As its nation’s highest-profile cultural export, anime has become the face of Japan for many of today’s youth. But does the key to anime’s worldwide popularity lie in its unique “Japanese-ness”, or in its appeal to transnational themes? This course focuses on the rise of anime at the turn of the millennium as a global commodity and the complex roles artists, studios, and otaku (fans) both inside and outside Japan play in the creative process, examining the themes and forces that conspired to create international anime fandom as we know it today.
Through lectures, class discussions, and screenings students will consider and be able to discuss critically:
What makes anime a transcultural phenomenon that is at once nationally specific and globally popular.
Anime as one part of a multimedia platform of cultural production.
Anime’s relationship to genre, both in Japan and internationally.
Anime fans (otaku) and their role in cultural production and meaning.
Key filmmakers, works and genres in the history of anime and their contributions to anime’s global identity
Assumptions about the definition of “Japanese animation” in light of transnational audiences and production
Mode of Instruction
Class will feature a combination of lecture and discussion in which students will be invited to share their thoughts on the relationship between the lectures, assigned readings, and examples from anime shown in screenings as well as their own personal favorites.
Essay (approx. 2000 words): 40%
Final Exam: 35%
Condry, Ian. The Soul of Anime: Collaborative Creativity and Japan’s Media Success Story. Durham: Duke University Press, 2013.
Denison, Rayna. Anime:* A Critical Introduction*. London: Bloomsbury, 2015.
Contact information: Dr. M.E. Crandol Ph.D.