Get Anime Fan Communities: Transcultural Flows and Frictions PDF

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By Sandra Annett (auth.)

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It featured “gags built on urban and industrial experience, a fantasy world of neighbourhoods, sweatshops, pool halls, Coney Island rides, and . . Manhattan vaudeville” (Klein 1993, 62), both reflecting and reconstructing the Fleischers’ own experiences of growing up in New York. More particularly, the Fleischers’ works were embedded in the cultural climate of Lower East Side Jewish immigrant neighborhoods. In her article, “Betty Boop: Yiddish Film Star,” Amelia S. Holberg argues that along with the language of the Hollywood-style musical cartoon, “Betty’s cartoons also spoke the language of the Yiddish cinema.

Which, as conventional wisdom might have it, always and unproblematically reduced cartoons to children’s entertainment” (Smoodin 1993, 188), but was viewed by audiences of all ages as part of the complete show. Though animation was thought to be favored by children, as the image of the duckling in “She Was an Acrobat’s Daughter” attests, it was not restricted to a child audience in the same way that television cartoons became marked off as kiddy fare in the 1950s and 1960s. The Betty Boop series attempted to capitalize on the adult market by presenting a short-skirted, jazz-singing heroine modeled in look and voice on Helen Kane, a flapper icon known to mature audiences from her saucy late-’20s vaudeville acts and films.

This discourse stressed the unique, material specificity of the film medium and the newness of modernity itself, and was hotly debated among intellectuals of the day. While the Pure Film Movement is often seen by critics such as Noël Burch as a clear-cut case of “Westernization” or “Americanization,” Gerow criticizes this position, saying “Burch cannot fully appreciate the transformations resulting from the Pure Film Movement because he can only categorize it as ‘Western’ and thus as foreign to the Japanese alterity he desires” (19).

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