on 26 November 2009
I'm not sure what the purpose of this guide is, or who its intended audience is. I bought it expecting an authoritative and interesting read that would introduce me to some new anime, and give me some more info on anime I had heard of but didn't know much about before deciding whether to watch them. In this respect I think the guide totally fails.
The author writes in a pseudo-intellectual style that may appeal to pre-teens but is nonsense to anyone else (see sample below) - the Anime he has picked are arguably the most successful/critically acclaimed but he gives very little info on why this is so, why they are worth watching and what differentiates them from other anime in the same genre.
To give you an example I've just opened a page at random that happens to be a review of 'Bubblegum Crisis' (1987) the first paragraph reads:
"Cute babes; tight suits; big guns. The hyper-sexed construct of a woman with an incredible figure who is also a crack marksperson is a complete assemblage of male, female, gay, straight, heroic and S&M fantasies, equally distributed across the `mytho-morph' of this popular icon in American entertainment"
And this is by no means the (in my opinion) worst of the reviews.
Furthermore, the author essentially writes the same reviews again and again and again. Each review is mostly concerned with using the longest words in the thesaurus (often the author invents words - I guess because existing ones just aren't long enough) to describe the reoccurring themes in the Anime he has picked - apocalypse, disenfranchised youth, robot/human technology, sexualised representations of women etc
Finally I don't think he has spent enough time watching the Anime in the guide.
As you can probably guess this book really wound me up.
on 7 May 2013
This is a very disappointing book. It is written in a jargon -filled , impenetrable style that saps the life out of the subject. The overriding purpose seems to be to impress the reader with the author's command of academic "film theory" jargon. Every time a most complex sentence construction is offered when a far simpler one would do. At no point do you get any understanding of why these films might be important or why they even matter to the writer. When Brophy touches on important points - disenfranchised youth, the sexualisation of the female body in anime- he deals with them in a repetitive, tedious manner. There are also a number of surprising omissions - why no Millennium Actress or Tokyo Godfathers fron Satoshi Kon? All of this is very disappointing given the variety, energy and sheer beauty of anime. I'm a big fan of the BFI Screen Guides but I'm at a loss to see why this book was allowed to be published. Either of Susan J.Napier's books on anime and its fans would be a better introduction to the subject. This is the sort of book that gets film studies a bad name. Avoid.
on 13 May 2014
I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who thought this book was full of BS!
The author just loves using overly-complicated terms and I felt very stupid at times, thinking that I should know what he meant but really, I'm not sure HE knows what he's on about. A lot of his reviews *do not* make sense and he just piles on loads of "fancy" terms thinking that he's the most knowledgeable man on Earth. Also the pictures featured in this book are rubbish (low quality, black and white, have no impact or relevance to the commentary). It could have been done so much better.
Luckily I didn't buy this, I just borrowed it from my library. I wanted to find some new anime to watch and a lot of the stuff in this book is 'unknown' to the community .
Whilst reading this book I had an anime database website open so that I could read an understandable synopsis of the anime. I also noticed that 70% of the anime featured in this book have very low scores (60 and below) , so I think this is *not* the book if you want to start watching anime. I still managed to pick about 30 or so series that I'd like to check out (be it the original manga or the animation itself) because I'm curious about older and lesser known series. Hopefully they will be good.
Summary: Do not buy this book unless you want to be left extremelly frustrated