Japanese 393: Japanese Animation: a century of Moving Images Spring 2014

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Japanese 393: Japanese Animation: A Century of Moving Images

Spring 2014
Class meets Tues & Thurs, 5:20 – 6:50 pm

Location: Gruening 306

Instructor: David Henry

Office: Gruening 612a

Office hours: Tues 11:30-12:30 and Thurs 2-3pm

Contact: dahenry2@alaska.edu or 474-7128

Course Description

Moving chronologically we will survey the first hundred years of Japanese animation, from the 1910s to the present day. Students will be become familiar with a variety of approaches to critically analyze animation, including film studies, narratology, gender studies approaches, reading anime as national allegory, etc. Conducted in English.

Course Goals

This class will survey the last century of Japanese animation, or anime, from the 1910s to the present day. Anime has become an increasing important presence both within Japanese and world culture and has been used to explore the broadest range possible of artistic and cultural questions. Many students are familiar with animation as entertainment and our purpose in this class will be to reintroduce them to this material through a critical lens. Four scholarly monographs, listed below in required readings, will be used to equip students with a rigorous framework to interpret Japanese animation from approaches including: historical, narratological, gender studies, psychoanalysis, etc. By the end of this course will have polished their ability to identify the key arguments of a scholarly monograph, describe this argument succinctly in writing, and to engage with that argument within the context of interpreting a specific work of animation.
Student Learning Outcomes

*Students will be able to place animation within a variety of contexts including national (Japanese culture as allegory), chronological and production related.

*Students will become proficient in demonstrating a range of critical methodologies to analyze animation including: gender studies, narratology, film studies approaches, psychoanalysis, etc.
*Students will be able to demonstrate critical approaches through four reading responses that show an ability to interpret a critical argument and respond to it.
Required Readings

The Astro Boy Essays. Anime from Akira to Howl’s

Frederik L. Schodt. Moving Castle.

Stone Bridge Press, Susan Napier. 2005

Berkeley. 2007 Palgrave MacMillan.

Otaku: Japan’s Data- Japanese Visual Culture.

-Base Animals. Explorations in the World of Manga

Hiroki Azuma. and Anime. Mark MacWilliams.

U. of Minn. Press.  2008.



Participation 10% (includes attendance, classroom activities)

Quizzes 20% (roughly 10 quizzes at 2% each)

Final Examination 20% (short essay and ID)

In Class Presentation 10%

Short Reading Responses 20% (four 2 page papers at 5% each)

Final Research Paper 20% (one 10 page paper)
Grading is as follows:

A+ 100 – 97 B + 89 – 87 C + 79 – 77 D + 69 – 67 F 59 and below

A 96 – 93 B 86 – 83 C 76 – 73 D 66 – 63

A - 92 – 90 B - 82 – 80 C - 72 – 70 D - 62 – 60

As a rule, no make-ups will be given for participation, etc unless prior arrangements are made or there is a signed doctor note.


Appropriate class behavior. You are welcome to bring a drink to class, as long as you clean up after yourself. Side conversations are not acceptable. I expect you to be courteous to classmates and professor at all times. Cell phones should be turned off, and I reserve the right to answer any phone that rings in class. If mine rings, you have the right to ridicule me.
Students with disabilities. UAF makes appropriate accommodations for individuals with disabilities who have been documented by the Office of Disability Services (208 Whitaker Building, 474--5655). Students with learning or other disabilities who may need classroom accommodations are encouraged to make an appointment to obtain the appropriate documentation if they do not have it.  Please meet with me during office hours so that I can collaborate with the Office of Disability Services to provide the appropriate accommodations and supports to assist you in meeting the goals of the course.
Student support services. UAF is committed to equal opportunity for all students.  Students who are the first in their families to attempt a four-year college degree, or students whose incomes are low, have opportunities for tutorial and other forms of support from the office of Student Support Services.  Please make an appointment with Student Support Services in Gruening 514 or by phone at 474-6844.
Student code of conduct. As a UAF student, you are subject to UAF's Honor Code:

"Students will not collaborate on any quizzes, in-class exams, or take-home exams that will contribute to their grade in a course, unless permission is granted by the instructor of the course. Only those materials permitted by the instructor may be used to assist in quizzes and examinations.

