Auto Ethnography – Akira

This week I participated in the live screening and tweeting of Akira (1988), which is a Japanese anime film. This was my first time properly watching an anime film, and at points I did feel very overwhelmed with such colourful graphics that created somewhat of a controlled chaos upon the screen. Drawing from my live tweeting experience I was able to make some interesting connections between the film and the outside world based on my personal set of knowledge, experiences and ethics. 

Auto ethnography is an approach to research that enables a viewer to share their personal experiences whilst drawing from previously collected data in order to gain a cultural experience (Ellis, 2011). Due to the live tweeting experience, I came to the realisation that my personal experience watching the film would be different to other viewers. When responding to any stimuli, in order to process and understand it an individual uses their own knowledge, experiences and thought processes to digest information. My demographics such as race, gender, religion, age etc, are not the exact same as my classmates thus resulting in different experiences. However Ellis discusses how there are ways others may experience similar epiphanies. For example, I made an observation that the graphics and story-line of Akria did trigger memories of a car racing video game that you would find at an arcade, due to the interaction on my tweet I was able to determine that someone of my classmates did agree with me, but may have only experience the epiphany when I brought it to their attention. 

Epiphanies’ are remembered moments perceived to have significantly impacted the trajectory of a person’s life (Ellis, 2011). Another epiphany that I experienced during the screening of Akira was a connection between the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing with Japanese anime (TheArtifice, 2018). There were certain themes carried throughout the movie such as bombs going off, gas spreading across the air as well as tragedy and distress. Turns out it is actually true that the bombings do influence a lot of Japanese manga and anime probably due to the fact it is a sad but relatable reality in today’s world that allows individuals to form a connection with the film. Auto-ethnography can relate to this idea as it is about backing up a story with facts and research (Ellis, 2011). Anyone can tell a story, but what divides a story and an auto-ethnographic response is the ability to draw on research and data to make the story more efficient, relatable and believable. 

 

References:

The-artifice.com. (2018). Akira: An Analysis of the A-Bomb and Japanese Animation | The Artifice. [online] Available at: https://the-artifice.com/akira-analysis/ [Accessed 22 Aug. 2019].

Ellis, Carolyn; Adams, Tony E. & Bochner, Arthur P. (2010). Autoethnography: An Overview [40 paragraphs]. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12(1), Art. 10, http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs1101108.

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