ahorbinski: A DJ geisha (historical time is a construct)
Bibliographic Data: Steinberg, Marc. Anime's Media Mix: Franchising Toys and Characters in Japan. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012.

Main Argument: "The emergence of Japanese television animation, or anime, in the 1960s as a system of interconnected media and commodity forms was, I will argue, a major turning point and inspiration for the development of what would later be called the media mix" (i.e. what Henry Jenkins calls "convergence") (viii).

Historiographical Engagement: Steinberg is mostly drawing on Japanese scholars of various stripes here; big names are Ôtsuka Eiji, Azuma Hiroki, and Itô Gô, while Tom Lamarre gets the biggest nod on the English-language side. Also, standing up for critical theory, Brian Massumi and Maurizio Lazzarato.

Introduction: Argument, Sources, Examples Steinberg argues that

Ultimately, we must understand the media mix to be part of a wider shift in media consumption patterns that saw increased emphasis on the consumption of images, media texts, and their associated things and an increased speed and penetration of the consumption processes. The rise of the media mix is thus intimately bound up with social, economic, and cultural transformations that many writers have associated with the term postmodernism or post-Fordism" (xi). Moreover, understanding the mechanisms of the anime mix show that Jenkins' understanding of convergence "fails to capture the essential role played by technologies of 'thing communication' (mono komi) that are not merely hardware nor merely the products of users' creative imaginations: the media connectivity proper to the character and the materiality of media-commodities that support this connectivity. (xv)
Anime's media mix )

Critical assessment: This is an excellent, zippy book which, I think, is fundamentally correct on almost all of its points. Steinberg explicates how the anime media mix does what it does from its historical roots, in the process making some very important points on multiple levels.

Further reading: Anne Allison, Millennial Monsters; Itô Gô, Tezuka Is Dead; Azuma Hiroki, Otaku: Japan's Database Animals

Meta notes: IS2G, this whole axiomatic designation of fan works as "parodic and exaggerated" needs explosion. I'm putting it on my to-do list. Also, the Fordist/post-Fordist disjuncture and the crises of capitalism--1929, 1973, 2008--may possibly be keys to the postwar period.

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Andrea J. Horbinski

May 2016

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