Animation Mythology

Explore the different mythological hero journeys that manifest in both American and Japanese animation. Learn how the different religions and mythological traditions of each culture shape the cosmology of their stories. This in turn dictates the type of journey the hero will take.

Watch my Anime Mythology Trailer below or in HD on Vimeo!

Welcome to my series of panels that examine the mythology behind both American and Japanese animated storytelling. I call them my:
Anime Mythology Presentations.

  • Learn why Americans write about Superheroes and the Japanese write about Giant Robots.
  • Explore the differences between Knights and Dragons in their Eastern and Western manifestations.
  • Explore the female hero journey as it manifests in comics and animation.

These are elaborate and humorous PowerPoint-style presentations with slides and video that explore the differences in animated and video game storytelling in Japanese and American cultures. They are fun and fascinating explorations into why we love these stories so much!

For all Booking Arrangements, please contact my agent, Arlene Thornton.


Repertoire of Presentations:

1. Giant Robots & Superheroes

In Giant Robots and Superheroes I explore why Americans tend to write about Superheroes while the Japanese tend to write about Giant Robots. By looking at the mythological roots of these two archetypal heroes, I explain how the religious traditions of each culture percolate up into their animated storytelling and create different heroes East and West. I also catalogue the spiritual evolution of the Giant Robot from its manifestation in anime in the 60’s up until the present.

2. Knights & Dragons

Knights and Dragons looks at the differences between Asian and European Dragons and how the Knight’s journey changes because of those differences. I also explore the psychological implications of Dragon and Knight imagery and how this seemingly external battle is actually occurring inside each one of us. The end of the presentation focuses on how these different archetypes manifest and are subverted in the anime, “The Vision of Escaflowne”.

3. Mystics, Priestesses & Warrior Women

Mystics, Priestesses and Warrior Women is about the hero journey from a woman’s perspective. Specifically, it looks at the different types of female hero journeys in American and Japanese animation and how there are avenues for exploring the female hero journey in the East that are unavailable in the West. These different types of female hero journeys have their basis in the different mystical religious traditions of each country. These different concepts of mysticism East and West give rise either to Magical Girl or the Princess archetypes in animation. To wrap it all up, I explore how these different archetypes manifest and are subverted in the anime, “Revolutionary Girl Utena”.

4. Sentai Teams: Elements & Alchemy

The Sentai Team presentation focuses on the different superhero team structures in America and Japan, and shows how they have their roots in the different elemental systems East and West. Through exploring the notion of the elements, and applying concepts from alchemy, we discover what makes a combining robot so powerful. I conclude the presentation with a look at one of the most mythologically sophisticated sentai anime shows of all time, “Wolf’s Rain”.

5. Evangelion: The Artist’s Psyche as Myth

My Evangelion presentation establishes a useful and coherent conceptual framework to help explain the meaning behind one of the most complicated and controversial giant robot anime shows of the late 20th Century. Overflowing with Jewish and Christian religious symbology, Neon Genesis Evangelion combines the psychological journey of its protagonist with the apocalyptic imagery of Biblical traditions. If approached from a strictly theological point of view, Evangelion’s symbolism is at best misleading and at worst nonsensical. However, by viewing it through both psychological and metaphysical lenses simultaneously, I explain how the director, Hideaki Anno, used his artistry to fuse Judeo-Christian religious imagery with his experience of clinical depression in order to create his own personal mythology.