Tamaki, Saito (Translated by J. Keith Vincent and Dawn Lawson)
University of Minnesota Press, 2011 (English Translated edition)
ISBN: 978 0 8166 5451 2
You know how sometimes, you can like a thing without really knowing why you like it? And then once you find out some of the theory of why people like these things, it sort of spoils it for you? Well, all of that didn’t happen with this book.
Ha, had you going for a second there, didn’t I? But I guess that that’s because I’m not a massive anime and manga fan. Oh, sure, I like some of it; Princess Mononoke is probably my favourite, but I really haven’t watched enough of it to feel that I should really have a favourite, you know? I love the style of it, and the freaky culture clash things that crop up – like in Pom Poko, with its masses of references to the shape-shifting abilities ensconced in a racoon’s balls. Have to confess to loving it from a Western point of view, and also… not keen on Big Robot anime. But all that didn’t stop me reading this book.
A lot of this book was way out of my depth – there is a lot of discussion, especially in the introduction to the book, about Lacanian psychotherapy techniques (gah?), the intersection between the Real, the Fictionalised Real, and Fiction (double gah?). Lucky for me, I recently read Violence: six sideways reflections by Slavoj Zizek (yeah, that’s what I do in my spare time… what a nerd), so some of the terms were kind of familiar. I’d imagine if you were a critical studies major or a media studies guru you’d probably get way more out of this book than I did.