japanese anime: sailing into the edges of the divine

Its an exotic culture but who would have thought it could contain such struggles over the nature of utopia? There is always a secret beneath the shiny hard exterior of the body politic.Underneath the signature poses and porcelain gestures there is a language of motion that blurs the distinction between the virtual and the real,  The struggle of reconciling and dragging the real into a virtual existence.Its an altered state of consciousness of artificial reality and virtual sanity or at least a suspended reality where the notion of time and mortality are deferred….

---In Japan, anime Cosplaycan be a very important part of fashion, and the famous stars in this field come out like spring bamboos. When talking about the famous Japanese coser, the most famous we can’t avoid discussion is undoubtedly YING TING SHI YANG. In Japanese cosplay field, YING TING SHI YANG has won many fans by her pretty look and man-like body. As a girl, she looks a little boylish, which do great help in her performance of portraying male roles of anime or cartoons.---Read More:http://allcosplaycostumes.com/2010/09/30/the-most-famous-japanese-cosplayers/

Japanese anime has been part of the world for a long time, and the world has always been a part of Japanese animation. There was always the possibility of animation to transcend cultural and linguistic barriers in a way that action film couldn’t.In other words, Japanese anime has produced works of great poignancy and depth for decades; as such it is subject to a fair degree of derision, snobbery and condescension by those cognoscenti who assert that live action is the only way to tell a story.You have to see beyond the titillation to a broader social phenomenon that is historical, even mythical in origin.In any event, anime harkens to the epoch of experience being transmitted on a mouth to mouth basis as part of a storytelling tradition and not the Western conception of a counterfeiting of reality through the novel form and other proxies which coalesce in the fictive:

Walter Benjamin:Every morning brings us the news of the globe, and yet we are poor in noteworthy stories. This is because no event any longer comes to us without already being shot through with explanation. In other words, by now almost nothing that happens benefits storytelling; almost everything benefits information. Actually, it is half the art of storytelling to keep a story free from explanation as one reproduces it. Read More:http://slought.org/files/downloads/events/SF_1331-Benjamin.pdf

Henry Jenkins:One of the things that interested me about the live action anime project is that it got me thinking about the many ways that anime crosses over from the "virtual" to the "real." The most obvious example is cosplay and the many forms of licensed merchandise, such as toys and models, that in effect bring anime through the screen and into people's hands. When fans take anime and manga characters, and use them to create their own fanzine manga (dôjinshi), a similar kind of translation effect is underway, that is, taking imagined characters, re-imagining through our own minds, and the creating something new in the world. Read More:http://www.henryjenkins.org/2007/12/post_5.html image:http://www.asianoffbeat.com/default.asp?Display=733

Anime is far more than cartoon porn and is a medium that deserves to be taken seriously, lifted out of the status of subculture and into the mainstream. So, animation is often unjustly marginalized to the advantage of “real” movies. It is a point that merits elaboration, for there is an entire industry, and a culture, that has been using animation as a mainstay of grand storytelling for decades: anime.The question has to be asked what the reader or viewer is escaping escaping from and where are they escaping to? What is it the reader of romantic anime seeks  and what needs are being fulfilled? The simple answer is because of the weight of conformity, academic pressure, and  dissatisfaction with mundane life pushes young Japanese  to seek escapism in romantic fantasy. But the question of what these anime stories actually provide is a more complex answer.

---Mature themes in anime are not restricted to feature films. Black Lagoon is a television series following the misadventures of four modern pirates. It tackles such potentially difficult story lines as child abuse, murder and kidnapping, but achieves something few mainstream productions have done: it brings humanity and humour to these issues while not trivialising them, or descending into poor taste. One story arc about child pornography is as disturbing as you would imagine, but it is handled with a delicacy that transcends the violence on screen, and never presents its subject matter as anything other than horrifying.--- Read More:http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/feb/25/anime-animated-pornography image:http://surbrook.devermore.net/adaptationsanime/bl/blacklagoon.html

Dewar:Japanese cartoons are sometime thought of as little more than animated pornography filled with images of semi-naked, big-eyed girls. Far above this level, however, there are works of great poignancy and depth. Anime explores such classic themes as life and death, friendship, love, loyalty and the struggle to define one’s self – stories often too complex for children to follow. Many anime films and television series are specifically targeted at adult audiences. Younger audiences won’t comprehend the themes examined in, for example, Paprika, which looks at the nature of the psyche, or Metropolis, which tackles the existential problems of what it means to be human and to have a perception of self. Read More:http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/feb/25/anime-animated-pornography

 

