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The Soul of Anime: Collaborative Creativity and Japan's Media Success Story (Experimental Futures) Hardcover – February 11, 2013

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Product Details

  • Series: Experimental Futures
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books (February 11, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822353806
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822353805
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,304,461 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Does anime have a soul? In The Soul of Anime, Ian Condry explores the lives and work of the creators and consumers of one of Japan's great contributions to popular culture. Condry shows how the genre has moved from the margins to a place of respect and influence. This is a book that will appeal to all the otaku out there, as well as to those with a more moderate love of anime in all its forms."
(Eric Nakamura, President, Giant Robot)

"Through an exploration of multiple dimensions of the anime object, from studio production to fan production, piracy, remix, and virtual idols, The Soul of Anime issues a bold challenge to our understanding of the social side of media. Ian Condry's attention to the singularities of this universe takes us far from the normative horizon of analysis of fans and commodities, highlighting how intimacy arises from impersonal affective life. The social side of anime is the soul of anime, and the dark energy of fans is nothing other than the psychosocial stuff, the vibrant matter, of this emerging constellation."
(Thomas LaMarre, author of The Anime Machine: A Media Theory of Animation)

“This book is highly recommended for all lovers of Japanese history, Japanese culture, anime, manga, and animation.”
(Sally Bryant Library Journal (Starred Review))

“It’s a pleasure to have Condry guide us through the complex and ultimately rewarding world of anime.”—
(Animation Magazine)

“An anthropologist by training, Condry bases his arguments in part on fieldwork consisting of interviews with studio personnel and direct observation of working practices.  One may question (as the author himself does) how representative these anecdotes are, but they stimulate numerous intriguing interpretations. . . . Condry writes thoughtfully and occasionally displays wry wit. His book contains much of value to scholars of Japanese popular culture.”
(Alexander Jacoby TLS)

“Condry is no armchair theorist – there can be few Westerners who’ve explored the industry as energetically as he has. . . . For readers who do like amassing anecdotes, The Soul of Anime offers oodles of them, often gained first-hand by the intrepid author, ploughing through the anime multiverse.”
(Andrew Osmond Manga UK)

“Get this if you’re interested in the depth of anime, the pioneers and renowned figures within the anime movement (yes, of course including Miyazaki), and significant anime milestones. . . . For the serious anime lover who wants to move from fan to expert . . . this is a must.”
(Gini Koch It's Comic Book Day blog)

"For students and teachers who wish to gain a full understanding of the inner workings of the world of anime and to do serious research of their own in this area, a careful reading of ... Condry's ... book is definitely a must." 
(Michael McCaskey Journal of Japanese Studies)

“Superb critical, historical, and ethnographic study of the anime phenomenon; a model of cross-media analysis.”
(Science Fiction Studies)

About the Author

Ian Condry is Associate Professor of Comparative Media Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is the author of Hip-Hop Japan: Rap and the Paths of Cultural Globalization, also published by Duke University Press.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Azazello on June 8, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
This book focuses on the social dimensions of two groups, anime production studios and anime fan communities. Condry draws on his ethnographic research and interviews with industry professionals to shed light on something all too often overlooked in anime scholarship: how difficult it can be to actually work in the industry. His proposal for understanding the anime industry's "success" in ways that do not reduce it to financial returns is laudable and convincing. Moreover, the book's numerous concrete comparisons of anime/animation industries in the United States and Japan help to cut through the haze of overgeneralizations surrounding anime's movement between cultures. The book makes a strong case for paying more attention to 'scale' when it comes to cultural analysis, and the need to remain wary of any quick jump from one particular community of creators or fans to claims about entire national cultures. The stronger chapters use this perspective to offer accessible entry points into a range of debates surrounding anime (namely the social aspects of the media mix, the social politics of fansubbing, and the use of anime characters as love objects). The book is well positioned to serve as an ethnographic supplement to more content-based anime scholarship, and will no doubt be used this way in future college courses on the topic.

The book is less successful when it comes to pulling all of its observations together into a cohesive set of ideas. The main theoretical concepts ('dark energy,' the 'gutter,' and above all 'soul') are sloppily developed and ultimately more distracting then helpful. There is also a more nagging problem.
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