Selected works that contributed to my research.
Patten, Fred. “The Allure of Anthropomorphism in Anime and Manga.” The Japanification of
Children’s Popular Culture: From Godzilla to Miyazaki. Ed. Mark I West. Lanham, Md: Scarecrow Press, 2009. 41-52. Print.
In the essay titled “The Allure of Anthropomorphism in Anime and Manga”, author Fred Patten traces the origin of anthropomorphized characters in various forms of media, drawing a basic history of the influences such a mechanism has been manipulated for and allowing readers to follow the progression. He explores both Western and Japanese variations on the theme pointing out the reflections and the back-and-forth rehashes both cultures undertook, a relationship a number of scholars in the fields of film and other forms of media focus on, pointing toward some always-inherently international piece, never simply Japanese or western as the influences are drawn from around the globe and throughout history. At the same time Patten points out what cultural differences and norms resulted in the deviations between locations, such as the “divergence in American and Japanese cultural standards as to what constituted suitable TV entertainment for children” which took place at the start of the 1960s with “Japanese children’s TV becoming more ‘action oriented'” and “American children’s TV becoming less tolerant toward violence.”(44). Patten’s ideas are very systematic in their understanding of a history of anime and similar media, and serve to highlight the depth to which anthropomorphized characters have been developed. This article serves to link more of my research together, as it is based on many of the same arguments posed by other scholars deconstructing anime as an artform developing alongside a western counterpart and drawing from similarly constructed histories of narrative/storytelling.
Patten’s article directly applies to this project in that the anthropomorphized fire demon Calcifer is quite the significant character in “Howl’s Moving Castle”, both in Japanese anime film and a western-influenced fantasy novel form.
Susan Jolliffe Napier. “Confronting Master Narratives: History As Vision in Miyazaki Hayao’s
Cinema of De-assurance.” Positions: East Asia Cultures Critique 9.2 (2001): 467-493. Project MUSE. Web. 19 Apr. 2013. <http://muse.jhu.edu/>.
In this essay Susan Napier forms a complex presentation of the role of history in various media, explaining that “histories and national identities have become contested territories” particularly in mass entertainment which, she argues, is “offering the audience visually arresting and seductively plausible simulations of historical time and space.” She supports this argument with a quote from familiar scholars Shohat/Stam: “Narrative models in film are not simply reflective microcosms of historical processes;they are also experiential grids or templates through which history can be written and national identity created.”(468) This quote appears in reading to be a guideline, as Napier throughout the essay applies this line of thought to the establishment that anime has become, and in asking the question “who speaks for the past”(467) comes to Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli and Walt Disney Pictures.
This resource works incredibly well to connect all of my other sources, and appears the most thoroughly researched. Susan Napier’s article is an incredibly profuse resource packed with copious details attributing the mechanics Hayao Miyazaki makes use of to a number origins and/or cultural contexts. She gives the same treatment to a number of other-cultured works to provide a sufficient base for comparison, which leads readers to understand the direction that animation has not simply just undergone, but has been undergoing since it’s inception; this bears a resemblance to the back-and-forth motion I drew from the Patten article and continue to find in researching.
Greenberg, Raz. “Giri and Ninjo: The Roots of Hayao Miyazaki’s My Neighbor Totoro in
Animated Adaptations of Classic Children’s Literature.” Literature/Film Quarterly Salisbury University. 2012. Vol. 40, No. 2. Web.
