WEEK 8 COSPLAY

WEEK 8 COSPLAY 

  1. In what ways can cosplay be understood in terms of notions such as affect, transportation, transubstantiation and mediated fantasy? 

The word “cosplay” was coined in the eighties to describe the activity of “costume role-play” (Mountfort et al, 2018).  On its most basic level, this involves dressing up as a character then pretending to be them. 

Although cosplaying began in America at sci-fi conventions, it was in Japan where it really took off and developed into a major subculture. It is no surprise many costumes worn by cosplayers are from Japanese characters, most notably from anime, manga and video games (Mountfort et al, 2018).  

Once a cosplayer dons their costume, they adopt the personalities of the characters they are portraying. In this way they are actors, they are performers, and when a camera is pointed at them, they are models. Those who make their own costumes could be regarded as fashion designers, tailors, painters or even sculptors. 

Cosplayers commonly reference their chosen source texts, regarded as a form of citation which can be either ‘direct imitation’ and ‘textual transformations.’ The former a faithful representation of the parent text and the latter is a contrast, fidelity (Mountfort et al, 2018).  

Beyond the social dimension of meeting new people and making friends, cosplayers who don a costume can forget about their regular lives and become someone else, if only for a day. They can transform into someone powerful and exciting, sexy and alluring or just cute and quirky. No matter what the attributes of the character they are playing, the process of adopting an alter-ego is described as mediated fantasy.  

The translation of such archetypal figures onto actual bodies becomes a kind of 

transubstantiation, in that Domsch suggests that ‘the “thing” that can be transported from one medium to another’ is the ‘mental construct that we call a narrative storyworld and its existents (Mountfort et al, 2018). 

This transportation of a particular sense of attaching intensities of feeling to fictional characters, leading to a desire to transcend mere reading and watching, can be described as an affect, the term referring here not just to the feelings provoked by cosplay but an intense corporeal response (Mountfort et al, 2018). 

 Those who are shy can tap into the strength of their character and completely come out of their shell. The simple act of wearing a costume can infuse the cosplayer with a level of energy and confidence which is greatly empowering. 

Plenty of cosplayers are not shy, extraverted and cosplay gives them the perfect excuse to let their true selves come to the surface. Although they may be confident and charismatic before they don their costume, cosplaying allows them the freedom to take their passions to a greater level of self-expression. 

Cosplaying can also make a person feel special. Dressing up in a stunning costume and having crowds of admirers showering them with compliments has obvious appeal. The encircling photographers and eager fans can make cosplayers feel like celebrities. 

REFERENCES  

Mountfort, P., Peirson-Smith, A., & Geczy, A. (2018). Planet cosplay: Costume play, identity and global fandom. Intellect Bristol,UK/Chicago, USA 

Week 8 Cosplay

Rija Faisal

Referring to Mountfort et al. (2018), in what ways is cosplay analogous to citation?

‘Cosplay’ refers to the act of dressing up in a costume in order to recreate the appearance of a character from a work of fiction. Popular forms of cosplay involve dressing oneself in the outfits of characters from video games, comic books, popular anime series, animated and/or live action films, etc. Cosplay can also include dressing in non-character specific costumes, such as a maid or in a school uniform.

Cosplay is considered to be a form of performance art. Through the use of costumes and accessories, gestures, behaviour, and attitude, an individual ‘cosplaying’ a character attempts to morph his/her persona into that of the character he/she is dressed as. The idea is to inhibit the role of the character whom one is dressed as as skillfully as can be done.  

Cosplay in the twenty-first-century is a form of mass cultural engagement. Mountfort et al. (2018). It can be found both online as well as offline, and especially in large events such as manga and anime conventions, comic con, and within its own fan-based cosplay communities.      

A distinguishing feature of cosplay which separates it from other forms of costuming performances ( such as circus and carnival performances, or theatre performances), is that cosplay depends largely on texts from popular forms of media. A source or a reference text is required, and this is where the main inspiration for a cosplay is derived from.

