The significance of anime as a novel animation form, referencing selected works by Hayao Miyazaki, Satoshi Kon and Mamoru Oshii

  • Ywain Tomos

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Japanese anime is 'one of the most explosive forms of visual culture to emerge at the crossroads of transnational cultural production' (Brown, 2006:1). This study proposes that anime is framed in a different wayfrom orthodox Hollywood cel animation (Wells,1998), influenced by Japanese aesthetics, iconography, social norms and a well developed role for individual anime directors. The significance of anime as a novel form of animation is specifically linked to a broader alignment within Japanese cultural identity.The study benefits from previous research by Thomas Lamarre (2009) who proposed the concept of the 'animetic process' and Hiroki Azuma's (2009) post-modernist discourse on 'otaku' (anime fans). Close reading analyses of selected feature films in the anime canon directed by Hayao Miyazaki (1941-), Satoshi Kon (1963-2010) and Mamoru Oshii (1951-) were conducted, to determine the significance (defined as sharing a common meaning and value) of anime within contemporary discourses on animation. The study concludes that anime represents a continuation of Japanese film tradition which has frequently borrowed from other film cultures, notably Hollywood, but then subverted this influence through a specifically Japanese gaze. Evidence for anime being regarded as novel in terms of the development of film tradition was found in relation to its adoption of digital trans-modality and interactivity to become a mediated cinematic form which breaks new ground. The dialogue between the anime director as the creative force and the viewer as the active consumer has wider implication for this hypothesis that modern anime is emerging as an interesting and important filmic form in digital environments
Date of Award02 May 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Aberystwyth University
SponsorsColeg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol | Welsh National College
SupervisorElin Jones (Supervisor) & Dafydd Sills-Jones (Supervisor)

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