Throughout this assignment, I have learnt about Asian digital culture and more specifically Japanese anime films and its culture, through my own research and the research of my classmates. Being able to read everyone else’s blog posts and research has helped me to be able to figure out what I wanted to research and the different ways to look at Asian digital cultures. I don’t think I will continue to specifically look for new anime shows to watch or keep up with online fandoms, but I feel that I have a greater appreciation for it, as its own media channel, being different from regular cartoons.
Completing this assignment with an auto ethnographic approach also made things a lot more interesting. Being made to look at our research from a different perspective, and having to write about it like this brought on a whole other side to the research. If I had to do it again, I may have chosen a different topic to base my study. Although I found anime great to research and learn about, I now feel like I could have looked deeper into the digital cultures of Asia, and chosen something not so obvious. At the time I thought it was best for me as I knew nothing about digital Asia, and it probably was a good idea at the time, but after studying this I think I could look further into digital cultures of Asia.
My reactions and feelings towards anime films have changed dramatically since we first began this subject. I feel much more educated and informed.
Overall I think the blog posts did help with the assignment, as you were trying to research something knew each write that you could write about, as well as it was keeping track of your assignment as it you researching, figuring out your methodology and carrying it out.
As I am working with my family for my study, and am going to try and understand their experiences with anime, and compare them to my own. I wanted to ask them a few questions before they sat down to watch the films. The first question I thought of was “Define anime, in your own words.” I wanted to get a better understanding of what they thought anime was and how they saw it. I asked my sister, brother, mum and dad. My sister said “I don’t know, weird Japanese cartoons”. My brother said “Japanese animations.” My mum and dad said “what?” I had to explain to them what it was before they both realized what I was talking about.
This got me thinking about people who do not understand what anime is. As I was sort of one of those people, I wanted to know why we didn’t know much about it. I had watched quite a lot as a child, getting up at 6am on the weekends to watch Pokemon, Digimon or Dragon Ball Z, but I had never actually worked out that it was a whole separate media form to other animations that I enjoyed. It was only when I went to high school and started to study Japanese as a language. Our teacher loved anime movies and showed one to the class every so often. We even went to a small cinema in the city to watch Howl’s Moving Castle. I really enjoyed that movie, and even though it was spoken in Japanese, the subtitles were in English, and by the end of the movie I hadn’t even noticed if I was understanding the Japanese or reading the subtitles without knowing. Probably reading, but I would like to think I learnt some Japanese.
Although I had experienced all of this anime throughout my life, it wasn’t until I started studying DIGC330 to when I really realized the entirety of the culture. I think this would be the case for a lot of people, as Japanese anime and it’s culture is not thrust upon most people.
Why Study Anime? What a good question…
This week I wanted to write a blog about why people study anime, and I wanted to look into how anime culture got to become so popular throughout the world. I am basing this blog post off an article I read online from The Japan Times. The article was called “Taking anime too seriously”, and was written by Michael Hoffman.
I was trying to research why Japanese anime culture became so widespread when I came across this article. I find that Japanese anime is very intriguing as it is different to other animations. Anime caters to both children and adults (and sometimes, only to adults. I feel like you either love Japanese anime and can get incredibly involved in its culture, or you don’t have a very strong interest in it. You can get very attached to the customers and to the way in which these films are made, which is what makes it so popular.
In his article, Hoffman stated, “there are reasons, of course [As to why people study anime]. The wildfire spread, the global reach, the character-transforming impact it has on fans — the world-transforming impact it has on fans’ world — all elevate anime to something beyond mere entertainment. It is a phenomenon. Enter, therefore, the cultural anthropologists, sociologists, philosophers, media scholars, Japanologists and other trained and dispassionate academic observers, all seeking to penetrate “the soul of anime.”
In order to carry out my research about my family’s personal experiences with anime, I will need to choose 2 possible anime films in which they can watch. I will ask the participants a few questions before they watch the films and then again after, to ultimately gage any differences in perspective or feelings.
The films I will be looking at will be Spirited Away and Akira. I chose these 2 films as they are quite different but also have similarities. As there will be 5 participants in my study, I am expecting that their answers and experiences will be different and varied. I am curious to see the final results to see if anyone will have a similar experience to mine.
Originally, I thought about letting the participants sit down and watch specific parts of the anime films I selected, separately, and after they watched it I would record them talking about their experiences. I was then going to write a short paragraph about each certain video regarding my feelings and experiences in relation to theirs. I decided to change this to a simpler and more effective method, and to turn my findings into a report. This would allow me to compile all of my results altogether and be able to view them altogether.
I read an article online when I was researching, about someone else’s experience with anime. I wanted to read it to understand how other people had experienced anime, as I understand that everyone’s experiences would be different. Some people may have grown up with it and think of it as the norm, whereas some people could be on the complete opposite end of the scale and may have never even heard of it.
The idea of having to do an auto ethnographic study was quite confronting, at first. It was difficult to wrap my head around the concept, as I have never had to do anything like this before.
