interest in this topic surged in the mid-2000’s, as Western scholars were being introduced to anime – in many cases by their own students – and even by their own children, and as anime fans moved on from high schools to colleges and graduate schools, and were able to publish their own work. Some examples of the seminar research on the relationship and the conflicts between anime creators/producers, anime distributors, and anime fans that were published around this time include Anime fans, DVDs and the authentic text (Laurie Cubbison, The Velvet Light Trap, 2005), Anime fandom and the liminal spaces between fan creativity and piracy (Rayna Denison, International Journal of Cultural Studies, 2011), Dark energy: What fansubs reveal about the copyright wars (Ian Condry, Mechademia v. 5, 2010), and my own Fighting the fan sub war: Conflicts between media rights holders and unauthorized creator/distributor networks.

The structure of the relationship, and the actual technological affordances that have directed it, have changed significantly since then. And so, it is particularly interesting to see a new publication that sets out to “examine recent systems, both legal and illegal, of North American anime and manga distribution” and positions itself specifically as a follow-up to 2005’s Of otakus and fansubs: A critical look at anime online in light of current issues in copyright law and an evaluation of whether the arguments that Jordan Hatcher presented in that article can still be used to understand “the relationship between fan translator groups and licensed distributors of anime and manga” in the present.

Tremblay, Alyssa (2018). Found in translation: Rethinking the relationship between fan translation groups and licensed distributors of anime and manga. The Journal of Fandom Studies, 6(3), 319-333.

it is possible that fan translation groups will become obsolete, perhaps to the benefit of all parties.

As with much of the other previous writing on the nature of this relationship, a key question that Tremblay asks can be rephrased as “why do fansubs exist?” And one of the article’s strongest and most welcome points is its ability to present the solid statement that “fan translation [is] a practice born of consumer desire and perceived necessity, rather than creative or transformative expression.” This is in fact similar to the one that Sean Leonard made, also back in 2005, in Progress against the law: Anime and fandom, with the key to the globalization of culture, that fansubs are best seen as complementary or prerequisite goods that fill a particular niche and meet a particular need – until that need can be filled in a better and more efficient way by the market. With this in mind, the author then moves on another statement:

…the persistent practices of fan translation groups offer both proof of and solutions to some of the issues plaguing English-language anime and manga distribution, offering a distribution model of their own shaped directly by fan desire that is increasingly being adopted by industry players.

Found in Translation, p. 320.

Supporting this requires identifying the issues that the “practices of fan translation groups” arose in response to. Among these are “deviations from the original content” – or rather, particular translation and adaptation strategies, “inflated costs”, and significant delays between when a title was first aired or published in Japan, and when it became available to non-Japanese audiences. Going from the essentially descriptive part of the article, and on to the analytical, the question it actually poses is:

…could a change of business tactics help the North American anime and manga industry free itself as hostages to the fandom? The answer appears to be yes, provided those new tactics are modelled from those already employed in fan translation circles.

Found in Translation, p. 328

To illustrate this, Tremblay uses the example of the manga and anime series Tokyo Ghoul – with the anime licensed for Western release and made available to Western audiences at the same time as it aired in Japan, “with the aesthetics of fansubs largely replicated” – achieving the overall effect that “the English-language anime industry at last became viable competitors to fan translation groups.” On the other hand, this was not the case for the original Tokyo Ghoul manga – the first English-language graphic novel edition of it did not appear until June of 2015, a full four years after the series began publication in Japanese.

One somewhat ironic – if inevitable – thing about this article is that recent as it is – the author accessed some of the websites in its the references section on November 4, 2018 – it is already rather dated. Fan translation groups translating anime and manga from Japanese and into English will not “become obsolete”; they largely already have, at least for anime. Granted, for manga, the argument is possibly harder to make, just because the volume of manga that never receives any kind of official English translation is still so large, but even the “time delay” factor that Tremblay identifies as one of the advantages that fan translators have over official manga publishers is largely disappearing, such as with the recent launch of the Shueisha Manga Plus service and Viz Media’s Shonen Jump website, both of which offer access to English translations of new manga simultaneously with their Japanese release. On the other hand, fan translations from Japanese into English are by far not the only kinds of fan translations that exist. There is already a growing body of scholarship on fan translation activity in China – such as Xiao Liu & Gabriele de Sita, Chinese fansub groups as communities of practice: An ethnography of online language learning (in the 2014 essay collection China Online: Locating Society in Online Spaces) and especially the recent monograph Copyright and Fan Productivity in China: A Cross-Jurisdictional Perspective (Singapore: Springer Nature, 2017), and applying Tremblay’s analytical approach and arguments to this setting can be valuable.