Another feature which distinguishes cosplay from theatre and/or screen performances is the length of performance itself. A cosplayer does not recreate/act out the entire script/plot of their chosen text. Rather, they only perform what can be called ‘chunks’ or ‘portions’ of the original source text, ones which the cosplayer himself/herself filters out as being significant to the actual performance.  

On the subject of citation, cosplay can be regarded as a form of citation as cosplayers commonly reference their chosen text, and perform a multitude of citational acts. Mountfort et al. (2018). In a cosplay performance, it is the cosplayer’s own costumed body which then acts as the text or as a ‘site’ referencing a text – in the case of cosplay, this would be the specific media source which is chosen by the cosplayer to be performed.

Props (such as weapons) alongside the costume also act as citation links, as they help in linking the cosplay back to its source text.     

Citation in cosplay can also be seen being as similar to referencing. In a cosplay performance, a familiarity with the original narrative of the cosplay is important, as this is what allows the cosplay audience to recall the source of the original narrative. The cosplay audience play a crucial part. Without them, a cosplay performance simply would not be successful or be as powerful if say, it were performed for an audience that was unfamiliar with the original narrative. These three elements- the text, the cosplayer and the cosplay audience – together make up the citational qualities of cosplay.      

References

Mountfort, P. Pierson, Smith, A. Geczy, A. (2018) Planet Cosplay Intellect Books.

Week 3: Tintin

What gaps are there in Hergé’s representations of women?

There are many gaps in representations of minority groups in Hergé’s “The Adventures of Tintin” one of them being the representation of women Hergé’s believed “that there was no place for women in the world of Tintin” This belief is shown through his work repeatedly where women are seen to have little to no role in the comics they are either wives, mothers, caretaker or nurse or just crowd fillers. Although, Madame Castafiore and Peggy Alcazar are the only two women in “The Adventures of Tintin” that Hergé’s gives important roles to that really have voice.

Madame Castafiore is the only female character that has an album dedicated just for her which is ‘The Castafiore Emerald’ where she is an independent, self-made and famous women. Even though she posses these admirable qualities she is still objectified in the story and does not contribute much to the story although the story is dedicated to her she’s almost seen unwelcomed in conversations which kind of gives the audience a perception that she is not an important character. Which shows Hergé’s ideaology of women and how he precieves them as not important and their voices and opinions are not welcomed into the world of Tintin which is an awful example to set because of how much popularity the Tintin series has gained globally and how many kids around the world read the series.

Peggy Alcazar is another character from the album “Tintin and The Picaros” where she is seen to be a matriarchal women who constantly bullies her husband her husband is seen to be doing ‘womenly’ jobs which gives the perception that she is a dominating making her by far the only dominating women in any of ‘The Adventures of Tintin’. Hergé portrays Peggy in a very negative light to show that women have no place in the world of Tintin by doing this Hergé is he has contributed to the inequality in the representation of women in books, films and etc.

Refrences;

Mountfort, P. (2020). Tintin and gender part 1 [PowerPoint Slides]. Blackboard. https://blackboard.aut.ac.nz/

Mountfort, P. (2020). Tintin, gender and desire. Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics. https://doi.org/10.1080/21504857.2020.1729829 

1. Reyes (2014), describes Body Horror as being a “fictional representation of the body exceeding itself or falling apart, either opening up or being altered past the point where it would be recognised by normative understandings of human corporeality.”
How do The Colour out of Space and Lovecraft’s The Shadow Over Innsmouth make use of this definition to explore themes of the unknown?


Xavier Aldana Reyes introduction descriptor characterization of Body Horror is a exemplarily quintessential to question the nature of subgenre of horror body horror and the exploration of the unknown.


Within determinable narrative dialogue The Shadow over Innsmouth the creatures exhibiting examples of body horror the are the Deep Ones of note.


Body horror, and the fear of the unknown is a predominant theme, and the fear of Shoggoths (archetypally Lovecraftian amphibian monsters) and the Deep Ones.

The open caricature to investigate body horror here is in precepts to understand body horror, whether it be “biological horror” (Cruz, 2012) into the sea of the unknown. 


