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From Wooden Cyborgs to Celluloid Souls: Mechanical Bodies in Anime and Japanese Puppet Theater

From Wooden Cyborgs to Celluloid Souls: Mechanical Bodies in Anime and Japanese Puppet Theater positions 10:3 © 2002 by Duke University Press positions 10:3 Winter 2002 Manifesto” hopes that the cyborg’s transgressive combination of the organic and the mechanical will challenge the dichotomy between natural and artificial, promising to free the subject from imposed categories of biology, gender, and race.1 But at the same time, Haraway admits that the challenges to bodily integrity that the cyborg poses—from the body’s penetration by technology to the specter of its conversion into a data stream—carry with them the threat of objectification and coercion. There is a fear that this redefinition of the human subject will end up dehumanizing us all. Given the cyborg’s split personality, it seems only natural that this theory should be applied to the mechanized bodies prevalent in Japanese animation, or anime, a genre that embodies the same dizzying mix of possibilities as Haraway’s cyborg, often undermining gender stereotypes spectacularly one moment only to fall back into sexist exploitation the next. Anime is rife with mechanized female bodies that can be read as both euphorically powerful and objectified, commodified, and victimized. One of the most striking of these figures is the cyborg heroine of Oshii Mamoru’s Ghost in the Shell [The Ghost http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png positions asia critique Duke University Press

From Wooden Cyborgs to Celluloid Souls: Mechanical Bodies in Anime and Japanese Puppet Theater

positions asia critique , Volume 10 (3) – Dec 1, 2002

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2002 by Duke University Press
ISSN
1067-9847
eISSN
1527-8271
DOI
10.1215/10679847-10-3-729
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

positions 10:3 © 2002 by Duke University Press positions 10:3 Winter 2002 Manifesto” hopes that the cyborg’s transgressive combination of the organic and the mechanical will challenge the dichotomy between natural and artificial, promising to free the subject from imposed categories of biology, gender, and race.1 But at the same time, Haraway admits that the challenges to bodily integrity that the cyborg poses—from the body’s penetration by technology to the specter of its conversion into a data stream—carry with them the threat of objectification and coercion. There is a fear that this redefinition of the human subject will end up dehumanizing us all. Given the cyborg’s split personality, it seems only natural that this theory should be applied to the mechanized bodies prevalent in Japanese animation, or anime, a genre that embodies the same dizzying mix of possibilities as Haraway’s cyborg, often undermining gender stereotypes spectacularly one moment only to fall back into sexist exploitation the next. Anime is rife with mechanized female bodies that can be read as both euphorically powerful and objectified, commodified, and victimized. One of the most striking of these figures is the cyborg heroine of Oshii Mamoru’s Ghost in the Shell [The Ghost

Journal

positions asia critiqueDuke University Press

Published: Dec 1, 2002

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