Tag: Susan Napier

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

*** OPEN ACCESS ***
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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*** OPEN ACCESS ***

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.

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…)

American Anime Fans – An Initial Research Guide

An easy way to approach the presence of anime and manga in the U.S. is to think about “firsts” – the first Japanese animated film to be screened in American movie theaters, the first Japanese cartoon aired on American television, the first anime released on home video, the first published manga, the first anime convention, and so on. And there is certainly a lot of value to identifying these kinds of firsts and establishing the history of anime/manga in the U.S. For anime in particular, for example, Brian Ruh has done excellent work in this area with “Early Japanese animation in the United States: Changing Tetsuwan Atomu to Astro Boy”, in The Japanification of Children’s Popular Culture: From Godzilla to Miyazaki (pp. 209-226) and Transforming U.S. anime in the 1980s: Localization and longevity (Mechademia, v. 5: Fanthropologies, pp. 31-49).

But, what kind of research is out there on the “present” state of anime in the U.S., especially, on the audience for anime in the U.S.? In fact, a few days ago, I came across just such a request for recommended articles or other scholarship specifically on American anime fans. I immediately realized that there are actually very few out there – compared to commentary on particular fan activities and practices, such as anime music videos, cosplay, fan fiction, and fan subs. So, I think it will be useful to list several that I am aware of and can readily recommend.

To begin, for any understanding of American anime fans, a key source are a pair of essays by Lawrence Eng:

Strategies of engagement: Discovering, defining, and describing otaku culture in the United States. (pp. 85-104). (more…)

Highlighting new publications – Miyazakiworld

MiyazakiworldTo Western audiences, Japanese animation still largely means the feature films produced by Studio Ghibli and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. And Western animation scholars also focus on Miyazaki and Ghibli extensively – just some recent examples include two of the four volumes published so far in Bloomsbury’s Animation: Key Films/Filmmakers series, the articles in the April 2018 “Introducing Studio Ghibli” issue of the East Asian Journal of Popular Culture, and a chapter on “excess and abnegation in Spirited Away” in the essay collection Devouring Japan: Global perspectives on Japanese culinary identity. And now, one of the world’s most prominent English-language academic publishers is adding to this list.

Napier, Susan. Miyazakiworld: A Life in Art. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. (more…)

I Want to Know More – Books on Anime/Manga: A Guided Tour, Part 2

In a previous post, I highlighted several books that I think are the best to recommend for someone who really knows almost nothing about Japanese animation/Japanese comics, and wants an introduction that is both accessible and reasonably comprehensive. The titles that I profiled – among them Anime: A Critical Introduction, Dreamland Japan: Writings on Modern Manga, and Manga: Introduction, Challenges, and Best Practices – all strive to be just. But, what kinds of books could I recommend to a reader who is interested not in anime/manga “broadly defined”, but in the work of a particular anime director or manga artist/writer?

Books on Anime/Manga, Part 1: Introductions and Overviews

Books on Anime/Manga, Part 2 – Specific Directors/Creators

Books on Anime/Manga, Part 3: Essay Collections

Hayao Miyazaki

For many people, Hayao Miyazaki is anime/Japanese animation – and this is not unreasonable. Sales figures, critical recognition, awards – and scholarship – all contribute to this, to the point where, as Jaqueline Bernd notes (in her essay “Considering manga discourse: Location, ambiguity, historicity”, in Japanese Visual Culture: Explorations in the Worlds of Manga and Anime): “Non-Japanese scholars tend to assume that his movies are typical as a whole because of their mere presence in Japan; they frequently treat these animated movies are 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.” But, again, just as Miyazaki and his films often serve as points of entry into the “worlds of manga anime”, writing on Miyazaki and his films can serve as point of entry to anime scholarship.

Hayao MiyazakiFirst published in 1999, Hayao Miyazaki: Masster of Japanese Animation – Films, Themes, Artistry is likely the first one on Miyazaki that a reader will come across. It is widely available and easy to read, with a straight-forward organizational scheme that consists of an overview of Miyazaki’s “life and work”, chapters on seven of his movies, from Castle of Cagliostro to Princess Mononoke, each divided into identical sections (“Origins”, “Art and technique”, “The characters”, “The story”, “Commentary”), and a concluding one on “The Miyazaki Machine”. Of course, one thing to keep in mind is that it is almost twenty years old now, and so, simply does not cover either the Oscar-winning Spirited Away, Miyazaki’s other subsequent projects, or his role as the conscience – or vocal critic – of the animation industry in Japan. (more…)

Annual Bibliography of Anime and Manga Studies – 2002 Ed.

