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The cyborg-other : Japan’s animated images of sex, gender, and race Knowles, Alison Michelle


Using a semiotic reading of gender codes and Donna Haraway's cyborg theory, this paper is a study of the image of the cyborg through Japanese animated films and by extension a study of Japan through the cyborg. In such animated films as "Ghost in the Shell" (Oshii Mamoru, 1995), "Battle Angel" (Fukutomi Hiroshi, 1993), and "Neon Genesis Evangelion" (Anno Hideaki, 1996) the cyborg characters present new images of a hybrid cyborg-sexuality, cyborg-gender, and cyborg-race. The cyborg is a being in science fiction, as well as in cutting-edge science and technology, that is a combination of organic and cybernetic. The cyborg destroys the boundary between human and machine, by its very definition, and other boundaries by its use and interpretation. Japan has many images of the cyborg and metal-merged bodies in animated films and comic books. Japanese animated films and comic books show the cyborg's hybridity, as theorized by Haraway and others, in regards to sex, gender, and race. Using the cyborg image as a reflection of Japan, Japan shows hybridity in the same areas.

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