?

Log in

You may recognize this questionnaire from an earlier post at this community. However, I have since realized that I made a grave error when posting my questionnaire. I posted the wrong version of my consent letter. I have since deleted the posts that contain it, and have sent the approved version of the consent letter to those who were kind enough to participate. Note: If you participated with the incorrect version, your answers will not be used and your identity will remain protected. I only hope that others will still consider participating with the correct edition of the consent letter. I apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.

And since the best thing to do with a mistake is to admit that you made it, here goes. This is the real deal.




Note: The consent letter says that participation in this study should last no longer than an hour, but if you feel like you want to take more time answering it, that is fine. It is intended to analyze the creative process among both fans and professionals (and even those who are both), and the questions are open-ended enough to stimulate internal dialogue.





Please send questions and responses to mashby/at/yorku/ca, or use LJ to send me a private message.

Questionnaire!

A little while ago, my university granted me ethics approval to share this questionnaire. It's intended primarily for anime and manga fan writers, but the questions are open-ended enough that they could probably become memes on their own in other fandoms. Please share these at your communities! I want to stretch out the exposure, so I'm aiming to share this in other major communities over the coming weeks.

These questions focus on the creative process. This questionnaire is the same one that I intend to share among anime producers themselves. The goal is to compare and contrast the creative process between unpaid, English-speaking anime and manga fans online, and paid professional Japanese anime producers. The questionnaire is not about sexuality, or how many hours you spend online, or anything like that. It's just about what motivates you as a creative person -- in short, it's about what you choose to make it about. You can answer this questionnaire if you draw your own doujinshi, too.

So, first things first:

And here comes the fun part!


Now, in the consent form, I mention that participation in the study shouldn't take more than an hour. But this isn't a timed trial -- if you find yourself ruminating on these questions for more than an hour, by all means share with me the fruits of your meditation. Don't be afraid to take your time.

If you have any questions, leave a comment here, use LJ to send me a private message, or email me at mashby/at/yorku/ca.
Robin Brenner has a survey up about the reading habits of GLBTQ consumers who read yaoi, yuri, BL (is it called GL if it's shoujo-ai?) manga. I'm not sure what the purpose of the survey is, but MangaBlog says Brenner has been nominated for an Eisner. So have fun!
Edited by Antonia Levi, Mark McHarry, & Dru Pagliassotti


This edited, interdisciplinary volume seeks to examine the new representations of same-sex attracted males in boys' love and/or yaoi -- that is, male same-sex romance or erotica as featured in manga, manwha, anime, videogames, fanfic, fanvids, artwork, and other media derivative of the genre's Japanese origins. The collection's primary focus will be the ways in which fans in countries and cultures other than Japan interpret and use these genres, although the editors are open to contributions about boys' love fandoms in Japan as well. We want to provide a broad overview of scholarly essays and research in yaoi / boys' love studies and so encourage work from all disciplinary perspectives. Scholarly work about slash fiction is welcome, too, insofar as the genre is discussed within the framework of boys' love / yaoi.

Papers should be between 5,000 to 20,000 words in addition to any illustrations and well-grounded in theory and methodology. Shorter works will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Potential approaches might include:

o Controversies and Legal Issues
o Fandoms and Fanfic
o Theoretical Models of Gender and Sexuality
o Genre Development and Adaptation
o The Publishing Industry
o Concepts of "Race" / Ethnicity in Yaoi and Boys' Love
o Queer / Gay Discourses of Yaoi / Boys' Love
o Comparison of Boys' Love and Yaoi Expressions in World Regions

Submissions must be previously unpublished (conference presentations are acceptable) and in English. Manuscript format, especially citations and references, should accord with the Chicago Manual of Style -- see ChicagoManualofStyle.Org.

We encourage you to submit preliminary proposals by July 31, 2008, although these are not mandatory. Notification of preliminary acceptances will be sent by August 30. Manuscripts and artwork must be complete by November 15. Please note that all final decisions will be made upon seeing completed works, not proposals or abstracts.

Proposals, papers, and questions should be emailed to
[Error: Irreparable invalid markup ('<anthology [...] --yaoiresearch.com>') in entry. Owner must fix manually. Raw contents below.]

