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Anime: Fear and Anxiety in Texhnolyzed Worlds

This is a study of primarily post-millennial Japanese Anime texts, drawn from the science-fiction genre of the medium. The key interest of this study is the prevalence of the dystopian attitude toward technology that has prevailed in sci-fi for several decades now, and is a key marker within Anime, notable for its fetish for cathartic destruction and apocalypse. This study addresses a gap in academic literature on Anime which is largely focused on key 1980s and 1990s sci-fi texts. To this end, three key examples of post-millennial sci-fi Anime television series are examined alongside other significant and similarly themed texts for their continuities and innovations to the themes and style of the genre. Of particular concern are nuanced changes in technological attitudes that can be seen occurring in the apocalyptic mode that the key texts make use of (which is a well-established premise within sci-fi Anime), as well as an increase in supernatural and fantasy elements. The key texts are as follows: Wolf’s Rain is a shamanistic and bio-technological fantasy epic. Texhnolyze is the spiritual successor to Serial Experiments Lain with heavy themes of cyberization, evolution and ideological diversity. Ergo Proxy is by far the most complex, being a post-cyberpunk text that embodies concepts of artificial intelligence, genetically engineered societies, psycho-analysis, the technological deity and much more. These texts are reflective of the somewhat limited but convenient dichotomy that divides the many socio-political camps that oppose and promote technology into bioLuddites and Transhumanists. The concept of 'hybridity' draws these divisions under a unified umbrella, describing humanity's destabilizing and redefining amalgamation with the technological 'Other'. It also represents the fusion of science and technology with religion and spiritualism which affects the post-human hybrids of Anime. The hybrids that are portrayed are the cybernetic entity and the genetically engineered life-form. This study intends to reveal how several post-millennial sci-fi Anime, following on from their predecessors, act as a metaphorical, social, and ideological critique of the continued technological encroachment upon the human body and psyche, expressing both revolutionary theories and cautionary tales in its narratives.
Type of thesis
Ohlson, A. F. H. (2010). Anime: Fear and Anxiety in Texhnolyzed Worlds (Thesis, Master of Arts (MA)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/5010
University of Waikato
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