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The Soul of Anime: Collaborative Creativity and Japan's Media Success Story
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The Soul of Anime: Collaborative Creativity and Japan's Media Success Story

(Experimental Futures)

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  96 ratings  ·  20 reviews
In The Soul of Anime, Ian Condry explores the emergence of anime, Japanese animated film and television, as a global cultural phenomenon. Drawing on ethnographic research, including interviews with artists at some of Tokyo's leading animation studios—such as Madhouse, Gonzo, Aniplex, and Studio Ghibli—Condry discusses how anime's fictional characters and worlds become plat ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published February 11th 2013 by Duke University Press (first published January 1st 2013)
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Average rating 3.67  · 
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 ·  96 ratings  ·  20 reviews

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May 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anime fans, students researching culture, media, and cultural anthropology
I will just say it flat-out: this is the most enlightening anime book I have ever read. Previous nonfiction works are lacking because they are often written by, (and for,) hardcore anime viewers, mercilessly burying readers in trivial plot points and background information about niched feature films, shows, and OAVs. Ian Condry is not an obsessive "Otaku," but a cultural anthropologist, Associate Professor of Comparative Media Studies at MIT, so his extensive research goes beyond film titles, di ...more
Oct 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Review Note: This ARC was given to me by NetGalley and Duke University Press. Thanks again!

I'm going to admit something that may seem a bit odd when it comes to reviewing a book about anime: Anime is something I've outgrown. I was a huge fan back in the early 90s to the early 2000s and yet over the last few years I have yet to find shows and films that strike a cord with me. I do not know if it's the insane amount of moe that seems to be appearing on the market or just not having a strong connec
Oct 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I requested this book from NetGalley. So thank you NetGalley and Duke University Press for giving me the chance to read it.

There are some books that are read in one go, devouring each page. Then there are others where every word has to be savored. The Soul of Anime is one such book.

It is non-fiction at its best, because not only has information been presented in a fashion that makes it intriguing while staying true to the facts, it also has information that at least I was not familiar with. Not
Jun 11, 2013 rated it liked it
The Soul of Anime offers intriguing theories as to the unique appeal of anime, with the concepts of transmedia storytelling, collaborative creativity, and social energy. While I would argue that twenty-five percent of what Condry is talking about here applies to all fandoms, not just anime, it’s a good look into the medium’s specific charms. Unfortunately, a chapter on moe and 2D lovers examines them without even acknowledging the possibility of misogyny or examining their sexualization of child ...more
侯 二六
Jul 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: film, culture
分析巨大機器人動畫史,田調又觸及許多2000年代的名作,包括我個人相當喜歡的實驗性作品《血色花園》(Red Garden),是相當有價值的學術書。可惜成書的時間太晚(2013年),很多都是「過去式」了——線上影音平臺流行後跨國資金湧入、跨域傳播更容易,日本動畫將走向何方?這或許是十年前看動畫跨域「地下傳輸」難以預期的吧。

Danny Jankiewicz
Jan 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: japan, non-fiction
In The Soul of Anime: Collaborative Creativity and Japan's Media Success Story, author Ian Condry, an MIT cultural anthropologist, analyzes anime through a ethnographic lens and explains how anime has transformed from it's humble post-war beginnings to a multi-billion dollar global phenomenon.

Let me start off by saying that this book is an academic work and reads at a college level because of the language and concepts that Condry uses. I would not recommend this book if you are parent who is lo
Oct 30, 2012 rated it liked it
Trying out the non-fiction books from NetGalley. :) When I saw this one, I said "Ooh! Anime!! Need to see this!" I actually thought it's comics or something. I don't really read the summary.

When I got approved today, I checked it out and skimmed a bit. I thought it'll be boring. But heck, I just saw they mentioned One Piece. I'll totally will be reading it once I finished my other CR and 3 other books. :)

Thanks for the book!

