The Emergence of the Anime Media Mix: Character Communication and Serial Consumption

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The Emergence of the Anime Media Mix: Character Communication and Serial Consumption
Steinberg, Marc Aaron (creator)
Doane, Mary Ann (director)
Rosen, Philip (reader)
Lamarre, Thomas (reader)
Brown University. Modern Culture and Media (sponsor)
Copyright Date
Representative of the phenomenon of media convergence felt across the globe, the state of contemporary Japanese animation (or anime) is characterized by the proliferation, interrelation and intercommunication of media texts. This dissertation challenges existing assumptions about media convergence by providing one of the first accounts of anime that charts the historical emergence of its cross-media connections. Arguing that the very specificity of anime lies in the connections it forms with other media, this dissertation provides an account of the media transformations attendant to the emergence of Japanese anime with the first television animation series, Tetsuwan Atomu (1963-1966). It was this series and the media connections it developed that laid the groundwork for what is now known in Japan as the "media mix." This dissertation begins by examining the stylistic debt anime owes to manga (comic books) and other forms of popular Japanese media. It then considers the types of relations created between anime characters and the candy industry, which played a key role in anime's sponsorship structure, targeting children as an increasingly prominent consumer group. Following on this, this dissertation develops a theory of trans-media communication through an analysis of the emergence of the anime character toy known in the 1960s as the "mass media toy." Through these analyses this dissertation shows how the emergence of anime establishes a pattern of character-based media connectivity that is later taken up in other domains (such as film, video games and novels) and that informs the media mix both as it is practiced in Japan, and as it has been exported to media spheres across the globe. In focusing on the emergence of a new kind of media "seriality" and its importance for understanding late capitalism's unique forms of consumption, this account of the anime media mix also points towards larger transformations in the media environment, and in the nature of commodities themselves.
Japanese anime
consumer culture
Tetsuwan Atomu
media mix
media theory
Character merchandising
Thesis (Ph.D.) -- Brown University (2009)
x, 382 p.


Steinberg, Marc Aaron, "The Emergence of the Anime Media Mix: Character Communication and Serial Consumption" (2008). Modern Culture and Media Theses and Dissertations. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library.