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Frames of Anime

Frames of Anime: Culture and Image-Building

Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    Frames of Anime
    Book Description:

    Japanese anime has long fascinated the world, and its mythical heroes and dazzling colors increasingly influence popular culture genres in the West. Tze-yue G. Hu analyzes the “language-medium” of this remarkable expressive platform and its many socio-cultural dimensions from a distinctly Asian frame of reference, tracing its layers of concentric radiation from Japan throughout Asia. Her work, rooted in archival investigations, interviews with animators and producers in Japan as well as other Asian animation studios, and interdisciplinary research in linguistics and performance theory, shows how dialectical aspects of anime are linked to Japan’s unique experience of modernity and its cultural associations in Asia, including its reliance on low-wage outsourcing. Her study also provides English readers with insights on numerous Japanese secondary sources, as well as a number of original illustrations offered by animators and producers she interviewed.

    eISBN: 978-988-220-524-6
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. A Note to the Reader
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-12)

    This book examines a late twentieth-century Japanese “invention” that fascinates and dominates the world. It does not come in a hard form, quantifiable, as in metal or in liquid state with tactile and tangible qualities. It is neither a Toyota nor a Honda over-2000 cc. sedan-car model; nor is it a cup of Nissin seafood noodles. It is a “toon product,” which can also be broadly referred to as “cartoons.” When specifically identified and defined, it is anime, the popular Japanese form of animation. The inquiring observation is why it has attained such a ubiquitous status despite the country’s continuously...

  7. 1 Origins of the Japanese Art of Animating
    (pp. 13-24)

    Animation is a visual language and an act of communicating. Technically defined, it is a movement-based medium in which each image is captured through the camera in order to create a series of alleged movements. The image may be hand-drawn or computer-generated; the material-base may be a cel sheet (transparent celluloid), a glass pane or a platform of beach-sand. Other forms of traditional hand-manipulated images include the use of wood puppets, clay figures, and cut-out paper puppets. To animate is essentially to communicate, to tell a story for oneself or others or for both, via a chain of manipulated and...

  8. 2 Continuity of Art Forms and Their Visualness
    (pp. 25-44)

    Every country has its own repository of art forms, but whether it takes pride and interest in preserving them, re-understanding the contexts of their production, or even has the means to constantly exhibit them worldwide is another matter. In Afghanistan and places that are situated on the western portions of the Silk Road, we hear of stories such as the one describing how colossal and cliff-sized sculptures of Buddha were destroyed and damaged due to warfare and religious reasons. In Japan, so far, despite the heated arguments about “datsuA–,” many of the imported art forms from Asia, particularly those...

  9. 3 Cultural Thought, Expressing the Self, and Image-Building
    (pp. 45-58)

    At the turn of the 1970s, Japan, the country which Barthes subsequently summed up as an “Empire of Signs,” was seen as devoid of a center, from fragmentary bits of food, mechanical pachinko games, nameless streets, and spiritually empty train stations, to the packaging of a gift, the cursiveness of a calligraphy painting, the theatrics of bunraku, and the brevity of haiku-writing. Barthes was critical of imageladen Japan. In reality, he had encountered a different environmental system of aesthetics and semiotics while living in a far-eastern land.

    We have often heard this statement being made about Japan, “the Japanese are...

  10. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  11. 4 Development of Japanese Animation up to the End of the Second World War
    (pp. 59-76)

    It really did not take long for this country in the Far East to find its film image, which was “a topic in the world market.” While the 1937 Year Book does not place all emphasis on the medium of animation (others that were categorically discussed in detail include the fictional live-action films, documentaries, and news-report films), which was only classified as “cartoon” under the “Documentary Film” category, it shows that the medium had not been neglected at the time when the country tried to develop its motion picture industry. Today, global commercial animation producers, well-known independent animation directors, “wannabe”...

  12. 5 Postwar Japanese Animation Development and Toei Animation Studio
    (pp. 77-104)

    How did Japan emerge from a past that took lives of millions of young men who were called to serve on the front lines and many more of civilian children and women who either died or suffered in the atomic bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Compare the Japanese plight with the rest of Asia which had only just emerged from a multi-colonial past and had experienced another “liberator’s” act of horrors and pseudo-promises. In what ways did Japan and other parts of Asia differ in building and shaping a new future? The large-scale economic reconstruction was obviously an all-time important...

  13. 6 Miyazaki and Takahata Anime Cinema
    (pp. 105-136)

    This chapter continues to trace the postwar development of Japanese animation from the 1970s onward. In particular, the rise of master animator Miyazaki Hayao and his colleague, animation director Takahata Isao, will be discussed in detail. In examining the eminence of Japan’s animation industry, the close working relationship of Miyazaki and Takahata in the past cannot be overlooked. It is important to examine the common elements found in their works. They founded Studio Ghibli in 1985, which almost equaled the status of Toei Dōga. The establishment of such a Toei-like animation studio was aimed primarily to produce animated feature films....

  14. 7 Anime in Asia: A Case of Cultural Imperialism?
    (pp. 137-164)

    This concluding chapter analyzes the development of the animation medium in various parts of Asia. It discusses not only the influence of anime per se but also that of Western animation to a certain extent, particularly American-made animation. It asks fundamentally why animated works (including film and television projects) made in South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, India, China, and so on, do not seem to create a lasting impression. Nor do they gain high popularity among international audiences. What are the underlying factors that cause certain recurrent problems and issues and affect the growth of animation...

  15. Epilogue
    (pp. 165-168)

    As this book was under preparation, there have already been many publications on anime in the market. A number of them are selected writings or essays written by authors who have been specially solicited. These publications showcase and interpret different dimensions and popularity of the medium-genre. Increasingly, more and more academic-based research on anime is conducted and published. This proves the subject’s ongoing appeal and promise. In addition to other fan-inspired publications and numerous websites in English and non-English, there is indeed growing information about anime that celebrates its wide currency.

    This book offers new insight and perspective of the...

  16. Appendix 1
    (pp. 169-174)
  17. Appendix 2
    (pp. 175-178)
  18. Notes
    (pp. 179-200)
  19. Glossary
    (pp. 201-204)
  20. Animated Works Cited
    (pp. 205-206)
  21. Bibliography
    (pp. 207-218)
  22. Index
    (pp. 219-228)