Database for Animation Studies


Animation Studies Seen from Aside: Some Points of Contact with Film Studies.

This article is based on my invited lecture for the 2013 annual conference of the Japan Society for Animation Studies in Tokyo. Here I will focus mainly on five subjects. First, the relationship between film and animation: while both media have plenty of common characteristics in principle, why has film studies in the past often neglected studying animation? I will exemplify two canonical works in film studies, which indeed suggest film studies’ tie with animation studies. Second, gravity in animation: Terada Torahiko’s statement is certainly applicable to animations, but the film critics or scholars in his era dismissed the point. Third, Terada’s essay on picture scrolls: analyzing a picture scroll (emakimono), Terada points out dual functions of the printed medium which are also applicable to animation studies. Forth, the aspects of standstill and movement, from Benjamin to Kracauer: Kracauer left out studying animations from his book, Theory of Film (1960). To him, animations simply belong to the domain of art. But Thomas Lamarre found an important meaning in Benjamin’s words to suggest the vital role of the limited animation. Lastly, Lamarre and Imamura: Lamarre, in his recent book, Anime-Machine (2009), constructs his media theory of animation in the context of the post-modern Japanese society. His argument makes me recall Imamura Taihei’s critical work on Disney’s animations, finding Americanism in them. Lamarre, to expand his theory into the universal validity, avoids anime’s association with a specific culture, namely Japanese cultural tradition or Japan’s national visual style.

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