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So, months ago, I read that McG (the director) did a music video of the 80's hit "Turning Japanese" with Takashi Murakami (the pop-artist) starring Kirsten Dunst (the actress). She gads around Akihabara (anime mecca), the video plays at the Tate Modern museum in London (artsy mecca). Fine and dandy. And odd group, but whatever, people get around.

The video is now streaming online here. (Video is NSFW.)

I just...wow. This is my thing, my field: transcultural flows of popular culture. The clash and convergence of global fandoms. And I still don't know quite what to say about it.

It has the otaku-metropolis flavour of Akiba, almost. I've been there, and yes, there really are maids in the streets, giant-boobie posters in the shops, and a whole lot of neon lights. But I was surprised that so many men and women in the video (are they actors or just passersby?) looked directly at the camera. People in Akiba when I was there didn't make a lot of eye contact. So it really stood out to me how much this video is constructed around lines of sight. Just check out the blatant eyeline match at 1:57-2:00. It's all about different kinds of looks: watching back and forth, glancing back at the camera, staring blankly into space. Watching anime watchers.

What I can't decide for the life of me, though, is: how much is it about eye contact, making connections, and how much is it about spectacularizing or exoticizing (women/anime girls/feminized Japan), the old power politics of the gaze? Or is it maybe a self-conscious play on both?
sanet: (Default)
Woo, I'm back from Germany! It was a great trip. I had fun and got things done at the same time. One of the things I finally got around to, on my 7-hour trans-Atlantic flights there and back, was reading the new translation of Hiroki Azuma's influential book Otaku: Japan's Database Animals.

So without further ado, Here are my thoughts about it. )

Next week I'm going home to the Maritimes for a nice long Christmas break. One of the benefits of not being in classes any more! (Ok, I still have to write my thesis while I'm home...sigh...) I might update, or I might not. If not, see you in the new year! ^^

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