Jonathan Clements: Anime: A History
This is an excellent book review that articulates a lot of the problems I have with Anime: A History.
This dense republication of the author’s doctoral thesis is significant largely because it is the only broad history of the anime industry available in English. Most of the academic studies of anime have heretofore been focused on the thematic analysis of individual works. From reading some of the few available books on anime and a smattering of journal articles, I can safely conclude that the field of anime studies suffers from some endemic ills. Though it’s not difficult to understand why so many people who study anime are also fans, having a fannish attitude toward the object you’re studying can be a source of critical errors and omissions. Luckily, Anime: A History avoids this error, though one consequence is that its prose is enervating, reference-dense, and ponderous.
Clements draws largely on industry professionals’ memoirs, official studio and media archives, and economic records for his sources. Significantly, most of these sources…
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