There is one more element in this article that I found particularly noteworthy. Much of the scholarly discussion about fan activities and practices instinctively presents them as acts of resistance – perhaps with the implication that it is their status as acts of resistance that makes them worth examining and even praising. Tremblay, however, takes the time and makes the effort to point out that in of themselves, fan practices are not necessarily subversive or anti-authoritative. Yes, they can have subversive or anti-authoritative effects, but those effects are rarely, if ever, fans’ main goals. This, too, I think lets this essay add a valuable dimension to the study of fan translation groups in the anime/manga space – that can be extended to the study of fan translation groups in other spaces, and then, to the study of fan groups and their interaction with media producers, more broadly.

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If you are interested in contributing a similar review/response essay on a recent piece of article-length scholarship on anime/manga or a related topic, animemangastudies.com continues to welcome such submissions.

Your essay should be approximately 750-1000 words in length, and can take the form of a review or evaluation, an appreciation, a direct response, or even a challenge. Recent journal articles on anime/manga are listed in the Annual Bibliography of Anime and Manga Studies. Many of the individual articles are available online in open access, and if you would like to work on a response to one that is not, and do not have access to it through your college/university or through a public library, let me know, and I will provide a copy. You can send your submissions, proposals, questions, comments, etc., to me at mik@animemangastudies.com

 

Defining Anime and Manga Studies

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the publication of the essay collection Japanese Popular Culture (Rutland, VT: Charles E. Tuttle Co.), which contained what I believe are  the first two English-language scholarly essays on Japanese comics. As with the other chapters in the volume, both are actually translations of articles that had already previously appeared in Japanese; nonetheless, they can be treated as marking the “origin” of anime and manga studies.

Now, sixty years later, “anime and manga studies” encompasses numerous publications (such as various recent monographs, essay collections, and the almost 30 individual book chapters and journal articles on anime/manga and related topics that have appeared so far this year), academic conferences, classes at colleges and universities around the U.S., and perhaps even the beginnings of an institutional structure, via the establishment of an Anime Studies Special Interest Group within the Society for Animation Studies.

Nonetheless, one thing that anime and manga studies does not yet have is an actual definition – and I would argue that presenting one is crucial to the further development of the concept – and its evolution into something more – into an actual academic field.

Based on trends and directions in scholarly activity involving anime/manga, I would, then, propose the following definition:

Anime and manga studies is

“the exploration of Japanese animation and comics as creative works, their historical, cultural, sociological and economic dimensions, their production, distribution, global reception, and related topics.” (more…)

Guest Response Essay: Kawaii Aesthetics from Japan to Europe

Earlier this year, I announced a Call for Contributors inviting “essay submissions responding to any other article-length scholarship on anime/manga or related topics published in English in the last five years”. These kinds of short essays would, I believe, add an important new dimension to the developing field of anime and manga studies by encouraging and facilitating conversation within and about it.

Now, I am pleased to present the first response to the Call:

Dora Vrhoci – on Kawaii Aesthetics from Japan to Europe: Theory of the Japanese “Cute” and Transcultural Adoption of Its Styles in Italian and French Comics Production and Commodified Culture Goods, Arts 7(3), article 24

Ms. Vrhoci is a student of European politics and culture at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. Her main areas of interest include the politics of social movements, popular culture, and Euro-Japanese interactions. She recently co-authored a forthcoming chapter on town twinning between Eastern and Western European cities in E. Braat, & P. Corduwener (Eds.), 1989 and the West: Western Europe since the End of the Cold War, London: Routledge.

