Soulful bodies and superflat temporalities: a nomadology of the otaku database of world history at the ends of history

Boyd, David John (2019) Soulful bodies and superflat temporalities: a nomadology of the otaku database of world history at the ends of history. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis is a philosophical engagement with the popular, low, and vernacular theories of History performed and expressed within contemporary Japanese manga (‘comics’) and anime (‘limited animation’), and most importantly, in the global production and consumption of otaku (‘manga and anime fan’) cultural and media ecologies. My project is rooted in a reading of the post-structural theoretical inquiries of Gilles Deleuze in parallel with what media theorist McKenzie Wark calls ‘otaku philosophy’ to examine how both high and low theories articulate anxieties and fascinations with the global theoretical discourses on ‘the ends of History’ and the imminent demise of industrial modernity. The first portion of the thesis is dedicated to a reading of the Japanese counter-cultural manga movement called gekiga (‘dramatic pictures’). In traversing gekiga’s post-war lineages to its revival in the medievalism of otaku artists Miura Kentarō and Yukimura Makoto, the first part postulates on what an anti-modern, anti-historical approach – or what Deleuze and Guattari call a nomadology – might look and feel like as it is mediated in the manga form. The second portion of the thesis examines the way in which Japanese anime mobilises the philosophies of nomadology in its filmic form and transmedial properties. In a critical assessment of the anime works of the otaku-founded media corporation Type-Moon, this section explores the Fate series alongside Deleuzian film and media philosophies to explore the infinite potentialities and recursive limitations of otaku nomadologies as they materialise beyond the screen. By reassessing the rise of otaku culture as a vernacular, global, and cosmopolitan rise in the critique of modernity and History, this thesis hopes to explore how transcultural and transmedial fan philosophies of historicity, memory, and temporality can be recontextualised within current academic debates about the efficacy of post-national historiographic pedagogies explored in the fields of postcolonial studies, comparative studies, global studies, and media studies.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Gilles Deleuze, film philosophy, world cinema, otaku, semiotics, temporality, history, post-historical, anime, manga.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
D History General and Old World > D History (General)
D History General and Old World > DS Asia
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1993 Motion Pictures
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Modern Languages and Cultures > Comparative Literature
Supervisor's Name: Grove, Dr. Laurence and Martin-Jones, Dr. David
Date of Award: 2019
Depositing User: Dr David John Boyd
Unique ID: glathesis:2019-74403
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2019 16:29
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2019 13:56
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.74403

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