Reassessing Anime: Japanese cinema and animation

Anime is a visual enigma. Its otherworldly allure and burgeoning popularity across the globe highlights its unique ability to be more than just another type of animation. Originally a novelty export from post-war Japan, anime has now become a subtle yet important part of Western popular culture. Furthermore, it remains a key area of audience and fan research that crosses all generations – children, teenagers, and adults. From Osamu Tezuka to Hayao Miyazaki, Akira (Katsuhiro Ôtomo, 1988) to Ghost in the Shell (Mamoru Oshii, 1995), anime’s extraordinary characters and oneiric content still enable it to be regarded as one of the most awe-inspiring visual spectacles going into and during the twenty-first century.
    Keenly aware of anime’s rich history, cultural and global context, and increasing presence and influence on Western art, literature and film, the theme of this issue of Cinephile is ‘Reassessing Anime.’ The six articles included herein aim to address and tackle some of the overlooked aspects of anime. Such a reassessment by each author hopes to encourage future academic scholarship into the evolution and value of anime and, moreover, its impact not only on film but also on TV, comic books, video games, music videos, and corporate marketing strategies. [Jonathan A. Cannon, Editor's Note, Cinephile, 'Reassessing Anime', 7.1, 2011. FSFF's hyperlinks]

Film Studies For Free is delighted to announce that the Spring 2011 issue of Cinephile, the excellent film journal edited out of the University of British Columbia, Canada, has just been made available for download for free as a single PDF file.

As signalled above, this issue is dedicated to “Reassessing Anime” and it features great, original articles by internationally renowned animation scholars Paul Wells and Philip Brophy, as well as illustrations by Vancouver-based artist Chloe Chan.

The issue’s table of contents is given below, and below that, FSFF has also provided a handy, clickable index of its own popular posts on anime and Japanese cinema.

The latest issue of Cinephile, available for purchase now, is on Contemporary Realism. It features original articles by Ivone Margulies and Richard Rushton. There is also a call for papers on “The Voice Over”.

  • ‘Playing the Kon Trick: Between Dates, Dimensions and Daring in the films of Satoshi Kon’ by Paul Wells
  • ‘The Sound of an Android’s Soul: Music, Muzak and MIDI in Time of Eve‘ by Philip Brophy
  • ‘Beyond Maids and Meganekko: Examining the Moe Phenomenon’ by Michael R. Bowman
  • ‘Reviewing the ‘Japaneseness’ of Japanese Animation: Genre Theory and Fan Spectatorship’ by Jane Leong
  • ‘The Higurashi Code: Algorithm and Adaptation in the Otaku Industry and Beyond’ by John Wheeler
  • ‘Mamoru Oshii’s Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence: Thinking Before the Act’ by Frédéric Clément 

Film Studies For Free on Anime and Japanese Cinema

Animation Studies: Three Fabulous Online Resources

Updated with a call for papers on November 15
Lignes verticales/Lines Vertical (Norman McLaren and Evelyn Lambart, 1960). Read Aimee Mollaghan’s article on McLaren’s Line Films here.

Animation has an unlimited potential to visually represent events, scenarios and forms that have little or no relation to our experience of the ‘real’ world. Implemented in many ways, in many disciplines, it is increasingly influencing our perception and experience of the world we live in. This timely and groundbreaking international conference unites speakers from a wide range of research agendas and creative practices. It facilitates much-needed dialogue centred on the ubiquitous and interdisciplinary nature of animation, its potentially radical future development, and its ethical responsibilities for spatial politics in moving image culture. The conference’s contributors include Norman Klein, Michael Snow, Vivian Sobchack, Tom Gunning, Anthony McCall, George Griffin, Suzanne Buchan, Beatriz Colomina, Edwin Carels, Siegfried Zielinski, Lisa Cartwright, Johnny Hardstaff and Esther Leslie. Especially since the digital shift, the uses of animation are no longer exclusive to cinema, and animation’s origins in pre-cinematic optical experiments through avant-garde experimental film continue to evolve in fascinating ways. Artists increasingly incorporate animation in installations and exhibitions, architects use computer animation software to create narratives of space in time, and scientists use it to interpret abstract concepts for a breadth of industries ranging from biomedicine to nanoworlds. Pervasive Animation provides a dynamic international forum to explore animation’s myriad forms and applications across a wide band of creative and professional practice. Organised by Suzanne Buchan, Reader in Animation Studies and Director of the Animation Research Centre at the University College for the Creative Arts, and Stuart Comer, Curator of Film at Tate.

Film Studies For Free animatedly highlights three fabulous Animation Studies resources today. First up, through the second of the two videos embedded above, you can access the entire, recorded proceedings of a very high quality conference on animation held in 2007 at London’s Tate Modern.

