Japanese Anime holds a profound position within my life. I have always found it interesting but would only ever find myself being invested in the genre if it was dubbed into English or maybe I wasn’t even aware it was Japanese Anime in the first place as the Western domination had removed any idea that it was.
My ethnographical approach to this screening stems from Ellis et al’s Autoethnography: An Overview described as “An approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and systematically analyse (Graphy) personal experience (auto) in order to understand cultural experience (Ethno).
The Screening of Akira was quite shocking, to be honest, the seminars ethnographical approach was hindered with the use of dubbing however it still allowed the ability to experience a film like nothing I had seen before.
One thing I found quite confronting about this film was the fact the film showed a major lack of respect towards women. Even the so-called heroes of the film such as Kaneda blatantly disrespectful and this is seen as the norm across this film. Christian Alsop notes the idea of the foreign as ” amorphous and unstructured. It does not allow for anticipation because we cannot read it, cannot interpret what is possible or impossible, attractive or repulsive.” (Alsop, Christian K. 2002)
In my investigation into this genre, I discovered anime and Manga was born out of tragedy, specifically two events that changed modern history. The dropping of the Atomic Bombs, Little Boy and Fat Boy. The deep influence of the A-bomb on anime and manga. Many works that pull from the collective memory and trauma of the bombings are seen as part of a “victim’s history” narrative which works to promote sympathy from the viewer on behalf of the children they so often depict. This idea of depicting children within narratives is present in Akira as it creates relation within their audience. This idea of building on tragedy intrigued me immensely as it would hardly be noticed until one considers every anime you have ever seen. Great tragedy unfolds within the stories commonly associated with immense destruction of the setting. Depictions of the idea Neo Tokyo “New Tokyo” is a common name for a fictional futuristic version of Tokyo.
Overall I found this movie confronting and confusing however it has sparked an interest in the genre I had not shared previously that may in-turn trigger further viewing of this media.
Alsop, Christiane K. (2002) Home and Away: Self Reflexive Auto-/Ethnography’, Forum Qualitative Social Research 3:3.