Since launching this project over a year ago, a significant portion of my work has gone towards presenting materials – such as lists of recent academic publications on anime/manga, that until now, have not been available anywhere publicly. With the lists now complete going back to 2010 – I can begin moving into the project’s next stage. This will involve going back into my own archives and the legacy Online Bibliography of Anime and Manga Research to extract and present lists of English-language scholarship on anime/manga published prior to 2010 – all the to 1977 – the year that the first such paper that I’m aware of was published. And, right now, I am pleased to be able to present the 2009 edition of the Annual Bibliography of Anime and Manga Studies.
As with all other editions of the Bibliography, it is also available as a separate page. Any further updates will be reflected on that page only, not in this post.
In terms of new publications on anime/manga, 2009 definitely stood out for the relatively large number of books that were published over the course of the year. These included two separate monographs on the life and works of “God of manga” Osamu Tezuka, Thomas Lamarre’s intensely theoretical The Anime Machine: A Media Theory of Animation, with its strong call to shift the focus in anime studies away from an emphasis on either textual or anthropological/sociological readings, and towards an analysis that builds on the unique qualities of animation as an art form and a way of representation, two separate personal testimonials by anime industry professionals, and even a pair of titles on anime/manga in the Rough Guides series of popular reference handbooks. In addition, the year saw over 20 individual chapters on anime in various essay collections, and some 70 individual peer-reviewed articles, once again in a wide range of journals in fields including animation studies, comics studies, Asian/East Asian/Japanese studies, film studies, education, literature, media studies, and other areas of the humanities and social sciences. (more…)
It is always hard to come up with adequate words for the role that Osamu Tezuka played in the development of Japanese comics and Japanese animation. The epithets are plenty – “one of the most respected cultural figures of 20th century Japan”, “godfather” of anime/manga, “God of manga”, even “God of comics” – and there is a reason for them.
But, at the same time, when considering Tezuka, it is also crucially important to avoid exaggeration and hyperbole, to evaluate the man and his work critically, to consider it in a proper context. Yes, Tezuka largely defined “manga” and “anime” as we know them, and his influence on anime and manga is felt to the present day. But, for example, no, Osamu Tezuka did not “invent” Japanese comics or Japanese animation. How “manga” and “anime” would have developed without him and what form Japanese comics and Japanese animation would have taken in his absence is a valid question, but there is no reason to assume that these forms of popular visual culture would not have existed at all without Osamu Tezuka.
Regardless, t is also no surprise that Tezuka – the artist, the writer, the creator – has been the subject of significant scholarly attention. For example, he is one of only four anime/manga creators who are the subject of a full-length English-language study of their work – the others being Hayao Miyazaki, Mamoru Oshii, and Satoshi Kon. (more…)
As I have noted just recently, anime/manga studies as an academic area does not yet have a defined group of “core” journals that are considered to be the area’s most important or most authoritative. Nonetheless, it’s possible to identify journals that, at least subjectively, can be considered “important” to anime/manga studies. In fact, in Journals in the core collection: Definition, identification, and applications, The Serials Librarian, 51(3-4), 51-73, Thomas Nisonger specifically mentions “subjective judgment” as one of the possible approaches to determining core journals for a discipline – certainly not the only one, and with plenty of shortcomings – but also, with definite benefits and definite applications. And, just as I work to compile a general bibliography of academic publications on anime/manga, I have also put together a list of “anime/manga studies journals” – academic periodicals that have been particularly open to publishing academic articles on anime/manga, or that, by their very nature and their specific subject focus, welcome these kinds of articles.