Ian Condry:To me, Japanese anime provides an important, non-Western case study of the ways media goes global, both by speaking across cultural boundaries while retaining a kind of cultural difference (have you ever seen so many giant robots or transforming schoolgirls?). Anime's connection to the world of Japanese comic books, woodblock prints and ancient picture scrolls is often deemed sufficient to prove a kind of cultural particularity, but at the same time, the development of Japan's anime industry was closely linked to American comics, Disney and other pioneering cartoon creators. I also explore the ways anime fans, first in Japan and then overseas, have been integral to the expansion of anime culture....Read More:http://www.henryjenkins.org/2007/06/what_makes_japan_so_cool_an_in.html image:http://www.cosplay.com/showthread.php?t=131453&page=831

Yet in the West, Japan is perceived as a calculating nation of homogenous, generic  robot-like workers, hyper efficient, and overwhelming bureaucratic. The individual is seen as a figure out of an early Kurosawa movie; imagination and individuality dissipated, or ultimately pushed towards suicidal tendencies. World War II inscribed the image of the savage Japanese samurai warrior in the kamikaze planes, fanatic like a s

de bomber.A culture that produced Bridge over the River Kwai.  Japanese social culture is often seen as blanketed under stifling layers of politeness and formality, characterized by endless bowing.  Finally, it seems a given that Japan cannot create anything original of its own that draws from its national tradition. Even material considered “romantic” might be only an imitation of the West.

---The show's director, Thomas F. DeFrantz, who is a Professor of Theater Arts and the current head of the MIT Program in Women's and Gender Studies, shared with me some reflections about the stage design and choreography for Madness: To construct movement for the piece, I often had my dancers think of themselves as if 'in camera.' I asked, "if you were the animator, how would you draw this moment?" The piece is based on stillness, rather than on motion. In many anime, you don't see every bit of a gesture, just the edges. This took a technique of 'clenching' the body, strangely enough, to reveal the edges of each silhouette that stood for a character emotion. More than anything, we had to work against the casualness of everyday gesture, in which there might be many silhouettes of little interest to an animator or someone watching anime. For this work, we had to focus on the silhouettes that could reveal character, attitude, and opinion all at once. The performers developed their 'signature poses' and we worked from those to generate a language of motion.---Read More:http://www.henryjenkins.org/2007/12/post_5.html

These stereotypes are not completely undeserved, and Japan’s  trade barriers, imperialism, racism, and sexism are well documented with supportive evidence. It hardly helps that the Japanese do not often share their private thoughts with outsiders; they display instead the faces they are taught to display to each other out of habit: brusqueness to perceived inferiors and equals, and polite submission to social superiors.Much of the limited anime and manga material that trickles into the U.S., however, does little to help the heartless, flat image of Japan. Many animated videos that come into the U.S. seem almost obsessed with sex and violence. The video games also tend to highlight violence.But there is another way to explore the soul of Japan : if one bothers to look at what many Japanese themselves seek in their own private time and create for their peers and anime opens the door to this secret world.

Brent Allison:The social nature of anime fandom – the costume playing at conventions, the hours spent subtitling an episode for distribution, the publishing of fan fiction on the Internet – constitutes venues through which anime fans enter into a discourse that establishes their identities as fans. These identities are at least partly distanced from a mainstream society unconscious of its cultural power that pushes away fans who feel the need to detach themselves from that power at the same time. Unfortunately, studies have either dismissed anime fans as constituting a subculture, or if their subculture is acknowledged, it is only as a collection of culturally deficient individuals. Virtually no mention has been made of the subculture’s members’ varied relationships to mainstream culture. Read More:http://www.corneredangel.com/amwess/papers/anime_fan_subculture.html image:http://aeconvention.blogspot.com/2010/01/test-post.html

—But the nature of the medium itself is a compelling reason. It is an ideal story telling mechanism, able to combine aspects of art, prose, characterization, cinematography techniques (even in the comic books), and all sorts of literary narrative techniques; the video games and animated films also incorporate music. Drawn by hand, anime is also separated from reality by a crucial gap of fiction. Drawn characters and worlds can depict fantastic and otherwise impossible scenes; the stories and images are theoretically “safe” for exploration without either disrupting or being disrupted by real society. The images are also simple enough, unlike some forms of highly detailed traditional art, to allow people to project their own ideals onto the images. And, like any other media, they can be explored alone, in the privacy of one’s mind, free from outside observation. By these traits, the anime-based media provide an ideal path for escapism, and hence, a look at what people are seeking at a deep, personal level that the “real world” cannot touch.Read More:http://www.mit.edu/~rei/manga-romanticism.html

ADDENDUM:

Production of short films, including a handful of foreign releases, continued for years until theatrical features became possible in the early 40s thanks to sponsorship by government forces on a very ambitious transnational project: war. While Japanese and American soldiers battled each other on land and sea, cultural hero Momotaro and his Disney-like animal buddies trampled Bluto, Popeye and the devilish foreign Navy before the eyes of anxious young viewers. Unfortunately for Momotaro his animated dreams didn’t come true, and when the postwar commercial cell-animated film industry-granddaddy of the “anime” we know today-developed in the shadows of Disney releases and Occupation censorship, it was instantly and explicitly international.

