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The Anime Encyclopedia: A Guide to Japanese Animation Since 1917 Paperback – 2004

3.9 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 545 pages
  • Publisher: Stone Bridge Press (2004)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000YJ3UL8
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,715,027 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Marc Ruby™ HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on January 9, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The first thought that runs through the mind of a potential otaku faced with the wealth of Anime films that are available is, frankly, "Where do I start." It doesn't take a great deal of time to sniff out the Evangelions and Princess Mononokes, but beyond the great successes are many lesser lights that all promise pleasure and entertainment if one only knew which they were. Of course, part of the challenge is that coming to understand anime and manga requires reaching some level of understanding of the Japanese culture that underlies them. However, the simple truth is that, lacking a guide, the effort is always in danger of becoming fruitless.
'The Anime Encyclopedia' is the answer to need. While it really isn't encyclopedic, it provides summaries, data, and even some analysis of over 2,000 anime films. The authors confess that there are probably another 2,000 films that could have been included, and a complete failure to touch on interactive (game) animation. Nevertheless, 2,000 titles covering the period from 1917 to 2001 is a lot. While the writers are rarely excessively judgmental, there is enough information to identify both films of interest and films to be avoided.
Occasionally, the reader finds a lengthy discussion, but most of the descriptions are 100 to 200 words. One will find dates, formats, key translations, creative staff, and length listed. Some indication of the appropriate audience where needed, and indication of whether English productions are available. In short, enough to navigate one's way to the winded path of an otaku's apprenticeship. The writers have a dry, witty style that makes this more than a simple catalog, but far less than a treatise. The book does exactly what it promises to do, competently and clearly. Lacking a command of Japanese, this is the best resource available for US viewers.
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Format: Paperback
It is difficult being an otaku (anime fan) when it comes to finding useful source material. Most of the good information is in Japanese, and only reaches the Western viewer in a trickle-down fashion.
So, on the face of it, this would seem to be a crucial book, telling you what is out there. Alas, while this book does try to be informative and useful, it is filled with so many errors and embittered opinions, that I would not recommend using it as an authorative source. Whether it is a simple error of claiming that the anime classic "Otaku no Video" was created in 1985-- which was two years before the creator of this anime (Gainax) was founded; or the embittered opinions of attacking one series (Fushigi Yugi) merely on the grounds that it wasn't as good as another series (Escaflowne) there are many pieces of unreliable information. Series are given the wrong year, wrong number of episodes and frequently plot descriptions that are so distorted that one wonders how closely the authors followed the series in question.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
While it may be the best and more thoroughly thought-out book about anime so far, it is not quite as relevant as one first hopes. I bought it to have a reference guide, and for this it has proven useful. It is a great tool for finding various animes by a specific directors, or, on the flip side, finding out who produced which shows. However, this is almost the extent of its usefulness.
If one is searching for a comprehensive guide to themes in anime (say the theme of reaching maturity or of encountering alien life or of the woes of war), one will be completely disappointed. The only way to search for anime is by title or producer. If one seeks factual information about anime, like which Mangas or comic strips the animes are based on, one will be disappointed. Even basic terms, plot tools, cliches, genres, and so on are completely overlooked. Japanese culture and language are apparently never consulted by the authors. All that matters to the writers is what the title of the anime was, usually the basic plot, and who made it (and in some instances influences). And that is greatly disappointing for something called an "Encyclopedia." Also, if you seek any form of information on a spin-off or a sequel series to any anime, you are at a loss-- the only references to such follow-ups (often more important or popular than the antecedent), if at all existent, are to be found only within the entries to the original released series. As if that wasn't enough, one must also sustain insult while the author shows disdain and disregard for certain animes which may happen to be some of the most popular and loved (Evangelion comes to mind).
Of course, it is a first edition.
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Format: Paperback
When I first got this book, I thought I'd stumbled upon a wealth of information. As an amateur anime reviewer, I had wanted a more comprehensive guide to anime than the books that had been previously released, and I was convinced this should be it.
"Should" be.
For a first-time anime fan, this seems like the way to go. But for the experienced fan who has seen even a tenth of the anime listed here, the luster fades rather quickly.
Unfortunately, the Anime Encyclopedia is plagued with factual errors, occasional Anglocentric comments, and an often acerbic tone hardly befitting the word "encyclopedia". Review guide, perhaps. But impassive reference material? Hardly.
Often, the authors come up with completely new (and erroneous) title translations such as "Chancer Princess" and "Heart Mark" for anime not released in the West, whereas some shows within the time period stated (Risky Safety) are omitted outright, or hidden under discussion of nominally related titles (Gensoumaden Saiyuuki). Japanese names are misspelled or mistranslated with abandon, whether it be anime titles or creators, like Yoshizumi Wataru, here transliterated incorrectly as Yoshizumi Ayumi, and not even listed as the creator of her major anime work!
The worst part is that, as in Helen McCarthy's previous works, the authors here attempt to review and cast judgment on titles they obviously have not seen, which is reprehensible for anyone who claims to be a serious reviewer of any genre of art. The informal (and obviously British) tone of the book meshes poorly with the fact that this was released for a primarily American audience, with the authors poking fun at American distributors where there ought not to be any poking of fun at all.
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