Cyborg girls and shape-shifters: The discovery of difference by Anime and Manga Fans in Australia – Craig Norris

This essay explores how manga (Japanese comic books) and anime (Japanese animation) fans in Australia construct ideas of manga and anime’s difference and Japanese-ness. It is based on a number of interviews I conducted with members of anime clubs around Australia , particularly looking at how fans’ racial and gender identities were being constructed through their experiences of manga and anime[1]. While the manga and anime characters I’m looking at are not conventional superheroes – they don’t have special costumes, and rarely do they battle against clearly defined villains for a noble cause – there are some general connections where the fans’ favourite characters do perform heroic acts, saving cities from marauding cyborgs, terrorists, and malicious government and military organisations. Saving and helping the people they love around them, and so on. And, if we consider one of the acts of superheroes to provide role models to others – then these characters and their flaws and differences do provide fans with ‘super herioc’ role models of difference they can use to critique racist, culturally exclusivist identities they perceive in Australia. It is also the moral ambiguity and often all-too-human weaknesses of the characters that many of the fans I interviewed pointed to as an important element of their enjoyment – saying that these stories were not American superhero adventures gave them a way of exploring and promoting a different type of cultural capital and identity.

The Discovery of Difference

A critical stage in the ‘identity project’ of anime fans in Australia is the discovery of difference. Many fans I interviewed mentioned a shift in their perception of anime from initially accepting it as an integral part of mass media entertainment, to seeing it as “different,” and then recognising that difference as coming from its Japaneseness. Fans often articulate this difference to the language, art style, characters, and story lines of manga and anime, and can express it in two significantly different ways. First, fans can appropriate anime as an ideal object, as suggested by the experience of Neil:”My first experience was at school about three years ago, a friend bought a Super Nintendo magazine to school that had a section called anime world, and I was looking through it thinking “Oh My God!” It was like a revelation, “I’d seen the light”. I thought that looks so cool but where would I be able to find it? So, I began looking through the Yellow Pages for comic book stores and I found Phantom Zone in Parramatta and that’s where I started. (Neil, 20, Anglo-Australian, student) Neil’s describes his experience of the distinctive character of anime as an epiphany, a “revelation” in which he had “seen the light”. In other words, anime became an idealised object to be appropriated and identified with. While Neal’s story is about the appropriation of anime as a perfect object, Brian relates a different type of relationship towards anime: “The original anime I saw was Ranma 1/2. After spending a couple of days in that video room I had received whole new story concepts and ideas, a different and exciting cultural slant on reality, and the concept of an ongoing story that progressed logically and was not bound by individual episodes. (Brian, 22, Anglo-Australian, student)Brian describes emerging from the video room with a “different and exciting cultural slant on reality”; he claims this life-changing experience caused him to reflect on how he understands certain textual processes: “an ongoing story that progressed logically”. Furthermore, he believes he has gained new approaches to “story concepts and ideas”. Brian identifies textual codes and symbols that hint at a recognition in manga and anime of cultural otherness and difference experienced at a cultural and social level, while Neil’s idealisation of anime and desire to accumulate more—“where would I be able to find it?” —suggests the psychological dynamics of identification and appropriation.

Shape Shifting

Here I will focus on the appropriation of two manga and anime forms by Australian fans that further reveal the process of identification and experience of anime that Neil and Brian articulate. First, the gender transformation offered by the character of Ranma from Ranma 1/2 and his shape shifting into a female in cold water or a male in hot water. Second, the union of humans and machines into cyborgs or pilots cocooned within giant robots. Ranma’s sexual transformation offers an exploration of gender politics, while the depiction of cyborgs, particularly Asian female cyborgs, offers gender and identity politics merged with new technologies. Water and machines are symbols of physical metamorphosis that transform those who engage with them; they offer power to change one’s identity and body, to become someone or something different.

Ranma 1/2

Ranma 1/2 is a martial arts comedy by the popular female manga artist Rumiko Takahashi. The series blends slapstick comedy and melodrama, a rich cast of supporting characters, and a contemporary setting in a Japanese town and school to create a long running and popular television and manga series. Ranma 1/2 is the story of young martial artist Ranma Saotome. While training with his father in China they both fall into a cursed spring causing Ranma and his father to transform into whatever had perished there. The water of the spring transforms Ranma into a buxom female version of himself, and he is cursed to become his female alter identity whenever cold water is thrown over him. He can be changed back into a male only when doused with hot water Ranma’s father, Mr. Saotome, becomes a giant panda cursed to continue his transformation by cold and hot water like Ranma. However, Ranma’s gender transformations are the central comedy dynamics of the series.

