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From Tuesday.

Thrud has a piece in this; unsurprisingly, it is about Osamu Tezuka. I recuse myself from saying what I think of it on the grounds that I proofread the thing.

The rest of it-- hm. Uneven, is the word I would use here. The good pieces can be quite good, but there is at least one piece so terrible that I have been having fantasies about hitting the author with a piece of rolled-up newspaper while just saying NO over and over again. The balance is tipped more towards the not-quite side of things, I'm afraid, but while I cannot necessarily recommend buying this, if you're interested in manga it would be worth checking out of a library. I'm not sure what to tell you if you're primarily interested in philosophy.

This book is one of a long-running series on popular culture and philosophy; its publisher has done volumes on everything from Bruce Springsteen to the iPod (Facebook and Philosophy is listed as in preparation). There is a companion volume on anime which I have not read. The series is an attempt at explanation and discussion of philosophy through the lens of whatever thing is the title of each book, and I would imagine that the success of this depends somewhat on how broad a thing that happens to be. Manga, of course, is an entire medium, which helps everything along a bit. The essays here fall into several categories: one, essays which analyze one or several manga by examining different philosophical viewpoints found in the work; two, essays which explain a philosophy (or several) by drawing examples from manga; three, essays which are perfectly reasonable manga criticism and have nothing particularly to do with philosophy; and four, essays which are sufficiently confusing or unrelated that I have no idea what they are doing here. The first two categories are clearly what the book is trying to do, the third is understandable and not only forgivable but happy-making, and the existence of the fourth troubles me.

Unfortunately, there's more than one in category four. )


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