Auto ethnography is a form of self-reflection that explores personal experiences and feelings. I have decided to base my auto ethnographic study on my own experiences of anime films. When I was first introduced to this assignment I was quite overwhelmed by the fact that I had to choose a topic I knew nothing about. Although, after I decided on anime and started looking into it, I became aware of the fact that I had seen a lot more of the films than I thought. I wanted to base my auto ethnographic study on this, and my aim was to find out if members of my family had a similar experience to me with anime, or if they had a completely opposing experience.
Auto ethnography creates a different view of a subject to how you would typically study it. I learnt a lot about anime and anime culture through my auto ethnographic study, and my feelings towards anime changed massively from the beginning of my study, to now. The culture of anime makes it so easy to learn about online. There is a large fandom following online on Youtube, Tumblr and many forums on the Internet. It is very easy to become involved in the culture and not have to be in Japan, which is great. As anime is different to the cartoons that I am used to watching, it is good to have a clear understanding of the differences between the two types, which is portrayed in the large culture and following behind Japanese anime.
Anime-forums is a website where people can access to talk about all things that are going on in the world of anime. You can watch reviews, find links to watch anime shows or movies online or simply have discussion with other people who are interested in the same shows as you.
This site constitutes as a peripheral to anime films and TV shows as it goes beyond simply watching something on a screen.
Anime-forums uses a simple forum type website with different headings and titles. There are countless clubs which you can join within the forums where you can discuss ideas about specific types of anime.
Reading these conversations from all different people gave me an insight into how others see certain anime films. I was able to see why different people like certain shows and what they don’t like. I was also able to find out about new shows that I had never heard of before. Being able to view these stories, reviews and opinions made me become more interested in the content that was being talked about.
There was a specific forum called Pokemon Origins. I was scrolling through this thread of conversation and noticed something that I thought was interesting. The fact that the members contributing to this forum were using different anime characters and their photos to represent themselves. In the forums I was used to looking at (mainly travel forums) people simply used their name or some different version of their name and a photo of themselves. The Pokemon Origins forum was not at all meant to be anonymous but I guess its good to see people really going all out with their dedication to anime, and it was a good way to stay anonymous if they wanted to.
Something else that I found later on in my research through the forums was fans amazing ability to use anime shows to create their own music videos for songs. There was so many but this one was definitely one of the best. I have found myself experiencing an understanding for why many people go so above and beyond with their fan art and their online dedication to this community.
When I was trying to find a celebrity (actor) in the field of anime I found it difficult to find someone who specifically catered to anime films as they are simply voice-overs, and most actors do on screen appearances as well as anime. It was surprising to me the amount of actors that I had heard of (mainly American) who were doing voice overs in anime films. I never would have guessed!
One of the first Japanese anime films I saw (not including childhood cartoons), was Howls Moving Castle. Directed by Hayao Miyazaki, who was considered to be one of Japan’s greatest animation directors. He was mainly known from Howls Moving Castle, Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke and Nausicaa and the valley of the Wind. As he was born in 1941, there wasn’t a lot of self-presentation of his public self (Facebook, Twitter etc). There was a bio of him of IMDb. There was a page of facts about him, like that he was sometimes referred to as the Walt Disney of Japan, but he hated being called that. There were articles about his work, best and worst movies. There were also interviews with him regarding some aspects of his personal life as well as his work.
Although the information that has been put online has probably not been directly applied by Miyazaki, there is more than enough information that can be found. It is strange to come across a well known/ famous person (or anyone for that mater) who doesn’t have social media accounts. Not only is it for personal use but also for people to portray themselves and to share their lives with the world.
It is hard to communicate my findings as there really wasn’t anything online that was an example of how his public self was presented. It was interesting to see how different people portrayed themselves online, and as a celebrity it was sort of expected for them to have some type of social media presence, no matter what their age.
Trying to think of a topic for my individual digital artefact was tough. I ended up deciding to do it on the culture of anime. When I first starting reading up on DIGC330 I thought I was way out of my league and I thought I would be at such a disadvantage because of my lack of knowledge of the Asian digital media landscape. Although, when I started to look into the content a bit more thoroughly, I realised that I actually had a lot more knowledge about the Japanese anime side of the media that I knew of.
When I was in high school in year 7 and 8 I studied Japanese as a language. Our teacher was quite obsessed with showing us Japanese films, and we even went to the cinemas to see Howl’s Moving Castle. At the time I really didn’t pay much attention to what I was watching and so I didn’t remember it until I started Googling information about anime. I also realised that a lot of the cartoons I watched when I was younger were also classified as Japanese anime.
Once I realised that I had actually watched a lot more Japanese anime films and TV shows than I had originally thought, I was able to appreciate it a bit more. I became a lot more interested in what I was going to have to research about getting to watch more anime films and episodes.
For my individual digital artefact I might look into using YouTube or SoundCloud to express video or audio. I haven’t chosen which type of media I am going to portray my information on as of yet. I will expand on my own experience of anime and use it to understand other people’s experiences. I have a feeling that a lot of people may have similar experiences to mine, or it could go the complete other way! That is what I plan to find out.