Edited by Antonia Levi, Mark McHarry, & Dru Pagliassotti


This edited, interdisciplinary volume seeks to examine the new representations of same-sex attracted males in boys' love and/or yaoi -- that is, male same-sex romance or erotica as featured in manga, manwha, anime, videogames, fanfic, fanvids, artwork, and other media derivative of the genre's Japanese origins. The collection's primary focus will be the ways in which fans in countries and cultures other than Japan interpret and use these genres, although the editors are open to contributions about boys' love fandoms in Japan as well. We want to provide a broad overview of scholarly essays and research in yaoi / boys' love studies and so encourage work from all disciplinary perspectives. Scholarly work about slash fiction is welcome, too, insofar as the genre is discussed within the framework of boys' love / yaoi.

Papers should be between 5,000 to 20,000 words in addition to any illustrations and well-grounded in theory and methodology. Shorter works will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Potential approaches might include:

o Controversies and Legal Issues
o Fandoms and Fanfic
o Theoretical Models of Gender and Sexuality
o Genre Development and Adaptation
o The Publishing Industry
o Concepts of "Race" / Ethnicity in Yaoi and Boys' Love
o Queer / Gay Discourses of Yaoi / Boys' Love
o Comparison of Boys' Love and Yaoi Expressions in World Regions

Submissions must be previously unpublished (conference presentations are acceptable) and in English. Manuscript format, especially citations and references, should accord with the Chicago Manual of Style -- see ChicagoManualofStyle.Org.

We encourage you to submit preliminary proposals by July 31, 2008, although these are not mandatory. Notification of preliminary acceptances will be sent by August 30. Manuscripts and artwork must be complete by November 15. Please note that all final decisions will be made upon seeing completed works, not proposals or abstracts.

Proposals, papers, and questions should be emailed to <anthology -- at --yaoiresearch.com>. Further information and discussion can be found at www.YaoiResearchWiki.com.

The collection will be published by McFarland & Co. in 2009.

Free journals available online

Sage Publications is having a free trial of their online journals until May 31st.

Amongst their publications are "Animation: an Interdisciplinary Journal"

I also found some interesting looking articles in some of their other publications.

for more info: http://www.sagepub.com/

(FYI: I have no connection with Sage Publications other than having taken advantage of the above menitoned free trial of their online journals)

trying open posting

Hi there,

The academic season is over, so for now we can let our hair down! I've lifted the posting restriction, for those who are interested. That's right, the training wheels are coming off. That doesn't mean I want to stray too far from topic, though -- feel free to post reviews, articles, conference notices, and all other intersections of anime and academia or criticism.

If you have any other ideas on what we should talk about, let us know here!

Potentially interesting reading

I don't know of how much interest this would be for people here since it's in French, but I though I'd point out the following book.:

Jean-Claude Heudin, Les Créatures artificielles, des automates aux mondes virtuels (Artificial Creatures, from automatons to virtual worlds)

According to the publisher's blurb, the author is a science historian and chronicles the history of artificial creatures for more than two millennia.

http://www.amazon.fr/cr%C3%A9atures-artificielles-automates-mondes-virtuels/dp/2738120024

I haven't read (or even seen) it, saw a brief review on a ML I'm on. The reviewer mentions a good, solid knowledge of SF even though lacking in odd places (no mention of Leinster's "A Logic Named Joe" and no mention of Greg Egan are two of the examples given)



Also, here's a conversationi between two characters in Blood+, while the series is not concerned with cyborgs at all, I thought it interesting for this group:

Julia – You sure have changed

David – Changed?

J – Until recently, you were like an iron robot.

D – And now?

J – Now you're like an android or a cyborg.

D – I'm growing weaker by the day

J – Really? I like you better this way

D – In this business, weakness is a shortcoming

J – Man cannot live on strength alone

D – Is that your advice as a doctor?

J – Just my womanly advice

D – That was not called for

J – How stubborn

It's from episode 19, about 5' 30'' into it

Readings: Lunning and RahXephon

Hello and welcome to Otaku Academy. For our final class, we're changing it up: we're reading Frenchy Lunning's article “Between the Child and the Mecha” from Mechademia volume 2. This is a change from the syllabus, but I think that this article better discusses the themes we've been interested in thus far. (I also recommend Margherita Long's article “Malice@Doll: Konaka, Specularization, and the Virtual Feminine.”)

Lunning's article uses the mecha anime series RahXephon to explain Lacan's theories of pyschological development. Specifically, she's interested in the three stages of development: the mirror stage, fort-da and the Oedipal complex. She uses specific moments within the story to illustrate these three stages. Most of them come from the narrative of the main character, Ayato, and his mecha, the RahXephon. Since most of her analysis comes from her reading of Ayato, his mother, and the mecha's body, it's easy to see how this applies to readings of the cyborg body. (Again, Long's article would also fit.)

