Bring On The Anime!

This week in Digital Asia we have bee brainstorming ideas for our final projects and discussing how to take these ideas further. At this point I know that I want to do something about the transnational flow of Anime and how fans in online communities are working together to break down national barriers. The reason why I want to study this is because anime is a big part of my life and as I have stated in previous blogs for this subject, I feel I Identify with Japanese digital culture despite having grown up in Westernised Australia. The fact that I can even consider Japanese cartoons to be a significant influence in my life, suggests to me, there is a definite cross cultural convergence going on here. One that I intend to explore further. As such, I figure the best way to explore this further is simply to start having auto-ethnographic experiences and develop my concept from there. So here is what I have been doing thus far….

Obviously I’ve been watching Anime (don’t you just love uni work sometimes).

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I have also been doing cosplay makeup for some of my fave One Piece characters and posting it onto Instagram.

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The dressing up was fun, but actually posting these was a little scary because I decided to use my own personal account. My reasoning for this was… if I’m going to say that anime is part of my life then I want it to be a part of how I represent myself on social media. This however, was very deterring because putting these on my own account meant that everyone I know was going to see them. My Anime watching fiends who are into cosplay, were fine with it and even thought it was cool. What I was paranoid about though, was the people who don’t watch anime, what were they going to think about me after this?

A prime example of my fears coming to fruition was when my own sister said to me “stop posting these, everyone is going to think you are crazy and the relatives are going to think you are weird”. This was exactly the response I was expecting to receive. It never ceases to amaze me how something can make me feel so connected to something and at the same time so isolated from everything else. Watching anime and dressing up makes me feel closer to the wider Anime community but acting outside of my own cultural norms makes me feel like an outcast.

The only logical thing to do at this at this stage was to expand my involvement with the Anime community and so I have joined an online One Piece Forum. I have always read one piece forums but this is my first time joining one, so who knows how this experience will be. All I can say is thank God for this help page because I have no idea what I am doing!

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Auto-Ethnographic Reflection… Godzillaception

Watching Godzilla sent me into a flurry of familiarity as Asian digital culture is one that I feel I identify with.The narrative that exists within my account of Godzilla is my retelling of other experiences with Asian digital media that I was reminded of when watching it.

This could be expanded upon by going further into my experience with Asian media. Going deeper into how my life has been influenced heavily by Asian media despite the fact I have grown up and continue to live in a predominately Western society. This process of personal transformation is inherently the result of globalization and is something that has happened gradually. It’s not exactly like I woke up one day and said “Hey, I think I’d like to become more Japanese”. It started with the cartoons I watched as a child, Sailor Moon, Pokemon, Yu-gi-oh…Those horribly dubbed and overtly Americanized renditions of Japanese classics.

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That was my only experience with Japanese television back then because that was all I had access to but unlike most girls my age, living in Australia, I continued to pursue the field. Now that I am a mature adult (who still watches cartoons) I have made the transition from dubbed to subbed and have left my dependency on ABC, and SBS for watching anime behind. I am now the master of my own digital experiences and I just so happen to make most of them Japanese.

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A significant moment I touch upon in my blog when I discuss how I felt like I had seen Godzilla despite never actually watching it. I state how Godzilla has saturated the environment I grew up in. This is an example of what I mean when say Asian Media has become very globalized and in particular Japanese pop culture has merged with my own.

In my blog last week I did make a point of assumption when I made the observation that tear jerking moments in Japanese cinema always have some kind of underlying moral lesson. While that may be true of my own personal experience with Japanese cinema, I need to consider the fact that my own experience is limited and most likely tailored. I’ve only watched what has been successful enough to have gained popularity here in Australia and on top of this I limit myself to the genres that interest me. I say that I identify with Asian digital culture but at the same time I always must question if my experiences are entirely authentic and if my understandings of the texts are thereby sound.

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Addressing this assumption leads me to further research as I now have the desire to look deeper into this. Perhaps I need to expose myself to more Asian cinema of varying genres and see if my observation still rings true. I would also need to study the industry more, to see if there is evidence for this theory and/or reasoning behind it.

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Auto-Ethnographic Experience… GODZILLA

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Let me start off by saying I absolutely love Godzilla. I think he is such a misunderstood fellow and a total bad ass to boot. How can something so ginormous and scary who possesses a destructive power of unprecedented proportion also be so gosh darn adorable?

So, putting my love of the Lizard King into perspective, you can Imagine my reaction when I entered my first Digital Asia class (on my first day back at uni), only to find that we would be spending the entire two hour class watching the original 1954 Japanese classic.. Godzilla (or Gojira in Japanese). Immediately I began to feel like I was back in high school. You know those days where the teacher is sick and the whole class would cheer as an over-sized TV on a stand is wheeled into the room. Only this time we were watching something cool.

Being unable to read Japanese I had no choice but to look at the writing in the opening credits purely from an aesthetic perspective. I couldn’t help but think to myself that Japanese writing looks so much better than English writing and then I wondered if someone was out there thinking the same thing in reverse. By the time I was done with that strange strain of thought it was time for the film to begin.

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The movie has a quite a slow beginning so as I was watching I found myself just listening to words instead of reading the subtitles. While doing this the sound of familiar words kept transporting me into flashbacks of some of my favorite animes. Every time I heard someone say san at the end of a name I would in-vision an memory of The Straw Hat Crew calling out LUFFY-SAN! in respect and admiration to their Captain.

This was also happening during the dramatic moments of the film. I have noticed that in Japanese cinema the tear jerking moments always have some kind underlying moral lesson. For example when (Spoiler Alert) Daisuke dies at the end, that wasn’t just for evoking tears, the movie was making an important message about the abuse of scientific innovation. He had to sacrifice himself to ensure all traces of his weapon would die along with him. Through out the film moments like this kept reminding me of the many lessons I have accumulated from watching Asian cinema.

The moment Godzilla appeared the graphics almost had me in hysterics. For the time they were amazing but watching them now really changes the mood of the film. I can definitely see why the film has become such a cult classic. It is funny to think that this was my first time actually watching the film when it is certainly not my first time experiencing it in some form or another. Remakes, posters, street art, music videos, cartoon references, figurines… Godzilla has saturated the environment I have grown up in. This has made me feel as though  I knew the movie well, despite never having seen it.