With several notions under its over-troped expanded umbrella we find body horror’s variations –


“hybrids, metamorphoses, mutations, aberrant sex, and zombification.” (Cruz, 2012)

Throughout the narration of Lovecraft’s short story there is a sense of foreboding for the fear of the known culminating in the encounter with “The Horde” where an example body Horror is presented.. we find the mutation/metamorphosising in particular represented through the main character’s fishlike description.


The discovery of physically describing the horror in definite form of “the Horde” (Lovecraft, 1936)  in chapter IV:
I am not even yet willing to say whether what followed was a hideous actuality or a nightmare hallucination (Lovecraft, 1936)


Further advanced as “Anthropoid” (Lovecraft, 1936)  Lovecraft continues to describe.
Or further to describe the horror of metamorphosed creatures:


“And yet I saw them in a limitless stream. Flopping, chopping croaking bleating – urgine inhumanly through a spectral moonlight in a grotesque, malignant  saraband of fantastical nightmare.” (Lovecraft, 1936)


This spectatorship of Body horror is a common means to evocate discussion within fiction.
Argued by Sue Tait who contents the spectatorship of the fetishization of body horror is through pain and  likened to pornography in horror: 

Pain is fetishized in the ‘‘drive to make visible what is essentially unimaginable’ (Tait, 2008)


For example, he described as having referred to carrying “a persistent strangeness, ” (Lovecraft, 1936) within the “Newburyport Historical Society”, giving a description of monsters.


Where Ronald delineates to define that Body Horror in fiction is biological Horror.
“Body horror and its powers of revulsion can be approached in another way that has not yet been adequately explored in this regard and in most other genres of cinema: the biological.” (Cruz, 2012)

To this end Body Horror is discussed as a means to excite and further the genre in exploration of themes of the unknown and by introduction of its type.


Bibliography
Cruz, R. A. (2012). Mutations and Metamorphoses: Body Horror is Biological Horror. Journal of Popular Film and Television .
Lovecraft, H. P. (1936). The Shadow over Innsmouth. 
Tait, S. (2008). Pornographies of Violence? Internet Spectatorship on Body Horror. Critical Studies in Media Communication, 91-111.

Week 7 Questions – Horror

Rija Faisal

King (2010) describes Horror as being defined through three basic elements. Explain, using references, what these three elements are. Think of a horror story you’ve read/watched/heard that makes use of all three of these elements and show how King’s definition is at play in that narrative.

Three elements of Horror

  1. Revulsion

This refers to moments that make the audience recoil back in disgust. The feeling of disgust if often a staple in horror (visually, of course, it has a greater effect than it would in written form, and shocks audiences much more easily).

Horror stories often revolve around one particular element (a disease, a monster, etc) that carries repulsive traits. An example of this is the alien in the movie Alien. The creature is depicted as being gross and slimy with drool dripping down its mouth.  

  1. Horror

The feeling of horror itself is an element of horror. Horror refers to the incomprehensible. When we see something we cannot even begin to comprehend, the natural human response is that of fear.

The “portrayal of the unbelievable” is almost always very graphic in horror. When faced with the unnatural and the implausible, we as the audience struggle to comprehend what we are seeing, and we react with fear.

  1. Terror

Terror is the feeling of dread and the anticipation that precedes the experience of horror. The feeling of terror induces fear through the imagination. A lot of the specifics of horror (the creepy, the heinous, etc) exist in the imagination of the viewer, and thus, when something unknown or incomprehensible is suggested, the imagination flies berserk with horrifying images and terrifying details.

The young adult Gothic horror novel “House of Furies” makes excellent use of all three of the horror elements.

House of “Furies” follows the story of seventeen year old Louisa Ditton. After she escapes from a harsh school, Louisa is offered employment as a maid in Colthistle boarding house. But soon after her arrival there, Louisa discovers that both the boarding house and its mysterious owner, Mr Morningside, hide secrets that she cannot even begin to imagine.