Lunning communicates her reading of most mecha stories thusly:

Between the child inside and the mecha outside is a gap: a symbol of a yawning sense of lack suffused with a compelx of narratives that lie between the child-pilot and his or her mecha-ideal image of power and agency. That gap is the space of lack and the consequent production of desire, the space of conflicting drives and conflating worlds, and the space in which the sets, lights, and costumes for the performance of the transformation into maturity are set for what Jacques Lacan describes as the full emergence into the symbolic realm.


From what I learnt in Lunning's article, RahXephon is a fairly standard mecha story: there is a moody adolescent boy pilot who discovers a giant mech, and who also happens to be a messianic figure whose dubious parentage affords him world-changing power. The mech helps him define himself as a young adult. He separates from his mother, who also happens to be an alien being, and he ends up joining what was once a bifurcated world and having his own love affair and starting a family.

The Mirror Stage

According to Lunning's reading, Ayato enters Lacan's first stage of subject development, the mirror stage, when he discovers the RahXephon mech inside a giant egg. The egg closely resembles the domed city where Ayato lives with his mother. As the egg cracks, Ayato falls to the floor in a fetal position, and the mech absorbs him. Now the mech's pilot, Ayato confronts his mother. She begs him to leave. When she does, she falls and cuts herself. Her blood is blue, and this marks her as different from Ayato – she is one of the aliens who has caused the planetary destruction that necessitates the dome.

Lunning reads this as a mirror stage moment because the Lacanian mirror stage begins the process toward individuation through recognition of difference. According to Lacan, this is often done in very early childhood with a mirror, when the mirror's reflection reveals to the self that the self and the mother are different beings. This causes a sensation of lack and separation, because beforehand (again, according to Lacan) there had been a sense of one-ness, cohesion, and plenitude. In the story, this is symbolized by Ayato's mother revealing herself as completely alien shortly after the mecha's emergence from its “egg.” This is Ayato's re-birth, and his separation from his mother. Shortly thereafter, he joins his father outside the dome.

Fort-da

A
s far as I know, the phrase “fort, da” means “gone, back” in German. In “Beyond the Pleasure Principle,” Freud recounts a story of a little boy who would throw objects under chairs and around corners, then spend his time finding them – losing them on purpose so that he could experience the triumph of both his quest and their return. For Lacan, this is an instance of the earliest narrative in our lives – something or someone is gone, then they come back. (In Lacanian psychoanalysis, this original lack is the mother's body.) Narrative, however, requires symbol, and thus language. So the recognition of both absence and time creates the need for language and human entry point for ordered symbol and external knowledge.

I didn't quite understand how this would tie to Ayato's story, but that could be a function of either my imperfect reading or the fact that I haven't seen the series. Lunning points out the temporal dissonance or slippage that occurs for Ayato: the worlds that his mother and father each inhabit are separated by seven years, and the way that he constantly vacillates between each world, torn between his human and Mu heritage. So yes, he is estranged from his home and from his mother, and in a way that more firmly establishes his subject position through the process of lack – a lack he supplements with Haruka, his love interest.

The Father and the Oedipal Complex

The allegory of the anime RahXephon is a cautionary tale, wherein the community at large steps in, in the father's absence, to create substitutes and scenarios to force the production of the necessary transformation from child to mature subject


Lunning examines Ayato's relationships with the other male characters in the series and concludes that he is in a process of “feverish” attempts to discover and identify with a father figure. None of these attempts quite work, but in the meantime he learns about the “man's world” outside the matriarchal society that was his mother's world inside the dome. Here alongside his father, he's exposed to the gritty reality of militarized existence and the steadfast refusal of his father's forces to be polluted by the coded-feminine, foreign Mu. But joining the worlds is the only way to heal them, so in a type of symbolic marriage Ayato joins with the RahXephon, finds a heterosexual love match, and creates a new reality. In this reality he is now the father, having mastered his own father's emotional distance and his mother's Other-ness by creating a realm wherein he can be emotionally present and natural – even mundane and boring, a la Shinji Ikari and the final two episodes of Evangelion.

In the conclusion to Lunning's essay, she writes:

I would suggest, then, that mecha anime are generally narratives of male identity formation and subjectivity that are secured through the relationship and eventual unifying transcendence of the boy-child pilot with the mature image of masculine power and agency of the mecha.


