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Interview: Jonathan Clements


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RTL3



Joined: 13 Apr 2009
Posts: 36
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 3:23 pm Reply with quote
That was an interesting interview. I hadn't heard of the book before but just ordered on Amazon. Looking forward to reading it because as noted, there really isn't a huge supply of information about early anime in English.
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Juno016



Joined: 09 Jan 2012
Posts: 1954
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 3:35 pm Reply with quote
With a limited budget and a limited gift card to B&N, I had planned on catching up with my manga collection and leaving it for a few months to catch up again. But this... this book...

Thank you, Jonathan, for writing this. I have done a TON of research on my own in English, and some in Japanese, but there NOT enough resources available in the West, or even to find over international library loan systems, if you don't already know where to look. Everything is always "Tezuka" this, or "Miyazaki" that, and of course Momotaro is the semi-recent go-to film for pre-Tezuka anime. I do like them all, but there's such a rich history that eludes me. Your book may end up being my key to both learning about and pointing me in the direction of sources I have always been interested in for years. The book is a little expensive for my budget, but I have enough. It sounds like it will be well-worth the money!

And thank you, Andrew and ANN, for interviewing Jonathan here and spreading the word. It's hard to be in-the-know on recent published materials in English, but this is one way to do it!
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Parsifal24



Joined: 20 Apr 2010
Posts: 950
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 4:12 pm Reply with quote
Ordered the book (and it's due to arrive Wednesday) Jonathan Clements is one of the authors that is a "go to" writer on Anime and Manga for me. I also liked his answer on the most annoying thing that fans get wrong about the medium.
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Mohawk52



Joined: 16 Oct 2003
Posts: 8174
Location: England, UK
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 4:19 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
ANN: What was the most surprising thing that you learned yourself while researching the book?

Clements: I think it has to be the fact that the pilots who bombed Pearl Harbor were taught how to do it with a cartoon.
Whaoo! That one I never knew! Kind of puts a poignant spin on "The Wind Rises" now, doesn't it? Wink I would be intrigued to see that training cartoon. Probably got destroyed.
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Juno016



Joined: 09 Jan 2012
Posts: 1954
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 5:45 pm Reply with quote
Mohawk52 wrote:
I would be intrigued to see that training cartoon. Probably got destroyed.


People THOUGHT it was destroyed after Japan lost the war and most of the propaganda stuff was destroyed, but it re-surfaced later on when a few people came out with copies they had been hiding, I believe.
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albanian
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Joined: 18 Nov 2005
Posts: 133
Location: UK
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 5:46 pm Reply with quote
I've been ploughing through this book since before Christmas, and it has to be the most wide-ranging and informative book on the subject to date in English. It will fill a huge void in the western understanding of anime, and even, I suspect, a small, but significant, gap in Japanese literature,

And, for a doctoral thesis, it's very readable!

Many thanks are due to Jonathan Clements for this excellent work. More please!!
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No Comment



Joined: 19 Jun 2012
Posts: 82
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:39 pm Reply with quote
I too have a Barnes & Noble gift card that needs to be spent, and this sounds like a great choice. I often feel that my manga intake overshadows and gets in the way of the time I would spend reading actual books, so this should be a nice compromise. It'll be interesting to learn anime history through an actual traditional book rather than opening endless ANN columns/encyclopedia entries, Wikipedia articles, and TV Tropes pages.
Quote:
I've begged Ryosuke Takahashi to write his, but he says he's too busy and “might” get round to it after his 72nd birthday.
Now that's a memoir I would really want to read. I'd like to tell myself that "too busy"="new show", but I know not to get my hopes up too high, and the chances of it becoming available in English would be even smaller.
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FlamingFirewire



Joined: 03 Jun 2013
Posts: 359
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:57 pm Reply with quote
It's really impressive all the work that goes into books like this. I'm really glad there are interviews like this too, otherwise I would have never thought to look for a book like this. Definitely considering picking this one up!
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Kikaioh



Joined: 01 Jun 2009
Posts: 1203
Location: Antarctica
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:58 pm Reply with quote
What a great interview, I'm actually interested in purchasing the book now, it sounds like it might be right up my alley. Smile I have to admit though, while the cover art is very well-done, I have a hard time equating it to the subject matter of anime history, since the artstyle and characters in the image come across as much more modern than anime in the past. Considering half the book deals with history prior to Astro Boy, it might have been more appropriate to license some older artwork for the cover, or to commission an artist to produce a cover stylized like the older works.

