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Mechademia 6

User Enhanced

2011

Frenchy Lunning, editor

Mechademia 6

As passive consumers of manga and anime become active users of cultural commodities, this volume explores the possibilities of, and challenges for, engagement

Manga and anime fans can no longer be considered passive consumers of popular culture. They are users, in whose hands cultural commodities can provide instant gratification but also need to be understood as creative spaces that can be inhabited, modified, and enhanced. User Enhanced, the sixth volume of the Mechademia series, examines the implications of this transformation from consumer to creator.

Manga and anime inspire a wide range of creative activities for fans: blogging and contributing to databases, making elaborate cosplay costumes, producing dôjinshi (amateur) manga and scanlations, and engaging in fansubbing and DIY animation. Indeed, fans can no longer be considered passive consumers of popular culture easily duped by corporations and their industrial-capitalist ideologies. They are now more accurately described as users, in whose hands cultural commodities can provide instant gratification but also need to be understood as creative spaces that can be inhabited, modified, and enhanced.

User Enhanced, the sixth volume of the Mechademia series, examines the implications of this transformation from consumer to creator. Why do manga characters lend themselves so readily to user enhancement? What are the limitations on fan creativity? Are fans simply adding value to corporate properties with their enhancements? And can the productivity and creativity of user activities be transformed into genuine cultural enrichment and social engagement?

Through explorations of the vitality of manga characters, the formal and structural open-endedness of manga, the role of sexuality and desire in manga and anime fandom, the evolution of the Lolita fashion subculture, the contemporary social critique embodied in manga like Helpman! and Ikigami, and gamer behavior within computer games, User Enhanced suggests that commodity enhancement may lead as easily to disengagement and isolation as to interaction, connection, and empowerment.

Contributors: Brian Bergstrom; Lisa Blauersouth; Aden Evens, Dartmouth College; Andrea Horbinski; Itô Gô, Tokyo Polytechnic U; Paul Jackson; Yuka Kanno; Shion Kono, Sophia U, Tokyo; Thomas Lamarre, McGill U; Christine L. Marran, U of Minnesota; Miyadai Shinji, Tokyo Metropolitan U; Miyamoto Hirohito, Meiji U; Livia Monnet, U of Montreal; Miri Nakamura, Wesleyan U; Matthew Penney, Concordia U, Montreal; Emily Raine; Brian Ruh; Kumiko Saito, Bowling Green State U; Rio Saitô, College of Visual Arts, St. Paul; Cathy Sell; James Welker, U of British Columbia; Yoshikuni Igarashi, Vanderbilt U.

Mechademia 6

Frenchy Lunning is professor of liberal arts at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

Mechademia 6

Contents

Introduction
Thomas Lamarre

Countering Domestication

Under the Ruffles: Shôjo and the Morphology of Power
Frenchy Lunning
Girliness Is Next to Godliness: Lolita Fandom as Sacred Criminality in the Novels of Takemoto Novala
Brian Bergstrom
Beyond Domesticating Animal Love
Christine L. Marran
Exploited and Mobilized: Poverty and Work in Contemporary Manga
Matthew Penney

Commodity-Life

Tezuka Is Dead: Manga in Transformation and Its Dysfunctional Discourse
Itô Gô
Translated and with an Introduction by Miri Nakamura
How Characters Stand Out
Miyamoto Hirohito
Translated by Thomas Lamarre
Manga Translation and Interculture
Cathy Sell
Speciesism Part 3: Neoteny and the Politics of Life
Thomas Lamarre

Photo Play

Out of the Closet: The Fancy Phenomenon
Photography by Rio Saitô
Introduction by Frenchy Lunning

Desiring Economies

Anatomy of Permutational Desire, Part 2: Bellmer's Dolls and Oshii's Gynoids
Livia Monnet
Desire in Subtext: Gender, Fandom, and Women’s Male-Male Homoerotic Parodies in Contemporary Japan
Kumiko Saito
The Sacrificial Economy of Cuteness in Tamala 2010: A Punk Cat in Space
Emily Raine
Flower Tribes and Female Desire: Complicating Early Female Consumption of Male Homosexuality in Shôjo Manga
James Welker

Untimely Effects

Transformation of Semantics in the History of Japanese Subcultures since 1992
Miyadai Shinji
Translated by Shion Kono
With an Introduction by Thomas Lamarre
The Logic of Digital Gaming
Aden Evens
Tsuge Yoshiharu and Postwar Japan: Travel, Memory, and Nostalgia
Yoshikuni Igarashi
Implicational Spectatorship: Hara Setsuko and the Queer Joke
Yuka Kanno

Review and Commentary

War for Entertainment: The Sky Crawlers
Andrea Horbinski
Volition in the Face of Absurdity
Brian Ruh
The Past Presents the Future: Toward the Terra
Paul Jackson

トレンド Torendo

Wherein the Author Documents Her Experience as a Porcelain Doll
Lisa Blauersouth

Contributors
Call for Papers