ANIMATION / ANIME (Film Studies 2198B) SPRING 2015

Download (0)

Full text


ANIMATION / ANIME (Film Studies 2198B)


Instructor: Michael Raine Email: Office: AHB 1G29

Office Hours: Wednesday, 2-4 or by appointment.


Screening: Tuesday 1:30-4:30 AHB-3B02

Lecture/tutorial: Thursday 11:30-1:30 AHB-3B02


This course explores the power of animation as a form of audiovisual representation, with a particular emphasis on Japan. We will trace the intertwined history of film, television, video, and computer animation from short films in the 1930s to the present day media mix that incorporates comic books, light novels, video games, and toys. Japanese anime franchises will be examined from the side of production, as industrial products and artistic expressions, and from the side of reception, as semiotic texts and as objects through which consumers construct their social lives. We will also explore the further dissemination of those franchises in various kinds of fan fiction and academic discourse, and as an aspect of Japanese "soft power" in North American popular culture.

All readings on the course are in English; no Japanese is required.


The course aims to familiarize students with the development and main genres of Japanese animated cinema and anime. It also aims to introduce students to the methods of audiovisual analysis and to topics in the study of popular culture such as media convergence, fan anthropologies, and the political economy of cultural industries.


Students will learn to closely analyze the stylized mode of representation of anime texts and to develop

arguments about their appeal to audiences in Japan and abroad. Students will also gain a broader appreciation of the history of East Asian popular culture and its presence in the contemporary world, including in their own histories of cultural consumption.


One of the foremost authorities on Japanese animation, Prof. Thomas Lamarre of McGill University, will be visiting the class on March 19. I will focus on Attack on Titan that week and will arrange some readings so that we can include Prof. Lamarre in a productive discussion. I will also make adjustments to the syllabus that I think are necessary in the light of what the course reveals about student strengths and weaknesses. I will announce all changes to the syllabus: when I do, please make sure that you download the new version.



I also recommend the following books, available through your favorite bookstore or in the library. Thomas Lamarre. The Anime Machine: A Media Theory of Animation


Patrick Galbraith. The Otaku Encyclopedia

Patrick Galbraith. The Moe Manifesto

Marc Steinberg. Anime's Media Mix: Franchising Toys and Anime in Japan Mechademia



1. Attendance and participation [15%]:

Attendance will be taken at every class (screenings and lecture/tutorials). More than three absences will affect the attendance mark.

You may not skip a screening because you have already seen the film. You may be familiar with the narrative, and even the audiovisual design, but the point of the screening is to commit to paying close attention to a text that you then consider in the light of the readings and the course of discussion so far. You can't do that from memory. Also, some of the screenings feature TV series that will be shown in specific excerpts. Speak to me if you have a reason to miss a specific screening.

If you are absent from a screening or lecture, or an assignment is late due to illness or other legitimate reasons, please contact me as soon as possible and forward supporting documentation from Student Services. You must get the approval of Student Services to get credit for any work you missed and you must catch up with the screening material as soon as possible by watching it in the Media library and sending me a

commentary by email.

Small-group discussions will be a feature of every class. You will discuss assigned topics related to the film or one of the readings with a group of fellow students and then report back to the class. Everyone is

responsible for contributing to those discussions. If you don't contribute you will be assessed accordingly.

3. Presentations [10%]:

Each group will give two presentations during the semester. This will involve researching the background and critical reception of a film or TV series, or one of the course readings, and presenting an analytic summary to the class. It's easy to find information on the internet these days, as well as on the DVD of the film, and in journals and monographs from the library. But the task is to decide what is important about the film (or the reading) and to make an argument to justify those decisions, using whatever visual aids are necessary. Each group will distribute the workload internally and will be asked to report on levels of participation. Each

member of the group who is recognized as pulling their weight will receive the same grade. Presentations will be limited to ten minutes: you will have to analyze and summarize the material; excessively long

presentations will be penalized.

4. Pop quizzes [10%]:

There will be five pop quizzes on the readings for that week, given without notice over the course of the term. The goal is to nudge you to prepare the readings before class by rewarding you for the effort. Familiarity with the readings will help you in your classroom discussions, in your preparation for the examinations, and when you are writing your paper.