Some of the journals on this list are well-known and long-established, with archives going back decades – The Journal of Japanese Studies, The Journal of Popular Culture, Science Fiction Studies. Others, such as the Journal of Fandom Studies, the Journal of Japanese & Korean Cinema, and Studies in Comics have only been published for a few years. Some of them are open access – that is, can be read at no charge, while others are available only to subscribers or via a database. And, just as with the main bibliography, I am always looking for items to add to this list. So, it’s always really interesting to come across a new journal that should clearly be included – such as the new East Asian Journal of Popular Culture, the inaugural April 2015 issue of which has now been published. (more…)
Over the more than 10 years now that I have been tracking the development of anime/manga studies as an academic area in general, and new academic publications on anime/manga more specifically, I have presented my work in several different formats. A single fixed list or table was adequate when there were only a few dozen books, book chapters, and journal articles to highlight. But it would not be able an adequate way to present several hundred records. For a while, I was able to add new items to a database presented online using the DabbleDB platform. Since it was discontinued four years ago, I have compiled annual lists of new publications on anime/manga, and announced them at the end of each year. These lists for the years from 2010 to 2014 are now archived in the Bibliographies section of this site, and I plan to continue this work and present similar lists for the years prior to 2010 as well – in fact, the one for 2009 will be up in the next few days. At the same time, this blog now also makes it possible for me to maintain a running list of new publications on anime/manga – so, rather than assembling the list continuously but only releasing it in December or even next year, I can instead make the list of academic publications on anime/manga published this year available to the public right now, and update it continuously as new materials are published.
Annual Bibliography of Anime/Manga Studies, 2015 Ed.
Over the last year, I have been using this blog to promote, foster and facilitate the developing field of anime/manga studies, and document various new developments in this field. And, I also hope to be able to say that with this blog, I can demonstrate just what we mean by the term anime and manga studies. One easy way to do this is simply by highlighting the range of academic books, book chapters, journal articles, and other publications on anime/manga – as I do in the Bibliography section. Another is by noting that many of these publications themselves specifically use the terms ‘anime studies’/’manga studies’.
But, pointing out that anime/manga studies is an academic field then raises a direct question – what are some of the characteristics of anime/manga studies as an academic field? What kinds of programs are the scholars writing about anime/manga based in? What form does the “scholarly output” of anime/manga studies take? What is the field’s “citation landscape” – what kinds of publications do anime/manga scholars cite in their work, and are there particular publications (or even particular individual titles) that are cited with such frequency that they should be considered “core” for the field as a whole? Academic fields or areas can also be characterized by their “publication patterns” – that is, the kinds of journals (or the specific journals) that scholarship in these fields tends to appear in. Do anime scholars seek to publish their work primarily in Japanese or Asian studies journals? Film studies/animation studies journals? Other types? (more…)
To the best of my knowledge, 2010 was simply THE high point to date of English-language scholarly interest in anime and manga, with 10 new monographs, 6 essay collections (with a total of well over a hundred chapters), 29 more chapters in other essay collections, and over 60 individual articles in scholarly-peer reviewed journals.
Particularly noticeable trends this year included:
- A significant focus on homosexual themes and homosexual relationships, and fans’ responses and reactions to these, as in the essay collection Boys’ Love Manga, book chapters (‘He-romance for her. Yaoi, BL and shounen-ai’ in Imaginary Japan: Japanese fantasy in contemporary popular culture; ‘Identity unmoored: Yaoi in the West’, in LGBT Identity and Online New Media) and several individual journal articles – Drawing desire: Male youth and homoerotic fan art (Journal of LGBT Youth, 7:1, 6-28); Representations of the masculine in Tagame Gengoroh’s ero SM manga (Asian Studies Review, 34:4, 443-465); Yaoi: Voices from the margins (Annals of Human Sciences, 31, 215-228).
- With Open Court Publishing Company’s Anime and Philosophy and Manga and Philosophy essay collections, at accessible price points and distributed to general book stores, an effort to introduce the ideas and practices of scholarly approaches to Japanese animation and Japanese comics to general audiences.
As always, it is possible that this list is not absolutely complete – you are welcome to suggest additional titles to add.
And, as always, this list is also available as a separate page. Any new updates will be reflected on that page only.
“The Media Review section of Resilience: A Journal of the Environmental Humanities calls for reviews that apply ecocritical and Green cultural studies approaches to the field of Japanese animation.
2014 was a watershed year for Studio Ghibli, arguably the leading anime studio, because it marked the retirement of the founding directors Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata. who issued their swan-songs The Wind Rises and Princess Kaguya. To honor this moment and attract more critical attention to anime, we are soliciting reviews of the following:
Miyazaki’s films, especially Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, and Ponyo.
