By S. Napier
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Additional resources for Anime from Akira to Princess Mononoke: Experiencing Contemporary Japanese Animation
Ranma’s reaction to his transforming body is very different. He continually denies it, searching for a return to “normality” that is forever comically (but perhaps for him tragically) elusive. Although each anime can and should be enjoyed for its own brilliance, they are also interesting as implicit comments on Japanese society. While Tetsuo’s marginal status in Akira may at first seem far from the conventional view of Japan as a largely homogenous nation, his character actually evokes a less obvious but deeply significant side of Japanese national self-representation, that of the lonely outcast.
Furthermore, although some of these issues are unique to Japan, many more have roots within the technologized global culture of the contemporary world. Resonant with a complex and ever-changing contemporary society, the animated body is perhaps best understood in relation to the process of metamorphosis. ”2 Since movement is at the heart of animation, animation can and does emphasize transformation in a way that simply no other artistic genre is capable of doing. Even contemporary live-action films with their superb special effects have a jerky uneasy quality when compared with the amazing fluidity of the animated image.
These issues include the schism between generations, the tension between the genders and related issues of masculinity and femininity, the increasingly problematic relationship of human to machine, and the position of Japan vis-à-vis the modern world. Furthermore, although some of these issues are unique to Japan, many more have roots within the technologized global culture of the contemporary world. Resonant with a complex and ever-changing contemporary society, the animated body is perhaps best understood in relation to the process of metamorphosis.