Cyberpunk Anime: Expressions of Japanese Anxiety in a Modern World

Authors

  • Kaitlyn Burke Wayne State University

Keywords:

Cyberpunk, Japan, Pop Culture, Anime

Abstract

As Japan rapidly modernized in the decades after the Pacific War, the Japanese people saw decaades of unique, accelerated circumstances ranging from nuclear anxiety to student riots and anti-government extremists and through sociopolitical and economic booms culminating in a genre of unique pop culture works, in particular anime, from the 1980s to the 1990s: cyberpunk. Like its Western counterpart, Japanese cyberpunk focuses on criticisms of the government thorugh thick layers of low-life, high-tech combinations. As such, the unique circumstances of Japanese cyberpunk's conception and its lasting influence on the anime medium make it an interesting point for examination; one that exposes much about Japan's growing anxieties in a newly global world evolving at never-before-seen rates.

References

Primary Sources

Akira. Directed by Katsuhiro Otomo. Toho Studios, 1988. https://www.hulu.com/movie/sub-akira-64a5a8d0-1406-4178-97a5-2649504faa85. (Accessed October 15, 2020).

Battle Angel. Directed by Hiroshi Fukutomi. Madhouse, 1993. DVD.

Cowboy Bebop. Directed by Shinichirou Watanabe. Sunrise Studios, 1998-1999. https://www.hulu.com/series/cowboy-bebop-af54be93-ee11-475c-b786-3543a9a7d4ba. (Accessed October 15, 2020).

Ghost in the Shell. Directed by Mamoru Oshii. Bandai Visual, 1995. DVD.

Secondary Sources

Bolton, Christopher. "From Ground Zero to Degree Zero: Akira from Origin to Oblivion." Mechademia: Second Arc, Vol. 9, Origins (2014): 295-315. Accessed December 1, 2020. doi:10.5749/mech.9.2014.0295.

Bridges, Will. “The Past Tense and the Future Perfect: The Postmodern Play of Watanabe Shinichiro and the Possibility of the Coming Community” The Journal of Popular Culture, Vol. 51, no. 3 (2018): 776-801. Accessed December 2, 2020. https://doi-org.proxy.lib.wayne.edu/10.1111/jpcu.12692

Brown, Steven T. Tokyo Cyberpunk: Posthumanism in Japanese Visual Culture. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.

De la Iglesia, Martin. "Has Akira always been a Cyberpunk Comic?" Arts Vol. 7, no. 3 (2018): 1-13. Accessed December 2, 2020. doi:http://dx.doi.org.proxy.lib.wayne.edu/10.3390/arts7030032. https://proxy.lib.wayne.edu/login?url=https://www-proquest-com.proxy.lib.wayne.edu/docview/2211352611?accountid=14925.

De la Iglesia, Martin, and Schemink, Lars. “Akira and Ghost in the Shell (Case Study).” In The Routledge Companion to Cyberpunk Culture, edited by Anna McFarlane, Graham J. Murphy, and Lars Schmeink, 162-168. New York: Routledge, 2020. Kindle. Accessed October 8, 2020.

Gardner, William O. The Metabolist Imagination: Visions of the City in Postwar Japanese Architecture and Science Fiction. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2020. Accessed October 19, 2020. ProQuest Ebook Central.

Gibson, W. (2001, April 30). The Future Perfect. http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1956774,00.html. Accessed December 6, 2020.

Granade, S. Andrew. "‘Some People Call Me the Space Cowboy’: Sonic Markers of the Science Fiction Western." In Re-locating the Sounds of the Western, edited by Mariana Whitmer and Kendra Preston Leonard, 1-46. New York: Routledge, 2019. Accessed November 15, 2020.

Jacobson, Kanick-Laurie. “Cowboy Bebop and the Virtual Soul” In TechKnowledgies: New Imaginaries in the Humanities, Arts, and Technosciences, edited by Paula Yablonsky, Tara P. Monastaro, and Mary Valentis, 205-218. Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007.

Lamarre, Thomas. “Born of Trauma: Akira and Capitalist Modes of Destruction.” Positions, Vol. 16, no. 1 (2008): 131-156. doi: https://doi-org.proxy.lib.wayne.edu/10.1215/10679847-2007-014 Accessed December 1st, 2020.

. “Cyborg Empiricism: The Ghost Is Not in the Shell.” In Introducing Japanese Popular Culture, edited by Alisa Freedman and Toby Slade, 300-310. New York: Routledge, 2017.

Napier, Susan J. Anime from Akira to Princess Mononoke: Experiencing Contemporary Japanese Animation. New York: Palgrave, 2000.

Park, Jane Chi Hyun. "Stylistic Crossings: Cyberpunk Impulses in Anime." World Literature Today Vol. 79, no. 3/4 (2005): 60-63. doi:10.2307/40158943. (Accessed October 8th, 2020).

Saito, Kumiko. “Anime,” In The Routledge Companion to Cyberpunk Culture, edited by Anna McFarlane, Graham J. Murphy, and Lars Schmeink, 151-161. New York: Routledge, 2020. Kindle. Accessed October 8, 2020.

Suzuki, Shige. “Manga,” In The Routledge Companion to Cyberpunk Culture, edited by Anna McFarlane, Graham J. Murphy, and Lars Schmeink, 107-118. New York: Routledge, 2020. Kindle. Accessed October 8, 2020.

Downloads

Published

2022-09-28

How to Cite

Burke, K. (2022). Cyberpunk Anime: Expressions of Japanese Anxiety in a Modern World. Wittenberg University East Asian Studies Journal, 45, 1–22. Retrieved from https://wittprojects.net/ojs/index.php/wueasj/article/view/201

Issue

Section

Articles

Categories