Mar. 15th, 2014

ahorbinski: A DJ geisha (historical time is a construct)
Bibliographic Data: Allison, Anne. Millennial Monsters: Japanese Toys and the Global Imagination. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006.

Main Argument: Allison argues that several things were different about the "J-cool" boom that began in the 1990s, beginning with the fact that it had a far greater level of influence on the U.S. marketplace than did previous Japanese cultural imports. Allison believes that fantasy, capitalism, and globalism are conjoined and (re)configured in Japanese media mix properties [the term is anachronistic to her book], and that the "polymorphously perverse" play they engender (and embody) is key to their appeal--both at the level of practice and at the level of the media mix itself.

Pokemon, Power Rangers, Sailor Moon, tamagotchi )

Critical assessment: I would have liked this book much better if I had read it before I read Marc Steinberg's book, which I think offers a much better grasp on much of the same territory. Admission: that is because I am not an anthropologist, and because I am allergic to culture as a primary causal factor in anything for reasons that don't need exploring at this juncture but which can be symbolized by the assertion that culture changes damn quick when people want it to. The "techno-animism" argument, frankly, I think is better explained by simply saying that Japan moved into a new mode of capitalism before other countries; this is Latour's "parliament of things" in a capitalist inflection. But also, I don't like Freud, and Allison is very much a Freudian, albeit in a feminist inflection. Sidenote: WTF is with feminists liking Freud? Freud does not like you, ladies! Freud does not even believe that queerness exists! Vomit. That said, once Allison gets away from all that and into her analysis of capitalism, I think she's basically on the money, albeit in a different and frankly somewhat dated idiom. A worthwhile book, for sure, but very much not the whole story.

Further reading: Steinberg, Anime's Media Mix; The LEGO Movie

Meta notes: Gotta catch 'em all! Also, what does "New Age" even mean anymore?

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ahorbinski: shelves stuffed with books (Default)
Andrea J. Horbinski

August 2017

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