JAPANAMERICA

By Roland Kelts

I read this for a project, not for fun, but it was really intriguing. I don’t know how well it covers the topic of anime, manga, and other Japanese pop culture but it certainly made me want to watch some, and it definitely made me want to go to Japan. And now I want to seriously track down the rest of the Gaiman Sandman books!

EDITED JULY 24
What a weak review.

I can’t define anime but I know it when I see it, and now I do feel like I have a little more insight into the culture it exists in. What was the most interesting part of the book by far to me was the stuff about the business models and global distribution and who ends up with the money. The costume play chapter was just odd. Not an odd chapter–an odd practice. The next trip to the library after reading this book threw a DVD of Princess Mononoke in my path, which I grabbed. I was very excited to watch it, so I checked it out. I wigged out a little, annoyed that it was boasting names like Billy Bob Thornton and Jada Pinkett Smith as cast members. I don’t really know that much about actors and their talents, but I was pretty sure that none of the big names spoke Japanese. The chapter in the book that discussed bad dubbing and script-changes made me leery, but a few mouse-clicks on the DVD and I found the original movie with subtitles also offered. And then it was time to bring the movie back to the library. Thinking fast, and googling faster, I found a program that let me decrypt the DVD so I could watch it later. Then I found it taking up too much space on the hard drive (believe it or not, but that was not the only DVD I decrypted) so I moved it over to my backup. Long story short is that I haven’t seen it yet because when is the laptop ever in the same room as the backup drive? Never.

Back to the book–you know what added that extra bit of awesome to my experience reading it? The validation that YES! I did correctly remember a show being on the air called Battle of the Planets. NO! It was not called G-Force Five, at least not when I was watching. I’ve met with a lot of blank stares in my life trying to get people to recognize this title. My street cred has been considerably enhanced. We used to play B of the P, which got tricky because there was only one Princess. I never could take much comfort in the fact that Tiny had a big gun when I had to be him instead.

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