Mechademia: Emerging Worlds of Anime and Manga

And here is some new content for my blog!

Recently I’ve gotten back into reading (thank you Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya) and I was on Goodreads, looking through my groups. I remembered that I’d entered into this yearly reading contest for Wacky Reading Challenges and I went to check it out. My entry had been stuck at about 20 books for a couple months and then I decided I’d continue.

Basically, the yearly contest is called 15 x 15 Challenge and participants are allowed to pick one of the five levels listed:

  • 1 x 15 (15 categories, 1 book per category = 15 books total)
  • 5 x 5 (5 categories, 5 books per category = 25 books total)
  • 5 x 15 (5 categories, 15 books per category = 75 books total)
  • 15 x 15 (15 categories, 15 books per category = 225 books total)
  • 10 x 15 (10 categories, 15 books per category = 150 books)

I ended up choosing the 10 x 15 level even though I know I’m not going to be able to read 150 books in a year (no manga). I thought it would be fun making categories and besides, we’re allowed to change levels at any time before the challenge ends. It’s highly likely I’ll end up changing to level 5 x 5, haha. Not so likely but possible to do the 5 x 15.

Anyways, one of my categories that I made was titled Stalking Kleptomaniac, which basically means I’d read books from other people’s bookshelves. I decided on that title because I’ve been called both things before and I thought it would be fun

( ´͈ ᗨ `͈ )

And so for my first book I decided to choose Mechademia: Emerging Worlds of Anime and Manga that I got from Cassandra’s (The Huge Anime Fan’s) Goodreads bookshelf! I actually started reading the book while my family was road tripping to Wyoming and I just finished it.

I usually post a summary for everything I review but this time I won’t since I’ll outline the book’s contents along with my thoughts.

Thoughts

For my first book on anime/manga scholarship I think it was an interesting and informational read. One of the things I really liked about this book is that each article was done by different people. It really allowed for a change in pace and gave a few different perspectives on different topics.

The book is edited by Frenchy Lunning and is a compilation of essays written by different people (Anne Allison, Wendy Siuyi Wong, Susan Napier, Theresa Winge, Mark J. P. Wolf, Tatsumi Takayuki, Thomas Looser, Ueno Toshiya, Thomas Lamarre, Antonia Levi, Mari Kotani, and Timothy Perper and Martha Cornog).

There is also a Review and Commentary section with writers William L. Benzon, Vern Bullough, Patrick Drazen, Marc Hairston, Brian Ruth, Timothy Perper and Martha Cornog, and Michelle Ollie at the end of the book.

Most of the articles also had a good amount of notes and further readings, which is helpful for deciding what to read next. The first few chapters are like an introduction to the whole anime concept as the writers talk about the fandom, the origins and spread of anime/manga, the origins of cosplay, and how a video game should be reviewed.

Articles also include topics in:

  • Mori Minoru: very short, ~3.5 pages. The article’s only reference is Science Fiction Studies 29 (2002): 323-39, an interview with Susan Napier, Otobe Junko, and Tatsumi Takayuki
  • The Superflat image and layering: I thought this chapter was especially boring and I couldn’t really relate it to anime or manga. The writer does mention apocalyptic images in anime but doesn’t go into further detail in that direction. Instead, they analyze Japanese woodblock prints by Hiroshige. The good thing about this article is that they have an abundance of notes so if I want further readings I at least have a guide.
  • Animation: There are 2 chapters dedicated to this and the one chapter titled The Multiplanar Image mentions the superflat image. Honestly, they do a better job at explaining it through anime examples than the actual article dedicated to the superflat image. The only issue I had here was in terms of vocabulary (but that’s just me). I understood what was going on until about near the end where I lost track of definitions (superflat vs animetism). I liked that this article has an abundance of pictures to explain what they were trying to argue because I’m a visual person (not to mention that most of the anime mentioned are ones I’ve either never heard of or watched yet).
  • Wolf-Human Dynamics in Anime and Manga: It was nice to read this near the end because it was so simple and easy to understand. It really gave me a breather after reading about the previous topics. Also, compared to all the other articles, this one actually listed shows I was more familiar with (Wolf’s Rain, Princess Mononoke, Inuyasha, and another I haven’t seen but that I’m now curious about, Hinotori: Taiyohen). I do have to say, though, that the article felt a bit repetitive in certain places as the writer mentioned the storyline of each show multiple times. Topics that are discussed are society, sexuality, gender roles, and our relationship with nature.
  • The Japanese Girl: Another easy read though I had trouble keeping up with the different Girls (the Girl, Hyper-girl, and the Battling Beauty). The show that was analyzed was Revolutionary Girl Utena which I haven’t watched either, but analysis of gender roles was really interesting. Makes me want to watch the show and learn more about each type of Girl.

The book is pretty old (2006) so it makes me wonder what and how things have changed since then (particularly in the animation sense since history/origins can’t really be changed).

Really enjoyed it as an introductory book. Rated it a 4/5 ☆ on Goodreads.

4 thoughts on “Mechademia: Emerging Worlds of Anime and Manga

  1. 🙂 I don’t usually follow other people’s bookshelves on Goodreads but that is nice that my shelf could be useful.

    I believe I read Mechademia: Emerging Worlds of Anime and Manga sometime in 2012. Not too sure since my memory is foggy. I agree some of the terminology requires previous context. Which is why I like that it includes further readings. I love when studies on topics contain suggested reading because you can get ideas on what to read next thereby gaining more understanding.

    Oh, and Revolutionary Girl Utena also caught my interest. Something tells me it is about female empowerment or what is usually called feminism. Though going by Mechademia that should be a complex anime. Tweeting this!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Actually this is the first time I’ve gone out of my way to read a NF book, I usually avoid them xP but I took a course in school that kind of made me interested in them, especially the notes sections (it’s kind of sad the commentary and books I was just skipping over before)

      I have to wonder if I’d actually look at Revolutionary girl utena in that way now that I’ve read up on it or if I’ll just watch it like I normally do anything else. Really think it’s interesting how shows have so much depth to them (and of course I miss it more than half the time xO)

      I don’t follow either but sometimes I want something new to read and I’ll randomly look through people’s shelves to see if anything is interesting, since I knew you liked anime I figured I’d find some manga in your shelves haha (and then I found this)

      Thanks 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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