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Connecting the World: The Visual Lexicon and Terminology of Anime, Manga, and Fandom at Anime Expo 2014



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This presentation talks about the visual imagery and terminology used globally that has developed through fandom, anime, manga, and cosplay. Anime and manga have created a visual lexicon understand the world over. These visual cues have been shown to express emotions, concepts, and more. These visual images transcend language barriers and unite fandom. They influence our concepts of happy, sad, determination, evil, desire, and many more. Shown will be many concepts from anime and manga to convey these emotions and concepts and explain their meanings globally. More than this will be the comparative terminology used by fans all over the world to talk about fandom, events, and cosplay. This presentation includes research from around the world featuring discussions and data from cosplayers around the world.

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Connecting the World: The Visual Lexicon and Terminology of Anime, Manga, and Fandom at Anime Expo 2014

  2. 2. INTRODUCTION • I’m Lawrence Brenner LawrenceBrennerMedia lawrencebrenner
  3. 3. INTRODUCTION • Last year I presented on The Rise of Cosplay Economy here • It has been updated, expanded and includes
  4. 4. HASTAGS FOR THE PRESENTATION • #visuallexicon • #animelexicon • #cosplaylexicon Ask your questions and keep the conversation going with these Remember I’m @lawrencebrenner Due to time constraints, I will not be able to cover everything I want to in this presentation so keep the conversation going. AX and Symposium Hashtags • #AX2014 • #AnimeSymposium
  5. 5. ANIME AND MANGA ARE GLOBAL CAUSING A GLOBAL UNDERSTANDING • In the beginning anime and manga made its way around the world, showing the same visual content across languages • Now many people around the world can now view the same programming and content simultaneously • All through streaming services • Through this all the imagery from anime and manga content was and is shared • Creating a unified visual understanding • This understanding extends to properties related to anime and manga such as videogames, figures, and other transmedia properties and creations
  6. 6. PERCEPTIONS OF EMOTIONS AND CHARACTER STATE OF MIND AND INTENTS • Innocence • Humorous Sets of Emotions • Evil • And many more
  7. 7. WHAT MAKES YOU INNOCENT? • Wide eyes with large pupils, show innocence • Experience and intent, can remove innocence
  8. 8. SHOW ME THE FUNNY: ANGER • Anger can be a form of humor The anger square, representing “cross popping” veins, is only the beginning
  9. 9. SHOW ME THE FUNNY: ANGER • Some examples of the cross • This can show the annoyance of the character even from behind
  10. 10. SHOW ME THE FUNNY: ANGER • Anger can be a form of humor
  11. 11. SHOW ME THE FUNNY: THE SWEAT DROP • Worry, comedic fear, embarrassment, all from the drop
  12. 12. SHOW ME THE FUNNY: THE SWEAT DROP • It can show things from all beings even those that would otherwise have limited expressions
  13. 13. SPARKLES OF ADMIRATION “The Sparkles of Admiration, has been passed down the Armstrong line for generations.”
  15. 15. YOU MAY BE DEFINED AS EVIL, BUT ARE YOU? • What is evil? • Evil via the visual lexicon more speaks of the intents of characters and the characteristics of their actions • Not by being something we might define as evil
  16. 16. FOR EXAMPLE: SEBASTIAN You see… I am simply…. One Hell of a butler. If you don’t watch Black Butler Sebastian is a demon.
  17. 17. “I'M JUST KILLING THE SPIDERS TO SAVE THE BUTTERFLIES.” THE ASPECTS OF EVIL • Eyes • Since anime and manga place much emphasis of the eyes and face, lots can be determined • Now remember, this shows the “evil intents” of the character, not necessarily if they are evil themselves • Usually though in more serious works these are evil characters
  23. 23. DEATH, LIFELESS, AND EMPTINESS See the death and emptiness, loss of will It can also show mind control
  24. 24. SHOCK AND HORROR Humorous Shock and Horror True Horrible Shock and Horror A humorous look Small eyes, a look of terror
  25. 25. KAMPAI! DRINKING IN ANIME AND MANGA Notice the red sections under the eyes as they drink and become drunk. You see the styling you know they have been drinking.
