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Mechademia 9

Origins

2014

Frenchy Lunning, Editor

Mechademia 9

Explores and challenges the origins of manga, anime, and Japanese popular culture

The essays brought together in Mechademia 9 lead us to understand the extent to which “Japan” might be seen as an idea generated by anime, manga, and other texts rather than the other way around. Richly provocative and insightful, this volume both enacts and resists the pursuit of fixed starting points, inspiring further creative investigation of this global artistic phenomenon.

If the source of manga and anime is physically located in Japan, the temptation for many critics and scholars is to ask what aspects of Japanese culture and history gave rise to these media. This ninth volume of Mechademia—an annual collection of critical work on anime and manga—challenges the tendency to answer the question of origins by reductively generalizing and essentializing “Japaneseness.”

The essays brought together in Mechademia 9 lead us to understand the extent to which “Japan” might be seen as an idea generated by anime, manga, and other texts rather than the other way around. What is it that manga and anime produce that no other medium can precisely duplicate? Is anime its own medium or a genre of animation—or something in between? And how must we adapt existing critical modes in order to read these new kinds of texts? While the authors begin with similar questions about the roots of Japanese popular culture and media, they invoke a wide range of theoretical work in the search for answers, including feminist criticism, disability studies, poststructuralist textual criticism, postcolonialism, art history, film theory, phenomenology, and more. Richly provocative and insightful, Mechademia 9 both enacts and resists the pursuit of fixed starting points, inspiring further creative investigation of this global artistic phenomenon.

Contributors: Steven R. Anderson; Dale K. Andrews, Tohoku Gakuin U; Andrew Ballús; Jodie Beck; Christopher Bolton, Williams College; Kukhee Choo, Tulane U; Rayna Denison, U of East Anglia; Lucy Fraser; Fujimoto Yukari, Meiji U, Japan; Forrest Greenwood; Imamura Taihei; Seth Jacobowitz, Yale U; Kim Joon Yang; Thomas Lamarre, McGill U; Margherita Long, U of California, Riverside; Matsumoto Nobuyuki, Tokyo National Museum; Laura Miller, U of Missouri–St. Louis; Alexandra Roedder; Paul Roquet, Stanford U; Brian Ruh; Shun’ya Yoshimi, U of Tokyo; Alba G. Torrents.

Mechademia 9

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

Mechademia 9

Contents

Dedication to Dr. John A. Lent

Introduction
Christopher Bolton

Part I. Subjects of Desire
Hagio Moto’s Nuclear Manga and the Promise of Eco-Feminist Desire
Margherita Long
Where Is My Place in the World?: Early Shôjo Manga Portrayals of Lesbianism
Fujimoto Yukari
Translated by Lucy Fraser
Between Men, Androids, and Robots: Assaying Mechanical Man in Meiji Literature and Visual Culture
Seth Jacobowitz

Part II. Bodies in Motion
Carbon as Creation: On Tsuji Naoyuki’s Charcoal Anime
Paul Roquet
Powers of (Dis)Ability: Toward a Bodily Origin in Mushishi
Steven R. Anderson
South Korea and the Sub-Empire of Anime: Kinesthetics of Subcontracted Animation Production
Kim Joon Yang

Part III. Boundaries
Japanese Cartoon Films
Imamura Taihei
Translated by Thomas Lamarre
From Street Corner to Living Room: Domestication of TV Culture and National Time/Narrative
Shun’ya Yoshimi
Translated by Jodie Beck
Hyperbolic Nationalism: South Korea’s Shadow Animation Industry
Kukhee Choo
Conceptualizing Anime and the Database Fantasyscape
Brian Ruh

Part IV. Rescripting History
Rebranding Himiko, the Shaman Queen of Ancient History
Laura Miller
Tezuka’s Buddha at the Tokyo National Museum: An Interview with Matsumoto Nobuyuki
Christopher Bolton
Genesis at the Shrine: The Votive Art of an Anime Pilgrimage
Dale K. Andrews

Part V. Repetition, Remediation, Adaptation
The Girl at the Center of the World: Gender, Genre, and Remediation in Bishôjo Media Works
Forrest Greenwood
The Localization of Kiki’s Delivery Service
Alexandra Roedder
Franchising and Failure: Discourses of Failure within the Japanese-American Speed Racer Franchise
Rayna Denison
Evangelion as Second Impact: Forever Changing That Which Never Was
Andreu Ballús and Alba G. Torrents
From Ground Zero to Degree Zero: Akira from Origin to Oblivion
Christopher Bolton

Contributors