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TEMPORAL CONFUSION AND IMMATURE STATES IN APOCALYPTIC ANIME

Aurora Zhang
Japans post-war cinema frequently contain apocalyptic themes, a phenomenon which many critics

attribute to its unique traumatic experience with the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In

this essay, I examine three anime which employ traditional tropes and images of apocalypse originating at the

site of the immature child, both literally and metaphorically. The consequence of such an intimate apocalypse

is the creation of multiple temporalities residing in one location; the child becomes a site for both growth and

termination, evolution and regression, creation and destruction. The mechanism of these superimposed

temporalities is key to understanding each animes attitude towards apocalypse: the frenetic, forward looking

catharsis of Akira, the ominous, backwards-looking horror of Shinsekai Yori, and the vaguely hopeful

humanism of Puella Magi Madoka Magica.

Perhaps one of the earliest and most compelling visions of apocalypse in science-fiction anime arose

from Otomo Katsuhiros 1988 film Akira. Akira, in all its frenetic glory, revels in apocalypse as a necessary

catharsis of pent-up frustration. The temporal confusion of the images presented through its landscape and

its children reinforces Akiras imagination of the new world as ahistorical, nonlinear, and constantly on the

verge of upheaval.

The film opens with an overhead shot of a black and white dome of light emerging from the center

of Tokyo, which then grows to consume and destroy the entire city. This scene references the nuclear horror

of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, yet notably the explosive weapon is portrayed not as a destructive force rained

down upon the city from the sky but rather emerging from within the center of the city itself. Thomas

Lamarre refers to Akiras bomb as a psychic bomb, which simultaneously recalls the destruction unleashed

by the earlier atomic weapons of 1945 and qualitatively differs [from the atomic bombs] in that the psychic

bomb resides within the mind of a child.1 Thus, as Lamarre theorizes, viewers are unable to determine

whether to sympathize or to feel terror at the prospect of this bomb. Akira is rife with such paradoxes,

superimposing images of the intimate, the origin, on the impersonal, horrific, and terminal.


1
Lamarre, Thomas. "Born of Trauma: Akira and Capitalist Modes of Destruction." positions: east asia cultures
critique 16.1 (2008): 131-156. Project MUSE. Web. 5 Nov. 2015.

Akiras narrative centers upon an adolescent boy with an inferiority complex, Tetsuo, who is taken

by the government and engineered to have psychokinetic abilities. The film follows Tetsuos subsequent

descent into madness and destructive use of his powers against the oppressive forces of the government. In

his rebellion, Tetsuo eventually loses control over his psychokinetic abilities and mutates into a grotesque

amalgamation of flesh and metal resembling an immense baby. At the end, the titular Akira is awakened, and

it is revealed that Akira was the first psychokinetic government experiment that caused the initial psychic

explosion in the beginning of the film. Akira takes Tetsuo away to another dimension, as Tetsuo explodes

into an expanding dome of blindingly brilliant light, leaving the city behind in ruins. Kaneda, Tetsuos old

friend, is brought into the inside of the light dome which seems to be a manifestation of Tetsuos and Akiras

memories. It is in the sublimity of the final moments of the movie that Tetsuo finally reaches a state of

release, an emotional catharsis before he is spirited away to another realm, presumably to be the narcissistic

god of a newly birthed universe.

The visual elements in Akira consist of frequent references to multi-temporal spaces. Set in a

dystopian Neo-Tokyo filled with corruption, Akiras setting is reminiscent of the towering, technologized

structures of modern Tokyo. Shots utilizing non-perspectival camera angles give the city a sense of

labyrinthine immensity, a bustling metropolis rife with images of excess. In Neo-Tokyo, the space resulting

from the very first psychic explosion is represented as a large crater, on top of which is built a grand Olympic

dome in which scientists conduct research. Lamarre comments upon this image as a mirrored visual of

destruction and creation in the same space. Similarly, the other children brought in as government subjects in

Akiras day are depicted in the film as being grotesquely wizened, blue-skinned, primary-aged children.