I Wish I had a Japanese Bath

Sarah, a 19-year-old University student I interviewed during my field research, described herself as a big fan of Ranma 1/2 and other similar comedy/action anime such as Fushigi Yugi and Project A-KO. During our interview, she frequently mentioned the escapism and creative freedom that these favourite anime offered her. As we discussed what was innovative and different about manga and anime, we narrowed our attention to the “Japaneseness” of anime and the unusual characters, settings and themes within Ranma 1/2. I asked her how she felt this “Japaneseness” was expressed in anime:

Initially when one first watches something like Ranma with the bath sequence, one can be very conscious of it, I wish we had baths like that! Less so with things picked up by the Americans for dubbing for early morning children’s shows like Tekkaman. I became less aware of any “Japaneseness” as I watched more of it and it became normal for schoolgirls to have huge eyes, cute voices, and seira fuku[2]. Now it’s a question of how to define a person’s normal cultural perception as opposed to a Japanesed one. Perhaps mine is a little skewed in the direction of Japaneseness as normal. (Sarah, 19, Anglo-Australia, student)

The bath scene Sarah describes is an example of the outrageous comic world of Ranma 1/2. During the first episode, Ranma, in female form, is taking a hot bath to change back into a male, when Akane, the woman to whom Ranma is betrothed, walks in expecting to find a woman in the bath. Akane’s confusion and Ranma’s embarrassment when his masculinity is discovered helps establish the reluctant love-hate romance between Ranma and Akane that is the centrepiece of the Ranma 1/2 world. For Sarah, however, it is the act of bathing, and the transformation it offers, that fascinates her. The bath is the site where a magical transformation is possible. In a way, Sarah s
eems to recognise that immersion in the text itself is a valuable source of appropriation and borrowing. It has changed her, predisposing her to consider “Japaneseness as normal”. In her interpretation of the scene, Sarah transforms the bath from an everyday object into an object of transformation and an opportunity to take on a new identity. Ranma’s bath is a Japanese object for the Western fan, unremarkable in itself for many Japanese but different from a Western bath (Clark, 1992). The bath is a sign of difference and foreignness that can be understood and employed by the Western fan, as an element with which to construct an imagined life for oneself (with “Japaneseness as normal”), and the other of a different land (“I wish we had baths like that”). The bath and Ranma’s contact with water to alter gender, is an appealing metaphor for gender and identity change, as well as suggesting a desire for knowledge of a hidden, perhaps forbidden, self. The metaphysics of a “bath like that” offers an imaginary bi-sexuality through the humble act of bathing.

Napier’s (2001) critical analysis of Ranma 1/2 points to the conservative agenda within the story’s gender transgressions and amusing sexual content. Napier argues that Ranma’s transformations, unlike that of the more explosive character of Tetsuo in Akira—as I will also discuss in—are always contained within the “normal” world. As Napier (ibid.) explains: ” While boundaries are crossed and re-crossed to often riotous effect, the inevitably more conservative format of a weekly television series ultimately leads to a conservative resolution in which, at the end of each episode, the boundaries are reinscribed into the conventions of heterosexual hierarchical society. (p. 50)

While she acknowledges that Ranma 1/2 draws upon the tension between the construction of gender identity at the individual level and society’s enforcement of gender norms at a public level, most of the comic situations generated by Ranma’s transformations “never actually unsettles society’s basic assumptions about the gender” (ibid., p. 50). As Napier points out, Ranma 1/2 is set within a relatively normal, everyday world, compared to the hi-tech dystopia of cyberpunk anime such as Akira. Stripped of its fantasy elements, argues Napier, Ranma’s story offers a view of the difficulties of adolescence, body development, loneliness, and maturity: “Neither boy nor girl, Ranma occupies a liminal space that, although played for comedy, is actually a forlorn and isolated one. Unlike the typical narcissistic adolescent who simply feels “different,” Ranma knows he is different, and therefore isolated. Or as he puts it at the end of the episode, “Friends, she says, so much for being friends when she found out that I’m a boy” (ibid., p. 54)