So for Lunning, the importance lies not in the fact that we are all children inside, but that we desire the mecha shell around us – we are all ghosts looking for a shell, and that the search for it is part of a continuous process toward identity formation. I'm intrigued with her characterization of the space between the pilot and the mecha, especially when she says that it is symbolic of lack and therefore desire. Much of what we have discussed this term has to do with the fear of bodily contamination by the mecha or the “wired” element – that the body might be taken over by machine parts (like in Videodrome, which comes up often in cyberpunk analysis). Instead, this perspective suggests that the machine might be a place that we return to in a quest to reclaim the peace and security of the womb and to achieve a sense wholeness and unity by joining with another, more powerful agent.

Readings: Ueno and Oshii

Hello and welcome to Otaku Academy. Today we're discussing the third in our series of pieces by Toshiya Ueno, this time from Mechademia volume one, “Emerging Worlds of Anime and Manga.” The essay is called “Kurenai no metalsuits, Anime to wa nani ka/ What is animation”.

Ueno returns to familiar ground in this essay, discussing Mamoru Oshii once again. This time, however, he challenges not the meaning of each work, but rather Oshii's status as an auteur and Oshii's particular perceptions about the world and his art. Ueno argues that Oshii sees the world in animation, and that for Oshii there is no real difference between the live action and animated media, because they both depict reality (and in Oshii's films, that reality is inherently fickle).

Oshii has directed a number of live action films, including Avalon and the three films in the Red Spectacles trilogy, which are affiliated with the Kerberos manga and the Jin-Roh film. There are few if any thematic differences between Oshii's live-action and animated work, and he often uses the same stable of actors and technicians: Kenji Kawai makes frequent appearances, and Ueno reminds us that Shigeru Chiba, the actor who played the lead role in Urusei Yatsura, appears in all three Spectacles films. (The three films in the Spectacles series are, if anything, even more independent, brooding, dreamy, daring, and incomprehensible than Oshii's animated work – we find ourselves sympathizing with Chiba's character even when we have no clue what's going on.)

For Ueno, Oshii sees the world in animation not simply because he is a filmmaker, but because to him, reality is already an animated thing – a series of moving images. This makes Oshii himself a kind of Puppet Master, plucking the strings of his actors and technicians so as to create a continuously moving representation of a hyper-real environment.

Ueno points to the striking similarities in movement between Oshii's live-action and animated works to illustrate his point that Oshii sees the animated realm as simply one possibility of the real. Specifically, he highlights the similarity in movement (animated-ness) between Chiba's characters in animation and live-action film – both depict a kind of spastic, desperate reality through their jerky movements.Ueno also suggests that Oshii's films, many of which feature long monologues, create specific breathing spaces for the actor – much (I'm guessing) like the natural pauses in a voice actor's speeches. (Remember, during original productions in Japan it is more common for the actor to read the lines then see his or her animated self onscreen; only dub actors have to work around the lip movements that are already in place.)

Ueno also pinpoints the odd dichotomy of Oshii's work, that the anime is often more “realistic” than the live-action films in terms of action, character design, and art direction, while those live-action films are more far more surreal. Oshii's anime makes frequent use of an animation that depicts a camera that isn't there – he includes lens flare and distortion to create the illusion of live-action film, but uses a specific kind of action to create an “animated” style in his live-action works.

For Ueno, Oshii also really only deals with one theme: reality. Oshii consistently problematizes it and examines, and according to Ueno this examination occurs in conjunction with Oshii's questioning of the reality of the moving image and which is “more real,” animation or live-action film. Reality versus images becomes the same question as reality versus dreams or hallucinations. Oshii also repeats the same images to get his point across: girls are frequently the crossing guards from one reality to another, and Oshii also enjoys shooting from a dog's perspective (often his own basset hound, Gabu, who appears in Innocence and Avalon) in a way that Ueno says suggests that Oshii is operating from a “stray dog” position: an outsider, someone who rigourously maintains his own perspective – that both fiction and reality are an animated thing.

Readings: Ruh and FLCL

Hello and welcome to Otaku Academy. Today we're discussing another piece by Brian Ruh, this time from Cinema Anime It's called “The Robots from Takkun's Head: Cyborg Adolescenes in FLCL.

