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24117Re: Utena and Academics

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  • crimsonlotus20
    Dec 1, 2007
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      Hello Haruchin,

      Starting with the proviso that theology is most certainly not my
      field of specialisation, I must, first and foremost, convey Erica's
      excellent recommendation of the www.animeresearch.com website, which
      is a starting point for that very odd convergence between academia
      and anime.
      Utena ought to be a very fertile ground for an academic, or even
      a theological/philosophical inquiry, inasmuch as I understand Utena
      is often read as a gnostic tract. In this respect, there is much
      which could, no doubt, be considered. However, there is one crucial
      issue which I think needs to be addressed: that is, that Western
      religious symbology and motifs are frequently used in a fetishistic
      rather than substantive fashion in anime series. A rather good
      example of this would be Evangelion, wherein the Christian mystical
      and apocalyptic imagery comes in thick and fast, but is generally
      devoid of any real significance aside from the purely visual. Much
      like a rhapsodic song whose lyrics are based on sonority rather than
      sense, many anime series use religious symbols as a stylistic
      flourish rather than a plot foundation.
      The problem with Utena/Gnosticism is that Gnosticism does not have
      an easily identifiable doctrine, but rather, a vast and diffuse set
      of myths/allegories which make for a very complicated cosmology
      indeed. Something makes me doubt that Ms. Saito took courses in
      hermeneutics in order to fully grasp the Gnostic Gospels...but the
      whole point of academia is to put words in other people's mouths, so
      all I can say is that the more conjecture, the better. I believe an
      academic article on Shakespeare's Hamlet is published every week in
      one journal or another, so if someone could write about Graeco-Roman
      constructs of femininity and Strawberry Panic! or Gnosticism in
      Utena, this would no doubt be a welcome change.

      --- In Yuricon@yahoogroups.com, Haruchin <haruchin@...> wrote:
      >
      >
      > So, I finally took the plunge and bought the first disk of Utena
      the TV series. Watched the first episode a couple of days ago.
      >
      > I am *so* glad I watched the film first. That may sound insane, but
      the film was so... I'm struggling to find the right words now, but
      I'll plump for 'surreal'... that it prepared me for anything that
      might have been done with the same characters in more or less the
      same universe. The TV series now feels incredibly down to earth and
      straightforward.
      >
      > And is also very very good. I'm not sure what I was expecting.
      Utena has been hyped as the ultimate yuri series, and one of the pure
      classics that every anime fan should see, so I was a little worried
      about expectations. I needn't have worried. It's confident, well-
      written and well-acted. I can't wait to see the next episode. Sadly,
      it'll have to wait until my thesis is finished, but that does mean
      I've suddenly got even *more* motivation to get those couple of
      thousand words of conclusion finally written and the damn thing
      submitted. After all, I've got six episodes of Utena to watch! It
      might end up being a marathon... :)
      >
      > Slightly off topic - I don't know whether it's seeing more
      academically inclined reviews here (I've been reading your stuff with
      interest, Crimsonlotus, even if I've been lurking rather than
      replying), or actually having a day job working with academic
      journals, but I've been wondering about writing an academic article
      that has an anime slant. My field of academics is theology, and how
      religious themes and imagery are used in anime is a fascinating thing
      to watch. Anyone know if there would be a forum for an article on
      theology and anime? I ask because I doubt the usual theological
      journals would be interested - it would have to go to the other side
      of this particular combination. Any thoughts?
      >
      > Haru
      > _________________________________________________________________
      > Telly addicts unite!
      > http://www.searchgamesbox.com/tvtown.shtml
      >
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