---Anime have become more diverse in recent years, and there have been many titles targeting core fans. Particularly popular are animations featuring cute female characters. "K-on!!" is probably the most successful anime TV title these days. Tokyo Broadcast System Television and its network affiliates are running its second series late at night. The anime is about five cute high school girls who play in a band at school, and the story lines revolve around their daily lives and how they improve as musicians. The production team has promoted the anime wisely by actually releasing tunes the band plays on the show, both at record stores and online. The CDs use the same band name as the anime.--- Read More:http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20100907i1.html image:http://orendsrange.blogspot.com/2010/12/biglobes-top-10-anime-songs-for-2010.html

—Hidden treasures; a connection to something vast, epic — perhaps even infinite. This is one of the best-hidden, secret elements of these stories. Somewhere, someday, there might shine a joy that outshines transient pain and pleasure, an eternal love that perhaps survives even death. This is the treasure worth living for and worth seeking, the secret answer to a desperate search. This is the search that has taken the Anime world’s visitor across the boundaries of time and space, through mysterious realms, through epic histories, through the lives of characters who laugh and cry and dream, through emotions and experiences too profound for words … and then gently back to reality, carrying the priceless and encouraging echoes of the message of hope, summarized as follows: “The future will be glorious, if only we remember what is truly important and persevere no matter what.” Surely this message strikes a chord in the hearts of the audience, for it is repeated quietly in manga after manga, movie after movie, and even through the video games. How many people have found solace this way, and the will to survive their own small and large sufferings — maybe even conquer them — with the hope for something far better? The message now has surpassed notions of mere “romanticism”; it has sailed on into the very edges of the divine. Read More:http://www.mit.edu/~rei/manga-romanticism.html

 

---But beyond even heavy burdens, the Japanese seem particularly fascinated by the extra burden of immortality. Immortal or nearly-immortal characters inevitably find that the passing years sometimes bring more pain and frustrated longings than one might expect. The demon high school girl Souko (from Ao no Fuuin) and 3-eyed Pai (from 3x3 Eyes) seek nothing more than to become human and live a normal life; and even eternally 13-year-old Miyu (Vampire Princess Miyu) secretly weeps for her old, human life. Powerful, ever-young Locke is dragged unwillingly time after time into galactic conflict, though seemingly more fond of simple farm life. And for manga writer Leiji Matsumoto's characters, such as Maetel (Galaxy Express 999), immortality is either a plunge into a meaningless existence or a lifetime of bittersweet moments. Trying desperately to fit in, to understand, to change, to save others; these people fight fervently for the right to exist as what they are, or were meant to be. In an early story of Chojin Locke, Locke says to a psionic woman warrior who had long considered herself a mere throw-away tool for another's war: "Why don't you live as a human being? ...---Read More:http://www.mit.edu/~rei/manga-romanticism.html image:http://www.starblazers.com/html.php?page_id=522

—–Brent Allison:Japan is a unique case for the Orientalist mind since most of its economic infrastructure, government, popular culture, and much of the Japanese people’s thinking have been Westernized since the Meiji Restoration era of the 1870s began driving Japan towards modernization to a degree not seen in other “Oriental” countries. It can be pointed to as a success by Orientalists of Western supervision and ideology governing the respective affairs and minds of an “Oriental” people, particularly in reference to its postwar period of democratization and economic growth. This problematizes the study of U.S. anime fan subculture to a great extent, since an awareness of Orientalism triggers questions of what motivates U.S. fans to watch anime. Do they watch it to be exposed to Japan’s “exoticness” and “mysticism” so closely associated with the “Orient” in general? Or do they view anime as a way to continue their consumption of the familiar – to watch the animation of another industrialized and Westernized nation? Will anime reinforce or challenge their Orientalist beliefs about Japan, and perhaps by extension, East Asia in general? Does the act of watching anime itself position anime fans as involved participants in Japanese culture who become reflective thinkers about their own culture, or as privileged and distanced observers of a people who have “culture”, yet never stop to think about themselves possessing a culture that itself can seem “exotic” to an Eastern mind with similar ethnocentric pretensions.Read More:http://www.corneredangel.com/amwess/papers/anime_fan_subculture.html

Read More:http://listphobia.com/2010/10/14/10-top-japanese-anime-series-of-all-time/

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