Tag: Neon Genesis Evangelion

Neon Genesis Evangelion: A Bibliography of English Language Scholarship

It’s definitely not every week and not every month that New York Magazine, The New Yorker and Vox pay attention to Japanese animation. But, of course, if there is ever an anime – not directed by Hayao Miyazaki or Mamoru Oshii – that would qualify for coverage in a mainstream English-language publication, Neon Genesis Evangelion, now available for streaming on Netflix, is that anime.

Ever since Evangelion premiered on Japanese television in the fall of 1995, and then made its way to countries around the world via means both official and decidedly unofficial, it has been the subject of intense discussion and reflection. And while it’s essentially impossible to build anything like a comprehensive catalog of “fan” reaction to Eva, what we can do is instead ask – and answer – the question of how have anime scholars responded.

As with any literature review or survey of this type, it is subject to certain restrictions and caveats. The most obvious one is of “scope” – the distinction between just passing mentions of Evangelion, and actual in-depth substantive discussion. But exactly where does this distinction lie? And beyond that, there is also the issue of “recall” – there is no way to ever be sure that a literature search is fully comprehensive. Nonetheless, and with these restrictions in mind, a look at English-language scholarly responses to Neon Genesis Evangelion still adds an important angle to considering and reflecting on Eva’s impact and effect.

[Last Updated: February 13, 2022]

Neon Genesis Evangelion Studies, 1996 – present

1996

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Azuma, Hiroki. Anime or something like it: Neon Genesis Evangelion. InterCommunication, 18.

1997

[ARCHIVED]
Woznicki, Krystian. Towards a cartography of Japanese anime: Anno Hideaki’s “Evangelion”. Blimp Film Magazine, 36, 18-26

1999

Steinberg, Marc. The trajectory of the apocalypse: Pleasure and destruction in Akira and Evangelion. East Asia Forum, 8/9, 1-31.

2000

Routt, William D. Stillness and style in ‘Neon Genesis Evangelion’. Animation Journal, 8(1), 28-43.

2002

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Broderick, Mick. Anime’s apocalypse: Neon Genesis Evangelion as millennarian mecha. Intersections: Gender, History and Culture in the Asian Context, 7.

Napier, Susan J. When the machines stop: Fantasy, reality, and terminal identity in “Neon Genesis Evangelion” and “Serial Experiments Lain”. Science Fiction Studies, 29(3), 418-435.

Orbaugh, Sharalynn. Sex and the single cyborg: Japanese popular culture experiments in subjectivity. Science Fiction Studies, 29(3), 436-452.

2004

Redmond, Dennis. The World is Watching: Video as Multinational Aesthetics, 1958-1995. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press.

“Evolving rapidly from the movie screen to the television screen to the computer screen, video culture has blossomed from its origins as an obscure spin-off of the 1960s Anglo-American media culture into one of the leading art forms of the late twentieth century. And as such, video culture has grown from being the dominion of small but dedicated cult followings to becoming a near mainstream cinematic interest. The World Is Watching: Video as Multinational Aesthetics, 1968–1995 explores the origins and implications of this powerful visual medium which crosses national, cultural, and political boundaries to present provocative tales of the highest quality. Dennis Redmond’s probing study is rooted in close readings of three stylish and highly successful video efforts – The Prisoner (1967), The Decalogue (1988), and Neon Genesis: Evangelion (1995).”

[Ed. note: This title, largely ignored by both film/video scholars in general and by anime scholars in particular, is the only in-depth comparative discussion of Evangelion in a full-length scholarly monograph that I am aware of.]

2005

Sanders, Leonard. Virtual ephemeralities: Idoru and Evangelion, popular visual cultures in Japan.
In Martin Heusser, Michele Hannoosh, Eric Haskell, Leo Hoek, David Scott, & Peter de Voogd (Eds.), On verbal/visual representation (pp. 137-149). Amsterdam: Rodopi.

