Database for Animation Studies

12 Specialized References for Aesthetic Research of Animation as Moving Image

Joon Yang Kim

What exactly is the special appeal of the visual form/medium of animation, and what are the mechanisms that create such attraction? These references contain many hints to help you find answers to those questions.

Lev Manovich, The Language of New Media, The MIT Press, 2001

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.

Joon Yang Kim
Associate professor at Niigata University

Joon Yang Kim is the author of the book, Empire of Images: Animation on the Japanese Islands (2006) and others. He is involved as associate editor in Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal (Sage) and as vice-president and editorial chair in the Japan Society for Animation Studies.


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.

“Battles” are the most popular subject matter for animation, but are challenging when it comes to theory. One of the reasons is that “battles” erupt within the messiness of many factors including personal desires, the premise of a group’s establishment, and the trends of the times. I selected the books on this list to offer approaches for dealing with that messiness. The publications are listed in chronological order based on the release year for the animation work being discussed.