Greenberg’s essay explores the literary roots of another of Miyazaki’s films, “My Neighbor Totoro”, arguing that it is the work that gained Miyaki his international acclaim. He poses this argument by marking the narrative changes Miyazaki made from his prior works to this paricular film. Rather than adhere to the inherent nature of a “truly Japanese film” (96) Greenberg also examines the influence of western children’s literature, explaining they had “gained popularity with the Japanese audience during the 1970s through animated television adaptations that strongly corresponded with Japanese social concepts.” He observes that Miyazaki had a hand in the production of some of these adaptations, attributing it to a Miyazaki honed element of “moving back and forth between western and Japanese elements, seamlessly blending the two into what turned out to be a highly acclaimed film.”(97) The main mechanics Greenberg manipulates in his argument are two dichotomous Japanese social concepts: “Giri, which represents acceptable norms of behavior among other members of society, and Ninjo, which represents the individual’s feelings and desires.”(98) Greenberg explores the tendencies of Miyazaki to follow western narrative structure to an extent, while remaining true to the Japanese simultaneously/ultimately.
This article should prove useful in my final paper as many of the narrative changes that Greenberg mentions are also present in “Howl’s Moving Castle”, giving me a valuable resource of tools which may allow me to explore the work as both western and Japanese. I seek to test how applicable his concepts of Giri and Ninjo are on Sophie Hatter, an age-shifting character in a seemingly westernized world.
Rudd, D. “Building Castles in the Air: (de) Construction in Howl’s Moving Castle.” Journal of
the Fantastic in the Arts 21.2 (2010): 257-270. Web.
David Rudd’s essay is less of a resource on Miyazaki as it is a resource on the story he is adapting. In this work Rudd observes Dianne Wynne Jones ability and proficiency in “demonstrating how what we think of as solid ground is always prone to dissolution,” arguing that Jones is making some commentary on blindly following narrative conventions ergo one should “interpret our lived experience accordingly.”(257) Rudd goes on to explain how Jones manipulates techniques within the narrative she has constructed which “suggest[s] a more variegated and unstable heterodoxy” than simply inverting what is expected because of an already established “patriarchal orthodoxy.”
The level of detail in this resource is as astounding as the Napier article, however it is to the source material of the adaptation as opposed to the adaptation or it’s director. Nevertheless, it is important to gain some deconstructive analysis of the narrative that is being adapted. It is important to note that the article makes use of the film’s elements as well, making several attributions, for instance marking the change of the ending from novel to film as Miyazaki transforms the walking castle to a flying one, a symbolic image off into the sunset in a way almost conflicting with the novel’s ending of an ultimate exchange between Calcifer and Howl, the Demon stating he’d rather stay where it’s dry than be free (finally!) in the rainy Market Chipping. I can tell there is much that can be drawn from this source, but at this point it is important to meticulously determine just what that will be and how it will apply to my analysis of Miyazaki’s adaptation.
Moist, Kevin, and Michael Bartholow. “When Pigs Fly: Anime, Auteurism, and Miyazaki’s Porco
Rosso.” Animation 2.1 (2007): 27-42. Web.
In this article authors Moist and Bartholo address the “Western views of the Japanese animation form known as ‘anime’”(27) by applying a number of lenses. The application of auteur theory comes from these author’s notion that the “level of personal creative input suggests a natural use of the film studies concept of the auteur to discuss Miyazaki,”(28) in that he, like director Akira Kurosawa keeping his black and white style films after the advent of color and Chaplain holding out for silent films after the application of sound, puts his own spin on the work before meeting newly developed standards existent in modern animation. These authors also tie in the cultural aspect and influence of anime, much like many of the other resources gathered, but do not hinge on on them; Moist and Bartholow assert that “anime can best be understood by those in the West via a triangulation of theoretical approaches”(28) which is to say one aspect is not enough, and so a combination of cultural context, the presence of the auteur, and narrative themes/subtexts (which all interact with one another in a given work) is required.
The usefulness of this article comes in all of the lenses the authors are attempting to triangulate. It is the case that there is much interplay between these lenses, particularly with the ever complex and difficult-to-pin-down cultural influences seeping in to every crevasse of both Porco Rosso (the work this article observes) and Howl’s Moving Castle. The authors provide much insight to the origin of genres and themes by supplying a well researched history of anime as a whole. Auteurism may also be the connecting factor of any Miyazaki-specific thematic elements present in both films mentioned here.