5. Midterm [20%]:

There will be a midterm examination that covers the material in the first half of the course. Students will be expected to recognize and discuss images and arguments, remember information about Japan and the Japanese animation industry covered in the class, and write one short analysis of a Japanese animation.

6. Final Examination [30%]:


expected to recognize and discuss images and arguments, remember information about Japan and the Japanese animation industry covered in the class, and write one essay on Japanese animation.

7. Essay [15%]:

There will be one short essay assignment during the term. The assignment will be a 1,200 - 1,500 word textual analysis of the films shown in the first weeks of the course. Detailed instructions will be posted to the

assignment section of the web site. The emphasis will be on marshaling evidence to make cogent arguments, drawing mostly on your viewing of the film. You might find it helpful to look at the following website on film analysis when you are analyzing a film: All essays must be uploaded to the class web site; they will be automatically passed through the plagiarism filters at

Please note:

Assignments handed in late without a previously approved extension will be penalized 3% per day. Essays should be submitted to the appropriate section of the class web site as a single uploaded file in Word or Rich Text Format (put your name and the film title in the filename and include the .docx or .rtf file extension). I will write comments in your file and send it back to you. Please read them! You should keep a copy of every assignment you hand in.


Think ahead. Generally, all emails will receive a response within 48 hours during weekdays (not including holidays). Don't be shy about reminding me if you don't hear back.


Laptops are not to be used during screenings. Best to pay attention to the screen and make notes at the end. Exceptions may be granted in the case of students with special needs, but this will only come with official approval from academic counseling. Laptops are useful for making notes and reading material from the web site but they are also a source of distraction, to you and to others. Any indication that you are not doing class work will result in laptops being banned for in-class use. Please remember that, and remind your classmates. In addition, be sure to turn off cell phones. Text messaging during class is unacceptable.


1. Plagiarism and plagiarism checking: Students must write their essays in their own words. Whenever students take an idea, or a passage, from another author, they must acknowledge their debt both by using quotation marks where appropriate and by proper referencing such as footnotes or citations. Plagiarism is a major academic offence (see Scholastic Offense Policy in the UWO Calendar). All required papers may be subject to submission for textual similarity review to the commercial plagiarism detection software under license to the University for the detection of plagiarism. All papers submitted will be included as source documents in the reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of papers subsequently submitted to the system. Use of the service is subject to the licensing agreement, currently between the University of Western Ontario and <>.

2. Prerequisites: Unless you have either the requisites for this course or written special permission from your Dean to enroll in it, you will be removed from this course and it will be deleted from your record. The decision may not be appealed. You will receive no adjustment to your fees in the event that you are dropped from a course for failing to have the necessary prerequisites.

3. UWO Policy on Accommodation for Medical Illness: Students seeking academic accommodation on medical grounds for any missed tests, exams, participation components and or assignments must apply to


their Academic Counseling Office of their home Faculty and provide documentation. Academic accommodation cannot be granted by the instructor or department.

Please go to the following site for information on the university Policy on Accommodation for Medical Illness:

For information on the examination services provided by the Student Development Centre, please visit

4. Mental Health: Students who are in emotional/mental distress should refer to Mental Health@Western for a complete list of options about how to obtain help.

5. Complaints: If students have a complaint concerning a course in which they are enrolled, they must discuss the matter with the instructor of the course. If students are still not satisfied, they should then take the complaint to the Film Studies Office, University College, Room 79. These regulations are in place because a failure to follow these procedures creates the potential for injustices of various kinds affecting either the instructor or the students themselves, or both parties. Concerns should not be allowed to fester but should be raised with the instructor in a timely manner, so that they can be addressed in time to make a difference to the course.

6. Course and programme aim (in accordance with OCAV requirements)

1. Understanding, capacity for argument, judgment and analysis will be fostered by essays, presentations and assignments with formative comment, and by in-class small-group and whole-class discussion.

