ANIME GOES ACADEMIC
Universities Launch Animation Courses
(February 6, 2008)
Japanese anime has avid fans the world over, a phenomenon that is sometimes known by the name Japanimation. Anime's sophisticated storylines and high level of artistic expression have for years made it an object of respect both in Japan and overseas. But until recently it was regarded only as a subcultural form and rarely as art - a situation that is now undergoing a sea change. There is a growing movement among Japanese universities and graduate schools to take an academic approach to anime and manga. Once seen as children's entertainment, these forms are coming to be viewed in an entirely new light.
The curriculum is aimed at those who have graduated from art colleges or have worked in animation production, and courses will be offered in four areas: three-dimensional animation, two-dimensional animation, project planning, and story writing. Each student will be required to complete two works during the two-year master's program. The faculty will comprise leading figures in the anime industry, including Yamamura Koji, whose anime short Atama-Yama (Mt. Head) won an Academy Award nomination. The program will aim to produce animation creators through practical training, as well as develop discourse and theory on animation as a cultural form.
Changes Extend to Vocational Colleges
Forays into the study of anime and manga by undergraduate and graduate schools are having an effect on vocational colleges as well. In January 2008, moreover, the Vantan Career School, which has campuses in Tokyo and Osaka, launched a Cosplayers Course for studying costume production, special makeup effects, and other aspects of the art of cosplay (dressing up as characters from manga and anime).
These developments are an indication that the subculture of manga and anime and its offshoots are coming into the mainstream at various levels of society.
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