2007

Malone, Paul M. My own private apocalypse: Shinji Ikari as Schreberian paranoid superhero in Hideaki Anno’s Neon Genesis Evangelion.
In Wendy Haslem, Angela Ndalianis, & Chris Makie (Eds.), Super/heroes: From Hercules to Superman (pp. 111-126). Washington, DC: New Academia.

Ortega, Mariana. My father, he killed me; my mother, she ate me: Self, desire, engendering, and the mother in Neon Genesis Evangelion. Mechademia, 2, 216-232.

Redmond, Dennis. Anime and East Asian culture: Neon Genesis Evangelion. Quarterly Review of Film and Video, 24(2), 183-188.

2008

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Ashby, Madeline. Ownership, authority, and the body: Does antifanfic sentiment reflect posthuman anxiety? Transformative Works and Cultures, 1.

“This essay examines three Japanese anime texts – Ghost in the Shell, Neon Genesis Evangelion, and Serial Experiments: Lain – in order to discover metaphors for female fan practices online. In each of the three texts, women overthrow corporate, governmental, or paternal control over the body and gain the right to copy or reproduce it by fundamentally altering those bodies. These gestures are expressions of posthuman anxiety and “terminal identity.” In addition, they involve confrontation with an uncanny double in some way. But how can they provide models for cyborg and fan subjectivity in an era in which bodily and textual reproduction, especially among females, is such a hotly contested issue? And how is the antifanfic backlash related to the phenomenon of the uncanny?”

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Vuckovich, Rob. Evangelion and existentialism: The case of Shinji Ikari.
In M. Berman (ed.). The Everyday Fantastic: Essays on Science Fiction and the Human Being (pp. 73-86). Newcastle, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

2009

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Thouny, Christophe. Waiting for the Messiah: The becoming-myth of Evangelion and Densha Otoko. Mechademia, 4, 111-129.

2010

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Bryce, Mio. Cheung, Paul, & Gutierrez, Anna Katrina. Clones, hybrids and organ transplants in manga and anime. International Journal of the Humanities, 8(5),279-290.

“Manga and anime are commonly regarded as media products geared primarily towards entertainment and merchandising opportunities. However, some are capable of offering critical commentary on society, humanity and more broadly, life itself. Following the lead taken by the ‘God of Manga’ Tezuka Osamu in “Seimei-hen” in “Hi no Tori” (“Life” in “Phoenix”, 1980), a number of manga and anime have produced unsettling images of clones and hybrid beings, particularly those resulting from organ transplantation. These works question, typically ahead of the technology of the time, the value of life, the integrity of its form, and its immunity from commodification. In spite of their fictionality, these narratives are associated with a great sense of reality and immediacy, due in part to rapid developments in biotechnology, computing and engineering. At the same time, humanity itself appears to have changed along with these developments and the fictional narratives can be said to embody fears, hopes, and dreams concerning life and its significance. They deal with a range of pressing social and ethical issues, especially those related to the self and its multiple boundaries, whilst entertaining their readers and viewers. Using several narratives as exemplars, this paper will explore the use of biotechnology in manga and anime as devices in envisioning ‘life’ – what it may be, how it is formed and how it could be dealt with, at the individual as well as collective level. In doing so, the paper will demonstrate how these manga and anime narratives and others like them are relevant in a wide range of contexts despite their apparent linguistic and cultural specificity.”

2013

Li, Carl, Nakamura, Mari and Roth, Martin. Japanese science fiction in converging media: Alienation and Neon Genesis Evangelion. Asiascape Occasional Papers, 6, 1-15.

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Ruh, Brian. Producing transnational cult media: Neon Genesis Evangelion and Ghost in the Shell in circulation. Intensities: The Journal of Cult Media, 5, 1-23.

2014

Ballus, Andreu, & Torrents, Alba G. Evangelion as Second Impact: Forever changing that which never was. Mechademia, 9, 283-293.

DiTommaso, Lorenzo. Apocalypticism and popular culture.
In John J. Collins (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of apocalyptic literature (pp. 473-510). New York: Oxford University Press.