The revulsion element: The truth of Coldthistle house is revealed to Luisa. Whoever stays at this house as a guest is punished for a crime they might have committed. The house draws such people to it like moths drawn to a flame. The punishment is death itself. The realization of how completely “normal” this is to the rest of the staff at Coldthistle leaves Luisa feeling repulsed by them and their actual jobs: to clean up the mess after the guests have been “dealt” with.     

The horror element: Luisa discovers the truth of who and what Mr Morningside really is. Mr Morningside tells her he is the Devil himself. Luisa’s reaction, naturally, is that of disbelief and denial. But when proof is given – Mr Morningide’s feet are completely turned the other way around, which is a sign associated with the Devil in some cultures- Luisa is horrified and cannot believe what she is seeing.

The terror element: Luisa discovers the “Residents” one night. They are ghost-like beings who reside permanently in Coldthistle house. When one Resident grabs her hand to try to stop her from touching a book she is not meant to touch, Louisa is certain the being will harm her. She freezes out of fear.   

References

Dan Neilan (9/13/17) Stephen King breaks down the different levels of horror avclub.com Retrieved From: https://www.avclub.com/stephen-king-breaks-down-the-different-levels-of-horror-1806112160

(n.d.). Can disgust be a key component of horror? writing.stackexchange.com Retrieved From: https://writing.stackexchange.com/questions/43911/can-disgust-be-a-key-component-of-horror

Week 3

How are Hergé’s generally represented when they do appear?

the way i have interpreted this question is how does herge generally represent women when they appear? The way that Herge has represented women in the Tintin comics using the mans words himself ‘[w]omen have nothing to do in a world like Tintin’s. I like women far too much to caricature them. And, besides, pretty or not, young or not, women are rarely comic characters’(Mountfort 2020) from this we can show that they do not play a major role in his comics nor does he see any need for women in his comics with the only female character with any real substance is Bianca Castafiore. Characters before Castafiore were mainly seen as nuisances that would distract from the adventure or boys club that was Tintins adventures but changed when Castafiore was introduced with her getting her own Album in the series called Castafiores Emerald.

Castafiore started off much like any of Herges other representations when she was introduced in 1939 where she was just an Obnoxious Opera singer but her character was revised in the 1950s where she takes on echoes of the Greek soprano Maria Callas(Figaro_Culture, 2015).She is now one of the most recognisable characters from the Tintin series along side Captain Hadock and Tintin Himself.

Women in the Tintin Series are sparce where in the Albums Tintin in the land of the Soviets there were no talking females and Tintin in the Congo where the only talking females were an African women who reprimanded Tintin for bumping into her son,a Woman lamenting her husbands illness and one telling her son that he wont be like Tintin if hes not good(Mountfort 2020). This shows that women during his early years at least were nothing more than background characters and they would only come out in either nagging roles or to further Tintin.

References

Figaro_Culture. (2015, September 20). Non,la Castafiore ne chante pas faux, c’est la Callas en BD. Retrieved September 06, 2020, from https://www.lefigaro.fr/musique/2015/09/20/03006-20150920ARTFIG00013-nonla-castafiore-ne-chante-pas-faux-c-est-la-callas-en-bd.php

Mountfort, P. (2020). Tintin, gender and desire. Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics.

Week 6 Questions – Horror

Rija Faisal

(Q). Reyes (2014), describes Body Horror as being a “fictional representation of the body exceeding itself or falling apart, either opening up or being altered past the point where it would be recognised by normative understandings of human corporeality.” How do The Colour out of Space and Lovecraft’s The Shadow Over Innsmouth make use of this definition to explore themes of the unknown?

The Shadow Over Innsmouth

The Shadow Over Innsmouth is a tale by American writer H.P. Lovecraft. The tale can be viewed as Lovecraft’s own comment on the advancement of technology that was beginning to emerge in his time and of its growing influence on the lives of American people and on their lifestyle, and of the potential dangers such an influence could pose.

After the Industrial Revolution, the early 1900s saw a great boom in technological development and the field of scientific research. Lovecraft uses The Shadow Over Innsmouth to explore the danger humans were exposing themselves to by exploring new and unfamiliar territories, and by seeking unknown knowledge that could potentially end up being more destructive rather than beneficial for the human race.

