What can anime’s development in Japan and its global dissemination teach us about the messy world of contemporary media culture where art and commerce, aesthetic and technology, and producers and consumers are inextricably entangled with each other?
In this course, students will learn to engage Japanese or Japanese-style animation (sometimes known as anime) through two-pronged approaches. First, the students will learn to evaluate the aesthetic and socio-cultural relevance of anime in relation to the criteria and perspectives developed through the study of more established artistic forms such literature, cinema and visual arts. We will cover topics including, anime’s generic conventions, formal aesthetic, and narrative motifs. Secondly, students will learn to address the cultural value of anime in manners that recognize the specificity of its media ecology, encompassing the modes of production, distribution, and consumption. In particular, we will pay close attention to the ways media technology, industrial production of anime, marketing, and fan culture are integral facets of anime eco-system. In this sense, we will study anime as a node in the global network, involving diverse commercial as well as non-commercial medias such as graphic novels, live-action films, video games, character merchandises, and fanzines and other fan practices. The course as a whole suggests that we need to work between these two approaches in order to understand anime as a medium of global popular culture today.