Frequently associated with the motif of childrens toys, these espers take on the appearance of both old age

and young child, confusing temporal representations of the body. Susan Napier analyzes the Tetsuos

evolution in the same way. At the height of Tetsuos godlike abilities, as he is finally about to declare his

ultimate victory, he suddenly loses control of his body. Referring to his mutation as an intimate apocalypse,
Napier comments upon the simultaneous references to birth and death in Tetsuos final moments: at the

moment of his death, he transforms into a mass of pink flesh resembling a huge baby.2

The temporal confusion, along with the postmodern setting and frantic soundtrack, has been widely

analyzed by critics as a feverish celebration and cathartic escape from historical, political, and economic

identity. In this deeply postmodern landscape, as Napier notices, all traces of historical identity have been

erased. Napier claims that Tetsuos unhappy antiheroism represents a form of all-out adolescent resistance

to an increasingly meaningless world in which oppressive authority figures administer rules simply to continue

in power. Akira seeks with a manic desperation to escape the constraints of temporality and history to find

the possibility of something new. Furthermore, the superimposed temporalities both within the child and in

the landscape contribute to the films representation of the restlessness of time. Its as if time itself isnt

merely cyclical or linear; it bleeds into itself in its confusion and desire to race forwards. Akira presents all

these elements with lustful pleasure, a visual exhilaration in destruction and rebirth. The narrative pacing, as

well as the temporal and visual confusion, restlessly races forwards towards its inevitable conclusion. When

the release of energy finally occurs, the viewers are finally able to get an intimate glimpse into Tetsuos and

the espers pasts and their motivations. The blinding burst of light that accompanies this death and rebirth is

what Freda Freiburg refers to as the idea of the nuclear sublimethe final catharsis necessary for Tetsuo to

achieve liberation.3 And the post-apocalyptic world in its aftermath, as Lamarre argues, rebuilds itself into

greater, more oppressive capitalist-industrialist structures that await the next psychic explosion.4

The idea of children as an embodiment of apocalyptic power also factors prominently in the 2012

science-fiction anime Shinsekai Yori (From the New World), based upon the 2008 Nihon SF Taisho award-

winning novel of the same name by Yusuke Kishi. Shinsekai Yori, however, is far more contemplative in tone


2
Napier, Susan J. Akira and Ranma : The Monstrous Adolescent. In Anime: from Akira to Howls Moving Castle.
New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.

3
Freiberg, Freda. Akira and the Postnuclear Sublime In Hibakusha Cinema: Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the Nuclear
Image in Japanese Film.

4
Lamarre, Thomas. "Born of Trauma: Akira and Capitalist Modes of Destruction." positions: east asia cultures
critique 16.1 (2008): 131-156. Project MUSE. Web. 5 Nov. 2015.
than Akira. Through its presentation of the multiple temporal realms inhabited by its characters and

landscape, Shinsekai Yoris rebirthed world questions the origins of developed society and human identity.

While Akira utilizes the mechanism of superimposed temporalities to frantically look forward into a future of

capitalist industrialization, the temporal multiplicities in SSY rather function as a posthuman reflection on the

fragility of societies and the ambiguity of human identity by deconstructing nostalgic sites of historical origin.

Shinsekai Yori (hereafter SSY) opens with a gruesome scene of destruction in contemporary Tokyo,

caused by the unrestrained psychic powers of an unnamed character. Two minutes in, however, the scene

switches to a peaceful vision of an evening in a rural Japanese village. Children call out to each other while

playing and rice paddies are swathed in the pink-purple light of the evening. A welcoming home song plays in

the fieldsthe Largo movement of Dvoraks New World Symphony, which becomes one of two prominent

musical themes in the animecalling the children back to their homes. The next scene depicts the main

character, Saki, undergoing an initiation ceremony in a temple reminiscent of traditional Buddhist and Shinto

religion. All the rural elements of SSYs setting: farming villages, mountains and rice paddies, and the

elements of traditional Japanese religious imagery evoke the nostalgia of furusato, or native place. Furusato

refers to Japanese nostalgia for its pre-modern, agrarian past. However, fictional representations of furusato

often craft a falsely optimistic memory for the consumption of its city-dwelling, modern Japanese audience;

that is, the agrarian societies depicted to evoke a sense of nostalgia in media and advertisement end up being

distorted representations of a cultural memory its modern Japanese audience never truly experienced.5