Ranma’s transformation from a male into a female is also the source of significant loss in power. He is shorter and weaker, causing his skills—such as his martial arts abilities—to diminish. Becoming female is a humiliating and shocking experience that is coded entirely negatively (Napier, 2001; Newitz, 1995). His father is deeply disappointed in his girlish transformations; at one point, he throws Ranma into a pool shouting: “I am so ashamed of you”. Napier draws upon Eve Sedgewick’s term, homosexual panic, to suggest that Ranma-as-girl represents “the fear of the heterosexual male that he is really homosexual” (Napier, 2001, p. 54). Within Ranma 1/2, this reading is established by the character of Kuno, a master kendo swordsman, becoming infatuated with Ranma, who he believes to be a woman. Newitz (1994, 1995) furthers the idea of a “homosexual panic” within male readings of Ranma 1/2, arguing that the male anime audience in the United States is emasculated by watching romantic anime. “Quite simply,” claims Newitz (1995), “Ranma 1/2 demonstrates to the young man who enjoys romantic comedy anime that he is constantly in danger of becoming a girl” (p. 6). Newitz argues that because the romance genre of anime consistently portrays women as passive, the loss of power that Ranma’s female form suggests, is transferred onto the male fan population, with an equivalent loss of their ‘power’. “Like Ranma,” points out Newitz (ibid.), “the male anime fan has a ‘feminine half’ who enjoys passively consuming animated fantasies about love. His attachment to non-sexual romance might be said to feminize him” (p. 6). Newitz implies that any ambiguous feminisation, bisexuality, or homosexuality suggested by ambiguously gendered characters, is, at the very least, a source of discomfort for male fans, and at the worst, some form of gender victimisation of fans in the United States :” Especially for the heterosexual male fan who watches anime in an American context, this fear would be particularly acute, since American romantic comedies are aimed at a largely female audience “(ibid., p. 6) Newitz’s identification of a “homosexual panic” within the male reception of anime appears to be generated by a broader fear of Japanese cultural imperialism, in the wider United States culture. Newitz reads anime as endorsing, in this case, gender conservatism by reinforcing stereotypical sex roles.

Sarah’s privileging of the bath as a site of pleasure is centred on the appeal of transforming into the different and exotic. She sees the transformation into “masculinity” as appealing, and her dissatisfaction with the “feminine” form confirms Napier’s reading of the conservative subtext within Ranma 1/2. In addition, while Newitz may have focused on Ranma 1/2’s male fans and their emasculation, Sarah demonstrates the other side, the benefits of being male for women.


Within the cyberpunk genre of anime, gender also plays an important role in portraying difference. The central female characters of two of the most well known cyberpunk anime: Akira and Ghost in the Shell, are deeply introspective and associated with an exploration of spiritualism and existential contemplation. Kei, in Akira, develops her telekinetic powers during the story to help restore the chaos unleashed by Tetsuo, while Ghost in the Shell’s Major Kusanagi questions her identity and sense of self as a human/machine hybrid. Many male anime fans I interviewed described how appealing they found these strong female characters. The female cyborg’s (and female psychic’s) combination of masculine and feminine qualities provided a different image from the sports heroes or outback explorers that dominate Australian male stereotypes, such as Paul Hogan’s Crocodile Dundee character or Steve Irwin’s Crocodile Hunter figure. In, I explore the similar appropriation of bishōnen (beautiful boy) characters by female anime fans to explore alternative gender politics. However, the male fan’s appropriation of strong female characters in anime, as an icon of resistance and difference, raises significant issues regarding how the image of Asian femininity is contained within existing notions of exotic and sexually available stereotypes.

The term “techno-orientalism” (Morley & Robins, 1995) is an extension of the concept of orientalism which, put simply, is the idea that the West invented the concept of “the Orient” to define and legitimise its own cultural identity. Within the appropriation of anime in Australia, techno-orientalism seems an appropriate description of the hi-tech fantasies some fans create from the cyberpunk imagery offered in anime like Ghost in the Shell and Akira, and the image of a futuristic, technologically superior Japan. Tom, a 19-year-old student, spoke of the similar cyberpunk representation of Japan he constructed through the imagery of anime and manga: “There’s gangs of juvenile bikers clashing with police, if you’re lucky you get experimented on genetically and get telekinesi
s, huge demons lurk in the shadows, all women are there for is to have sex, want sex, and get raped by the demons, and in the middle of Osaka there is a huge monster called ‘the Chojin’ constantly destroying the city with a ray of light from his mouth. Tokyo is the same, except the monster is called Godzilla. (Tom, 19, Anglo-Australian, student)The fantasy of gendered violence that dominates Tom’s image of the techno-orient is one imagined world of the cyberpunk, which is drawn from titles such as Akira and Ghost in the Shell, or the soft-porn occult stories such as the Legend of the Overfiend. In these stories, women play central roles, whether it is as the strong, independent character of Major Kusanagi in Ghost in the Shell, or as the passive and submissive women in the ‘tentacle rape’ scenes of Legend of the Overfiend. These images evoke both new and old fears and desires of a techno-orient. During my interview with John, he described his admiration of the assertive and independent femininity Japanese animators had been able to depict in cyberpunk anime:

Craig: I’m interested in the cultural differences you pinpoint between Japanese animation and the cultures it enters.  I’m wondering if you can define the ‘Japaneseness’ of anime or manga.  Is there any ‘Japaneseness’ in there?

John: When you talk about who Japanese animators choose for lead roles and how their lead roles are defined, women in Japanese manga always play a prominent role. Such as in the cases of a recent manga that I’ve seen, Ghost in the Shell. The main character is a female cyborg who is strong, assertive, very intelligent, and the leader of the police team she’s in. Often in Hollywood films, you’ll see the woman falling into that role, becoming that role, but not starting off in that role, not being the leader to start with. (25, Anglo-Australian, student)

In the Australian male’s fantasies of the techno-orient, the exotic woman may perpetuate or challenge dominant notions of femininity. For John, Major Kusanagi, the female cyborg of Ghost in the Shell, is a symbol of a new alternative power of Asian femininity. Compared to Tom’s “all women are there for is to have sex” imagining of the exotic Asian woman as a sex object, available and submissive, John’s perception of exotic Asian femininity is associated with a symbol of new Asia, an Asia that is cosmopolitan, rich, modern, and technological; populated by women modelled on a “female cyborg who is strong, assertive, very intelligent, and the leader”. The new exoticism of Asian femininity indicates the possibility for a new politics of transgressive pleasure and resistance that may reformulate the concept of the exotic.

Fans contextualise the transformations into the hard bodies of machines or the softer bodies of another gender within inwardly focused stories that ask: how could my life here in Australia be different? The desire for transformation, or the experience of some different identity, is a central concern expressed in the appropriation of anime by Western fans. Part of this desire for difference is because many fan’s feel some level of alienation from the dominant culture. Scott, for example, complained of the lack of alternative identity choice offered within Australian culture, and the cultural hostility towards all things Japanese:

Some people mock me about the eyes of manga characters, but that just means they haven’t seen any real manga.  Most people are interested, and once exposed to the real thing, want to see more. Some of the more closed-minded “redneck” type Australians who are just plain racist, hate anything that’s not a Holden Ute, and just tend to despise anything that they don’t know about sometimes give me flack. But who cares anyway?  Their lives suck. Maybe manga would be too cool for them. Probably. (Scott, 17, Anglo-Australian, student)

The resistance and frustration Scott expresses towards what he perceives as the dominant “redneck” culture of Australia, reveals both a motivation for finding an alternative identity in anime, as well as suggesting a certain level of shame at not living up to the image of Australian masculinity. Karl, a 23-year-old Information Technology student, sees a parallel between the illusions of a Japan defined by manga and a masculine Australia defined through popular movies: “Hmm the good thing is that I don’t get my views of Japan from anime. It’d be like getting your views of Australia from Crocodile Dundee or Priscilla Queen of the Desert. It’s a form of entertainment, it’s a part of the culture. It’s not “the” culture. I get my ideas and images of Japan from Japanese friends and Australian friends who have lived there”. (Karl, 23, Anglo-Australia, student)

Karl and Scott take refuge in the hybridity and diversity of identities offered in anime and in the way these identities connect with the life experiences of friends and acquaintances. It indicates the difficulties many Australian male anime fans find themselves in as they attempt to assume identities or interests that may stray from dominant stereotypes of male behaviour. It also shows that the appropriation of anime elements, that can then be transformed into imagined lives or other worlds, are only ever partial escapes from the pressures to conform to sexual identity and broader societal expectations of “normal” behaviour.