Takahata’s Ken the Wolf Boy, Heidi: Girl of the Alps, Pom Poko aka “Tanuki Wars,” Grave of the Fireflies, and Princess Kaguya. (more…)
2011 was a very strong year for new English-language academic/scholarly publications on anime and manga. These included four new monographs, a Collector’s Edition of Frederik Schodt’s seminal Dreamland Japan: Writings on Modern Manga (originally published in 1996), a new edited collection of essays on Japanese animation and comics, to add to Cinema Anime: Critical Engagements with Japanese Animation (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006) and Japanese Visual Culture: Explorations in the World of Manga and Anime (M. E. Sharpe, 2008), 16 individual book chapters in other essay collections, and over 50 articles in various scholarly journals. In addition, 3 journals published special issues focused on anime/manga.
Once again, these books and journals spanned a wide range of fields and disciplines. While some were in the expected areas of animation and comics studies, film, literature, and East Asian/Japanese studies, some of the other areas that welcomed publications on anime/manga and related topics included urban studies, folklore, modern European history, and health communication. (more…)
The names of Hayao Miyazaki, Mamoru Oshii, and Satoshi Kon are familiar to pretty much anyone who has an interest in Japanese animation. And it is no surprise that these are the three directors who have also received extensive attention in the English-language scholarly writing on anime. But, as was widely reported and discussed last year, Miyazaki has now effectively retired from working as a feature film director. Oshii’s last anime film was 2008’s Sky Crawlers – he has since been working primarily on live-action projects. Kon passed away in 2010.
The question of who will be the next truly major anime director has been raised time and time again in discussions about the current state of Japanese animation, and anime’s prospects for the future. Some names that have come up include Hideaki Anno, Kunihiko Ikuhara, and Mamoru Hosoda – but none of them have received the same kind of acclaim or attention as did Miyazaki, Oshii, or Kon. Granted, there were definitely quite a few responses in the literature on anime to Anno and Neon Genesis Evangelion, but, important – transformative – as that series was, it was also very much a product of a particular point in time, and he has not been able to follow it up with anything else that would be as prominent. (more…)
Anime, as anime scholars will never tire of repeating, is not a genre, it is a “form” or “mode” of animation, and anime films and television series can include a wide variety of genres. At the same time, it is also true that anime’s stereotypical genre is science fiction. The two films that first really got anime noticed outside Japan, Akira and Ghost in the Shell – are the epitome of science fiction cinema. And so, one of the most common approaches to anime that scholars take it to focus on anime as science fiction.
For example, the only anime director (in fact, the only animator) profiled in Fifty Key Figures in Science Fiction (“a collection of engaging essays on some of the most significant figures who have shaped and defined the genre”, Routledge, 2009) is Ghost in the Shell‘s Mamoru Oshii. “Manga and anime” is a section in the Routledge Companion to Science Fiction (2009). Among the chapters in Science fiction film and television: Across the screens (Routledge, 2012) is one on Cowboy Bebop. And some of the most seminal scholarly essays on Japanese animation to be published in English – among them, Carl Silvio’s Reconfiguring the radical cyborg in Mamoru Oshii’s Ghost in the Shell (No. 77, March 1999), Michael Fisch’s Nation, war, and Japan’s future in the science fiction anime film Patlabor II (No. 80, March 2000), and the three articles by Susan Napier, Sharalyn Orbaugh, and Christopher Bolton in the special issue on Japanese science fiction (No. 88, November 2002 – appeared in the journal Science Fiction Studies – these include).
With this in mind, ever since Liverpool University Press launched the journal Science Fiction Film and Television, the only peer-reviewed scholarly journal I am aware of with that specific focus, I have been looking forward to the kind of scholarship on Japanese animation the journal would feature. Until now, it was limited to reviews of books (and edited collections containing chapters on) anime, as well as one review of a particular anime film. And now, “science fiction anime” is the specific theme of the journals’ new Autumn 2014 issue. (more…)