Abstracts - Livia Monnet

Professor of Comparative Literature, Film and Japanese Studies, University of Montreal, Canada
Livia Monnet's profile

Affect and the Architectural Body in Studio Madhouse’s Anime Adaptation of Sōseki’s Kokoro

This presentation examines Studio Madhouse’s recent anime adaptation of Sōseki’s Kokoro, which is featured in episodes 7 and 8 of the TV anime series Aoi bungaku shirîzu (Masterpieces of Modern Japanese Literature, 2010). The series adapts well-known stories by Dazai Osamu, Sakaguchi Ango, Akutagawa Ryûnosuke and Natsume Sōseki. 

This TV anime’s interpretation of Kokoro is fairly free: episode 8, for instance, highlights K’s love for Ojō-san and his perspective on Sensei. 

Drawing on Arakawa Shûsaku and Madeline Gin’s architectural theory, this paper argues that Studio Madhouse’s anime adaptation of Sōseki (indeed, anime in general) is inherently adaptive, biotopological/ecological and procedural, and that it constructs animetic architectural bodies via architectural procedures. I also propose to show that this anime may be seen at once as an aesthetic practice of embodied cognition, and as a non- or posthuman practice of immanence. 

If Studio Madhouse’s adaptation of this novel is seen as an architectural animetic/machinic body, it becomes clear that the facial expressions, gestures, movements, verbal and non-verbal articulations of the two protagonists – Sensei and K – may be regarded at once as “architectural procedures” mobilized by the two characters to define their architectural body qua organism-person-environment – a “three-hundred-sixty- degree-around of an entity...(that)swirls ...everywhere in the vicinity of an entity that can be human or transhuman”(Arakawa and Gins) – and as “landing sites” or positionings used by the animetic image (Lamarre) to construct Kokoro as dispersed worlds or architectural surrounds. 

Reading for “the tentative constructing toward a holding in place” (Arakawa and Gins) of architectural bodies in Kokoro /in anime reveals the constitution of anime worlds as affective ecologies participating simultaneously in the actual and the virtual. As an aesthetic practice of embodied cognition – “the distribution of the ‘mind’ (cognition) throughout the body and into the environment “ (Keane) – Kokoro also foregrounds the role of abstract relationships (attention, emphasis, intuition, the production of value-based distinctions). Finally, as a practice of immanence, Kokoro calls attention to the production of the anime image as event, and as a prehension (which is always a prehension of a prehension) of the world’s intra-active becoming (Barad).