Alternative Identifications

The potential new identifications that Karl and Scott perceive in anime offer an alternative from the culturally exclusivist identities offered in Australia —the racist redneck, the bushman, the outback worker, or gay city dweller. The enjoyment of the manga and anime forms, and the freedom they allow to explore spaces that are not restricted to a national or regional level, reveals the global scale many of these fan ‘identity projects’ operate on. Karl describes how he doesn’t rely on manga and anime forms to frame nationalist images of Japan—“It’s not ‘the’ culture,”—suggests that his enjoyment of manga and anime lies outside national or inter-national spaces and within other ‘identity projects’. The racism, prejudice, and nationalism associated with essentialist identities of Australianness create feelings of disaffection that generate a desire for new kinds of identifications.

The consequences of these new kinds of identifications fans explore through manga and anime can be seen most clearly at the domestic level of the family. Most of the fans I interviewed during my research were aged between 15 and 23 years old and still living at home with their parents. Because of this, their use of anime was often initially appraised by both siblings and parents. Conflicts would sometimes arise over the time allowed to watch videos on the family television and VCR, or parental concern over the amount of money their son/daughter was spending on anime and manga. Often the problems would be over issues of enforcing time management and better consideration for other members of the household. In some cases, however, anime became central to wider tensions and difficulties within the family. Some fans described sudden and unpredictable strains on the family group that occurred as anime and other entertainments provoked disagreements over identity, control, and family unity. Greg described the suspicion and criticism he received from his parents upon their discovery of his enjoyment of anime:

Well, I have a real problem at the moment, because my parents are English and my grandparents are English and they all grew up during the war, and you mention anything Japanese and you’re out the door basically. … My parents just talk about the war, they would always talk about the war when I was over at my grandparents place. So, I’ve got to watch what I say. I can’t watch anime when they’re home, I have to wait until everyone’s gone before I can watch anyt
hing. … I’ve never spoken to them about my interest in manga and anime. I know that they don’t want to talk about it. I mean they know that I watch it, but they strictly say, “No, you don’t watch it while we’re home”. So I have to watch what I do. It’s not so much the stuff that they hate; it’s the being Japanese that they hate. They just basically don’t want to know anything Japanese. They don’t watch much TV. (Greg, 23, Anglo-Australian, sales clerk)

Greg’s story is significant for a number of reasons. First, we can see how anime—as a new commodity—is negotiated within existing structures and beliefs of the family, which are enforced by the parents. At a larger, political level, one can see how, as Appadurai puts it: “larger politics sometimes penetrate and ignite domestic politics” (ibid., p. 44). Greg has split from his parents and grandparents on a key matter of “political identification in a transnational setting” (ibid., p. 44). His parents and grandparents remain strongly committed to the image of Japan as their wartime enemy of World War II, while Greg has become a fan of manga and anime, a popular culture that both he and his parents see as distinctly Japanese. Thus, Greg must hide these interests so that he can still get along with his parents: “I have to wait until everyone’s gone before I can watch anything”. Greg realises that it is not the animation itself that is the problem but its “Japaneseness”. The dilemma of Greg’s attraction to anime hints at the almost illicit fantasy of imagining and even identifying with this taboo other. Greg’s story suggests that he is torn between the independence that watching anime gives him from his parents and grandparents, and the dominance of his English family heritage.

Greg’s dilemma also reveals the important role that the media plays in providing images and information offering the potential of cross-cultural affiliations and construction of imagined worlds. Significantly, Greg concludes his story by mentioning that his parents do not watch much television. The television, then, becomes a symbol of the changes in attitudes towards Japan since World War II. First, it is a literal example of the type of hardware that Japan exported since World War II to establish its rise as an economic superpower and foster its image as a hi-tech economic superpower. This image now dominates the image of modern Japan for the youth generation Greg is part of. Second, television is a medium used to distribute content such as anime so that fans, such as Greg, can imagine different identities and worlds through the political and cultural formations he perceives within these images.


One issue that these shape-shifting bodies provoke is the problem of how to analyse the significance of the Japanese origins and content of manga and anime. Anime bodies appear to have no clear ethnicity; their hair and eye colour, comic-book features and proportions can divorce them from any realistic representation of ethnicity (Iwabuchi, 2002).The softening of the “Japaneseness” of these anime bodies means they can be easily domesticated into any local market (Iwabuchi, 1998). However for others, these anime bodies are strongly bound to the aesthetic traditions and cultural peculiarities of Japan (Levi, 1996; Schodt, 1983, 1996). The various readings of anime as global commodities, culturally removed of a Japanese presence, or as an extension of a uniquely Japanese approach to image and narrative, are, of course, dependent on context. While some bodies may look very Western, with blonde hair, blue eyes, and so on, often their actions are “Japanese”. This is evident in the case of Sailor Moon, a character who may have blue eyes and blonde hair, but nevertheless reveals her “Japaneseness” through banal disclosures, such as using chopsticks and eating Japanese food, visiting Shinto shrines, wearing a Japanese school uniform, and so on.

