East 214: japanese animation and new media paper 3 guidelines

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The question for the third paper is: What kind of relation do animation technics create between gender/sexuality and technology? We’d like you to do an analysis of an animation based on this question.
In this unit, we added the ‘technics of gender positioning” (how animation techniques situate us in relation to gender or sexual difference) to our toolbox for animation analysis. We focused on mecha-shojo and the ‘girl who is not one’ — the girl who is not one in the sense of not a girl, and not one in the sense of inherently hetereogeneous. And we talked about technics related to positioning or positionality (perception-image) and technics related to disposition or mood (affection-image).
As with the prior essay, we want you to consider the ‘how’ of the story, not simply the ‘what’ or ‘message.’ We’d like you to pay close attention to technics of gender positioning in conjunction with other technics discussed in class, such as compositing, mise-en-scène, mecha design, character animation, etc. The following questions are intended to provide some general guidelines.
—Does the animation present a consistent set of differences between boy and girl, or male and female?

—What scene or scenes appear to be most important?

—How do such scenes position viewers differently in relation to male and female characters? What techniques are used to position viewers?

—Are there techniques that undermine or run counter to gender positioning?

—What about ‘disposition’ — mood, tone, touch, or affect?

—Is technology (or are technologies) gendered?

As for choosing an animation, please don’t do either Miyazaki Hayao or Anno Hideaki. There is a broad range of animations that you might consider. If you want to work more on the technophilic side, you might consider Armitage III (the original not the sequel), Ghost in the Shell (movies, tv series, or tv films), She the Ultimate Weapon (SaiKano), Battle Angel Aelita (Gunm), Appleseed, Gall Force, or even a mecha series like Brain Powered. If you would like to do something by CLAMP, you might do Angelic Layer, Chobits, or Magic Knight Rayearth. Escaflowne would also be a good choice. On the eco-side you might try Arjuna or Please Save My Earth. For somewhat quirkier variations on the girl who is not one, good choices would be Key the Metal Idol, Suzumiya Haruhi, Metropolis, or Lain. For more direct confrontation with SM robo-erotics, there is Malice@Doll. If you hear of something and want to know what it’s about before looking at it, you might check on ‘animeNFO.com’ or ‘animenewsnetwork’ or the on-line anime encyclopedia; or ask us.
Animation series can be very long, and so you may not be able to do an analysis of a full series. But there are movie versions of most of the animated television series. If you do a series, you may have to limit your account to the initial episodes or final episodes, depending on what you prefer. It is okay to do a discussion based on a few as three episodes. The library has a fair number of anime series and films, and you can also rent or download a vast range of anime series.
We will be looking at your paper in terms of:
Argument or thesis (10 pts)

Presentation and organization (5 pts)

Use of the anime, that is, evidence in support of your argument (5 pts)

Use of readings (5 pts)

Originality (5 pts)

On time (5 pts)

In other words, we expect more than a detailed summary, or general impressions, or a review of an anime.
Also note that if you choose an anime that has been analyzed extensively in class or in the book it will be important to include fresh evidence and present your own ideas in order to be considered original.
Taking anime summaries or interpretations from the net or other sources without acknowledgement constitutes plagiarism, which is ground for failure and possibly suspension.

As stated in the syllabus, essays are to be no more than 1,500 words in length. We will tolerate only slight variation from this ideal; papers that are significantly longer (or shorter) will not be well received.


Please submit a hard copy of your paper on December 10, 2010. You will need to leave the paper with the secretary or administrative assistant in East Asian Studies, 3434 McTavish, room 200, or in the box next to her door. Note that turning the paper in on time is part of your grade.


We will be holding one-hour sessions to talk with students about how to write the paper. The sessions will be in the East Asian Studies building (3434 McTavish). These are the times and rooms for the sessions:

Heather Mills:

Monday, November 29: 2:30-3:30, Room 302

Joseph Sannicandro:

Thursday, December 2: 3:30-4:30, Room 302

Matthew Young:

Tuesday, November 30: 1:30-2:30, Room 100

Thomas Lamarre:

Tuesday, November 30: 12:30-1:30, Room 100

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