While SSY contains elements that appeal to historical nostalgia, these instances of supposed furusato

become increasingly more disturbing than comforting. The audience soon discovers that the seemingly

utopian society presented in the early episodes of SSY is in fact set in a post-apocalyptic far future.

Unsettlingly anachronistic technological devices appear in the childrens explorations of their village; for

example, their discovery of a false minoshiro, a restricted digital library with the appearance of a miniature

rainbow horse, causes them to access disturbing information about the history of their community. Later


5Schnell, Scott. The Rural Imaginary: Landscape, Village, Tradition in A Companion to the Anthropology of Japan.
Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2005.

episodes depict the area beyond their utopian rice-farming village as a vast desert-like wasteland swarming

with mutated fauna, visually referencing a nuclear-like holocaust that occurred in the past.

The children soon discover that they, and their entire community of psychokinetic (PK) humans, are

the remnants of humanity left over after a gruesome war between non-PK humans and PK-users. After

millennia of unrestrained human psychokinetic powers caused the destruction and mutation of the

environment, scientists devised strategies for forming a peaceful society. As PK-enabled children are the most

prone to violent behavior, any children displaying tendencies of becoming a karmic demon or fiend (both

conditions resulting from uncontrolled PK energy) are subject to execution. One of Sakis friends, Shun,

succumbs to this condition. As Shun becomes more and more unable to control the leakage of his psychic

powers, he distorts and alters his surroundings on an atomic level. When Saki visits Shun at the height of his

trauma, Shuns dog had morphed into a demonic creature with horns and fangs. His surroundings are cast in

eerie, dark and unnatural lights, and as the image zooms out the viewer sees that the entirety of his house and

the area directly surrounding it had been swallowed by a domelike white field of light. Before Shun commits

suicide to save the rest of the village from being affected by his condition, he represents a sort of nuclear

destruction on an intimate, personal level.

SSYs multiple temporalities are present both in its landscape as a jarring juxtaposition of past and

future as well as in the children who manifest apocalyptic tendencies. Ancient fantasy-like elements of the

show, such as a talking animal species called the monster rats and strange fauna, are slowly explained to

have a technological and scientific origin. The future society that arose from the traces of apocalyptic ruin

the devastated, barren landscapes and anachronistic technologyis disturbing for its strangely primal, fearful

nature. Saki learns in flashbacks of the attempts of this delicate society, predicated on the fear of children, re-

organizes itself after each violent experiment in regulating PK. So many millennia into the future, on the

verge of constant apocalypse, SSY finds a society that has seemingly regressed to a primal state, incapable of

dealing with the animalistic tendencies of its inhabitants. Civilizations origin here is anything but comforting,

and the WMD in the demonic forms of Shun and other uncontrollable children represent the same repulsive

intimacy of the psychic bomb in Akira. The audience does not know whether to sympathize with the child
and feel nostalgic about its agrarian utopia, or to be alarmed at the regression of human society to this

disturbing echo of its origin.

Perhaps the most important revelation of SSY occurs in its final episode. The last arc of the series,

depicting a war between the humans and monster rats, involves a fiend-like girl who had been abducted by

the talking monster rats from birth. The unnamed girl displays tendencies of a feral child, with little linguistic

capability, and views herself as animal rather than human. Her horrific delight in the mass slaughter of the

villagers doesnt quite achieve the universal effect of apocalypse, but the senseless killing of nearly every

named character introduced in the show reintroduces the labored cycle of reconstruction. When the monster

rat rebellion is finally stopped by Saki, Saki discovers that the monster rats are the product of the forced

genetic splicing of non-PK humans with mole rats. Humankind itself has been bifurcated into the advanced

species of human that Saki belongs to, as well as an evolutionarily inferior, animalistic species. The monster

rats are the mirror image of the PK human species, an immature representation of unevolved humanity.