2. Communication skills will be imparted through in-class discussion and credit given for frequency and quality of contributions, and by essays and other assignments marked in accordance with a grading scale given to the students and including benchmarks for the expectations associated with each grade, from A+ to F.

3. Awareness of the limits of knowledge will be enhanced by exploring the legitimate differences of opinion and methodology within the field, and by requiring students to negotiate the formulation of their own opinions in-class with the terms and knowledge brought to that discussion by other students and the instructor.

4. The ability to argue and decide on complex issues will be fostered by essays and in-class discussion; that to manage time, by the need to prepare properly for class and to deliver assignments in a timely manner; and that for academic responsibility, by the need to source assignments accurately.



Unit 1: Style and technology

Week 1 (January 5-9): Full animation and limited animation

Screening: Urusei yatsura 2: Beautiful Dreamer (Studio Pierrot, dir: Oshii Mamoru, 1984) Reading: Scott McCLOUD. Understanding Comics [extract]

Gilles POITRAS. "Contemporary Anime in Japanese Popular Culture"

Week 2 (January 12-16): The cinematic and the animetic

Screening: Castle in the Sky (Studio Ghibli, dir: Miyazaki Hayao, 1986)

Reading: Tom LAMARRE. "From animation to anime: drawing movements and moving drawings" Week 3 (January 19-23): Digital compositing

Screening: Metropolis (Madhouse, dir: Rintaro, 2001)

Reading: Marc STEINBERG. "Inventing Intervals: The Digital Image in Metropolis and Gankutsuo" *** close analysis assignment due ***

Unit 2: Themes: science fiction - war and apocalypse Week 4 (January 26-30): War and/as cinema

Screening: Space Battleship Yamato (Academy Productions, dir: Matsumoto Leiji, 1974) / Akira (Tokyo Movie Shinsha, dir: Otomo Katsuhiro, 1988)

Reading: AZUMA Hiroki. "The Otaku's Pseudo-Japan"

Christopher BOLTON. "From Ground Zero to Degree Zero: Akira from Origin to Oblivion" Week 5 (February 2-6): Super-robots and real robots, cyborgs and mobile suits

Screening: Gundam (Sunrise, dir: Tomino Yoshiyuki, 1979) / Evangelion (Gainax, dir: Anno Hideaki, 1995-6) Reading: Mark GILSON. "A Brief History of Japanese Robophilia"

TATSUMI Takayuki. "Gundam and the Future of Japanoid Art"

OTSUKA Eiji. "An Unholy Alliance of Eisenstein and Disney: The Fascist Origins of Otaku Culture" Week 6 (February 9-13): Allegories of politics and philosophy

Screening: Ghost in the Shell (Production IG, dir: Oshii Mamoru, 1996)

Reading: UENO Toshiya. "Kurenai no metal suits, 'Anime to wa nani ka / What is Animation'"

Jean BAUDRILLARD. "Simulacra and Simulations"

*** midterm examination *** Week 7 (February 16-20): READING WEEK


Unit 3: Fanthropologies: shojo / shonen / otaku / fujoshi Week 8 (February 23-27): Shōnen / Shōjo

Screening: Sailor Moon (Toei animation, 1992) / Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (Bones, 2009) Reading: Anne ALLISON. "Fierce Flesh: Sexy Schoolgirls in the Action Fantasy of Sailor Moon"


Week 9 (March 3-6): Otaku

Screening: Perfect Blue (Madhouse, dir: Kon Satoshi, 2000)

Reading: Thomas LAMARRE and Patrick GALBRAITH. "Otakuology: A Dialogue" SAITO Tamaki. "The Psychopathology of the Otaku"

Week 10 (March 9-13): Yuri and Moe

Screening: Clannad (2007) / Clannad: After Story (Key, 2008) Reading: AZUMA Hiroki. "The Animalization of Otaku Culture"

Patrick GALBRAITH. "Moe: exploring virtual potential in post-millennial Japan" Unit 4: Sentiment and tears: affect in contemporary animation (animal)

Week 11 (March 16-20): Adolescent anger and anxiety


Screening: Attack on Titan (Shingeki no kyojin, Wit Studio, 2013)

