Anime (a Japanese abbreviation of the word “animation”) can perhaps best be defined by making a comparison to animation traditions of the U.S. While American cartoons (with Disney as the prime example) are usually geared toward children, anime targets a wider age range, including young adults. Perhaps as a result, it also covers a broader range of genres, from fantasy, to post-apocalyptic science fiction, to romantic comedy, and so on. As Susan J. Napier says in Anime from Akira to Princess Monoke, “anime works include everything that Western audiences are accustomed to seeing in live-action films,” which is reflected in a visual style more similar to mainstream feature films.
Another distinguishing feature in anime is the human body, which undergoes some interesting changes, including morphed proportions, Caucasian or racially ambiguous features, and high sexualization. I would like to explore how non-Asians form ideas about Asian bodies-- and Asian culture more broadly-- through watching anime, both on the part of devout fans and of typical Americans who have perhaps seen only a few images of Sailor Moon.