  26. 26. IDENTIFICATION FROM SILHOUETTE Who’s that Pokemon? Many characters can be identified via silhouette or elements combined
  27. 27. SYMBOLS CAN SAY EVERYTHING • These can speak of the heroes, villains, organizations • This is more commonly seen in American media, but there is plenty of it in anime and manga
  28. 28. COSPLAY IS ITS OWN VISUAL LEXICON • When you see a character, you know who it is • Many characters, especially popular ones, have distinctive looks and features • These can be from all forms of media (anime, comics/manga, toys, games, etc) • Combinations with popular concepts, can also create new and yet still easy to identify variants
  29. 29. COSPLAY IS ITS OWN VISUAL LEXICON • Mukokuseki is common in anime and manga • It literally means "stateless" (i.e. "without nationality") • Think about every series not based in “our world” and some that are, what characters identifies as from anywhere? What’s Japanese about anyone here? Visual elements define the characters, the story tells their origins
  30. 30. COSPLAY IS ITS OWN VISUAL LEXICON • How about Anime Expo 2014’s Cosplay Guests? • If you did not know what country they were from could you guess? (Just from cosplay photos) Giada is from Italy Doremi and Tasha are from Korea Giada TashaDoremi The world is global now and anyone can be from anywhere. This means that characters are awesomely cosplayed all over the world by all.
  31. 31. COSPLAY IS ITS OWN VISUAL LEXICON • The story determines where the character is from • Visual elements of the character, such as hair, style(s), outfit(s) determine the visual recognition of the character Both are Mai Shiranui From King of Fighters The iconic look, the colors and outfit and hair make Mai Iamajahaha as Mai (right) An official character design (right)
  32. 32. COSPLAY IS ITS OWN VISUAL LEXICON: ART ADAPTIONS • Visual elements of the character, such as hair, style(s), outfit(s) determine the visual recognition of the character • Created fan art versions keep these elements and the character is easily recognized Yaya Han as the Art Nouveau version of Chun-Li designed by Kim Razvan Courtney Visit Yaya at 920/922 An Official Character Design
  33. 33. COSPLAY IS ITS OWN VISUAL LEXICON: ANTHROPOMORPHISM AND MASHUPS Jaime Poison as Hipster Ariel Jessica Nigri as Captain Teemo Saiyan Homer The combination of elements makes each part of the mashup identifiable. Visit Jessica at Sentai Filmworks (1301) Crop Top by Adorkable Apparel
  34. 34. COSPLAY IS ITS OWN VISUAL LEXICON: ORIGINAL VARIANTS • Visual elements of the character, such as hair, style(s), outfit(s) determine the visual recognition of the character • Original Variant Versions Combine Concepts such as Christmas and Bring Them To The Character • This is slightly different than a mashup and is more about the elements of concepts and characters combined • On occasion these sometimes are thought of by fans as an official variant (such concepts are seen official figures/art often) Christmas Jinx by Kinpatsu Cosplay Official Jinx Art and Skins
  35. 35. COSPLAY IS ITS OWN VISUAL LEXICON: GENDERBENDS KO Cosplay as Death the Kid Miggy Jagger as Liz Thompson Notice the elements of Death the kid, the hair, clothes, and logo And of the Thompson Sisters
  36. 36. COSPLAY IS ITS OWN VISUAL LEXICON: FASHIONS FROM FANDOM Evangelion Dresses by Han Solo Dress • Elements of characters become part of everyday wearable fandom fashions. • Multiple small business and parts of large businesses exist based on creating fandom and cosplay-inspired fashions. • Her Universe has lines of licensed fashions called “Everyday Cosplay” Urban Mermaid Crop Top (seen above)
  37. 37. FANDOM CON CONCEPTS • The terms for conventions vary around the world. • Cons, festival, expo, and especially by event name (after all you call many things by brand name) • The characters and concepts are global • Cosplay is global, cosplay photoshoots are global • Cosplayers have international friends and fanbases • So is the concept of cosplay print sales, fandom product, sales • As are visiting international conventions
  38. 38. SOCIAL ICONOGRAPHY AND PLATFORMS • The terms for conventions vary around the world. • Cons, festival, expo, and especially by event name • The services we connect to them on that is the most important • These are the global social media networks • They connect the sources of fandom and connect fans together • Further creating, expanding, and connecting the lexicon