In the end, SSY offers no consolation or affirmation of humanity. Instead, in the childs body, in the

evolutionary immature humans, and in the immature agrarian society, mirrored temporalities of the future

and of evolutionary improvement conflate the ideas of advancement and regression in a post-apocalyptic

world. SSYs post-apocalyptic setting distorts historical nostalgia and eliminates the possibility for a stable

origin through its confused temporalities.

Gen Urobuchis Puella Magi Madoka Magica (2011) returns to a modern metropolitan landscape as its

center of focus. Puella Magi Madoka Magica (hereafter Madoka) is a magical girl series widely known for its

deconstruction of standard magical girl tropes through its genre-defying, darkly psychological elements.

Madokas temporal complexity and ultimate apocalyptic apotheosis is not a catharsis in the sense that Tetsuos

apotheosis represents cathartic relief from oppressive power structures. Rather, Madokas self-generated

apocalypse succeeds by defying the expectations of immature wish-making and adolescent narcissism placed

upon her because of her age and gender. At the same time Madoka Magica critiques the cycles of despair and

fragmented identity in an impersonal, technological world dominated by an oppressive authority figure, it

offers somewhat of a way out. Whereas Akira and SSY consist of superimposed temporalities pointing to
either the future or the past, Madoka presents what Motoko Tanaka describes as a spiral-like progression of

time.6 Its characters are caught up in an endless cycle of adolescence and despair, but through the humanistic

hope of selfless relationships and responsibility, there exists the possibility for a subtle betterment in each

cycle.

Madokas initial setup plays into all the expectations of the magical girl genre. In a magical girl series, a

mysterious, cute, pet-like figure offers an unsuspecting young protagonist an opportunity to transform into a

magical girl. Once the protagonist agrees, she joins a legion of other magical girls and learns to balance the

demands of daily life with her magical duties to fight against evil. The protagonist then matures throughout

the course of the narrative and comes to terms with her own identity and self-esteem, following the arc of a

traditional feminine bildungsroman. In Madoka Magica, the protagonist Kaname Madoka first encounters a

mysterious transfer student who turns out to be a magical girl, Akemi Homura, and a mysterious, cute bunny-

like talking creature, Kyubey. Kyubey offers to make Madoka a magical girl who fights off witches in her

city in exchange for a wish. Not being sure what to wish for, Madoka decides to wait. As the series

progresses, she slowly begins to discover the consequences of becoming a magical girl. The magical girls are

trapped in a state of eternal adolescence, as their soul becomes severed from their bodies upon making the

deal. Many of these girls casually, and unknowingly, throw away their lives in exchange for selfish wishes.

When these girls are driven to despair, oftentimes through adolescent angst, their souls become corrupted

and they transform into the very witches that they fight. Eventually, Kyubeys true motives are revealed:

Kyubey is part of an advanced, alien species, using unexplained technology to harvest the energy created

through the girls transformations into witches in order to prevent the eventual entropy death of the universe.

Such a motive to the humanist and empathetic Madoka seems to be incomprehensible.