I have enjoyed reading this. Being an anime lover myself. Very great i
Aug 18, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: biblioteca
It was interesting, but it was not exactly what the title made me think so I was a little bit disappointed even if the explanation of the process behind Anime was illuminating. now I know a little bit more about the Studio Ghibli.

È stato interessante, ma non era proprio quello che mi aspettavo dopo aver letto il titolo e la quarta di copertina, quindi ci sono rimansta un po' male anche se il "dietro le quinte" degli anime é stato illuminante e ora conosco un po' di piú come funziona lo Studio Gh
Sam Brattle
Sep 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
I won this book through the goodreads giveaway competition.
This book is a must read for all fans of anime and also people just starting to get into anime.
It is packed full of information even information I didn't know.
Feb 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Heavily recommended for the anime fans as some people have reported in the past!
Steven E
Mar 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
In this “scholarly” anthropological study of animation, Mr. Condry details how anime is a multi-platform cultural phenomenon. Characters, he argues, are “celebrities” in the way that, after appearing in one TV show, movie, video game, or music video, they cross over to other shows, movies, games, etc., even appearing as brand-name mascots – while all the time being co-created and co-developed by fans as well as the original producers. This isn’t a particularly new concept in the US, where games ...more
Joe Garcia
Jul 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Ian Condry book 'The Soul of Anime' is part psychology, business, and history of the anime enterprise all rolled into one fascinating book. Using an ethnographic techniques Condry is able to learn what goes on through a day to day situation in an anime studio. Condry uses his observations for his book immensely, as well as looking through the social influence that anime has on people, outside just entertainment value.

The book can be strikingly difficult for new readers, readers with no backgrou
Danielle T
Written more on an academic level, The Soul of Anime examines from an ethnographic point of view the collaborative networks behind anime- from manga writers and doujinshi circles to the larger studios storyboards and the transmedia experience with fans, fansubs, and otaku. Not familiar with most of the examples (I've heard of maybe half, and only watched a few), but a thorough look on different levels in anime culture. Potentially missing more exploration of fandom such as fic & crossovers, ...more
May 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book is a study of how and why anime has become so important to so many people in so little time - and worldwide, not only in Japan. I particularly enjoyed learning the history of the differences between US and Japanese animation and comics (manga). Having grown up on Speed Racer and now a fan of both Miyazaki anime and Black Butler manga (as well as many others!), I appreciate the knowledge of anime/manga culture I have gained through reading this study - and I plan to read it again soon. ...more
Oct 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book offered a unique perspective on anime. It gave an unbiased opinion on several aspects of the art form, and helped me learn a lot about anime. A big portion of the book was in language too challenging for me to understand, but I was able to gather the main ideas that the author was trying to portray. I read this book for a project, and I thought this book was a big help. It was a great informational book.
Stewart Tame
Mar 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Not bad. Rather dry and academic but still worth reading. If nothing else, I learned a few things about anime history and how the Japanese studio system works. This book is aimed more at scholars than casual browsers.
Caleb Lagan
Jan 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
A non-boring, non-fiction work for anime fans and students of entertainment.
Chimezie Ogbuji
Oct 22, 2013 rated it did not like it
Reads like a very large verbage-filled research journal. Analyzes things from a behavioral / anthropological perspective rather than from that of a fan
Jan 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I learned a lot about the history of anime, very informative and well written book.
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Jun 08, 2013
Ansell Tan
rated it it was ok
Aug 20, 2017
Josh Speagle
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May 09, 2013
Oct 05, 2012 marked it as to-read
Shelves: giveaways, books
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Ian Condry is Associate Professor of Comparative Media Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is the author of Hip-Hop Japan: Rap and the Paths of Cultural Globalization.

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“The platform that anime builds on, therefore, is not only characters and worlds but also the social energy that attaches to them.” 0 likes
“in American animation the dialogue is recorded first. Even though that may sound like a little technical, procedural issue, it actually affects how animation is used, the aesthetics, and the entire approach to the idea of animation as performance. This is a central difference between American animation and Japanese animation.” 0 likes
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