Editor's Notes

  • These are the hashtags for the presentation. I have limited time so I will not be able to cover everything
  • How did anime and manga cause a global understanding? It was through the exposure it had with international audiences.
  • Anime and manga have provided many visual aspects into various emotional states and intentions of characters. In many anime and manga this is emphasized though visual accent, where the emotions are made more clear through visual iconography
  • We will talk more about intents later, but as you can see much lies within the eyes.
  • You see this square, what does it mean?
  • It can tell you what a character is thinking even from behind, the visual aspect lets people know even more clearly
  • White eyes and sharp teeth, but very comical in look. This is the funny anger, more between friends and main characters as opposed to actual real rage that can be associated with power, righteousness, and evil. This the comical anger.
  • This expands their range of visual emotions to the audience, and well with characters and things such as Alphonse who has limited expressions. These exaggerated marks let readers and viewers know more clearly what their character is thinking, especially when they have limited expressiveness.
  • Also known as a Bishe Sparkle this shows the sparkles of admiration usually companied by attraction and determination. Usually these sparkles are external but they also appear in eyes as well.
  • Nosebleeds are a common sight when you see, aspects of lust, etc It is a visual element seeing their love or lust. Seeing this across anime and manga you know what it means
  • As I have said before many things are dependent on the eyes of a character
  • See the narrow pupil and the sharp individualized teeth.
  • See the large pupil, unified teeth, looks defined through innocence
  • This image, perhaps one of the most used memes, also shows evil intent. The lack of the ability to see the eyes, only a menacing powerful glow.
  • I’m sure we remember Professor Souichi Tomoe, the eyes and this menacing smile being a way to see his evil
  • Glowing eyes vary in color, but are normally surrounded by darkness, making the eye the emphasis
  • These eyes usually have a loss of the sparkle, on occasion this can show mind control.
  • Shock and horror comes in two forms, the humorous and the horrible. The eyes and expressions show the differences
  • In many cases characters can also be identified by silhouette and various aspects put together from silhouette
  • You see symbols you know the series
  • Mukokuseki Mukokuseki is the use of ambiguous racial features in anime, with characters having traits like wide eyes, light skin, great stature, and various hair colors. It literally means "stateless" (i.e. "without nationality"), though the term relates to more abstract anime and is used for hyperbole in this case. What looks Japanese of anyone you see here? What identifies anyone to be of any nationality? I’m reminded of the of the presentation from Ambasador Takamasi Sakurai where we asked the audience to guess what country each cosplayer was from.
  • I’m reminded of a presentation given by Ambassador Takamasi Sakurai where he asked the audience to identify what country each cosplayer was from his pictures. No one could correctly guess any of the countries, because cosplay is a unifying, global art. Here is the presentation from the Ambassador:
  • Both are Mai Shiranui from King of Kighters.
  • The elements of the character create Chun-Li. The hair style, the wrist guards with spikes, all make this design and costume easily identifiable as Chun-Li.
  • By taking elements and combining elements the characters become identifiable as the mix of concepts identifiable as the sum of their elements. This includes mashups of everything and more which cross genres and property such as Saiyan Homer.
  • Original variants you can think of are things such as burlesque, sexy, steampunk, and here with Christmas Jinx by Kinpatsu-Cosplay. Now these original variants are something that are commonly seen in anime figures and this has extended into DC figures, such as with the Ame-Comi line, Kotobutiya , and many other official variants
  • By taking elements and combining elements the characters become identifiable as the mix of concepts identifiable as the sum of their elements, this keeps the characters identifiable
  • Cosplay has also inspired everyday wearable fashions. Many small and large businesses have many elements that involve what Her Universe calls “Everyday Cosplay” these elements take aspects of iconic characters and cosplay and turn them into everyday fashions.
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