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.
2001, 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