Marco Pellitteri’s article explores how Japanese kawaii culture and aesthetics are appropriated in Europe. The article centers on the question of how and whether ‘kawaii’ has found its place in contemporary Europe, with a particular focus on Italy and France. Pellitteri acquires a transcultural perspective and observes ‘the kawaii phenomenon’ as a “culture of cuteness” which (1), although originating in Japan, has become fused with European aesthetics in certain areas of youth subcultures and pop-culture products. As an example of such fusion between Japanese and European cultures, Pellitteri uses the so-called “Euromanga”—comics made by European creators, but influenced by aesthetic and/or narrative elements of  Japanese manga.

Pellitteri begins his article with a theoretical account of the ‘kawaii phenomenon’. Taking up the bulk of the text, the theoretical discussion includes an overview of the semantic and/or linguistic origins of ‘kawaii’ and highlights ‘kawaii’s’ association with an “emotional attachment to creatures”, a “girl/girlish culture” (vs. a more ‘manlier’ aesthetics), and, among other things, a nostalgic sentiment about one’s childhood. Аs another important aspect of ‘kawaii culture’, Pellitteri mentions its pattern-crossing ability, that is, the ability to move across media, industries and “juvenile tendencies” (5). The theoretical discussion closes with a note that ‘kawaii aesthetics’ are interpreted and appropriated differently in Japanese and Western contexts (i.e., West-Europe and America); while ‘kawaii’ is an integral part of contemporary Japanese culture and aesthetic, in Europe, it does not, according to Pellitteri, appear to be a dominant aesthetic trend among Japanese-inspired youth subcultures. (more…)

Highlighting New Publications – Translating Cultural References in Japanese Animation Films

SpiritedAwayPORAsakura, Kaori. Translating cultural references in Japanese animation films: The case of Spirited Away. Translation Matters, 1(1), 61-81.

Looking at “dictionary definitions” of terms may not necessarily lead to conclusive results – a “dictionary definition” is only one possible use of several. Nonetheless, the way a particular term is defined – and what is emphasized in the definition – can suggest certain approaches and interpretations. Something as straightforward as, for example, the definition of “anime” in the online Oxford Dictionaries – “A style of Japanese film and television animation, typically aimed at adults as well as children” – suggests that to reach viewers outside of Japan, anime must be translated. How this translation process actually takes place, under what conditions, and subject to what kinds of influences, can be a subject for extensive research.

SpiritedAwayENGAnd in fact, there is already a significant body of scholarship on translating anime and manga. General introductions include the “Translating manga” chapter in Comics in Translation (St. Jerome Publishing, 2008), and the article “History and philosophy of manga translation in North America” (International Journal of Comic Art, 2016). An example of a more theoretical approach can be seen in Perceptions and (re)presentations of familiarity and foreignness: The cultural politics of translation in the subtitling of Japanese animation by fans. And beyond these more general ones, there are several specific case studies that examine particular translations, or compare how the same original materials are translated into English and into other languages – as in “The translation and adaptation of Miyazaki’s Spirit Princess in the West” (in Princess Mononoke: Understanding Studio Ghibli’s Monster Princess), Strategy and style in English and French translations of Japanese comic books (Edinburgh Working Papers in Applied Linguistics, 2001), “A textual analysis of Japanese and Chinese editions of manga: Translation as cultural hybridiziation” (International Journal of Comic Art, 2006), The cultural transfer in anime translation (Translation Journal, 2009), and Dubbing of silences in Spirited Away: A comparison of Japanese and English language versions (Perspectives: Studies in Translation Theory & Practice, 2016). (more…)

Anime/Manga Studies in 2018: The Year in Review

For various reasons, I missed a Year in Review post for 2017. But, with 2018 now several weeks behind us, it is definitely appropriate to review the highlights of the year for anime and manga studies in the broad categories of new and notable publications, conferences and other events, and classes.

Books:

interpreting animeAfter a relatively quiet year in terms of major new English-language books on anime, this past one was anything but, with some of the most well-known authors in anime and manga studies publishing new titles.

Christopher Bolton, who teaches comparative and Japanese literature at Williams College, led the way with Interpreting Anime, the first book on anime I am aware of that is designed specifically for classroom use – and so, aimed at both instructors and students – and priced accordingly, at just $24.00. It has already received excellent reviews, including in Choice and in the Electronic Journal of Contemporary Japanese Studies, where the reviewer praises Bolton for “a meaningful contribution to the scholarship of reading, one able to transcend its subject matter – anime – and speak to readers everywhere, those who seek as full, as complete an engagement with their texts as possible.” To promote the book further, Prof. Bolton has also created a dedicated web page for it, and a YouTube trailer.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWx277kDS9A&w=560&h=315]

[And, in what may be a personal first, alongside the books, chapters, and journal articles that Interpreting Anime’s bibliography lists, there is also a citation to a post in this blog.]

