Book Reviews

Here’s links to all my reviews on some of the books I’ve read on a wide variety of topics related to anime and/or Japan. I try and keep my reviews relatively short, mentioning strong points as well as short critiques where necessary. Ratings listed here are from 1 to 10, where 1 = useful/insightful and 10 = useless/completely academic. They are not necessarily a rating on the “quality” of a work, either in terms of the actual writing/argument or how interesting it is (although those are discussed in the actual reviews). All ratings are judged based on how well the material applies both to the field of study it was primarily written for as well as how well it relates to studying anime both as a consumer good and as a social phenomenon.

Reviews are ranked by rating rather than chronologically, and are done as individual blog posts (which are hyperlinked to from this page). A sample review post looks like this:

Sample Hyperlinked Review Post (overall rating)

“Excerpt from the ‘Overall’ section of the review”

If you have any questions/comments, feel free to contact me or post your thoughts below.

Note: I’m currently in the process of trying to start these back up. Stay tuned for new and revised reviews on these and other anime-related books in the coming months!

Reviews

Otaku: Japan’s Database Animals (1)

Definitely read this book. For all its flaws (and there aren’t too many), I can’t recommend it highly enough.

The Great Wave: Gilded Age Misfits, Japanese Eccentrics, and the Opening of Old Japan (3)

The Great Wave is an accessible, engaging read that provides not only good historical information but also much insight concerning some of the cultural dynamics at play in the world today. While it’s narrative style ultimately hampers the effectiveness of the argument (in isolation), the book is still well worth the read.

From Impressionism to Anime: Japan as Fantasy and Fan Cult in the Mind of the West (4)

A relatively dry and academic read, much suited to the inquiring anime fan with a growing interest in anime’s relation to Japanese history, culture, and fandom, but largely inaccessible to others. The ideas it puts forward are insightful and synthesized decently well, and while there are several (ultimately minor) issues that hamper the book’s core arguments, including notable biases and organizational problems, it is worth a read if you’re interested in exploring anime fandom.

Last updated: 06/18/2015

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