FSFF heard about those videos through the fantastic Experimental Animation website which houses, and links to, many more animation treasures, like Lignes verticales/Lines VerticalNorman McLaren and Evelyn Lambart‘s brilliant 1960 opus embedded at the top of this post.

Finally, the third amazing resource du jour are the below contents of the volumes of Animation Studies, the online, Open Access and peer-reviewed Journal of the Society for Animation Studies (also on Twitter as @anistudies). See also the Society’s Call for Papers for an upcoming conference at the foot of this post.

“Th-th-th-that’s all folks!”

Animation Studies – the Journal of the Society for Animation Studies

Call for Papers:
‘The Animation Machine’ – The 24th Society for Animation Studies Conference

Date: June 25-27, 2012

Hosted by: RMIT University
Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Keynote speakers include:

•         Thomas Lamarre (McGill University, Canada)

•         Tomotaka Takahashi (The University of Tokyo, Japan)

The Society for Animation Studies (SAS) invites submissions of proposals for individual papers and panels for its 24th Annual Conference, which will be held in Melbourne, Australia at RMIT University, 25-27 June 2012.

Animation production and consumption has continued to grow as animation itself has become ever more prevalent and visible in recent years. In parallel, the field of animation studies has expanded excitingly and dramatically, bringing together scholars from a variety of disciplines.

The theme of this year’s conference, ‘The Animation Machine’, reflects the wide range of processes, technologies, histories and structures in animation. As movement is an essential aspect of animation, whatever creates that movement may constitute an animation machine and one could conceive that animation is itself a machine. The animation machine can be considered from both the production process and the end product. Therefore, it refers to the machines of animation presentation, be these pre-20th century animation devices, movie or video screens, or even automata. The animation machine also relates to the multitude of animation production processes – from animating technologies (animation stands, cameras, computers), through to the animator’s individual creative practice. Ultimately, the animation machine can be described quite broadly and we welcome your own interpretations.

With the centenary of Australian animation approaching, the 2012 conference will also provide an opportunity to highlight some of Australia’s animation heritage. The conference will coincide with the Melbourne International Animation Festival (MIAF) and a number of crossover events are planned.

We invite proposals on a wide range of animation topics on all aspects of animation history, theory and criticism for 20-minute conference presentations. Proposals may include (but are not limited to) the following topics:

•         Australian Animation

•         Animation and the Asia-Pacific Region

•         Animation Histories

•         Future Forms of Animation

•         Industrial Methods and Changes

•         Materiality of Animation

•         Algorithmic Animation (including Games)

•         Philosophy and Animation

•         Motion Graphics

•         Scientific Visualisation

•         Contemporary Art and Animation

•         Architecture and Animation

•         Drawing and Animation

•         Web Animation

•         Narrative and Non-Narrative Animation

•         Obsolescence and Questions of Materiality

•         Augmented Reality and Vision

•         Automata (including Robotics)

•         Animation and Pedagogy

•         Documentary and Animation

•         Animation Fringes and Counter-Cultures

•         Sound and Animation

Please include with your individual submission the following:

•         Title and abstract of no more than 250 words (suitable for publication).

•         A brief biographical statement (suitable for publication).

•         Complete contact information, including name, institutional affiliation (if any), postal address, e-mail address and telephone number.

•         A head shot photo of yourself that will be suitable for publication (optional).

For panel proposals of 3-4 presenters, the chair of the panel should submit the following:

•         Overall panel title/theme, plus a 100-word description suitable for publication.

•         Name and contact information for the panel chair.

•         Titles and abstracts for each paper (as noted above).

•         Biography statement for each member (as noted above).

•         Name and contact information for each member (as noted above).

•         Photo of each presenter suitable for publication (optional).

Submit abstracts to: animation.conference@rmit.edu.au
Submission deadline: December 12, 2011
Conference website: http://www.rmit.edu.au/sas2012
Conference Chair: Dr Dan Torre, RMIT University

    >Sound on Screen: The Exorcist, Haneke, J-Horror, Warner Bros., animation, Apocalypse Now

    >

    Image from Apocalypse Now Redux (Francis Ford Coppola, 2001)

    Film Studies For Free only just heard about the Spring 2010 issue of online journal Cinephile (Vol. 6 No. 1). So, while technically FSFF is ‘rushing you the news’, it red-facedly admits that it arrived a little late to this particular, openly accessible, Film Studies party…

    Anyhoooo, it’s an excellent issue on ‘Sound on Screen’, available as one large PDF. The contents are given below.

    FSFF earnestly promises to keep its e-ears closer to the ground next time an issue is due…

    Table of Contents