For many years, the introductory title in anime studies – more or less by default, was Anime from Akira to Princess Mononoke: Experiencing Contemporary Japanese Animation, first published in 2001. And even though it saw an 2005 update (as Anime from Akira to Howl’s Moving Castle, now, in 2018, it is still inevitably dated. So, something like Interpreting Anime, along with Anime: A Critical Introduction, published in 2015, is absolutely invaluable. Probably the only caveat when considering this title is that it is based almost entirely on essays that Bolton published previously, although all of them have been revised and expanded to fit into an overarching structure. (more…)

The Shortcomings and “Blind Spots” of Anime and Manga Studies – a survey of the critical commentary

Recently, a colleague passed around a call for “more good scholarship on shonen as a genre” and voiced frustration with how little such scholarship currently exists – essentially the only one that addresses the genre as a whole, rather than specific works, is Angela Drummond-Matthews’ “What Boys Will Be: A Study of Shonen Manga” (in the 2010 essay collection Manga: An Anthology of Global and Cultural Perspectives, pp. 62-76). One recent article that I recommended – and that he found useful – is Straddling the Line: How Female Authors are Pushing the Boundaries of Gender Representation in Japanese Shonen Manga (New Voices in Japanese Studies, 10, 76-97) – as I noted, “pushing the boundaries” first requires establishing just what these boundaries are, and in fact, the paper does include an extensive discussion of “the framework” of shonen manga. But the original question, and the frustration at not there not being more material available, led me to some thinking of my own.

The first English-language academic article on anime was published more than twenty-five years ago. It’s now been about twenty years since the first full class on Japanese animation at an American college. Anime is an accepted and acceptable area of scholarly interest, and anime and manga studies is as established academic field. And, as the field continues to define its its shape, it becomes particularly important to highlight not just what it is about, but the internal discussions that are taking place within it – the debates and the critiques. So, since that first article – Susan Napier’s Panic sites: The Japanese imagination of disaster from Godzilla to Akira appeared back in 1993, what kinds of comments have scholars made identifying particular shortcomings in anime/manga studies?

Thomas Lamarre’s The Anime Machine: A Media Theory of Animation can, at this point, be considered one of the foundational texts of anime/manga studies – it is the most cited English-language book across all 10 volumes of Mechademia. And, right on the first page of the book’s preface, Lamarre states – although without providing any concrete examples:

The bulk of anime commentary ignores that its ‘object’ consists of moving images, as if animations were but another text. Such a treatment of anime as textual object has tended in two directions. On the one hand, even when anime is treated largely as text, some commentators will call on the novelty and popularity of anime to bypass the tough questions that usually arise around the analysis of texts. Anime is, in effect, treated as a textual object that does not or cannot pose any difficult textual questions. Analysis is relegated to re-presenting anime narratives, almost in the manner of book reports or movie reviews. [emphasis mine]. On the other some commentators treat anime as text in order to pose “high textual” speculative questions  (such as the nature of reality, or the relationship of mind and body), again ignoring the moving image altogether but for different reasons. In this kind of textual treatment, the anime stories serve as the point of departure for philosophical speculation, without any consideration of the materiality of animation.

Lamarre, “The Anime Machine: A Media Theory of Animation”, pp. ix-x.

Mitsuyo Wada-Marciano, in her chapter “Global and Local Materialities of Anime”, in the essay collection Television, Japan, and Globalization, addresses some of the major challenges of “studying anime” right away too – “the transformative quality of anime makes it elusive in terms of its discursive development as an academic discipline”…”there is little consensus about what anime actually is.” Her approach, and the shortcomings she identifies, at least as of 2010, are related to Lamarre’s, but place the emphasis on the relative lack of attention paid to anime as a product that is created with particular audiences in mind:

Anime studies….relegate TV anime, as having less aesthetic and discursive value, within the larger category of anime. Little work has been done on Japanese TV anime since that would force a reassessment of the paradigm of anime as global culture.”