In The Shadow Over Innsmouth, the unknown elements of this new ‘scientific’ age of humans is represented in the form of a character named Zadok Allen. In the novel, Zadok is a representation of the knowledge the human race could gain by pursuing scientific interests. At the same time, Zadok also represents the terrible consequences that could befall the human race if they were to acquire such knowledge.

This idea of technological advancement being seen as something to fear rather than to pursue is further highlighted in a more subtle way, as well, by the mention of railroad tracks. For the narrator of the tale, the railroad tracks represent an escape route from Innsmouth, but the tracks are rusty and abandoned. This neglected state of the rail tracks implies how a part of technology has been abandoned before in the past, and thus should be left as it is and not be taken up again. And even when the narrator does manage to escape from Innsmouth, his escape does not save him in the end. Even with technology’s help, he is not saved. This is the writer’s way of implying that technology, therefore, could potentially end up being a lot more trouble than its worth.

In Lovecraft’s writing of the tale, we can clearly see that the concept of placing oneself and the situation in the hands of forces that are beyond our control or understanding is not portrayed as a favourable thing to do. In the case of The Shadow Over Innsmouth, this is applied to technology. The writer distrusts the largely unknown world of science and all that science attempts to explain.  

I believe The Shadow Over Innsmouth does make use of the Reyes (2014) description. In his tale, Lovecraft is commenting on the dangerous, but inevitable, path that humans are choosing to tread- the path of technology- which might potentially lead to the downfall of society. In this tale, technology can be viewed, metaphorically, as a sort of alien deity. While Lovecraft acknowledges that technology could hold value for society, he also points out that, just as a deity, technology holds the ability to be far more superior to humans, and it cannot be fashioned to become our servant.

Humans and technology exist in an equilibrium, but what might happen if technology, our own creation, turns on us someday? What would it turn us into?

What would become of the human race then?  

Colour out of Space

The 2019 film “Colour out of Space” is a science fiction body horror film based on the The Colour out of Space, a short story by H.P. Lovecraft. The film deals with a meteor that lands in the house of the Gardner family, after which they find themselves battling an extraterrestrial organism that infects the mind and body.

I believe the Reyes (2014) description of the “body exceeding itself or falling apart, either opening up or being altered past the point where it would be recognized by normative understandings of human corporeality” applies perfectly to this movie, as the entire plot deals with the mutant organism infecting the minds and bodies of humans, leading them to experience bursts of insanity. The human body loses control of itself, and takes on aggressive qualities, transforming the human being into something entirely inhuman, into an alien creature. This fear of becoming something other is the main focus of the film’s plot, and what the story is actually about, the fear of the Gardner family not knowing what the alien creature will do to them, and whether there is any way to stop it or to get free from its hold.

We can view the aftermath of the meteorite landing and the “birth” of the Colour- the purplish hue the sky turns to after the meteorite lands- as seeming to point towards some sort of alien testing. It is shown that the Colour only effects a small, remote region, almost as if this is only the beginning stage and some sort of preliminary sample, and the worst is actually yet to happen. This appears to be done to gain information about humans, judge the Earth itself, and to take a sample for next time, almost as if the worst is yet to come.

We as the viewers know that even if the danger is temporarily over, traces of the extraterrestrial material the meteorite brings with it are still present in the sky, and no one knows what that might lead to. There is fear over the unknown. The uncertainty of not knowing what will happen could itself drive the humans in the film towards madness, and that, I think, fits in with the description of Body Horror very well.

References:

(n.d.). Literature/ The Shadow Over Innsmouth tvtropes.org Retrieved from: https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Literature/TheShadowOverInnsmouth

Daniel Kurland (JAN 24,2020) Color Out of Space Ending Explained screenrant.com Retrieved from: https://screenrant.com/color-space-movie-ending-explained-lovecraft-alien-threat/

W7

W7

Carroll (2003) and King (2010) discuss how the “monster” is a defining feature of a horror story. Using references, explain in your own words how a monster in horror differentiates from monsters in other popular genres.