Napier (2001) locates anime’s appeal in its ability to be both distinctively Japanese and universally appealing:

[Anime] is both different in a way that is appealing to a Western audience satiated on the predictabilities of American popular culture and also remarkably approachable in its universal themes and images. The distinctive aspects of anime—ranging from narrative and characterisation to genre and visual styles—are the elements that initially capture Western viewers’ attentions (and for some viewers these may be the main keys of attractions), but for others it is the engrossing stories that keep them coming back for more. (pp. 9-10)

Thus, a central feature of anime today is its dual identity as both familiar and different for fans. In this way, anime can be considered as part of the transnational flow of cultural material; it is both “triumphantly universal” (Appadurai, 1996, p. 43) in its capacity to be exported globally and domesticated to suit many different local environments, while also being “resiliently particular” (ibid., p. 43) in the differences that can be found between Western and Japanese visual aesthetics. Here, I have shown how the familiar and different forms of manga and anime have been used by fans to explore the possibility of shape shifting into different sexual identities and global cultures as a way to resist and negotiate the exclusivist national identities they perceive in Australia. I will further develop this theme of fans escaping from an alienating domestic/national space into a global manga and anime culture through the hybrid texts that fans construct from manga and anime forms. As Napier (2001) suggests:

Anime’s immense range enforces that there is no single anime style and that the “difference” it presents is far more than a simple division between Japan and not-Japan. Anime thus both celebrates difference and transcends it. Creating a new kind of artistic space that remains informed and enriched by modes of representation that are both culturally traditional and representative of the universal properties of the human imagination. (pp. 33-34)

As Napier suggests, the denial (Iwabuchi, 2002; Ueno, 1999) or celebration (Levi, 1996; Schodt, 1983, 1996) of an essential “Japaneseness” within manga and anime, is part of a more complex, transnational uncertainty of manga and anime’s representations of identity, and cultural value. My project here was to show that the appreciation of manga and anime’s “Japaneseness” by some fans and scholars creates a space where new and different aesthetics and experiences are explored. The many different communities, from cultural industries, Anglo and Asian-diaspora anime fans in Australia, to Western scholars, use a variety of manga and anime forms to explore gender politics, reconstruct identity, and reiterate the cultural value of these forms.


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Clark, S. (1992). The japanese bath: Extraordinarily ordinary. In J. Tobin (Ed.), Re-made in japan: Everyday life and consumer taste in a changing society (pp. 89-105). New Haven: Yale University Press.

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[1] Most participants in the field research I conducted between 1996 and 2001 were from a number of anime clubs I had been involved with. These clubs included AJAS (Adelaide Japanese Anime Society), AnimeUNSW (Anime University of New South Wales), SAS (Sydney Anime Society), SUanime (Sydney University anime), and the anime club I initiated JAUWS (Japanese Animation University of Western Sydney). The total number of fans who participated in my field research was 64; of this, 10 were in-depth interviews with club executives and established members of the fan community, 40 were questionnaire responses, and the remaining 14 participants were part of three small group discussions (ranging from four to six people). The in-depth interviews explored fan readings and texts derived from manga and anime forms that I used to investigate the spaces fans construct to explore issues of identity and culture. The three group interviews were with new members of anime clubs and explored the discovery of anime’s ‘difference’. The questionnaire responses covered a range of issues relating to the experience of manga and anime in Australia—beyond the Sydney focus of my interviews—and also informed the general direction of the group interviews through discussing the results of the questionnaire.

[2] Seira fuku is literally “sailor clothes,” the term refers to a type of Japanese school uniform worn by many girls that resembles a Sailor outfit – such as that depicted in Sailor Moon.

Author Biography

Craig Norris recently completed his PhD at the University of Western Sydney and is currently working at Monash University’s Japanese Studies Centre researching issues related to Japanese comic books (manga) and animation (anime). As well as an interest in exploring the export of animated euphoria from Japan he also teaches in the area of communication and media studies at Monash University.

Email :: Craig.Norris@arts.