Book Binge

Sep. 11th, 2012 11:24 am
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Fall has fallen! The air is getting cool at night, the leaves are starting to kindle, and yesterday a line of geese flew over my head talking loudly among themselves, probably about the sweet timeshare they've got lined up in Florida.

Because I've been a student for over a decade, Fall always means book-buying time. I'm not even teaching this term, but I can't resist the urge to hoard some books. So in case you're looking for any good reads on animation, anime, or Japanese film this Fall, here are my must-have, just-ordered picks:


Bukatman, Scott. The Poetics of Slumberland: Animated Spirits and the Animating Spirit. University of California Press, 2012.
-Bukatman has written some interesting books on sci-fi (especially his "Terminal Identity"), so his take on Western animation history starting from Winsor McCay, with chapters on things like "Disobedient Machines," is something to look forward to.

Ito, Mizuko et al, eds. Fandom Unbound: Otaku Culture in a Connected World. Yale University Press, 2012.
-This book contains a mix of new studies and translations/excerpts from major Japanese authors like Azuma Hiroki (Database Animals) and Morikawa Kaichiro (Otaku and the City: The Rebirth of Akihabara). I wonder why Lawrence Eng and Mizuki Ito are both in there twice -couldn't they have gotten some other authors? But it seems useful to anime fan studies.

Perper, Timothy. Mangatopia: Essays on Manga and Anime in the Modern World. Libraries Unlimited, 2011.
-Mangatopia is expensive -the paperback runs nearly 60.00CAD- but with articles on biopolitics in Barefoot Gen by Tom Lamarre, cosplay by Frency Lunning, and other interesting things on GLBTQ readers and masculinity in manga, I'm thinking it'll be worth the cover price.

Tze-Yue, G. Hu. Frames of Anime: Culture and Image-Building. Hong Kong University Press, 2010.
-I'm not sure about this one. The table of contents makes it look like a broad overview of animation history in Japan. What I skimmed of the intro seems reasonably well-written. But I hadn't heard much about this book, though it seems to have been published two years ago. Is there a reason it's being overlooked, or is it a hidden treasure, just recently available in Canada? We'll see...

And a couple of Japanese film catch-ups:

Gerow, Aaron. Visions of Japanese Modernity: Articulations of Cinema, Nation, and Spectatorship, 1895-1925. University of California Press, 2010.
-A brilliant exploration of early Japanese film history. I don't know why I haven't ordered my own copy before now!

Phillips, Alastair. Japanese Cinema: Texts and Contexts. Routledge, 2007.
-An auteur-based essay collection with articles on all the major directors from early Ozu up to Kitano Takeshi and Miyazaki Hayao. It wouldn't work as a textbook, but it is very useful to have on hand if you're teaching a Japanese film course -which I am, in the Winter!

I am also looking forward to:

Condry, Ian. The Soul of Anime: Collaborative Creativity and Japan's Media Success Story. Duke University Press, 2013.

Wada-marciano, Mitsuyo. Japanese Cinema in the Digital Age. University of Hawaii Press, July 31 2012(??) (Must be delayed in Canada, it's still in preorder here!)

Happy reading!
sanet: (Default)
It was my goal this term to post things I've been teaching in my Animation class, as a way of getting back into writing about anime. But now I find it's the works I put on the syllabus that are just slightly out of my range that excite me most. I feel like I'm kind of phoning it in on anime, honestly, since I know the material I'm teaching so well already. But when it comes to things I haven't touched for a while, like the avant-garde stop-motion short films of the Brothers Quay...well, it's fascinating!

To get the class talking about stop-motion, I had them read an article by Suzanne Buchan called "Animation Spectatorship: The Quay Brothers' Animated Worlds" (which conveniently enough you can access in the online journal EnterText). Buchan's aim is to describe how we can experience animation as a world, a haptic, embodied place, in which we "allow ourselves that most pleasurable experience of being moved, intellectually, affectively and emotionally, by what unfolds on screen" (98). It reminded me of my first startling emotional reaction to the Quay's films back in 2009 or '10. I wasn't able to fully articulate it in class, but I will post here some notes I wrote then about being moved by stop-motion.

The Quays' Uncanny World )
sanet: (Thesis)
So, I'm determined to finish my last two thesis chapters on Flash animation and web anime by the end of November. I may vanish into writer's seclusion. I may decide that I really need to post something from/about my work. We shall see!

In the meantime, here's an awesome video that [livejournal.com profile] eacherown sent me of a performance called "Myth and Infrastructure" by new media artist Miwa Matreyek. She was raised in Japan until the age of 11, when she moved to California. Now she's a CalArts graduate who creates works that intertwine animated images, projection and embodied performance. Enjoy!




You can also watch some of her bizarre art school animated shorts on her site.
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A week or two ago, I came across this link to an interview (in Japanese) with director Morimoto Koji and some of the Studio 4°C staff about the current state of 3D animation in Japan. It's interesting in light of Tom Lamarre's recent work on planar movements and movement into depth in animation, so here's a tentative translation. My clarifications are in [square brackets].

Cut! )

Personally, I still prefer flat cel-style animation. But I've seen some interesting juxtapositions of depth and planes lately, like the opening of The Tatami Galaxy, which makes me think that the intersection of these two ontological/stylistic approaches holds a lot of potential. (Tatami Galaxy's end credits are super-cool too, from a design perspective.) All 3D propagandizing aside, this is an exciting time for animation because of the sheer volume and variety of stylistic experimentation going on -and not just in Japan, as things like The Secret of Kells and Waltz with Bashir prove. Now, if only the writing can keep up...

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