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Savoy, Katherine. The artificial restoration of agency through sex and technology in Neon Genesis Evangelion. Electronic Journal of Contemporary Japanese Studies, 14(3).

“In this article, I will discuss the origin and limiting factors of identity in the series Neon Genesis Evangelion and the relationship between the individual and the community. I will examine the process of outsourcing one’s identity and, in doing so, relinquishing agency and responsibility. To elaborate on these points I will dissect the show’s patriarchal structure, looking first at the role of women and then sexuality as it applies to the struggle between free-will and imposed external regulation. I will follow the growth of identity through the presence of technology, and question the assumed binaries between man and machine as well as how the series challenges such concepts. Finally, I will look at denial as the internal control of identity, contrasting with the use of self-awareness for social domination within the community.”

2016

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Tsang, Gabriel F. Y. Beyond 2015: Nihilism and existential rhetoric in Neon Genesis EvangelionJournal of International and Advanced Japanese Studies, 8, 35-43.

“Generally categorized as low art, Japanese manga and anime draw insufficient overseas critical attention, regardless of their enormous cultural influence in East Asia. Their popularity not simply proved the success of cultural industrialization in Japan, but also marks a series of local phenomena, reflecting social dynamicity and complexity, that deserve interdisciplinary analysis. During the lost decade in the 1990s, which many scholars studied with economic accent (Katz 1998, Grimes 2001, Lincoln 2001, Amyx 2004, Beason and Patterson 2004, Rosenbluth and Thies 2010), manga and anime industry in Japan entered its golden age. The publication and broadcast of some remarkable works, such as Dragon Ball, Sailor Moon, Crayon Shin-chan and Slam Dunk, not only helped generate huge income (nearly 600 billion yen earned in the manga market in 1995) that alleviated economic depression, but also distracted popular focus from the urge of demythologising national growth.

This paper will focus on the TV-series version of Hideaki Anno’s Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995–1996), a well-received anime broadcast after the Great Hanshin earthquake and the Tokyo subway sarin attack perpetrated by terrorists of Aum Shinrikyo, both happening in 1995. I will base my discussion on someimportant concepts of Jean-Paul Sartre, such as le pour-soi (the for-itself) and bad faith, to illustrate how Hideaki Anno represents his protagonists as figures emancipated by existentialist morality. His frequent use of monologue in latter episodes individually enquiring the meaning of personal existence, following the dystopian fall of Tokyo-3, echoes the nihilistic context of both post-traumatic Europe and over-capitalized
Japan. I argue that the subjective bonding between given existence of self-consciousness and innate search for fixing the purpose of being has pre-universalized relevant reflection. It sustains the celebrity of Neon Genesis Evangelion until now, especially when Japan has not yet recovered from the 2011 earthquake off the Pacific coast of Tohoku, which carried unresolved economic challenges.”

2021

Afanasov, Nikolai. Messiah in depression: Religion, science-fiction and postmodernism in Neon Genesis EvangelionState, Religion and Church7(1), 47-66.
[original version in Russian]

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Jose Andres Santiago Iglesias & Ana Soler Baena (eds.). Anime Studies: Media-Specific Approaches to Neon Genesis Evangelion. Stockholm: Stockholm University Press.

Anime Studies: Media-Specific Approaches to Neon Genesis Evangelion aims at advancing the study of anime, understood as largely TV-based genre fiction rendered in cel, or cel-look, animation with a strong affinity to participatory cultures and media convergence. Taking Neon Genesis Evangelion (Shin Seiki Evangerion) as a case study, this volume acknowledges anime as a media form with clearly recognizable aesthetic properties, (sub)cultural affordances and situated discourses.”

2022

Galbraith, Patrick W. The Evangelion boom: On the explosion of fan markets and lifestyles in Heisei Japan.
In Noriko Murai, Jeff Kingston, & Tina Burrett (eds.). Japan in the Heisei Era (1989-2019): Multidisciplinary perspectives (pp. 234-244). Abingdon, UK: Routledge.