In an earlier post, I made the case that 2001 marked the beginning of a new period in the development of anime/manga studies as an academic field or area. And while it was certainly possible that one year was just a quirk, the English-language academic publications on Japanese animation and comics that appeared in 2002 point strongly towards the development of a trend. Two particular highlights this year were the publication of a Japanese animation special issue, containing 7 individual articles, of Japan Forum, “the leading European journal in the multidisciplinary field of Japanese Studies”, and a “Japanese science fiction” one of Science Fiction Studies, with individual articles by Susan Napier on Neon Genesis Evangelion and Serial Experiments Lain, Christopher Bolton on Patlabor 2, and Mari Kotani on “Japanese women’s science fiction”, among others. (Interestingly, including the ones in the special issue Japan Forum has published a total of 18 articles on anime/manga, from 1996’s Change in the social status, form and content of adult manga, 1986-1996 to the four in last year’s Japanese Popular Culture and Contents Tourism special issue. Of the 16 journals with a subject focus on Asian/East Asian/Japanese Studies that have published more than one article on anime/manga, it ranks at no. 2, after only the online-only/open-access The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan FocusScience Fiction Studies published 4 articles on anime before 2002, but only 1 since.)

Between them, these two special issues, and a special section in an issue of the Japan Economic Foundation’s English-language Journal of Japanese Trade & Industry carried 17 articles on anime/manga. A further 29 appeared in other journals – for a total of 46 individual articles, an increase of more than 100% from the previous year. Many of these journals, such as the Animation Journal, Asian Studies Review, Education About Asia, Intersections: Gender, History and Culture in the Asian Context, Positions: East Asia Cultures Critique, the International Journal of Comic Art and the Journal of Popular Culture could be expected to publish on anime/manga – and in fact, had already published articles on anime/manga in the past. But, once again, 2002 made it clear that as long as the specific matter of a particular article was appropriate for a journal’s overall theme, it would be welcomed – as could be seen in Baby can you drive my bed: Technology and old age in Japanese animated film – a study of “tensions between the experience of old age and high technology [that]…draws attention to how technologies of care are not always socially and culturally attuned to personal biographies” – as depicted in Hiroyuki Kitakubo’s OVA Roujin Z – and published in the Journal of Aging and Identity.

Finally, 2002 also saw the publication of an article that, although it did not run in a peer-reviewed academic journal, was possibly the single most important piece of English-language writing on Japanese popular culture that appeared in the first half of the 2000’s – Japan’s Gross National Cool, written for the the influential “journal of opinion” Foreign Policy, by recent Japan Society media fellow Douglas McGray. The article highlighted Japan’s “cultural reach” abroad, as expressed in music, fashion, “character goods”, and anime/manga, and presented a fairly straight-forward question (as restated in a NeoJaponisme comment on it): “Can Japan revive its economic outlook by becoming a content-providing cultural superpower?” Since its publication, the article has shown itself to be extraordinarily influential, with over 300 citations in all kinds of academic publications. Even more importantly – and certainly unusually for a publication of any kind – it ended up playing a major role as a driver for the development of the Japanese government’s “Cool Japan” policy.

English-language books, book chapters, and journal articles on anime/manga – 2002

As usual, this list is also archived as a separate page. Any additions or corrections will be reflected on that page only.

Book Chapters
(Total published: 7)

Allison, Anne. Playing with power: Morphing toys and transforming heroes in kids’ mass culture. In Jeannette Marie Mageo (Ed.), Power and the self (pp. 71-92). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

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Annual Bibliography of Anime and Manga Studies – 2003 Ed.

The most memorable moment for Japanese animation in the U.S. in 2003 – and, quite possibly, to date – was the selection by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences of Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away as the year’s best animated feature film. The Oscar could be used as an easy explanation for why Western scholars and Western audiences should pay attention to anime – even if, paradoxically, Spirited Away, much like Miyazaki’s other films, is decidedly not representative of Japanese animation as a whole.

Anime_ExplosionStone Bridge Press, already the publisher of Helen McCarthy’s Hayao Miyazaki: Master of Japanese Animation, as well as Gilles Poitras’ The Anime Companion What’s Japanese in Japanese Animation and Anime Essentials: Every Thing a Fan Should Know, eagerly welcomed the opportunity to introduce readers to Japanese animation in a format that would probably be less intimidating than a theoretical, heavily footnoted text such as Anime From Akira to Mononoke. Anime Explosion! The What? Why? & Wow! of Japanese Animation would be just such an introduction – a necessarily breezy, maybe even surface-level tour through anime’s major stylistic and thematic elements. No, this is not the same kind of book as Napier’s – or, for that matter, as Thomas Lamarre’s The Anime Machine – but, I think it achieves its particular purpose as an introduction and a prompt for critical thinking and follow-up questions – quite effectively.

