Editors: Josef Steiff and Adam Barkman

Publisher: Open Court (Chicago, IL)

ISBN: 978-0-8126-9679-0

This title, along with its companion volume Anime and Philosophy
is published in Open Court Publishing Company’s Popular Culture and Philosophy series of essay collections. The books in this series present “essays by academic philosophers exploring the meanings, concepts, and puzzles within television shows, movies, music and other icons of popular culture” aimed at general readers.

Accordingly, although Manga and Philosophy includes contributions by leading scholars such as Ada Palmer (University of Chicago), Steve Odin (University of Hawaii) and Deborah Shamoon (National University of Singapore), the individual essays in this volume differ significantly from what would be found in a typical academic edited collection. They are relatively short, generally no longer than 15 pages, and written in a casual, non-academic style. The titles of the essays are largely not descriptive of the actual topics that they address or the specific manga discussed in each, although these are noted in the volume’s table of contents. Although sources ranging from Plato and Aristotle to recent monographs, essay collections, and journal articles are referenced extensively throughout the collection, none of the individual essays include a works cited section, and the references are only listed in a combined bibliography for the entire volume.


  • Tamplin, Tristan D. You need a system to play Black Jack (pp. 3-15)
    [Black Jack]
  • Palmer, Ada. You, God of Manga, are cruel (pp. 17-36).
    [Black Jack, Phoenix, Buddha]
  • Sheridan, Bruce. Imagination rising (pp. 37-49).
  • Terjesen, Andrew. Why are there so few superhero manga? (pp. 53-68).
    [Spider-Man J, Cyborg 009, Ultimo, Shadow Lady, Zetman]
  • Barkman, Adam. Should Athena really wear pink? (pp. 69-80).
    [Ulysses 31, Appleseed, Saint Seiya, Chrono Crusade]
  • Sobocinski, Carl H. Re-staging World War II (pp. 81-91).
    [Cosmoship Yamato, Barefoot Gen, Zipang]
  • Clements, Jonathan. Living happily never after in women’s manga (pp. 93-109).
  • Kang, Nancy. Dirty pictures (pp. 111-127).
  • Birmingham, Elizabeth. No man could love her more (pp. 131-140).
    [Angel Sanctuary, Vampire Knight]
  • Michaud, Nicolas. Is Al still Ed’s brother or he already dead? (pp. 141-148).
    [Fullmetal Alchemist]
  • Shamoon, Deborah. Humanity grows up (pp. 149-159).
    [To Terra]
  • Livingston, Sarah, Operation La Famiglia (pp. 161-185)
    This chapter is not an essay, but rather, a series of blog posts, letters, and memos presented as written by (and from the points of view of) characters in the manga Gunslinger Girl.
  • Canaday, Brandon. Light shows the way (pp. 189-194).
    [Death Note]
  • Luco, Gilbert M. Writing wrong (pp. 195-201).
    [Death Note]
  • Steiff, Josef. Being good takes practice (pp. 205-218).
    [Hero Heel]
  • Matsuura, Daisuke. Kenshin is not an emo pansy (pp. 219-228).
    [Rurouni Kenshin]
  • Hawkes, Gordon. Showing the world the right path (pp. 229-240).
    [Gundam Wing]
  • Barkman, Ashley. The brink of extinction (pp. 241-251).
    [Ark Angels – Korean manhwa]
  • Odin, Steve. Down the abyss (pp. 253-266).
    [Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind]
  • Thompson, Sally Jane. Drawing the self (pp. 267-279).
    [Sexy Voice and Robo, Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, FLCL]
  • Davis, Jason, Barber, Christie & Bryce, Mio. Why do they look white? (pp. 283-295).
  • Marks, Elizabeth A. Never really there (pp. 297-304).
  • Botz-Bornstein, Thorsten. Being cute and being cool (pp. 305-320).
  • Reich, George A. The flaming metaphysical lips of manga (pp. 321-332).


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