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1. Read the PDF entitled “The All-Encompassing Medium.” Japanese manga and anime delight in exploring taboo subjects such as incest, extreme violence, and the depths of human depravity. These are topics which western filmmakers shy away from and they certainly would never dream of presenting them in animated films. Is anime suitable for such topics? Should these themes be avoided or is it necessary to face them head-on? Is there something morally improper on the part of anime in presenting a subject like incest in a manner that elicits sympathy from the audience to the point that one is forced to empathize with the protagonists even if what they are engaging in goes against societal norms? Is it wrong to take psychological deviations from the norm and present them as nothing more than pure entertainment for a mass audience?
2. Open up the PowerPoint on Artificial Celebrities. Read all the slides and watch all the video links you find in there.
The infiltration of artificial companions and celebrities was a distant myth when Ghost in the Shell came about, but now robots are very much a part of Japanese daily life. In a sense, they are living in their own sci-fi anime. How does the inclusion of such entities/companions like Aibo, Asimo, and other robots alter the way humans interact? Where does that leave Japan? Japan is the country with the highest rate of loneliness in the world. Why? Is some of it due to the outlet of artificial companions or is it something else? Can mecha and sci-fi anime be held responsible for this?
3. Take a look at my Miyazaki PowerPoint (you might want to download it because on Brightspace some of the text looks skewed).
What, in your opinion, makes Miyazaki’s films so unique? What defines him as a director and animator? Critics have always made a comparison between him and Tezuka. Who is greater? Is one better than the other or are both exceptional in their own ways? How so?