Annual Bibliography of Anime and Manga Studies: 1996 Ed.

Going through the history of academic publications on anime and manga, it is no particular surprise that the sheer numbers of such publications have generally increased over the years. This is consistent with the results of most recent studies of trends in academic publishing, across many different fields (although of course, occasionally, such studies do find topics where publications are stagnating or even decreasing). Or, to say it differently, the farther back I go, the fewer publications there are for me to locate and record – from dozens, to really just a few per year.

But, having said that, although only thirteen publications on anime/manga appeared in 1996, these thirteen included several that were ground-breaking then, and still continue to remain important. One is Frederik Schodt’s Dreamland Japan: Writings on Modern Manga – an update, and in the author’s own words, “a sequel, or companion volume of sorts” to his 1983 Manga! Manga!: The World of Japanese Comics – and to this date, probably the best general introduction to manga as a particular form of Japanese visual culture.

Samurai From Outer SpaceAnother, Samurai from Outer Space: Understanding Japanese Animation, by Antonia Levi, was the first book on anime written by an academic author with PhD-level training in Japanese history and extensive teaching experience. Although not an academic title in of itself, and primarily just a survey of major thematic elements (among them, gods and demons, heroes and villains, death, the roles of women, and depictions of relationships and gender issues) that are frequently present in Japanese animation, it nonetheless also addressed several questions that have since come up time and time again – the complex and multi-directional relationship between anime and American media, anime’s ways of both depicting and avoiding depictions of different races, and even, ultimately, the basic question of what exactly makes anime so appealing to American audiences. It introduced readers to these questions – and to the potential ways of answering them, and served as a demonstration of how an author could write a full-length book on anime. It is also no surprise that scholars have been referring to it, both for its seminal place in English-language anime/manga studies, and for many of its specific arguments, examples and points, ever since.

Beyond these two books, the 1996 list also includes several early articles on anime written by Japanese scholars, but in English, and a series of fascinating pieces on the manga markets in Europe and the U.S., as well as the history of manga criticism, that were published in issues of the Japan Foundation’s Japanese Book News newsletter.

English-language books, book chapters, and academic articles on anime/manga: 1996

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AX 2015 Anime and Manga Studies Symposium – Final Schedule

The full schedule for this year’s AX Anime and Manga Studies Symposium, the Academic Program track at Anime Expo, the largest anime/manga convention in North America, has now been finalized. This year’s Symposium consists of four plenary addresses, a special roundtable discussion, and 12 individual presentations on various topics related to anime/manga, with a total of 18 speakers from colleges and universities in the U.S., Canada, Austria, Belgium/France, and Japan. The sessions will be spread out over all four days of Anime Expo 2015, and will all be held in the Theater (Room 411) of the Los Angeles Convention Center.

The 2015 Anime and Manga Studies Symposium program is also available as a separate page.
Download – Word
Download – PDF

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AX 2015 Academic Program / AX Anime and Manga Studies Symposium

Anime Expo 2015
Los Angeles Convention Center (Room 411 / AX Live Programming 4)
Los Angeles, California
July 2-5

Thursday, July 2

5:15 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Introduction: Anime and Manga Studies at AX and in 2015
Mikhail Koulikov

5:30 p.m. – 6:45 p.m.
Panel Session
Critical Approaches to Japanese Animation and Comics

  • The Beautiful End of the World: Eschatologies of the Bishojo

Many of the most iconic characters in anime/manga are young women directly associated with apocalyptic and posthuman themes. Cultural critics have highlighted the parallels between these bishojo and motifs related to freedom, flight, hope, and healing, so it is interesting that often, they are also closely connected to themes of human extinction. I argue that, through the regenerative capacity of such characters, whose emerging sexuality is not yet tainted by masculine bodies and masculinist ideologies such as nationalism, militarism, and scientific rationalism, anime/manga present the “end of the world” as positive event that promises ecological balance and emotional serenity.