Throughout the course of the series, the narrative slowly shifts in tone, and it is revealed that Madoka

herself is at a center of multiple linear timelines. The audience discovers that Madoka had been a magical girl

in a previous timeline and had been best friends with Homura. At the end of her fight with an immensely


6
Tanaka, Motoko. Apocalyptic Fiction after 1995: Sekai-kei Works in Apocalypse in Contemporary Japanese Science
Fiction. P.111-134

powerful witch, Madoka was killed. And Homura, in a moment of despair, wishes to be the one to protect

Madoka from deatha selfish wish which would allow her to be with Madoka forever. Time after time again,

Homura rewinds the timeline after being unable to prevent Madokas death, enslaving them both to a state of

stagnancy and eternal adolescence. Madoka becomes the center of repeated and frantic rebirths. As the entire

state of the magical girl system is based upon Kyubeys expectation of girls making selfish wishes and then

falling into despair, Madoka is eventually able to defy these expectations and escape the cycle by making a

thoroughly selfless wish to personally erase all witches from all possible timelines. In a visually stunning scene

of destruction, Madoka is consumed by the sublimity of blinding light, and her psyche explodes in a visual

representation of her soul acquiring all the darkness and despair of the universe. The hybrid witch-god form

of Madoka, now unrecognizable as human, is shown to consume the city, the earth, and the galaxies, birthing

a completely new universe. Tellingly, the post-apocalyptic world that the anime briefly depicts afterwards is

not the utopia Madoka may have imagined. Kyubey still exists, as do magical girls who fight demonsthe

only vague hope for redemption is the fact that the disembodied, god-like Madoka assimilates all magical girls

upon death instead of watching them turn into witches.

A definitive characteristic of sekai-kei (world-type) anime, as discussed by Tanaka, is the deeply

personal aspect of their apocalypse.7 At the center of Madokas narrative is the relationship between Homura

and Madoka, which grows in time to resemble a sekai-kei anime relationship.8 The mini-apocalypses triggered

each time by Homuras lovingly selfish despair and desire to recapture the past prevents either of them from

achieving genuine maturity or growth. Their eternal adolescence, and the eternal adolescent state of magical

girls as a whole, represents a form of immaturity. When combined with the terminal status of apocalypse, this

immaturity creates an eternally-looping temporal cycle of birth and death without any hope for improvement.

This state is almost even more hopeless than the post-apocalyptic industrial frenzy of Akira or the origin-


7
Tanaka, Motoko. Apocalyptic Fiction after 1995: Sekai-kei Works in Apocalypse in Contemporary Japanese Science
Fiction. P.111-134

8Shamoon, Deborah. The Superflat Space of Japanese Anime in Asian Cinema and the Use of Space: Inderdisciplinary
Perspectives. Routledge, 2014. p.97-106
questioning nature of SSY; Homuras adolescent despair causes an endless, stagnant cycle of temporal

repetition. Tanaka analyzes the deeply personal focus of many sekai-kei anime, starting with the tradition of

Neon Genesis Evangelion in the 1990s, as reflective of the nihilism and immaturity of Japanese youth in the

postwar era.

Despite being a deeply personal narrative, Madokas qualified success contains a critical discovery

related to Thomas Lamarres discussion on Japanese anime and technology. Lamarre references both Hayao

Miyazakis Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind and Hideaki Annos Nadia to analyze animes relation to

Heideggers proposal that in a new world governed by technology, humanity becomes a standing reserve to

be used by technology.9 In Madoka, similarly to Nadia, alien species with advanced technological prowess have

control over humanity in a way such that humanity, specifically young girls, becomes a standing resource for

the motives of technological advancement (in this case, Kyubeys innovative ways of preventing the

universes eventual heat death). The magical girls use of this technology leads them a state of inevitable

despair and fragmented identityin a way, Madokas use of magical powers and despair can be read as a

similar allegory of Japanese youths entrapment by the impersonal, selfish forces of technological

advancement. This time, however, its not the callous and industrialized politicians and scientists of Akira, but

rather a cutesy creature manifest in Kyubey. This offers a disturbing take on what constitutes the enslaving

technological authority of the 21st century: a culture of technologized kawaii (cuteness) and narcissistic desire.

But Madoka offers a sliver of hope at the end. Although Madokas post-apocalyptic world is still plagued by

demons and despair, it offers a tenuous hope of moving beyond one morally corrupt set of universal rules

towards a vaguely better one. And it is in this personal triumph that Madoka achieves a qualified success in its

relation to the futurea vision of a new relation to technology by utilizing it for universal, selfless benefit,

symbolized through a girls emergence from a state of eternal adolescence.