According to Carrol 1987, horror and science fiction are not really in the same genres. For them, science fiction explores in many different technologies of the theme of horror but in the horror genre is a matter of scary monsters. According to Carroll, 1987 said that ‘should not be assumed that all genres can be analysed in the same way’. She gives some example such as in Westerns; they use a monster in horror in novels, films, plays, paintings, and other works are group under the label of ‘horror’ which has monsters there to scare people. Some people can say that horror novels, stories, films, plays, and so on can be marked by the presence of monsters (Carroll, 1987). But in Carroll purpose, the monsters not just only in horror but it can be either a supernatural or a sci-fi origin.

Some of the horror in fairy stories, myths and odysseys can’t be told as a horror genre, it can be distinguished the horror genre from mere words and in other genres such as fairy tales. What is the difference between monster in horror and different genres is that rarity in horror can be a monster appear as an extraordinary character in an ordinary world. In contrast, in other genres such as fairy tales, monsters appear like a familiar creature in an incredible world. The monster in horror fiction creates some utmost significance and also disgusting to people who loves and what monster in fictions. Therefore, in the context of a horror narrative, the anomalies are identified as impure and unclean (Carroll, 1987). The art of horror is that the creator of the genre keep doing it until the audience can feel of the horror in the movie to make them feel the scare and horror of the monsters in the film. Monsters in horror make the audience’s emotional reaction is scared to the monsters in the movie. Another kind of horror in the movie is that alien, who comes from another galaxy, who can manipulate people by control or rot people’s psychology and physical. Whether these aliens can be called monsters or not, it is still horrifying in the context of fiction. And some monsters can be only threatening rather than terrifying some audiences, and some audience feels opposite way, but whether their feeling is threatening or horrifying, the movie is still thriving in a genre to make people scared of monsters in the film. The monster can be contradictory in many forms such as ghosts, zombies, vampires, mummies, the Frankenstein monster, Melmoth the Wanderer, and so on and whether they are in terms of being both living and dead.

Monster in horror can be a horror-comedy in movies such as Beetlejuice; it gets audiences laughing when some of them may be screaming (Carroll, 1999). The purpose of this movie is making audience alternative between laughing and crying throughout the duration of the film (Carroll, 1999). This genre aims to shift moods rapidly to turn horror to humour or vice verve, on time (Carroll, 1999). Horror-comedy is one of the well-known genres in the film that everyone may know and like it exists (Carroll, 1999). Vampires can seem like a monster in a horror movie, but vampires have in many different genres such as horror, comedy, or even romantic genre such as vampires fall in love with a human and protect human.

Some other popular genres turn to psychoanalysis in search of enlightenment. In some part of the genre itself invokes psychoanalytic considerations. “It’s imagery from symbolic apparatus of dream interpretation as well as allowing fictional characters to advance pseud- Freudian accounts on their own and other’s motivations. Some monster has been compulsive murders, the genre’s common presumption rooted in the psychosexual dynamics of childhood.” (Tudor, 1997). A monster can be different form in horror and popular genre. A superhero can be a monster as well in another form of transfer the characters to the audiences.

Reference:

Tudor, A. (1997). Why horror? The peculiar pleasures of a popular genre. Cultural studies, 11(3), 443-463.

Carroll, N. (1999). Horror and humor. The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 57(2), 145-160.

Carroll, N. (1987). The nature of horror. The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 46(1), 51-59.

Week 1:

  1. How has the academic reception of popular genres changed over time?

Popular genres also known as mass literature was an ignored literature that refers to a wide range of new media. Some of these include anime, manga, adventure, fantasy and science fiction. Popular genres was not recognized as pure literature until much later in time due to the classical literature like Shakespeare everyone was used to during the earlier time period. However, literature has changed over time, specifically with the evolvement of technology this has incredibly helped popular genres be further exposed throughout the media on various mediums such as comics, film, short stories and novels etc. helping receive the acknowledgement it should. Thankfully, due to the increasing popularity of popular genres, academics realized that the popular genre literature was equally important and therefore needed to be shared, studied and spoken about. Thus, popular genres have been included in academic papers and are now studied in universities with academic papers and curriculums providing students with the rich history of its development. This has been a huge development for multi-media, new media and production companies that can create and produce the new kinds of literature that all audiences are able to read and watch today.

