Imagining Transcultural Fandom: Animation and Global Media Communities
This paper addresses the ways in which animation has become a medium for the formation of transcultural fan communities. It focuses in particular on the trend for anime, which has generated asymmetrical, tension-filled and yet productive interactions among fans in East Asia and the West. Drawing on the ideas of “recentered” media industries, imagination, and collaboration formulated by Koichi Iwabuchi, Arjun Appadurai, and Anna Tsing, it provides a comparative analysis of three animated texts from three different eras and countries: the 1935 Betty Boop cartoon “A Language All My Own,” the 1998 Japanese television series Cowboy Bebop, and the 2003-08 Korean web-cartoon “There she is!!“ These texts and the fan communities that have formed around them illustrate the shifting flows and frictions of the global media environment, from its historical context in the early film era to its digital manifestations in the twenty-first century.