Other-power and the Community of Peers in Works by Kyoto Animation
Keywords:anime, Kyoto Animation, Japanese Buddhism, character development, noh, religion
Kyoto Animation can rightly be called one of the leading studios of Japanese animation, and its works have been at the forefront of anime production in terms of both techniques and aesthetics. This is why it has been subjected to academic scrutiny by several notable anime scholars. However, no significant studies have been conducted on the works of Kyoto Animation from the perspective of the studio as a whole, or identified consistent themes and patterns flowing throughout them. This paper aims to rectify that gap by studying four works by the most prolific directors of Kyoto Animation (the Haruhi Suzumiya series (2006-2010), Beyond the Boundary (2013-15), A Silent Voice (2016) and Miss Kobayashi’s Maid Dragon (2017)) from the perspective of the Japanese Buddhist conception of tariki (Other-power) in order to tease out the central theme that lies at the heart of the studio’s work, and argues that Other-power (redefined as affective transformation) and the presence of a community of peers to nurture it offers powerful interpretive frameworks through which to understand these, and other, works by the studio.
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