Anime Creativity: Characters and Premises in the Quest for Cool Japan
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This article examines ethnographically the production of anime (Japanese animated films and TV shows) by focusing on how professional animators use characters and dramatic premises to organize their collaborative creativity. In contrast to much of the analysis of anime that focuses on the stories of particular media texts, I argue that a character-based analysis provides a critical perspective on how anime relates to broader transmedia phenomena, from licensed merchandise to fan activities. The ideas of characters, premises, and world-settings also specify in greater detail the logic of anime production, which too often is glossed as emerging from a generalized Japanese culture, as in the ongoing debates about `cool Japan'. I conclude that an ethnographic approach to anime production through a focus on characters can offer new ways of thinking about what moves across media, what distinguishes anime from other media forms, and what gives anime its value.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Foreign Languages and Literatures
Theory, Culture and Society
Condry, Ian. "Anime Creativity: Characters and Premises in the Quest for Cool Japan." Theory Culture Society 2009 26: 139-163. © 2009 Sage Publications.
Author's final manuscript