...Unless the idea was to show how a modern generation of anime girls might react to watching something like MD Geist or Ninja Scroll. Laughing
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FlamingFirewire



Joined: 03 Jun 2013
Posts: 359
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 7:06 pm Reply with quote
Kikaioh wrote:
What a great interview, I'm actually interested in purchasing the book now, it sounds like it might be right up my alley. Smile I have to admit though, while the cover art is very well-done, I have a hard time equating it to the subject matter of anime history, since the artstyle and characters in the image come across as much more modern than anime in the past. Considering half the book deals with history prior to Astro Boy, it might have been more appropriate to license some older artwork for the cover, or to commission an artist to produce a cover stylized like the older works.

...Unless the idea was to show how a modern generation of anime girls might react to watching something like MD Geist or Ninja Scroll. Laughing


Who knows, maybe they are just surprised at the history of anime and how things used to be Very Happy
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Juno016



Joined: 09 Jan 2012
Posts: 1954
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 7:08 pm Reply with quote
Kikaioh wrote:
What a great interview, I'm actually interested in purchasing the book now, it sounds like it might be right up my alley. Smile I have to admit though, while the cover art is very well-done, I have a hard time equating it to the subject matter of anime history, since the artstyle and characters in the image come across as much more modern than anime in the past. Considering half the book deals with history prior to Astro Boy, it might have been more appropriate to license some older artwork for the cover, or to commission an artist to produce a cover stylized like the older works.

...Unless the idea was to show how a modern generation of anime girls might react to watching something like MD Geist or Ninja Scroll. Laughing


What a lot of people don't realize is that when a book covers the complete history of anime (or at least, an over-arching history), it's all about how and why what we know today exists as it does. Half the book might be pre-Atom, but the latter half and/or the modern result aren't less important.
Also, I have to say that the cover's style more carefully portrays the "manga/anime" style in Japan than most of what I tend to see on "anime" books in the West with "original" covers. And that already shows me that it's at least got a handle of what its focus is. This seems to be more of a true academic textbook than something meant to sell to the masses, and the cover is quite fitting for that.
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Top Gun



Joined: 28 Sep 2007
Posts: 3452
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 7:36 pm Reply with quote
This interview was really fascinating (Tokyo Godfathers selling that few copies in Japan is a tragedy Sad), and I'd definitely be interested in picking up the book at some point.
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walw6pK4Alo



Joined: 12 Mar 2008
Posts: 9310
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 8:05 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
I get particularly irritated with academics who'll take a single series with four-figure sales, and extrapolate it into some sort of touchstone for understanding the psychology of 120 million Japanese.


Yeah, the main Japanese populous doesn't care or notice pretty much most anime, so if something isn't aimed at a branch of anime fandom, then who is it for? Certainly not the rest of the nation.
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Xagor



Joined: 29 Apr 2008
Posts: 192
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 8:20 pm Reply with quote
I believe that the cover used for the book is the same as the posters they used for 'Scotland Love Anime' last year (with of course the name / title changed and the BFI logo added).
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lizardking461



Joined: 14 Feb 2012
Posts: 226
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 8:20 pm Reply with quote
Juno016 wrote:
Kikaioh wrote:
What a great interview, I'm actually interested in purchasing the book now, it sounds like it might be right up my alley. Smile I have to admit though, while the cover art is very well-done, I have a hard time equating it to the subject matter of anime history, since the artstyle and characters in the image come across as much more modern than anime in the past. Considering half the book deals with history prior to Astro Boy, it might have been more appropriate to license some older artwork for the cover, or to commission an artist to produce a cover stylized like the older works.

...Unless the idea was to show how a modern generation of anime girls might react to watching something like MD Geist or Ninja Scroll. Laughing


What a lot of people don't realize is that when a book covers the complete history of anime (or at least, an over-arching history), it's all about how and why what we know today exists as it does. Half the book might be pre-Atom, but the latter half and/or the modern result aren't less important.
Also, I have to say that the cover's style more carefully portrays the "manga/anime" style in Japan than most of what I tend to see on "anime" books in the West with "original" covers. And that already shows me that it's at least got a handle of what its focus is. This seems to be more of a true academic textbook than something meant to sell to the masses, and the cover is quite fitting for that.


Having just finished it, I can confirm that it is indeed definitely not a book for those unfamiliar with reading academic discourse. It's also brilliant, and perhaps the most comprehensive thing I've ever read about what qualifies in the West as niche and geeky subject matter.
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