Cover image for Anime explosion! : the what? why? & wow! of Japanese animation
Anime explosion! : the what? why? & wow! of Japanese animation
Drazen, Patrick.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Berkeley, Calif. : Stone Bridge Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
xvi, 369 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
NC1766.J3 D73 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Suddenly anime is . . . exploding. But where did Japanese animation come from, and what does it all mean? Written for fans, culture watchers, and perplexed outsiders, this is an engaging tour of the anime megaverse, from older arts and manga traditions to the works of modern directors like Miyazaki and Otomo. Read about anime standbys like giant robots, samurai, furry beasts, high school heroines, and gay/girl/fanboy love--even war and reincarnation, plus all of anime's major themes, styles, and conventions. At the end of the book are essays on 15 of fandom's favorite anime, including Evangelion, Esca-flowne, Sailor Moon, and Patlabor .

"A good resource and guide to the foundation, historical development and overall themes in Japanese animation and serves as an excellent reference source whether you are an established fan or a person who wants to learn about the cultural aspects of this specific and increasingly popular genre. It is an easy yet thorough read on the myriad of societal aspects and cultural references Japanese animation holds." -- Active Anime

Author Notes

Patrick Drazen has lectured on Japanese popular culture at the University of Chicago and Southern Illinois University Carbondale, where he earned a Masters of Arts degree and worked as an announcer for WSIU-FM. He has been published in Channels of Communication and the Journal of Popular Culture. He and his wife live in Chicago

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

A popular and innovative film genre as exemplified by Hayao Miyazaki's recent Spirited Away, anime is teaching American audiences about Japanese family and culture. Here, Drazen, a pop culture academician who has lectured at the University of Chicago, shows us exactly what these cultural differences are and how they feature in anime. The book is divided into two parts: an examination of the major cultural themes and a look at some historic anime titles and directors. Sections also provide convenient historical details of the anime genre, an investigation of how anime originated from manga (Japanese comics), and a contrasting of the sexual mores of the two cultures as demonstrated through anime. The result is a unique, refreshing look at the impetus behind anime which gives academic credence to a film genre that has never quite gotten the mainstream respect it truly deserves on this side of the Pacific. It's also an excellent reference work on the subject, complementing another fine anime reference book from Stone Bridge Press, Jonathan Clements and Helen McCarthy's The Anime Encyclopedia: A Guide to Japanese Animation Since 1917. Recommended for Japanese pop culture collections as well as public and academic library film collections.-David M. Lisa, Wayne P.L., NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

"Wow! It's anime" books are hot these days, attempting to fill the insatiable appetite of otaku (Japanese animation fans) for the minutest bit(e)s of trivia about their favorite characters--human or robotic. Though the snazzy title and cover of Drazen's book suggest much the same, a peek inside reveals something different. This book provides an academically sound treatment of anime plots and characters solidly placed in a Japanese historical, political, and sociocultural setting and a highly readable narrative loaded with witticisms and interspersed with fascinating vignettes, annotations, and illustrative matter. Divided into two parts, the book deals with "major themes in Japanese culture sounded in anime" (daily life, family, folktales, nudity, sex, homosexuality, modern samurai, mothers, religion, spirit world, pop music idols, nature, war and antiwar, birth, death, and rebirth) and specific films and directors (Windaria, Wings of Honneamise, Utena Giri, Giant Robo, Sailor Moon, Hayao Miyazaki, Masamune Shirow, and others). This book will appeal to those interested in more than just the color of an anime character's eyes. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Collections supporting studies in popular culture, comic art, and film collections; lower-division undergraduates and above. J. A. Lent Temple University

Table of Contents

Prefacep. vii
Acknowledgmentsp. xv
Part 1 Interpreting Anime
1. A Page Right Out of Historyp. 3
2. Conventions versus Clichesp. 16
3. The Social Web and the Lone Wolfp. 27
4. Mukashi Mukashi: From Folktales to Animep. 37
5. The Naked Truthp. 48
6. Rated H: Hardcore Animep. 59
7. "A Very Pure Thing": Gay and Pseudo-Gay Themes in Animep. 78
8. Bushido: The Way of the Warriorp. 104
9. Shojodo: The Way of the Teenage Girlp. 117
10. Enter the Mamagon: The Japanese Motherp. 130
11. Faith-Based: Christianity, Shinto, and Other Religions in Animep. 142
12. Who Ya Gonna Call?: The Spirit World in Animep. 155
13. The Starmaker Machinery: Anime and Idolp. 169
14. It's Not Easy Being Green: Nature in Animep. 183
15. War Is Stupid: War and Anti-War Themes in Animep. 192
16. Birth and Death and Rebirth: Reincarnation in Animep. 208
Part 2 Films and Directors
1. Windariap. 223
2. Wings of Honneamise: Tora-san in Spacep. 230
3. Utena: Giri/Ninjo and the Triumph of Conservatism in Pop Culturep. 237
4. Giant Robo: Anime as Wagnerian Operap. 246
5. Flying with Ghibli: The Animation of Hayao Miyazaki and Companyp. 253
6. The Sailor Moon Phenomenon: Love! Valor! Compassion! Middie Blouses!p. 280
7. Escaflownep. 288
8. Evangelionp. 298
9. Please Save My Earthp. 310
10. The Big Pokemon Scarep. 317
11. Plastic Little: Not What You Thinkp. 327
12. The Old and New Testaments of Masamune Shirowp. 333
13. Key the Metal Idolp. 342
Afterword: The Future of Animep. 349
Bibliographyp. 359
Index of Names and Titlesp. 363