Ruh proposes that humans have become cyborgs, Haraway-style, through their relationships to media and technology (or communications technologies themselves). Ruh ties this cyborgification to adolescence, because adolescents are increasingly using technology to define themselves during the process toward adulthood. (Here is where I would problematize the whole notion of adolescence in general, as I still feel very much like one and I know others do too, and to presume progress means that adulthood, rather than death, is life's telos and locates adulthood in some mythical realm beyond development or change. But perhaps that's just me.) Ruh points to studies of cell phone usage in Japan as methods for establishing and delineating individuality, and suggests that the same can be said for Internet usage and videogaming habits, etc. (I'm with him, there, and data mining software backs us up – we leave trails that simple algorithms can pick up.)

Ruh is primarily concerned with cyborg adolescence and its relationship the to globalization of media, and of Japanese media in particular. Ruh cites Douglas McGray's work on “Japan's gross national cool,” saying that Japanese pop culture products are enjoying an even longer and more influential lifespan than their technological ones. (I don't believe that Koichi Iwabuchi's book on the same subject, Recentering Globalization, had been published at the time of this writing, but I advise you all to take a look.)

Here's where Ruh's point gets a little sticky. In principle I agree with him. But I'm struggling to understand his point: mastering technology is like mastering adolescence? Control over one is like control over the other? Ruh examines a series of moments from FLCL to show the similarities between Naota/Takkun's gradual cyborgification and the pangs of adolescence – these are hard to miss, especially as the first robot springs from Takkun's head very much like a phallus, and another of them adjusts itself so that he inadvertently kisses Haruko, the temptress and tormentor who has started the whole fiasco in an attempt to find the Pirate King, Atomsk.

Ruh prefaces this point by discussing a variety of appearances of both robots and magical girlfriends in anime, and referencing Cronenberg's film Videodrome and Bukatman's book Terminal Identity (a text Napier has also referenced and which I fully intend to pick up, one of these days). He makes the point that robots are themselves a symbol of media and they help their users mediate their identities, and that they are a key component of Japanese pop culture, from Mighty Atom and Doraemon onward. They are frequently part of the (fictional) adolescent experience – it's always a young Gundam pilot, a young Eva pilot, a young boy who needs a robot cat to discipline him, or even a young girl who merges with the Wired. (This list makes me suspect that one of the many reasons GITS is so often written about is that it focuses on adults and is thus more easily accepted as a “legitimate” text for analysis.)

Similarly, FLCL features another anime trope – the magical girlfriend. Ruh says that Haruko, although she fits the magical girlfriend role (she helps guide Naota a little closer to adulthood through her special abilities), she is one who has gone terribly wrong. Although this is sometimes comic in the vein of Urusei Yatsura, it is far more sinister – consider Haruko's relationship with Naota's father.

Both these examples point to the idea that the series is media about media. The deliberately-postmodern nature of the story also points to this, and Ruh picks out specific moments where the show picks up particular visual gags and references to other anime and to the anime industry (my favourite is when Haruko mentions that Mamoru Oshii is the only director to actually like dogs). I have no quarrel with this argument, and I understand what Ruh means when he says that robots are creatures of media. This reinforces his larger point, that mastering the robot is like mastering media, and that media and technology have a close relationship to cyber-identity-formation and adolescence. But after my second reading it's still not quite jelling for me. I feel as though there's something important that I'm missing.

That said, I thoroughly enjoyed Ruh's analysis of the series' reception in the US and the director's own appreciation for Naota's journey toward adulthood, which is actually a step backward. Haruko says that he isn't a grown-up yet, and for the first time, Naota is okay with that. He no longer has to parent his own parent (at least he feels no responsibility to do so) and he weight of the world is no longer on his shoulders.

Profile

tachikoma
otaku_academy
Otaku Academy

Mission Statement

This community was started in advance of a directed reading course for a Master's thesis. The subject of the course is close readings of cyborg anime. The goal here is to involve both fans and aca-fans, and if possible to encourage membership on the part of those whose works are being read. I want Otaku Academy to move toward a more classroom-like model. This should function as a space not only to read and discuss essays and articles pertaining to anime, but also a place to post CFP's, relevant news articles, and thoughtful reviews of anime films, series, books, manga, games, and conventions.

DISCLAIMER:

Parts of the comments you leave at this journal may be used in my academic writing. I will attribute these quotations only to your username. The Canadian Tri-Council does not have an official stance on information contributed through blogging, and thus interprets all blogging as "informed consent." If you do not feel informed enough to consent, or if you simply do not consent, then do not comment here.

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Latest Month

July 2008
S M T W T F S
  12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  
Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Tiffany Chow