(Dennis Redmond’s The World is Watching: Video as Multinational Aesthetics, 1968-1995, an in-depth close reading of three seminal television/video series from three different countries, cultures, and time periods – including Neon Genesis Evangelion – is listed on Amazon as having been published in 2003. However, the book itself has a 2004 copyright date, and so, for the purposes of compiling annual lists of publications on anime/manga, I include it in the one for 2004).

In terms of individual articles on anime/manga, the 53 that appeared in English-language academic journals in 2003 were the largest number not only to date, but in fact, in any year until 2007. The International Journal of Comic Art once again welcomed the greatest percentage, with 6 (11%), but 5 more were published in a special issue of the U.S.-Japan Women’s Journal with a particular focus on manga, and 3 in an “Asian animation” special issue of Asian Cinema. Other journals that featured scholarly articles on anime/manga in 2003 included Genre: Forms of Discourse and Culture, the Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, and the Social Science Japan Journal, for a total of 37 different journals. 7 of them (19%) were published by commercial publishers (2 each by Taylor & Francis and Wiley, 1 each by Common Ground, Intellect, and Sage), and 3 more by university presses (Duke University Press, Oxford University Press, University of Hawaii Press). 19 of the articles (36%) are currently available in open access.

(Another editorial caveat. I recognize that my criteria for selecting items to include in these lists are inherently subjective. Some – such as, for example, Memories of pilots and planes: World War II in Japanese manga, 1957-1967 – clearly a scholarly article on Japanese comics, published in what is clearly an academic journal – are obvious candidates for inclusion. But there are others that, under more selection criteria, would have been left out. The 2003 list in particular includes several articles that appeared in the non-academic magazines Kategaiho, Look Japan, and Nipponia, produced in Japan but aimed at Western audiences, as well as several pieces authored by undergraduate students and published in journals intended primarily to present such writing to small, most likely local audiences.)

English-language books, book chapters, and journal articles on anime/manga – 2003

This list is also permanently archived as a separate page. Any additional items will be added to the archived list only.

Books
Total published: 1

Drazen, Patrick. Anime explosion! The what? Why? & Wow! of Japanese animation. Berkeley, CA: Stone Bridge. (more…)

Annual Bibliography of Anime and Manga Studies – 2004 Ed.

Stray Dog - 1st Ed.2004 marked another year of steady growth in the number of academic English-language publications on anime and manga. One clear highlight was Stray Dog of Anime: The Films of Mamoru Oshii, the first book-length examination of the works of an anime director other than Miyazaki. Interestingly, it grew out of work that its author, Brian Ruh, completed while he was a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin, studying under Susan Napier, already the author of 2001’s Anime From Akira to Miyazaki: Experiencing Contemporary Japanese Animation.

Pikachu's Global AdventureThe one relevant essay collection published in 2004 – Pikachu’s Global Adventure: The Rise and Fall of Pokemon – is notable immediately for its rather unfortunate title. As the years since have shown, 2004 was clearly too early to talk about a “fall of Pokemon”. Having said that, the book itself was certainly timely, and included a very wide range of approaches to the “Pokemon phenomenon” in Japan and around the world, such as an excellent case study of the process of “localizing the Pokemon TV series for the American market”. Perhaps because of its timeliness – and maybe because it was coming from a high-profile academic publisher (Duke University Press), it received favorable reviews in several different academic journals, such as Popular Communication, Social Science Japan Journal, and The Journal of Asian Studies.

The 45 articles on anime/manga that were published in 2004 in English-language academic journals were spread out over 33 different journals. The International Journal of Comic Art published 5, Femspec, another 3, and 6 journals had two articles each, with 25 others only publishing one. Some of the journals that accepted publications on anime/manga in 2004 included English Journal, M/C: A Journal of Media and Communication, Publishing Research Quarterly, Refractory: A Journal of Entertainment Media, and Sex Roles.

Only 6 of the articles (13%) appeared in journals published by for-profit publishers, rather than university presses, academic departments, or non-profit organizations. 20 of the articles were published in open-access journals or are now available in open access. And, two of the 45 articles are particularly worth highlighting:

Oishinbo’s adventures in eating: Food, communication and culture in Japanese comics, by Laurie Brau deserves the award – if there was ever such an award – for appearing in the most unlikely subject-specific academic journal to accept a paper on anime/manga. It was published in Gastronomica: The Journal of Critical Food Studies.