9Lamarre, Thomas. Inner Natures in The Anime Machine. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2009.
p.166-183


Akira, SSY, and Madoka present three modes of apocalypse linked through a common temporal

confusion. Each of these anime juxtaposes visions of immaturity, most notably the child, with images of

apocalypse to characterize the multi-temporal states of each post-apocalyptic world. Akiras superimposed

temporalities visually depict the restless pace of the consistent destruction and reconstruction of the world. At

the sites of previous destruction reside mirror images of even greater industrial growth, and it is from this

endless industrial and technological orgy that Tetsuo rebels and ascends to a new world. Shinsekai Yori, on the

other hand, juxtaposes imagery of an appropriated historical nostalgia with imagery of post-apocalyptic ruin

to question the origins of developed society. SSYs child weapon conflates evolution and regression, and in

the process corrupts the notion of a pure origin point of human identity. Finally, in a manner similar to many

sekai-kei works, Madoka Magica moves the apocalypse to the intimate and personal space of adolescent

relationships. The temporally cyclical, eternal adolescence of magical girlhood, by way of Madokas selfless

sacrifice, achieves the hope of moving forwards in a spiral-like fashion, with the vague hope for betterment in

each rebirth. Through each, the catharsis of apocalyptic rebirth provides of a mode of reckoning with

cultural, social, and human identity in the modern world.


Annotated Bibliography
Freiberg, Freda. Akira and the Postnuclear Sublime In Hibakusha Cinema: Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the
Nuclear Image in Japanese Film.
Freiberg discusses the sublime nature of the apocalypse as a form of catharsis for a new generation
of Japanese. Akira represents the science-fiction that Japanese media used to relieve their new
postmodern anxieties about living in a high-tech, dehumanized world. Tetsuos newfound power
allows him to destroy the oppressive power he had been living under and to enable a rebirth much in
the vein of Buddhist notions of cyclic reincarnation. This catharsis resonates with modern Japanese
audiences.

Napier, Susan J. Akira and Ranma : The Monstrous Adolescent. In Anime: from Akira to Howls Moving
Castle. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.
Napier discusses the adolescent body as a center of metamorphosis. She reads Tetsuos
transformation as a possible reflection of Japans anxiety about its growing international power.
Tetsuos mutations physically represent his adolescent rebellion in the face of government control.
The paper includes a discussion on power and control, in which Tetsuos growing power is able to
suppress the controlling forces of the government which experiments on him. However, in the end,
Tetsuo is unable to control himself. Napier frames this discussion through the lens of body horror.
His mutations are visual expressions of his own adolescent angst.

Napier, Susan J.. Panic Sites: The Japanese Imagination of Disaster from Godzilla to Akira. Journal of
Japanese Studies 19.2 (1993): 327351. Web...
Napier compares and contrasts postwar representations of disaster, and particularly how Akiras
representation of apocalypse differs from earlier films such as Godzilla and Nihon chinbotsu. Rather
than memorializing history as do the two latter films, Akira celebrates its departure from history and
revels in the unrestrained joy of fragmentation and destructiona celebration of the fragmented
nature of postmodern identity. Napier also discusses the films commentary on adolescent angst and
the alienation of outsiders by Japanese society.

Napier, Susan J. Waiting for the End of the World: Apocalyptic Identity. In Anime: from Akira to Princess
Mononoke. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2001.
Napier constructs a continuum of apocalyptic anime, starting from the optimistic vision of Nausicaa,
to the cathartic celebration of Akira, then to the nihilistic destruction in Legend of the Overfiend and the
solipsistic nausea of Evangelion. She investigates the way each apocalypse brings about a revelation and
depicts human transgression against nature. By analyzing the way each anime functions as a product
of its era, Napier claims that this apocalyptic mode of media is critical to understanding modern
Japanese identity. I draw frequently upon Napiers argument that Akira is a surrealist spectacle and a
celebration of the possibility of rebirth.

