From Library Journal
Japanese animation, also known as anime, is rivaled only by karaoke in terms of Japanese impact on U.S. culture. Anime fan clubs flourish on college campuses and on the Internet, and anime proliferates in U.S. video stores. In this first book-length study of the form, Levi asserts that anime is designed by Japanese for Japanese. Using her doctoral studies in Japanese history to good effect, she explains anime as it relates to Buddhist and Shinto traditions, Ninja and Samurai myths, Confucianism, woodblock painting, traditional theater, and contemporary Japanese culture. At the same time, Levi tries to account for anime's popularity among American "Generation X" fans, or otaku. Her study is consequently as much about the United States as it is about Japan and, happily, yields insights into both cultures for scholars and zealous lay readers alike. A fine addition for cultural studies collections.?Neal Baker, Dickinson Coll. Lib., Carlisle, Pa.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
American interest in the high-tech Japanese animation called anime
the products of which feature childlike, saucer-eyed characters and range the genres from science fiction to sex comedy--is burgeoning. Video stores devote special sections to anime, and there is a huge anime presence in Internet newsgroups and home pages. According to Levi, this growing popularity is due not only to imaginative stories and visual appeal but also to the insight into Japanese culture anime affords. The cartoons are modern Japan's folktales, Levi says, and reveal aspects of the nation's psyche that range from its view of mortality to its conception of woman's role in society. Aimed at enlightening the uninitiated, Levi's study is less an anime guide than an almost scholarly text that, besides examining the psychological reasons for the cartoons' appeal, compares anime to American cartoon animation, traces its connections to Japanese art and theater, and demonstrates that many anime plots are based in Japanese religion. A valuable addition to film, popular-culture, and Asian studies collections alike. Gordon Flagg