Anime's Media Mix: Franchising Toys and Characters in Japan by Marc Steinberg

By Marc Steinberg

Untangles the net of commodity, capitalism, and paintings that's anime

In Anime's Media combine, Marc Steinberg convincingly exhibits that anime is way greater than a method of eastern animation. past its rapid type of cartooning, anime is additionally a different mode of cultural construction and intake that resulted in the phenomenon that's at the present time known as "media mix" in Japan and "convergence" within the West.

According to Steinberg, either anime and the media combine have been ignited on January 1, 1963, whilst Astro Boy hit eastern television monitors for the 1st time. subsidized through a chocolate producer with savvy advertising and marketing abilities, Astro Boy fast turned a cultural icon in Japan. He used to be the poster boy (or, in his case, "sticker boy") either for Meiji Seika's candies and for what may perhaps ensue while a goggle-eyed caricature baby fell into the keen clutches of artistic sellers. It was once just a brief step, Steinberg makes transparent, from Astro Boy to Pokémon and beyond.

Steinberg lines the cultural family tree that spawned Astro Boy to the modifications of jap media tradition that followed—and ahead to the much more profound advancements in worldwide capitalism supported via the move of characters like Doraemon, hi Kitty, and Suzumiya Haruhi. He information how convergence was once sparked via anime, with its astoundingly large advertising of pictures and its franchising throughout media and commodities. He additionally explains, for the 1st time, how the increase of anime can't be understood properly—historically, economically, and culturally—without greedy the indispensable position that the media combine performed from the beginning. attractive with movie, animation, and media stories, in addition to analyses of client tradition and theories of capitalism, Steinberg bargains the 1st sustained research of the japanese mode of convergence that informs worldwide media practices to today.

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The answer to this series of questions lies in anime’s place within its larger media ecology. Anime’s movement of return is based not on the relative self-enclosure of a text onto itself (as the earlier Toei films had been and as classical cinema has often been conceived) but rather on its constitutive openness to other media and commodity forms. The manga–anime relationship is primary in this respect, with the manga acting as a preparatory framework—a kind of advertising or affective priming (as Ōtsuka implied), and even as storyboard—for the moving images to come.

In a recent interview, Sakamoto Yūsaku, the chief of production at Mushi Production in the 1960s, and the animator who suggested they undertake the Atomu project, similarly cites the importance of both manga and kamishibai as inspiration in the creation of the TV anime series. ”48 Tezuka’s references to American limited animation should disabuse us of the notion that he and his coconspirators invented limited animation ex nihilo. Nonetheless, these creators’ references to manga and kamishibai in their descriptions of the development of anime style also suggest the importance of acknowledging that creating the Tetsuwan Atomu TV series did indeed involve an invention of a particular kind: the invention of a relation between manga, kamishibai, and animation.

And yet, at the same time, the last position of the lion represented by the relatively clear image of its torso indicates that this does have some aspects of the snapshot, insofar as part of the rapidly moving lion is clearly represented. What we have is a mixed temporality—somewhere between time-lapse photography, instantaneous photography, and the cinema. This mixed temporality is present in anime as well, where Atomu’s feet are blurred when he is in flight, emphasizing his speed (and suggesting time lapse), and yet the rest of his body is in clear focus (suggesting instantaneity).

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