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Macmillan Higher Education Palgrave Higher Education

Anime: A History

ISBN 9781844573905
Publication Date December 2013
Formats Paperback Ebook 
Publisher British Film Institute

This comprehensive history of Japanese animation draws on Japanese primary sources and testimony from industry professionals to explore the production and reception of anime, from its early faltering steps, to the international successes of Spirited Away and Pokémon.

Jonathan Clements is an anime historian. He is co-author of The Anime Encyclopedia: A Guide to Japanese Animation Since 1917, former editor of Manga Max magazine, and has been a translator, voice director or voice actor on over 70 anime productions.

Introduction: What Do We Talk About When We Talk About Anime?
1. Kid Deko's New Picture Book: Early Cartoons in Japan 1912-21
2. The Film Factories: Animation Technique and Technology 1921-37
3. The Shadow Staff: Japanese Animation at War 1931-48
4. The Seeds of Anime: Japanese Animation Industries 1946-62
5. Dreams of Export: Toei Doga and MOM Production 1953-67
6. Warrior Business: Tezuka's Anime Revolution in Context 1961-67
7. The Brown Screen: Trended Change in Japanese Animation 1966-83
8. The Third Medium: The Transformation of Ownership and Access 1977-96
9. The Pokemon Shock: Anime Goes Global 1984-97, 1997-2006
10. The Digital Engine: New Technologies in Animation 1983-2012
Epilogue: The End of Anime's First Century


Clements writes in his introduction, 'There is... no full-length history of Japanese animation available in English—an omission that this book seeks to remedy, articulating 'anime' as a succession of conceptual systems that form and change throughout the latter half of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first...' And he does exactly what he promises, going into great detail about the history of anime, and also bringing up questions about the meaning and definition of anime that can even cause major otaku to scratch their heads. This book is definitely a must for fans who want a scholarly look into the history of their favorite medium.' - Otaku USA Magazine
'[A] scholarly yet engaging history...it adopts a much more rigourous, fact-based approach to previous studies, drawn from primary sources such as industry almanacs, studio histories and autobiographical accounts from key practitioners, in order to chart the evolution of Japan's animation industry as a whole.' - Sight & Sound
'This study is authoritative and detailed, and will be essential reading for anime fans and scholars alike.' - P.D. Smith, The Guardian
'Anime: A History provides a comprehensive background of the medium, from the early years of the 20th Century to the contemporary landscape of 3D digital animation, online streaming and fansubs...we highly recommend.' - MyMyMy
'Historian Jonathan Clements traces the evolution of anime by exploring the history of its production and reception over the past 100 years, identifying periods in which cultural and technological developments ushered in new ways of thinking about the basic concept of 'moving pictures.'' - The Japan Times'...a fascinating read.' - The New York Times
'Anime: A History questions the stories we think we know of anime's rises and falls, its heroes and breakthroughs.' - Manga UK 'One of the most important and comprehensive books on anime ever written for the western market.' - Neo Magazine
'Anime: A History is a magisterial effort and will undoubtedly prove invaluable for scholars, particularly in the social sciences, who are interested in the political economy of anime production. Indeed, while Clements may profess to be skeptical of history as a narrative project, his book may well shape the discourse on the subject for years, if not decades, to come.' - LSE Review of Books
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