Violations of the Honor Code will result in a failing grade for the assignment and, ordinarily, for the course in which the violation occurred. Moreover, violation of the Honor Code may result in suspension or expulsion."
Tentative course schedule

Week 1

Thursday 1/16 Course introduction, review syllabus, and “A Century of


Week 2

Tuesday 1/21 Screening and Discussion: Early Japanese Animation, selected shorts (1910s-1930s)

Thursday 1/23 Lecture and Discussion, “Japanese Visual Culture(s)”

Week 3

Tuesday 1/28 Screening and Discussion: “Momotaro no umiwashi” (1943) and

“Momotaro: umi no shinpei” (1945)

Thursday 1/30 Lecture “Anime as National Allegory” and Discussion

Note: Friday January 31 is the deadline for 100% refund for dropped classes
Week 4:

Tuesday 2/4 Screening and Discussion, early post war selected shorts

Thursday 2/6 Lecture, “Tezuka Osamu” and Discussion

Reading: Schodt, The Astro Boy Essays (2007)

Week 5:

Tuesday 2/11 Screening and Discussion, animation from the 1960s and 1970s

Thursday 2/13 Lecture, “From Cinematism to Animism” and Discussion

Reading: Selections from Thomas Lamarre, The Anime Machine (2009)

Due: Reading Response #1
Week 6:

Tuesday 2/18 Screening and Discussion, “Akira” (Katsuhiro Otomo, 1988)

Thursday 2/20 Lecture, “Toward an Anime Canon” and Discussion

Reading: Napier, Anime from Akira to Howl’s Moving Castle (2001)

Week 7

Tuesday 2/25 Screening and Discussion, “Mononoke hime” (Hayao Miyazaki, 1997)

Thursday 2/27 Lecture, “Gendering Animation” and Discussion

Due: Reading Response #2

Week 8:

Tuesday 3/4 Screening and Discussion, “Tonari no Totoro” (Hayao Miyazaki, 1988)

Thursday 3/6 Lecture, “Nature through the Lens of Anime” and Discussion

Reading: MacWilliams, Japanese Visual Culture (2008)

Week 9:

Tuesday 3/11 Screening and Discussion, “Spirited Away” (Hayao Miyazaki, 2001)

Thursday 3/13 Lecture, “Animation and the Auteur” and Discussion

Due: Reading Response #3

Week 10: Spring Break

Tuesday 3/18 SPRING BREAK

Thursday 3/20 SPRING BREAK

Week 11:

Tuesday 3/25 Screening and Discussion, “Nausica”

Thursday 3/27 Lecture and Discussion, “Environmentalism as National Context,

1970s Japan and beyond”

Reading: Azuma, Otaku: Japan’s Database Animals (2001; trans. 2009)

Week 12:

Tuesday 4/1 Screening and Discussion, 1980s animation from Studio Gainax

Thursday 4/3 Lecture and Discussion, “The Anime Machine”

Due: Reading Response #4, Proposal for Final Research Paper

Week 13:

Tuesday 4/8 Screening and Discussion, 1990s animation (various studios)

Thursday 4/10 Lecture and Discussion, “Contemporary Approaches to


Due: 2 Page Research Paper Outline and Bibliography
Week 14:

Tuesday 4/15 Screening and Discussion, “Neon Genesis Evangelion” (1995-96,

selected episodes)

Thursday 4/17 Lecture and Discussion, “Apocalypse as Psychological


Week 15

Tuesday 4/22 Screening and Discussion, “Paprika” (2006)

Thursday 4/24 Lecture and Discussion, “What Novels Can Do That Anime Can’t

(and Vice Versa)”

Reading: “What Novels Can Do That Films Can’t (and Vice Versa)” by Seymour Chatman, (from Critical Inquiry, 1980, via jstor.org)

Week 16

Tuesday 4/29 Final Group Presentations

Thursday 5/1 Final Group Presentations

Due: Final Research Paper

Final Exam: Thursday, MAY 8 at 3:15-5:15

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