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The Anime Companion: What's Japanese in Japanese Animation Paperback – September 1, 1999

3.9 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"For both the seasoned anime fan and the newly-minted otaku alike- it's absolutely oozing with good stuff to know, and comes recommended to the hilt." -Anime Guide, About.com -- Review

From the Publisher

Attention all otakus! Check out other great anime books from Stone Bridge Press, including Fred Schodt's classic DREAMLAND JAPAN: WRITINGS ON MODERN MANGA, Helen McCarthy's HAYAO MIYAZAKI: MASTER OF JAPANESE ANIMATION, Ryan Omega's ANIME TRIVIA QUIZBOOKS, EPISODES 1 & 2, and of course, Gilles Poitras's newest book, ANIME ESSENTIALS: EVERY THING A FAN NEEDS TO KNOW.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Stone Bridge Press; First Thus edition (September 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1880656329
  • ISBN-13: 978-1880656327
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.5 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,301,737 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

I can't help but feel that the author is either yet another typical self-proclaimed otaku or that they _had_ a good idea but their publisher suggested they dumb it down a little to broaden the audience. The intro "This Ain't No Speed Racer!" is ... oh god I really don't know where to begin. The rest of the book is just an alphabetized collection of abridged info on things found in only a handful of anime. I think a better title for this book would have been "Everything I Know I Learned From Ranma 1/2 and Urusei Yatsura". The anime images are screenshots so they're not very clear. And of course, the book would not be complete without the author's little Rant Sections that fill the empty spaces. If your reason for getting this book is to learn more about Japan through anime or vice versa, then I suggest the books "Japan Edge" which is very well-written and has sections on anime and manga, or "Dreamland Japan" which is on manga, but still very culturally insightful for anime fans.
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The world of Japanese animation is a very different one than American animation fans are used to - this book helps to take away some of the foreign-ness and provide a basic introduction to manga/anime and Japanese culture.
While the organization (alphabetical) is a poor choice, since many will not know the Japanese vocabulary for looking up a reference. Despite this, the book is a good value. It's best used by a simple flip-through, reading entries at random.
Purists may find the book mildly offensive as it does deal with the blatant sexism often presented in mainstream anime. This is not to say it does anime a disservice, however - it places the animation squarely in the context of the society that has created it. Americans and Japanese people have a very different concept of what crosses the line from stereotype into outright sexism, and I feel this book has done a fairly good job in illustrating some of the commonly seen genres and images within anime exported to the United States.
This book does Japanese animation a great service, as well, by making sure that a new anime fan does not think that all anime is so violent/sexual in nature - it allows the reader to see anime for what it is: a type of film genre with tons of variety, and stories for people of every taste.
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I am glad I was not the only person on here who rated this book with less than 3 stars. As I was reading this, I was pretty disgusted, but when I got to Amazon to do my review, I was shocked to see this book had as high as a rating as it did. I did feel a little better after I read some of the reviews that shared the same concerns I had, however.

This book is not for a "veteran" anime fan, not by any means. There are many interesting tidbits of info, but it all comes in the form of a dictionary, and unless you like to sit down with your Webster's and have a good read, I suggest you pass on this book and look elsewhere for your info. All the entries are alphabetical in Japanese, which means you are going to have a hard time finding the info you want if you are indeed looking up something, unless you are pretty fluent in the language. The organization is bad and the sidebar "rants" the author has are annoying. He claims in the first "rant" that he has a right to whine all he wants in his book, but to that I say "No you don't, not when you are attempting to be professional." I'm all for fun in books, but there is a thin line between fun and immaturity, and I'm sure you can guess where this guy is. Some of the things this guy rants about are boobies, guns, boobies, guns, boobies, boobies, boobies. You get my drift? It's VERY insulting to female readers. He even talks about his ex-Asian girlfriend's breasts. Like we care!

Other problems include the author's sources...While he claimed he was limited because of the only 100 or so titles he had available to him at the time, he pretty much refered to the same 6 anime titles when he did his entries, and 90% of those references were Rumiko Takahashi references.
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163 pages of pictures and entries on animation and Japanese culture. Quizzes and information on food, sex, gender, art, religion, humor, historical figures and events, bloody noses and even architecture. Gilles Poitras uses humor and knowledge on anime to write a book for anybody who wants to learn about some of the things that happen that non-Japanese might miss. Lot of the information is based on such mainstream cartoons as Ranma 1/2 and Tenchi Muyo!, but there is also a small list of books in the back that were also used WHICH allows the reader to find more books on the issues he or she may wish to focus on. Remember, the book also deals with the fact that the Japanese seem to be interested in age difference between males and females in relationships, women with guns and, yes, big breasts. IT is not that the author is not being serious, but in fact VERY serious and open minded. If one is going to explore anime one has to explore ALL parts of it and not just one side.
In fact, I would also suggest 'The Erotic Anime Movie Guide' by Helen McCarthy and Jonathan Clements.
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