Writings on animation have often noted the plastic quality of the image: objects stretch, squash and change forms. Such discussions of the plastic quality of animation tend to equate plasticity with the appearance of the image. This article proposes a rethinking of plasticity in animation, suggesting that it is not simply an attribute of the finished image, but an aspect of the material conditions of its production. Introducing the work of Imamura Taihei and Hanada Kiyoteru, two leftist Japanese intellectuals who wrote on Disney animation during the 1940s and 1950s, and contrasting their work with the writings of their European counterparts, this article will suggest that these Japanese thinkers focus our attention on the importance of Fordism in the production of Disney animation. The work of Imamura and Hanada enables us to critically approach plasticity in animation in terms of the material conditions of the image production within Fordism, thus enabling us to consider plasticity at the level of the medium as well as that of labor.
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