Archive for the Japanese animation Category
To Be or Not to Be: The Controversy in Japan over the Anime Label
Abstract: This paper examines how Japanese animators perceive and relate to the term “anime.” Anime has frequently been loosely defined as an abbreviation of animation written in katakana, and is often used to refer to Japanese animation in general. Nonetheless, some major feature animation directors including Miyazaki Hayao, Oshii Mamoru, and the prominent figure in short animation Yamamura Koji, firmly reject seeing their works labeled as anime and favor the term animation. Employing essays by and about key Japanese animators coupled with some interviews with them, I delineate and analyze the major features of this ongoing debate over “anime” in Japan.
Biographical Statement: Since completing my doctorate on animation at Kyoto University, I have been continuing to work on the idea of selective animation as a more effective analytical term for what has been called limited animation. This proposal reflects my recent research on the relationship between selective animation and the category of “anime.” Despite the popularity of the term, the perceived gap between the label of animation (fully animated, higher quality) and anime (not fully animated, cheaply produced) is pronounced among many Japanese animators. Through this paper I explore the controversy in Japan over the meaning and usage of the term anime to describe animation in Japan. This study is intended to help prepare the groundwork for a book of essays and interviews on Japanese animation.
High Definition, Moderate Definitions and Low Level Analysis
(Preconstituted Panel: Anime Experiences)
Abstract: From the false monad of the pixel, we now zoom out to the polygon as candidate for stable signifier of digital processes. In the post-polygon digital image, tropes of the analogue are retrieved, in the form of perceptual cues and intellectual caveats. Lens flare, shaking camera, focal depth defer to the authority of the cinematic analogue, but highlight the intellectually and creatively precarious nature of the digital image which, like the roman mosaic, cannibalises the material terms of its own image to remain contemporaneous with its referent culture.
Biographical Statement: David Surman is Senior Lecturer in Computer Games Design and Course Leader of the BA (Hons) Computer Games Design degree at the University of Wales Newport. He holds degrees in fine art, animation and film. He is primarily interested in the relationship between theory and practice in digital visual culture, with an emphasis on computer games design. His writing on games and animation has featured in The Times, The Boston Globe, Gamasutra, Edge and Vertigo. He is an editorial board member for Games and Culture and Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal. His current interests include contemporary Japanese visual media, digital aesthetics and games design. He is author of The Videogames Handbook (Routledge, 2009) and co-editor of Animated Worlds (John Libbey, 2007).
Vertigo, Nausea, Menace and Grace
(Preconstituted Panel: Anime Experiences)
Abstract: This paper will build on the work of Thomas Lamarre, Philip Brophy, William Moritz, Rick Thompson and Esther Leslie to furnish a means to approach the sensibly insensible. The paper will use four extremes as points of reference — vertigo, nausea, menace and grace — each coupled with a specific five-second sequence from anime productions (Initial D, FLCL, Fist of the North Star, Revolutionary Girl Utena). By delving into close study in this way, this presentation aims to scratch the surface of extreme physical sensations in animation (and specifically, anime) forms.
Biographical Statement: Christian McCrea is a writer and Lecturer in Games and Interactivity at Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia. His work peers over the fences of digital culture’s sensory dimension, and his 2008 article in Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal concentrated on the radical experience of animated bodily excesses. Also, he has recently written on digital hauntology, dandy game heroes, the spectatorship of strategy and the aesthetic of bursting bodies in both games and anime.
The Presence of the Line
(Preconstituted Panel: Anime Experiences)
Abstract: The presence of the ‘line’ in animation is arguably concomitant with both the inhabitance and invasion of space. In anime, the ‘outlines’ of characters both define and deconstruct identities and bodies and is made further problematic by being mapped onto exterior spaces and city shapes, as in Neon Genesis Evangelion. City spaces and human spaces are both erected and decomposed in Neon Genesis Evangelion and it is through an analysis of the line that this paper interrogates the many boundaries that such a line might shatter.
Biographical Statement: Caroline Ruddell is Lecturer in Film and Television at St. Mary’s University College, Twickenham, UK. She teaches in the areas of animation, North American cinema, popular culture and critical methodologies. Caroline has written on witchcraft in television, the representation of identity and subjectivity in popular culture, and on anime. Her research interests are currently focused on close analysis of anime examples in relation to issues of movement and space. Caroline is Co-Editor of the SAS Newsletter and serves on the editorial boards for Animation Studies: Journal for Animation History and Theory and Watcher Junior: Undergraduate Journal of Buffy Studies.
Experiences of extremity in anime cast a long, deep shadow. In the ecology of its meaning-production, the sensory is foregrounded in ways which delight and repulse. The panelists will concentrate on deep aesthetic examples to illuminate the experience of anime film and television productions and engage with the growing body of scholarship on the senses.
Panelists: Caroline Ruddell (Chair), Christian McCrea and David Surman.
Feminizing the Magic Pen: Excuse me…Gen. MacArthur…
Abstract: This paper is about the 11-minute black-and-white Japanese animated film, Magic Pen (1946), made immediately after the end of the Second World War and was directed by Kumagawa Masao. My paper discusses how, for self-survival and nationalistic reasons, the director designed and employed a set of animated images to appeal and communicate to the latest political and administrative leaders of Japan. It concludes that by “feminizing and fantasizing,” “things’” and “desires” can eventually come true if the methodology of animating is planned deftly and the narrative is communicated effectively to the right audience, however exclusive the audience is.
Biographical Statement: My book manuscript, Frames of Anime: Culture and Image-Building is due for publication by the University of Hong Kong Press in the spring-summer period of 2009. My paper is an expansion of a part of the manuscript where I wrote about the postwar development of Japanese animation. Here, I further discuss the mindset and ingenuity of the Japanese animators in adapting to the new democratic guidelines for film stipulated by the Allied Forces administration in Japan. The film Magic Pen (1946) is interpreted in detail in view of its fantasizing elements and its innocent childlike facade.
Goliath’s Head Revisited
Abstract: “Goliath’s Head Revisited” will re-script Osamu Tezuka’s story of Goliath (a 1980’s TV animation release of Astro Boy — episode 11) with a creative series of alternative images and new meanings. The paper will perform and develop a socio-historical approach to image production that pertains to current modes of contemporary art. Through diverse media, “Goliath’s Head Revisited” will consider the context of Tezuka’s story today re-addressing the status of his legacy. The existence of an artwork will be compared to the reception of a posthumous artist, as well as inviting alternative readings towards the socio-cultural manifestations of Astro Boy as an iconic image.
Biographical Statement: Stephen Wilson is an independent artist and writer based in London; he completed a doctorate on Carlo Collodi’s Pinocchio in relation to visual culture at the Royal College of Art and Design in London. During 2006/7 he was awarded an annual residency as the Abbey Award holder in The British School at Rome. This year he will be published in several texts, as well as completing his first film project: Iron Arm, Secular Arm set in Tokyo and London on the cultural significance of the iconic figure Astro Boy funded by Arts Council England, The Diawa Foundation, and The Sasakawa Foundation.