Manga Anime Syllabus Quiery

Bruce Baird baird
Tue Dec 19 10:31:25 EST 2006

Dear Colleagues,

Please excuse the cross-posting with the Ponja-Genkon list.

Here at Umass, we already have the ubiquitous jpn pop-culture course,  
so I have been called upon to expand on our offerings with an all  
Manga/Anime course.

So I wonder if I could make use of your collective expertise to  help  
me in designing the course.  If you already teach such a class and  
wouldn't mind sharing a syllabus I would appreciate that.  I am  
always happy to reciprocate with a theater, philosophy/intellectual  
history, etc syllabus of my own.  Or send back what I have created  
when I finish this by mid January.

I have tried to brainstorm my way through the sorts of issues that  
might come up, and have made a list of stuff that I think that I  
ought to (or potentially could) cover in a class like this, which I  
am including here.  I would be interested is any of you have other  
ideas of things that are not on my radar.  Also, I know it sounds  
intellectually lazy for me not to do this myself, but if any of you  
have a bibliography that is split up into topics that you wouldn't  
mind sending along, I would appreciate that as well. Or if you know  
specific articles that are on specific issues below, I would  
appreciate the tips.


Avant-garde manga?associated with men(?)
Introspective/psychological manga?associated with women
             (Anne Allison?pubic hair)
Cinematic techniques
How to read a manga?frame location and moving from one frame to another
Techniques in general.
Big eyes.
Putative skin and hair color
--Shonen (Jump/Club)
--Corporate statements
--Gambling tips.
--in newspapers (Sazae-san, etc.)
Atomic Bombs and Earthquakes?cataclysms and holocausts.
Manga production (editors, business decisions?Kinsella)
Anime production (competition with Hollywood, issue of budgets and  
production values)
Open-ended stories (comparison with soap operas and tv dramas)
production cycles: Manga to TV Anime/OVA to Movie Anime to Live  
Action (Old Boy?)
Also Movie/TV/OVA to Manga (sometimes with different stories?Suicide  
Circle manga as new version of original story.)
novelized versions of manga (are these for American audience or also  
being produced in Japan for Japanese audience??)
Themes?reluctant hero
--over-arching desires (trying to become like God and give life)
--environmental degradation
--nuclear holocaust or earthquake
--mixing humans and machines or battle between humans and machines.
--childhood trauma
Characters and characterization
--sloppy over-eating character
--high voiced squeaky character
--computer geek
--I am sure that there are a lot more that could come here....

             International pop culture phenomenon?Blade Runner, etc.
Attempt to fit into tradition by comparison with kanji (perhaps look  
at Eisenstein here), Hell screens, Ukiyoe, Edo gesaku fiction,

There are also two specific questions that I have.  In both manga and  
anime when characters are surprised, angry, or shocked the depiction  
often shifts from a quasi-3-D more or less "realistic" representation  
with shading and identifiable features into a 2-D depiction as they  
"blow up."  Then a couple of panels later, they revert to the  
"normal" representation.  Does anyone have a good name for this  
phenomenon and has anyone addressed it or know where it began?

Also in manga, the author often takes a panel toward the end of each  
series often called an o-make and addresses non-diagetic issues.   
What's on her mind, how she comes up with her ideas, etc--a kind of  
communication directly with her fans.  Same questions: has anyone  
addressed it or know  where it began?



Bruce Baird
Assistant Professor
Asian Languages and Literatures
University of Massachusetts Amherst
But?, Japanese Theater, Intellectual History

717 Herter Hall
161 Presidents Drive
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Amherst, MA 01003-9312
Phone: 413-577-4992
Fax: 413-545-4975
baird at

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