The Otaku Lifestyle: Examining Soundtracks in the Anime Canon
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Japanese animation, or anime, has been popular around the globe for the last sixty years. Anime has its own fan culture in the United States known as otaku, or the obsessive lifestyle surrounding manga and anime, which has resulted in American production companies creating their own “anime.” Japanese filmmakers do not regard anime simply as a cartoon, but instead realize it as genre of film, such as action or comedy. However, Japanese anime is not only dynamic and influential because of its storylines, characters, and themes, but also for its purposeful choices in music. Since the first anime Astro Boy and through films such as Akira, Japanese animation companies combine their history from the past century with modern or “westernized” music. Unlike cartoon films produced by Disney or Pixar, Japanese anime do not use music to mimic the actions on-screen; instead, music heightens and deepens the plot and emotions. This concept is practiced in live-action feature films, and although anime consists of hand-drawn and computer-generated cartoons, Japanese directors and animators create a “film” experience with their dramatic choice of music. This thesis examines three anime—Death Note, Neon Genesis Evangelion, and Cowboy Bebop—for their respective choices in music. Each of these series uses a different genre of music, such as sacred classical music, Western classical music, jazz, hip-hop, and J-pop, to evoke emotion and enhance the drama. Westernization and the U.S. Occupation of Japan influenced each of the genres, with each composer in their respective anime combining Western and Japanese musical characteristics. Only by exploring the music of anime can we really understand its role in anime’s artistic power and the reasons for the lasting impact of the otaku lifestyle in the Western world.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- Music and culture -- Anime -- Death note -- Neon Genesis Evangelion -- Cowboy Bebop -- Conclusionviii, 127 pages
M.M. (Master of Music)