Week 8 Response

Looking at both Napier (2005) and Cavallaro (2006), discuss how these critics suggest anime is culturally ‘located’ – i.e., in the East or West, or somewhere else?

It is obvious that the anime market is rapidly growing and getting popular in both Eastern side (especially, Japan) and Western side. However, it is ambiguous to judge which side does anime belongs to.

According to Cavallaro (2006), the famous Japanese anime director, ‘Miyazaki’ had inspired by many Western authors, cartoonists, and animators such as J.R.R. Tolkien and Winsor McCay. Therefore, the elements of his anime sometimes followed “Greek and Norse mythology, Western folktales and fairy tales, and the Bible” (p.8). Moreover, the characters’ appearance is more resembled with Caucasian rather than Asian. However, still, he used Japanese graphic styles which is called ‘ukiyo-e’ as well as put distinctive and unique Japanese sensitivity, beauty, and sadness inside his works (Cavallaro, 2006).

Miyazaki’s anime is well-combined by both Japanese culture and other Western countries’ traditions as well as he produced traditional Japanese anime which have touched people from other countries’ mind. It shows that he created his own “mainstream Japanese anime” rather than some imitated works of Western animation or Japanese style “Disney productions” (Cavallaro, 2006, p.9). Although the father of Anime in Japan, director ‘Miyazaki’ produced his own works by referencing Western pieces, his works amazingly and beautifully demonstrates world-wide messages in unique and traditional Japanese (or Oriental) emotion such as the importance of protecting the naturistic system. Therefore, Cavallaro (2006) suggested that anime is culturally located in both West and Japan.

Similarly, Napier (2005) argued that both in western countries and Japan, anime is treated as the popular genre. Also, the anime characters usually wearing European dresses as well as their appearance are not like ordinary Japanese people – they are having a huge eyes and different hair colour (Napier, 2005). Moreover, not only in Japan and western countries, but the popularity of anime in other Southeast Asian countries such as Korea or Taiwan increases (Napier, 2005).

However, unlike Western animations, Japanese anime brought ‘otaku’ culture which defines that the rabid fans of anime (Napier, 2005). They are nerds who are into the anime characters or anime drawing techniques more than other people (Yusuke, 2019). As Napier (2005) emphasized that Japanese anime is something unrivalled genre since it is quite different and varies from Westerners’ children’s animations such as Disney animations, this critic’s point of view is that ‘anime’ is culturally located in nowhere but Japan its own. Thus, although the genre of ‘anime’ is getting popular globally, ‘anime’ culture is Japan’s own culture which includes not only the entertainment for children but different subgenres for adults, especially those who were born in Japan, and even otaku. For example, anime with including the feature of ‘shojo’ which refers little girl in Japanese, and ‘kawaii’ which is the term for cuteness are stimulating the otaku’s interests toward anime which lead them to buy the products with the anime characters drawn on them (Yusuke, 2019). Not only otakus in Japan, but otakus from other countries are also into buying this since anime directed from Japan has its own attraction especially for them (Yusuke, 2019) which is different from western animations for educating and entertaining children.

In conclusion, although many of Japanese anime had referred from Western cartoons and novels, one important fact is that Japan have created their own genre by combining their own culture, habits, and values with the Western cultures. Sometimes, Japanese anime impress audiences solely by showing their cultural references as well as inserting traditional music which emphasizes overall atmosphere of ‘Japanese Anime’.


Cavallaro, D. (2006). Introduction. In The Anime Art of Hayao Miyazaki (pp.5-13). London: McFarland & Company.

Cavallaro, D. (2006). Frame of Reference. In The Anime Art of Hayao Miyazaki (pp.15-28). London: McFarland & Company.

Napier, S. (2005). Why anime? In Anime: from Akira to Howl’s Moving Castle (pp.3-14). Hampshire: Palgrave/Macmillan.

Napier, S. (2005). Anime and local/global identity. In Anime: from Akira to Howl’s Moving Castle (pp.15-34). Hampshire: Palgrave/Macmillan.

Yusuke, S. (2019, June 26). Otaku: What is the otaku culture in Japan?. Retrieved October 9, 2019, from https://jw-webmagazine.com/otaku-what-is-the-otaku-culture-in-japan-2283995b38c0/

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