Database for Animation Studies

18 References Recommended by the 2019 Research and Education Committee

Research and Education Committee

The following list of recommended references was selected and written by researchers and experts trusted by the Research and Education Committee; however, there are, of course, other important animation study references that have not been included. This list was prepared by members of the Research and Education Committee to examine more closely certain references. (Authors: Kayama Takashi, Sugawa Akiko, Nakagaki Kotaro)

Bolton, Christopher. Interpreting Anime, University of Minnesota Press, 2018.

This is a research, by a comparative literature scholar, on the topic of Japanese anime centers on Japanese science fiction. It analyzes works by Hayao Miyazaki, Mamoru Oshii, and Katsuhiro Ōtomo, among others. It tends to rely on literary thematic analyses rather than media theory, but it is a significant, in-depth effort by an international researcher on Japan. (Nakagaki)

Brown, Steven T. Cinema Anime, Palgrave Macmillan, 2006.

This slightly older reference is a key work on anime research edited by a Japanese literature scholar. It contains chapters by Susan Napier, Thomas Lamarre and others, who look at Japanese anime from the points of view of comparative literature and media culture. It includes Sharalyn Orbaugh’s work on the development of international Japanese studies, which focuses on science fiction and popular culture. (Nakagaki)

Clements, Jonathan. Anime: A History, British Film Institute, 2013.

This text provides a history of Japanese anime by an anime historian. This publication, which was issued by a British publisher that specializes in film research, has earned the status of a fundamental reference text in the English-speaking world. It offers an English-speaking perspective on anime’s reception since the 1980s when audiences in other countries began to appreciate the genre. (Nakagaki)

Napier, Susan. Miyazakiworld: A Life in Art, Yale University Press, 2018.

This scholarly text provides a discussion of Hayao Miyazaki by the writer of Anime from Akira to Princess Mononoke. The author examines the auteur Miyazaki and his works as only a literary scholar can. This research is worthy of attention from international Japanese studies as it will likely become a fundamental reference in the English-language studies of Hayao Miyazaki. (Nakagaki)

Research and Education Committee


Animation has various psychological effects on the people who view it. Receptivity to animation depends on the viewer’s developmental stage, and animation can play a supportive role for people who have mental issues. On the other hand, an animator’s psychological developmental themes can have demonstrable effects on the animation, and this aspect can be explained in psychological terms. Moreover, animation can be understood as a clue for deciphering the mental issues of the modern age.

We’ve become familiar with the term “anime pilgrimage,” which happens when watching an animation motivates a person to visit to a specific place that is the setting, inspiration or otherwise somehow connected to the anime work. In addition, the “anime pilgrimage” movement is beginning to attract attention among overseas fans as well as scholars. I’ve compiled a list of useful introductory works primarily in the field of tourism research that offer a structural understanding of anime pilgrimages.

The Japanese animation industry is a multi-faceted, unique system of intricate, interlocking businesses, frameworks, networks and processes. While much has been written on the sociocultural impact of anime around the world, as well as thematic analysis of individual works, in truth there are many aspects which still warrant further discussion, in order to more adequately understand the elements beyond the surface. This list is a compilation of sources of information which may serve as a start to help shed light and contribute to a fuller image of the inner workings and idiosyncrasies of the anime industry.