The 22nd Annual Society for Animation Studies Conference

Gan Sheuo Hui

The Transformation of the Teenage Image in Oshii Mamoru’s Sky Crawlers

In t
his paper I examine Oshii Mamoru’s unusual portrayal of teenage characters in his recent work Sky Crawlers (2008). Oshii contrasts the adult life styles and responsibilities of these military aviators with their youth in ways that question the meaning of both childhood and adulthood. Oshii’s approach in this work will be compared to other teenager protagonists in Japanese animation, including those employed by Miyazaki Hayao. My presentation will explore how Oshii’s Sky Crawlers treats images of teenagers and their bodies in a manner that moves away from the usual treatment in anime that often employs exaggerated liveliness and romance conventions.

Biographical Statement: I am a postdoctoral fellow with the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) affiliated with Kyoto University. This paper is part of the larger book project that analyzes many of the leading figures in the anime/animation world of Japan. The goal of this book is to produce a combination of essays on these animators together with original interviews, to provide a critical and analytical investigation of the complexity and diversity of Japanese animation. Discussions of famous figures like Miyazaki Hayao and Oshii Mamoru are included along side analyses of other prominent animators, who have often been neglected by the mass media despite their significant careers and contributions.