While today we speak of “the anime industry” like it’s something obvious, that wasn’t always the case. When animation started in Japan around the 1910’s, it was still very much a rudimentary process ; and even after WWII, with the creation of the first major Japanese studio, Toei Animation, things were still very different from now. In this first essay, I will show how anime became the “industry” we know today : an entire sector sharing common business practices and production processes. As I’ll do during the entire series, I’ll mostly focus on TV animation : the starting point will therefore be 1963, the generally accepted date of anime’s birth.
In my previous essay dedicated to Thomas Lamarre’s concept of animetism I argued that when studying animation, we shouldn’t just take into consideration space (how objects are distributed and move across the frame), but also time, which I believe is key to understanding the essence of movement. Indeed, movement is not just motion through space, … Continue reading Animation and subjectivity : towards a theory of framerate modulation
It’s probably no secret by now that most of the work done by the Hiroyuki Imaishi-You Yoshinari team contains some sort of political commentary ; however, when looking quickly at works like Kill la Kill or Promare, one might be led to believe that this commentary rests on a simple-minded manicheism : bad fascists/capitalists are … Continue reading Beyond Manicheism : the politics of Brand New Animal
Memes are everywhere. That’s their most striking feature, really : wherever you go on the Internet, you’re bound to find something that more or less resembles it, from an image macro, to a twisted boomer comic or a completely surreal image that you do not fully understand nor wish to. Memes have become somewhat of … Continue reading Postmodern Media : Memes and Database Consumption
Katsuhiro Otomo’s work in animation is mostly and rightly remembered for his 1988 masterpiece Akira, especially in the West where it has become part of the SF and animation canon. However, just like his career as a mangaka goes beyond Akira, his contribution to anime does not only come down to this behemoth of 80’s … Continue reading Before and after Akira : the themes and motifs of Otomo’s shorts
In a previous essay about otaku identity and militarism, I mentioned that the issue of gender was a central one to understand the development of otaku identity, and most notably, is construction as a dominantly male, SF-oriented narrative. Most of Japanese feminist and queer anime criticism (most notably the work of Mari Kotani) has sadly … Continue reading Gender roles in Gundam and Macross
Thomas Lamarre’s The Anime Machine is undoubtedly one of the most important books dedicated to animation, and especially to anime. It manages to be at the same time a historical overview of anime and its techniques, a thorough analysis of some of its most prominent artists, and a compelling theory of animation and media in … Continue reading On animetism : or, the importance of sakuga to theory