Database for Animation Studies


Past the End of the Catbus Line: Mushishi’s Apparitional Actants

After evaluating some of the limitations in the reception of Hayao Miyazaki’s films as advocacy for climate change reform, the author suggests the need for a new path in animation toward animating the nonhuman. He nominates the anime series Mushishi as the ideal trailblazer for a more ecologically sound and posthumanistically inclined future. Mushishi envisions a fairly realistic turn-of-the-20th-century Japan in which beings called ‘mushi’, simple organisms that are neither plant nor animal nor Miyazaki-esque fantastic spirit, exist alongside small agrarian communities. Using Mushishi and its barely animated titular beings as a test case, he argues that animation’s allusory–illusory nature and depiction of nature can combat the central tenets of anthropocentrism, generating a visually figurative ontology in which humans and nonhuman animals, subjects and objects, and characters and landscapes are democratically leveled down to symbolic totems, all rendered unreal through the filter of cartooning.

  • Title (Japanese)
  • Publish Date
  • Authors
  • Publication
Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal
  • Publication Volume
  • Publication Page Number
  • Publication’s Website
  • DOI
  • Keywords

Related Lists