Schnell, Scott. The Rural Imaginary: Landscape, Village, Tradition in A Companion to the Anthropology of
Japan. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2005.
Schnell argues that although modern Japan is associated with urbanization and technology, Japans
cultural identity is still perceived as being rooted in the rural traditions of its past. Schnell in particular
investigates the historical and economic development of rice-growing villages as they transitioned
into the modern era. Schnell briefly discusses the idea of the rural imaginary as the furusato
(hometown nostalgia) that many modern Japanese seek through local tourism of rice paddies and
farming villages, even if they had never grown up in a rural farming community.

Shamoon, Deborah. The Superflat Space of Japanese Anime in Asian Cinema and the Use of Space:
Inderdisciplinary Perspectives. Routledge, 2014.
Shamoon begins by analyzing the way Puella Magi Madoka Magica transcends expectations of its genre,
placing it into the category of sekai-kei works despite being initially advertised to be a magical girl
anime. Shamoon also comments upon the superflat spaces found in Japanese anime, and particular
the superflat artistic style of Madoka. She argues that the art style and the portrayal of phallic girls in
Madoka cause it, despite is dark and apocalyptic themes, to play into the fantasies of otaku.

Lamarre, Thomas. "Born of Trauma: Akira and Capitalist Modes of Destruction." positions: east asia cultures
critique 16.1 (2008): 131-156. Project MUSE. Web. 5 Nov. 2015.
Lamarre analyzes Otomo Katsuhiros vision of the cycle of destruction and reconstruction as a result
of the apocalypse. His paper is also where I draw the term psychic bomb, a bomb which viewers
are unsure how to respond to because it simultaneously acts as a weapon of mass destruction but
also resides in the mind of a child. Lamarre makes note of the economic development of the post-
apocalyptic neo-Tokyo and concludes that the apocalypses that occur as a result of the psychic bomb
spur the rebuilding of greater and greater cities.

Lamarre, Thomas. Inner Natures in The Anime Machine. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2009.
p.166-183
In his close readings on Hideaki Annos Nadia and Hayao Miyazakis Castle in the Sky, Lamarre makes
an argument about how each of these anime relate to Heideggers proposal about a new relation to
technology. Heidegger claims that in a new era of technology, humankind has become a standing
reserve, a resource, in relation to technological advancement. Whereas Castle in the Sky offers the
hope of a shojo savior to establish a freer relationship to technology, Nadias world is predicated on
the inevitability of Heideggers vision of modernity.

Rachitovitsky, Daniel. Tracing the Japanese Gothic in Madoka Magika with Blood: The Estrangement,
Abjection, and Sublime Erasure of the Spectralised Mah Shjo Exemplum
Rachitovitsky examines the influence of the Japanese Gothic tradition in Madoka, claiming that it
examines the psyche of magical girls in order to expose the paradox and pathology underlying it.
The artistic imagery of Madoka Magica visually symbolize the psychological trauma caused on the girls
by their transformation into magical girls.

Tanaka, Motoko. Apocalyptic Fiction after 1995: Sekai-kei Works in Apocalypse in Contemporary Japanese Science
Fiction. P.111-134
Tanaka analyzes the significance of apocalyptic sekai-kei works, especially after Evangelion. He
proposes the idea that sekai-kei apocalypses, often closely related to the personal struggles of its
adolescent protagonists, hold the characters in a stagnant state of permanent adolescence. They are
unable to mature or grow. However, other works in the same era offer a possibility of a spiral-like
cycle of rebirththat is, through an adolescents assumption of responsibility in relationships, the
worlds that are rebirthed cycle subtly upwards in a hope for betterment.

Filmography
Akira, 1988
From the New World (), 2012-2013
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (), (1984)
Puella Magi Madoka Magica (), 2011