It was not a new experience for me to be watching an animated film as I have watched many previously before Akira. My Neighbour Totoro and Akira are now tied in the place of ‘oldest anime film*’ I’ve watched (film* not anime series), which still isn’t very old, yet they are both award-winning films. And I can see why, Akira was different. Definitely not the strangest anime I’ve ever watched, Miyazaki has some pretty elaborate films and some animes are known for being ‘out-there’ i.e. Elfen Lied or Goblin Slayer that both come with warnings attached.
I’m no stranger to ethnography either. I’ve previously taken BCM241, where I studied the Esports community and the language that came with that. Ellis describes ethnography as studying “a culture’s relational practices, common values and beliefs, and shared experiences for the purpose of helping insiders (cultural members) and outsiders (cultural strangers) better understand the culture” (Ellis, Adam & Bochner, 2011) Watching Akira it was interesting to think about the culture that they were portraying of Japan, many peers accounting that it was unlike the stereotypical ideas of the country they had previously seen.
Autoethnographers, however, “must consider ways others may experience similar epiphanies; they must use personal experience to illustrate facets of cultural experience, and, in so doing, make characteristics of a culture familiar for insiders and outsiders.” (Ellis, Adam & Bochner, 2011) From my understanding (mostly from what biographies and autobiographies are) Ethnography is looking in on another culture why autoethnography is being apart of the culture itself. Now I can’t say I’m a part of any Japanese biker gangs or any laboratory experiments, but I am an anime fan.
Anime only recently drew me back in with the remake of the old anime and complete manga series Fruits Basket (which is absolutely perfect by the way), but I have watched a range of different animes in the past. I am a person who is open to any anime, but it depends mostly on the art style. If the anime is too cartoonish like Panty and Stocking or Lucky Star I will find trouble watching it. Akira was borderline on the art style I like and dislike, but since the story and colours were so beautiful I had no trouble getting into it. Overall Akira was one of my favourite movies to have watched in a BCM class, especially since it was a mix of sci-fi and anime.
Ellis, C, Adams, T.E & Bochner, A.P, ‘Autoethnography: An Overview’, Forum Qualitative Social Research, vol. 12, no. 1, <http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/1589/3095>