Scott Bukatman, The Poetics of Slumberland: Animated Spirits and the Animating Spirit, University of California Press, 2012
Wide-ranging discussion about the dynamic relationship between the animated object and the human animator, focusing on the comics of animation pioneer Winsor McCay with references to Bachelard’s philosophy.
Donald Crafton, Shadow of a Mouse: Performance, Belief, and World-Making in Animation, University of California Press, 2012.
Performance theory for characters in hand-drawn animation. The volume of elucidates the relationship between fans and the 2D characters that are supposed to be present beyond the screen.
Sheds light on trends in early animation mainly in the West, the relationship between animation and comics, technological innovations, and industrialization within a sociocultural context.
Simon During, Modern Enchantments: The Cultural Power of Secular Magic, Harvard University Press, 2002
This book shows that the discourse of “bringing something to life” transcends animation through a discussion that treats visual devices including magic lanterns, photography, animation, film and other visual apparatus as examples of modern magic.
In this volume, these essays about Jan Svankmajer and an interview with the director himself go beyond auteur theory, leading to aesthetic debates about the manual, the tactile, and materiality in animation. In particular, I recommend the essay by Michael O'Pray .
This book fulfills the promise of its title by giving an overview of the complex meaning of “anime,” which is often given as the etymology of animation, while dealing with historical and theoretical transformations.
Theorizes animation as the machine with Japanese anime brought into focus. A crucial point is the author’s use of the notion of machine that author uses drawing on Deleuze and Guattari to overcome apparatus theory that places technology and ideology in a fixed relationship. Japanese translation also available.
Discusses the aesthetics of animation ranging from abstract animation to the Disney animation., drawing on Frankfurt School theories. Fascinating is the author’s discussion of Disney in relation to Riefenstahl and Eisenstein.
This book is useful for reevaluating animation as a medium, in which the author points out that in the digital era cinema become part of animation and kino-eye is replaced with kino-brush. In particular, I recommend Chapter 6 “What is Cinema?” Japanese translation also available.
Eiji Otsuka, Atomu no meidai: Tezuka Osamu to sengo manga no shudai (Atom’s Thesis: Osamu Tezuka and the Central Theme of Postwar Manga), Tokuma Shoten, 2003
This book focuses on Tezuka Osamu to reposition Japanese anime and manga within the context of modern history and discusses the shift from immortal characters to characters who are mortal, injured/wounded, and have sexuality.
Suzanne Buchan, The Quay Brothers: Into a Metaphysical Playroom, University of Minnesota Press, 2011
This book delves into the mysteries of the Quay Brothers’ animation and is based on materials drawn from the author’s exchanges with the two directors over many years. The author thoroughly discusses the literary origins of their works, as well as spatial construction, puppets, editing, sound effects and music.
This book takes animation as a cultural phenomenon, rather than discrete works, focusing on its critical points to discuss mechanical devices, materiality, life philosophy, realism, practices and educational issues as related to animation.