In The creative commons (Montana Law Review), Lawrence Lessig, then a professor of law at Stanford University, and recently, a candidate for the Democratic nomination for President, specifically uses dojinshi as an example of the kind of creativity that can only flourish when it is not subject to the kind of burdensome copyright regime that is currently in place in the U.S.

English-language books, book chapters, and academic journal articles on anime/manga – 2004

This list is also permanently archived as a separate page. Any additional items will be added to the archived list only.

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Annual Bibliography of Anime and Manga Studies – 2001 Ed.

The years from 1993 to 2000 constituted the beginning period of the growth of English-language anime/manga studies, as scholars such as Susan Napier, Anne Allison, Antonia Levi, Sharon Kinsella, Mary Grigsby and Kinko Ito first began to publish scholarly writing on Japanese animation and Japanese comics.

Anime From Akira2001, and in particular, the publication of Napier’s Anime From Akira to Mononoke: Experiencing Contemporary Japanese Animation, marked the start of the next stage. Napier had already established herself as a well-regarded scholar of Japanese literature, and this book, coming as it did from a major publisher, introduced the idea of academic approaches to Japanese animation to both scholars and non-academic readers. It was received favorably, with positive reviews appearing in journals such as the Journal of Asian Studies and Monumenta Nipponica, and even made an appearance in Entertainment Weekly, even if the magazine’s response to it was dismissive to say the least – “Why would anyone who loves anime’s unbridled vibrancy want to slog through the antiseptic dryness of a textbook?” And in fact, in addition to the book, that year, Prof. Napier also authored a book chapter on “the body in Japanese pornographic animation”, and articles on anime in Positions: East Asia Cultures Critique and the Harvard Asia Pacific Review – making herself known even further as a “pioneer in the scholarly study of anime”.

(As a caveat, Anime from Akira to Princess Mononoke‘s hard-cover edition actually has a 2000 copyright date – but it wasn’t until the 2001 paperback that the book really started getting noticed – both inside the academic world, and by the general public.)

The two major essay collections with chapters on anime/manga that were published in 2001 essentially present the two major approaches to studying anime that scholars took at that point – within the context of a focus on Asian animation, and, separately, on Asian comics – the implication being that at this point in time, it was just too early for a full essay collection that would focus specifically on either anime or manga. Though, of course, it would only be another several years before such collections began appearing. Finally, another noteworthy publication that appeared in 2001 was the catalog for the exhibition My Reality: Contemporary Art and the Culture of Japanese Animation. Featuring works by over a dozen Japanese and Western artists, it opened at the Brooklyn Museum of Art on July 28, 2001, and traveled around the U.S. through 2004. The highlight of the catalog was Takashi Murakami’s essay on the relationship between anime and Japanese art.

Books, Book Chapters, and Journal Articles on Anime/Manga – 2001

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Annual Bibliography of Anime and Manga Studies – 2000 Ed.

Adult MangaIn 2000, it was becoming evident that academic interest in Japanese animation and comics was surging across different publication formats – books by single authors, edited collections such as A Century of Popular Culture in Japan and Japan Pop! The World of Japanese Popular Culture (with 9 chapters on anime/manga between them), individual chapters in collections on other, more general topics, and articles in peer-reviewed journals. It was no surprise, for example, that a “global science fiction” special issue of Science Fiction Studies would include papers on Ghost in the Shell and Patlabor II, and a review essay of “books on Japanese comics and animated films”. In addition, 2000 marked the launch of the open access journal Image [&] Narrative, at that point, only the second academic journal on comics and related topics. Its subject focus on “visual narratology and word and image studies in the broadest sense of the term” clearly included manga, and three articles on Japanese comics appeared in the inaugural issue. In total, 26 individual articles on anime/manga appeared that year, across 21 different journals. Once again, beyond the perhaps expected publications such as the Animation Journal, the International Journal of Comic Art, Japanese StudiesJapan Studies Review, and Senses of Cinema, scholarly essays on Japanese animation, Japanese comics, and related topics could also be found in the Journal of Gender Studies, Postcolonial Studies, and the main academic journal of the international Society for Advancement of Management.

As always, the following list will be permanently archived in the Bibliographies section of this site. If I identify any new publications, they will be added to the permanent list only, not to this post.

English-Language Books, Book Chapters, and Journal Articles on Anime/Manga, 2000

Books
Total Published: 2

Kinsella, Sharon. Adult manga: Culture and power in contemporary Japanese society. Richmond, Great Britain: Curzon.

Poitras, Gilles. Anime essentials: Every thing a fan should know. Berkeley, CA: Stone Bridge.

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