Reading: AMAMIYA Karin. "Suffering Forces Us to Think beyond the Right–Left Barrier"


Week 12 (March 23-27): Transcendence and redemption

Screening: Madoka (Peulla Magi Madoka Magica, 2011) Reading: SAITO Tamaki. "Otaku Sexuality"

Week 13 (March 30-April 3): Late Night Anime

Screening: Kill la Kill (2013) Reading: TBA


Week 14 (April 6-8): course recap


A+ (90-100)

Argument: Clear development of a specific, challenging and original thesis. The writer has taken significant risks successfully; in the resulting piece, distinctive ideas and content have achieved highly cogent form. Detailed reference to appropriate texts, with evidence of individual response. Ability not only to expound subject but to see it around–subtleties and ambiguities, qualifications and concessions, relations to other subjects, etc.

Presentation, structure: Quotations well integrated into text. Proper paragraphs. Almost no typographical errors.

Language Skills: Sentence structure correct, with full range of sentence types (compound, complex, and compound-complex), with full range of punctuation. Graceful style, neither pompous nor breezy, and few grammatical errors.

Research/scholarship: Evidence of effective, extensive and independent research, with proper documentation of sources. Quotations used appropriately and purposively.

A (80 to 89)

Argument: The writer has taken risks and most of them succeed. Clear development of a specific and challenging thesis, with proper paragraphs. Detailed reference to appropriate texts, with evidence of


individual response. Ability not only to expound subject but to see it around–subtleties and ambiguities, qualifications and concessions, relations to other subjects, etc.

Presentation, structure: Quotations well integrated into text. Proper paragraphs. Almost no typographical errors.

Language Skills: Sentence structure correct, with full range of sentence types (compound, complex, and compound-complex), with full range of punctuation. Graceful style, neither pompous nor breezy, and few errors.

Research/scholarship: Evidence of effective and independent research, with proper documentation of sources. Quotations used appropriately and purposively.

B (70 to 79)

Argument: Clear development of a specific thesis, with proper paragraphs. Adequately detailed reference to texts. Ability to expound reasonably sophisticated ideas with clarity.

Presentation/structure: Quotations well integrated into text. Proper paragraphs. A few typographical errors.

Language Skills: Sentence structure correct, with reasonable range of sentence types and full range of punctuation. Style not too wordy, with errors relatively few and minor.

Research Scholarship: Evidence of adequate research, with proper documentation of sources.

C (60 to 69)

Argument: Reasonably clear development of a thesis, with proper paragraphs. Basic

ability to expound ideas, whose development might be rather thin. Effort to support points with references to the text. Tendency to replace analysis with descriptive retelling of plot.

Presentation/structure: Presentation showing lapses in tidiness and/or proofreading. Poor use of paragraphs.

Language Skills: Sentence structure correct, but perhaps overly simple, with tendency to avoid punctuation besides period and comma. Errors relatively few, but occasionally serious, with evident misunderstanding of some point of elementary grammar (comma splices, fragments, semicolon errors, subject-verb disagreements, poorly integrated quotations)

Research/Scholarship: reasonable effort at documentation, but rather thin.

D (50 to 59)

Argument: Difficulty with paragraphing or consecutive thought. Ideas inchoate and further clouded by weak expression. Overgeneralization with inadequate support, or examples that run to lengthy paraphrase, with little or no analysis.

Presentation/structure: Very poor to non-existent use of paragraphs. Inadequate and inaccurate documentation. Multiple typographical errors.

Language Skills: Errors of grammar or diction frequent enough to interfere with understanding.

Research/Scholarship: Little serious effort to research the topic.

F (49 and down)

Argument: Ideas too simple for level of course. Argument completely incoherent. Erroneous content showing little or no understanding of subject.

Presentation/structure: Very sloppy proof-Reading. Documentation virtually non-existent.

Language Skills: Writing frequently ungrammatical.

Research/Scholarship: Non-existent. Content largely "borrowed" from sources with no individual distillation, but no apparent attempt to deceive.

0 (Report to Department)




Related subjects :