Some Notes Before Reading
This is an imaginary course that I have created. I think it gives a broad enough overview of the subject for a single term, but I think it could be extended easily to a two term course if a more in-depth knowledge was required.
I'm assuming 1 hour lectures twice a week, enough time in seminars to do full screenings, and a knowledgeable lecturer. There are 8 weeks to a semester, as described by the original question.
The course could be an elective for new students studying film, media studies or a similar subject.
It could be easily enough adapted for an online course through discussion forums and recorded lectures/seminars.
Week 1: Introduction to Anime/Manga Culture
- A - Introduction to course and its aims, Brief overview of syllabus and related items
- B - Anime vs Cartoons, Brief description of differences and history
- Seminar - Watch an episode of both a distinctly "cartoonish" show and an distinctly "anime" show - (Suggested Looney Toons Vs Cardcaptor Sakura) . Discuss and follow up with a less clear-cut comparison (Suggested: Avatar: The last Airbender)
- Homework - N/A :)
Week 2: Anime in the Western World
- A - Mainstream anime - Ghibli, Pokemon
- B - Broader interest - Crunchyroll, Vertical Publishing
- Homework - Watch and review one student-chosen translated animated film that displays distinct cultural differences from western shows.
- Seminar - Watch lecturer-chosen film and have an interactive discussion cultural differences and etc with the class (Suggested: My Neighbour Totoro for both its popularity and contrast of culture [beliefs in spirits, etc])
Week 3: Genres of Anime/Manga and their development
- A - Anime/Manga genres & their associated tropes & features
- B - Gekiga Movement, Moe and the history behind some of these genres
- Homework - Read and review a work by a Gekiga author (Suggested Osamu Tezuka)
- Seminar - Screenings of episodes of well-known titles within different genres. (Suggested "Sailor Moon", "Naruto", "Gundam")
Week 4: Anime & Manga during Wartime
- A - Background information about Japan & WWII
- B - Manga as a political medium
- Seminar - Screening of "Grave of The Fireflies", "The Wind Rises", or other suitable item
- Homework - Read lecturer-selected war-themed manga from this period (Suggested MW by Tezuka).
Week 5: The evolution of Artistic style
- A - History of artistic style - Humble beginnings to 1999's
- B - Recent Changes in style - 1990's to Present
- Seminar - Comparing and contrasting recent shows with ones from different time periods (Suggested: "Saru Masamune", "Doraemon", "Ranma 1/2", "Akira", "K-on")
- Homework - Essay comparing a modern anime to a pre-1990's anime
Week 6: The anime production process
Note: Week 6 could be replaced with extended discussion of week 5 if the lecturer so desired
- A - Acquisition of an anime, pitches, support. Second half of lecture to describe the production process
- B - Production process cont., Sales & Promotion
- Seminar - An inspection of different works, analyzing the reasons why they greatly succeeded or failed (Suggested "Neon Genesis Evangellion", "Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water" for successes)
- Homework - Write report on contributing factors to anime commercial success
Week 7: Akibahara, Otaku and the obsessive culture surrounding anime
- A - Cosplay, Conventions
- B - Otaku, Social stigma, "Weeaboos"/"Wapanese"
- Seminar - Screenings of convention recordings (both East & Western) and otaku interviews (There are several documentaries that cover this topic) - With optional discussion afterwards.
- Homework - N/A
Week 8: The increasing ubiquity of anime
- A - Anime stylism in government posters, advertisement, increasing appearance in everyday japan
- B - Revision Lecture (Assuming an exam at the end of term)
- Seminar - N/A
- Homework - N/A
Personally I would have a 50:50 ratio of coursework to exam marks in order to attain a final grade. This exam would consist of a 2 and a half hour exam covering topics from each section of the course. Coursework would be graded on the quality of the deliverables, with additional marks for novelty.
With an online course, this may be adjusted to suit the setup accordingly.
Suggested Additional Reading Materia
- Selected volumes of http://mechademia.org/
- Anime: A history by John Clements
- A Geek in Japan: Discovering the Land of Manga, Anime, ZEN, and the Tea Ceremony by Hector Garcia
- Starting Point by Hayou Miyazaki
- A Drifting Life by Yoshiro Tatsumi
What will I get out of this Course?
The students will, after this course, be able to:
- Appreciate differences between anime and western media
- Understand the culture around the media
- Understand the genre types within the media
- Be able to identify and discuss the different periods of anime
- Recognize many anime references within other media