A Subversive Potpourri: Concrete Revolutio or When the Phantasmagoria Turns Political

Luiza-Maria FILIMON


Abstract:

According to Thomas LaMarre (xx-xxi), animation has been for a long time regarded as a lesser art form than cinema while the scholarly interest into animation studies has represented a rather recent development beginning with the 1990s, when it begins to coalesce into a proper field of study. In the case of anime – Japanese animation – the research on the various genres explored in anime and the various types of media production, has also represented a rather recent research interest of this art form in the West. The works of film-makers like Studio Ghibli’s internationally acclaimed Hayao Miyazaki, Mamoru Oshii or Satoshi Kon as well as other more commercially popular anime, have crossed over with global audiences. The present study analyses an anime series entitled Concrete Revolutio: Chōjin Gensō (Superhuman Phantasmagoria), produced by Studio Bones, directed by Seiji Mizushima and written by Shō Aikawa, which ran in two split cours between 2015 and 2016. Concrete Revolutio is a series removed from the arche-typal trope often plaguing the cinematic and animation landscape, namely that of a logocentric worldview constrained by binary oppositions. From a methodological standpoint, the study applies a multi-layered approach to the study of anime, in order to address the socio-political implications of a series that uses idiosyncratic characters of all shapes and sizes – from superheroes to demons, from aliens to Godzilla-like monsters – to provide a meta-critique not only of Japanese postwar history but of militarism, late stage capitalism, globalization, or exploitation to name but a few.

Keywords: anime, Cold War period, mecha, non-linear narrative, posthuman aesthetics, science-fiction, Seiji Mizushima

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