2. What might the value be of studying them?

The value of studying popular genres is quite hard to define, just like how it is hard to define popular genres in one sentence. It’s important because it opens new fantasies, new creative ideas, imaginary worlds and realms that are different and can be appreciated by different people. It gives students the opportunity to learn about the endless imagination authors have and produces art through literature that should also be acknowledged for its content differences. Modern day society has changed, technology has changed, time has changed therefore it is only normal that literature changes to. This proves that there’s not only one way to writing literature, and that the creativity of new ideas, themes, concepts, relationships and issues popular genres includes can be written in many forms. Popular genres records the changing of culture and society and distributes it through its variety of mediums to share with audiences. To me, valuing popular genres, means to value creativity and imagination through literature.

Week 4 – Anime

  1. Is anime a high or low cultural medium, according to Susan Napier (2005) and what are some of its subgenres?

“Unquestionably a masterpiece of technical animation, Akira is also a complex and challenging work of art that provoked, bewildered and occasionally inspired Western audiences when it first appeared outside Japan in 1990.”
Napier, Susan (2005) p5

Napier (2005) states that some may argue Japanese Animation, or Anime as it is commonly referred, are short lived, low forms of art rising and falling around the demands of the marketplace and changes in popular tastes. She asks if Anime should in fact be compared to Haiku, woodblock prints and other high culture Japanese art forms or should Anime be analysed as purely social phenomenon?

Napier (2005) reflects the rise in Anime as an intellectually challenging art form. She states the rise in academic discourse around anime from the 1990s as evidence for its increased importance as a form of high art particularly relevant to aesthetics and sociological studies. Within Akira, we see the results of a post doomsday event leaving children orphaned and exploited.

Moreover, Napier (2005) argues that as well as anime being a form of entertainment with global reach, the medium also moves audiences and provokes viewers to consider contemporary political and social issues. An example of this is the corrupt military, police and political officials, in Akira.

She also suggests that the origins of Anime come from traditional high Japanese art such as Kabuki and woodblock. In Napier’s (2005)“The problem of Existence in Japanese Animation”, she discusses the evolution of anime originating from Kibyoshi, animated texts, which then evolved into Manga, graphic novels, and then to animation.

On the other hand Napier (2005) recognizes that animation is usually seen as a low cultural form of minor art worldwide, especially in Western culture. These societies associate animation, or cartoons, as used generally to entertain children, or as the occasional abstract arthouse piece of work. Whereas in Japan Animation has a long running track record of being created since post world two and is appreciated by multi generations as well as covering many sub-genres.

Some of the subgenres are as follows: Children’s cartoons, such as “Pokemon”, “No need for Tenchi” – Romantic Comedy, “Heidi”– Children’s Classic, Science Fiction with additional subgenres- Cyberpunk and Mecha (which is shortened for mechanical). This subgenre incorporates robots and androids. Another popular subgenre is Apocolypse, which be either of the material world or the interpersonal world. More subgenres are Sex, Festival, Elegy, Samurai sagas, as well as “Perfect Blue which incorporates the “schizo-psycho thrill machines” subgenre and finally the Post Doomsday Fantasy subgenre that is Akira.

In conclusion Napier refers to Anime as a fascinating medium that should not be assigned to merely “low” or “high” cultural attributes. She maintains that the modalities used to research and understand Anime are far more complex.

References:
Katsuhiro Otomo (1988) Akira

Napier, S. J. (2005). The Problem of Existence in Japanese Animation. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, 149(1), 72–79.

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.

Mountfort, P. (2020). Pop genres anime 1 Akira [PowerPoint Slides]. Blackboard. https://blackboard.aut.ac.nz/