Wada-Marciano, “Global and Local Materialities of Anime”, p. 243.

This preference for textual analysis continues to be the dominant approach in anime studies. In the process of constructing a body of knowledge in anime studies, anime has been dislocated from specific patterns of reception whether culturally, temporally, or technologically configured. The facts of how anime is tied to local specificity and needs, for instance in the form of TV series, have often been neglected or erased…

…Anime studies in the United States, intentionally or not, is being organized around canons, which serve to legitimize the academic discipline. With anime studies as a forming discipline, discussions often center on the visually more complex anime “films”, but not on the domestic and mass-produced anime TV series. Big budget anime films such as Metropolis, Princess Mononoke, Ghost in the Shell, and Akira are frequently discussed, along with their contemporary critical themes of technological alienatation, environmental issues, cyborg feminism, and postmodernity, while the majority of TV anime series have been neglected, since an analysis would require an examination of anime’s connections with local audiences and the complex popular culture of Japan.”

“Global and Local Materialities of Anime”, p. 245.

Jaqueline Berndt is currently at the fore-front of defining the dimensions of “anime and manga studies” through her publications and her work as an editor and in organizing lectures and exhibitions. And one of her earlier essays, “Considering Manga Discourse: Location, Ambiguity, Historicity” (in Japanese Visual Culture: Explorations in the World of Manga and Anime, 2008) already outlines a number of “blind spots in the study of manga” – in a section of the chapter with that specific heading. Among the “blind spots” that Berndt identifies are:

Non-Japanese scholars tend to assume that [Hayao Miyazaki’s] movies are typical of anime as a whole because of their mere presence in Japan; they frequently treat these animated movies as mirrors of Japanese culture, assuming the existence of a homogenous audience, and often implicitly comparing them to Disney products, but they rarely locate them within the history and present variety of animation in Japan. Equally symptomatic of a decidedly foreign approach is the astonishingly small emphasis on comparing animated movies (or series) with their respective manga works, even in the case of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind or Ghost in the Shell. This arises from different ways of experiencing the works in the first place, but it also involves a widespread disregard for Japanese perspectives.

Foreign scholars also tend to concentrate on thematic interpretations of manga and anime. However, considering how they are consumed in Japan would shift the emphasis of criticism in this area. Without this context, authors may overlook that genres within manga are less centered on thematic context than in the United States and, furthermore, that many regular readers today are less attracted by narrative content than the are by technical craftsmanship, visual spectacle, intertextual references, or cute characters.

Berndt, “Considering Manga Discourse”, p. 296-297.

Another issue she points out is the “isolation” of manga studies apart from comics studies – and some of the reasons behind that isolation – although I think that the emergence of publications such as the Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics and Studies in Comics that simply make it easier for scholars to access multiple perspectives on the different global “comics cultures” will work to reduce this isolation. Nonetheless, she argues that:

Students of manga within Japanese studies usually do not attempt comparisons with other sorts of comics or consult theoretical literature by authors not specializing in Japan who publish in periodicals like the Comics Journal and the International Journal of Comic Art. This segmentation between manga and the “rest” of comics can be traced back to two completely different motivations. In some circumstances, it comes from an exclusive interest in things Japanese, without a significant exposure to comics and their specific discourse; at other times, its genesis is the enthusiasm of manga fans, who usually refrain from consuming any other sorts of comics. As opposite as these positions seem, both focus on manga as a particularly Japanese cultural artifact and therefore tend to reinforce exoticism and neonationalism. However, instead of engaging the issue of “Japaneseness,” I prefer to draw attention to the lack of familiarity with comics as a whole, including the range of variations within the medium. This lack is perhaps one reason why Japanologists neglect manga’s aesthetic and cultural particularities. But without considering comics on their own terms, it will not be possible to examine multiple perspectives on them.

“Considering Manga Discourse”, p. 297.

Of course, these critiques should not be read as implying that any particular piece of scholarly writing on anime/manga is in of itself incorrect or invalid. Rather, I think the authors’ intent is to provide constructive criticism and contribute to building a stronger foundation for anime and manga studies as the field continues to evolve and develop. And certainly for my own part, I hope to remember what they point out, and apply it to my own writing on anime/manga going forward.