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The Anime Ecology

A Genealogy of Television, Animation, and Game Media

2018
Author:

Thomas Lamarre

The Anime Ecology

A major work destined to change how scholars and students look at television and animation

Thomas Lamarre uses the overlaps between television, anime, and new media—from console games and video to iOS games and streaming—to show how animation helps us think through television in the contemporary moment. Thoughtful, thorough illustrations plus exhaustive research and an impressive scope make this an essential reference book, a valuable resource for scholars, and a foundational textbook for students.

The Anime Ecology is a path-breaking work of media philosophy whose influence will be felt for many years to come. In this wildly innovative book, Thomas Lamarre presents an enlarged concept of animation that entails a major theoretical revision of our understanding of the complexly interrelated genealogies of television, animation, and interactive gaming with respect to their media platforms, technologies, infrastructures, screen forms, and affective relations. What Lamarre describes as the ‘anime ecology’ is nothing less than the emergence of a new and distinctive mode of techno-sociality.

D. N. Rodowick, University of Chicago

With the release of author Thomas Lamarre’s field-defining study The Anime Machine, critics established Lamarre as a leading voice in the field of Japanese animation. He now returns with The Anime Ecology, broadening his insights to give a complete account of anime’s relationship to television while placing it within important historical and global frameworks.

Lamarre takes advantage of the overlaps between television, anime, and new media—from console games and video to iOS games and streaming—to show how animation helps us think through television in the contemporary moment. He offers remarkable close readings of individual anime while demonstrating how infrastructures and platforms have transformed anime into emergent media (such as social media and transmedia) and launched it worldwide.

Thoughtful, thorough illustrations plus exhaustive research and an impressive scope make The Anime Ecology at once an essential reference book, a valuable resource for scholars, and a foundational textbook for students.

The Anime Ecology

Thomas Lamarre is James McGill Professor in East Asian studies and associate professor in communication studies at McGill University. He is author of Uncovering Heian Japan: An Archaeology of Sensation and Inscription, Shadows on the Screen: Tanizaki Jun’ichiro on Cinema and “Oriental” Aesthetics, and The Anime Machine: A Media Theory of Animation (Minnesota, 2009). He was coeditor of the Mechademia annual book series and is coeditor of the Parallel Futures series with the University of Minnesota Press.

The Anime Ecology

The Anime Ecology is a path-breaking work of media philosophy whose influence will be felt for many years to come. In this wildly innovative book, Thomas Lamarre presents an enlarged concept of animation that entails a major theoretical revision of our understanding of the complexly interrelated genealogies of television, animation, and interactive gaming with respect to their media platforms, technologies, infrastructures, screen forms, and affective relations. What Lamarre describes as the ‘anime ecology’ is nothing less than the emergence of a new and distinctive mode of techno-sociality.

D. N. Rodowick, University of Chicago

By tracking the evolving modes of television animation across cultures as well as in modern Japan, Thomas Lamarre offers a painstaking account of the infrastructure complexes that constitute affective experiences in the age of non-discrete multimedia objects. Written with both a media specialist’s technical precision and a maverick theorist’s archival resourcefulness, this book compels us to rethink our relations with the electronic screens that cohabit intimately with us, body and soul. A brilliant work.

Rey Chow, author of Entanglements, or Transmedial Thinking about Capture*

Infrastructures have a tendency to slide into the background, and after seven decades of television, it is hard to make it new and strange again. In his long-awaited book, Thomas Lamarre turns everything we think we knew about television upside down. Animation, not liveness, is the key to its ontology. Japan, not the USA, is the place to see its most radical development. Signals are not simply the raw materials of electrical engineering but the symptoms of our vulnerable existence in the world. Television turns out to be a strange and wonderful habitat, a meeting place of many species. In seeing media platforms as wormholes into alternate universes, The Anime Ecology fulfills the prime directive of media theory: to show that channels are not simply pipes but are worthy of existential dread, respect, and reverence. Steeped in both Japanese television and continental theory, this book is a kind of Japanese-French fusion, a delicious feast of insight. To write this book you would need to be a world-class media theorist, a long-time connoisseur of Japanese culture, and even a former marine biologist, and the one person on earth who is all of those things has brought the rest of us this gift.

John Durham Peters, author of The Marvelous Clouds: Toward a Philosophy of Elemental Media

The Anime Ecology

Contents
Introduction: Television Animation and Infrastructure Ecology
Part I. The Screen–Brain Apparatus
1. Population Seizure
2. Neurosciences and Television
3. This Stuff Called Blink
4. A Thousand Tiny Blackouts
Part II. A Little Social Media History of Television
5. Media Genealogy and Transmedia Ecology
6. A Little History of Japanese Television
7. Television and New Media
8. Sociality or Something Like It
9. Platformativity and Ontopower
Part III. Infrastructure Complexes
10. The Family Broadcast Complex
11. The Home Theater Complex
12. The Game Play Complex
13. The Portable Interface Complex
Conclusion: Signaletic Animism
Notes
Bibliography