By S. Napier
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Extra resources for Anime from Akira to Princess Mononoke: Experiencing Contemporary Japanese Animation
2 Tetsuo’s monstrousness can thus be coded in ideological terms as a reflection of Japan’s own deep-seated ambivalence at this time, partly glorying in its new identity but also partly fearing it. In certain ways Akira opens up a space for the marginal and the different, suggesting in its ending a new form of identity. It is fitting that we begin our discussion of anime texts with Akira, not only because it foregrounds some of the most important themes of this book, such as identity, body, apocalypse, and the festival, but also because it is one of the most famous anime ever made.
34 While some observers emphasize that the Japanese festival is less out of control than the Western carnival and is more concerned with a (temporary) leveling of the social order than its complete reversal, the two forms seem very similar in celebrating a spirit of anarchy that offers a brief playful respite from conformity. In Japan this often involves both sexual and violent themes, usually expressed in the form of a performance for the gods of Shinto, Japan’s native religion. ” Buruma goes on to suggest that: .
For example, many anime comedies are set at school, since education is one of the major pivots around which Japanese society revolves. (Many of these comedies are quite subversively inclined toward the educational system, although in a lighthearted way. ) Furthermore, many anime use Japanese historical settings as material for a variety of dramas, comedies, and even fantasies. But one of anime’s most popular genres, science fiction, is the one that is far less likely to be culturally specific. Although many science fiction anime contain significant elements related to contemporary Japanese issues, they are usually played out across “stateless” fantasyscapes of future cities or far-away galaxies.