Kathryn Hemmann (George Mason University)

  • Stories in Shades of Black and White: Use of Color in CLAMP’s Manga

Many Western comics depend on color, shading, and delicate variations in inking techniques to tell their stories, Japanese manga must create a visually compelling narrative with only black and white. Yet, many manga use significantly fewer inking techniques than standard Western comics. I compare techniques described by famed inker Klaus Janson for Western comics with those in three works by CLAMP in markedly different styles and targeted at different audiences By creating their aesthetic based on the tone and message of a specific work, CLAMP creates synergy between the narrative and visuals, integrating the disparate elements of the page, and transmitting a sense of depth in a manner entirely distinct from Western comics.

Mia Lewis (Stanford University) (more…)

AX 2015 Anime and Manga Studies Symposium – Speakers and Talk Titles

I am pleased to announce the final program for the 2015 AX Anime and Manga Studies Symposium, the Anime Expo 2015 Academic Program. AX 2015 will be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center (Los Angeles, California), from July 2 to July 5, and the Symposium will be spread out over all four days.

The Symposium will feature a keynote address by a leading scholar and teacher, three special guest lectures/presentations, 13 individual talks on a wide range of topics related to Japanese animation and comics, organized into several topical panels, and a roundtable discussion on major issues in teaching about Japanese popular culture and using anime and manga in the classroom. Its main goal remains to highlight new critical approaches to Japanese popular visual culture, but the Symposium also serves a major educational function. It introduces AX’s attendees to the ideas and practices of the academic study of anime and manga, while giving speakers a unique opportunity to present their work to a general audience.

Keynote Address: The Importance of Anime at Film School: Tales from USC

Ellen SeiterEllen Seiter
Professor of Critical Studies
Stephen K. Nenno Chair of Television Studies
University of Southern California

Prof. Seiter teaches courses on television and new media history, theory and criticism, as well as the new new Japanese Anime class, in the in the Critical Studies Division of the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Books she has written include The Creative Artist’s Legal Guide:Copyright, Trademark and Contracts in Film and Digital Media Production (2012), The Internet Playground: Children’s Access, Entertainment and Mis-Education (2005), Television and New Media Audiences (1999), Sold Separately: Children and Parents in Consumer Culture (1993) and Remote Control; Television, Audiences and Cultural Power (1989). (more…)

Some challenges of locating and accessing books on anime

ApocalypseJapanese animation came to the U.S. in the summer of 1961, with the theatrical release of Alakazam the Great (Saiyuki), Magic Boy (Shonen Sarutobi Sasuke), and Panda and the Magic Serpent (Hakujaden). It took over 30 years for the first English-language books on anime – Helen McCarthy’s 1993 Anime!: A Beginner’s Guide to Japanese Animation and Antonia Levi’s 1996 Samurai from Outer Space: Understanding Japanese Animation to appear

another thirty-five years for the first English-language book on anime – Antonia Levi’s 1996 Samurai from Outer Space: Understanding Japanese Animation – to appear.

But over 50 more books on anime have been published since those first ones.

Obviously, these books are diverse in their styles, approaches, and purposes. Some, like Anime Classics Zettai!: 100 Must-See Japanese Animation Masterpieces, Anime Explosion: The What? Why? and Wow! of Japanese Animation, and The Rough Guide to Anime are general introductions, intended for the casual reader. Others, such as Understanding Manga and Anime are essentially tools, meant specifically to aid public and academic librarians. And of course, there are the scholarly monographs and edited essay collections – Anime from Akira to Mononoke: Experiencing Contemporary Japanese Animation; Anime’s Media Mix: Franchising Toys and Characters in Japan, Cinema Anime: Critical Engagements with Japanese Animation, and many more. But, almost all of these books, regardless of their differences, have one thing in common – straight-forward, descriptive titles that almost always include the word “anime”. And what that means is that a reader who is trying to access these books, whether on Amazon or in a library catalog, should be able to locate them without too much difficulty simply by searching for the word. (more…)