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ISBN 978-0-8126-9679-0


288 pages

Spring 2010

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Manga and Philosophy

Fullmetal Metaphysician

Edited by Josef Steiff and Adam Barkman
Volume 52 in the Popular Culture and Philosophy series

Manga have poured out from their Home Islands to occupy and colonize the Western world. Manga’s devastating weapons include riveting storylines, inspired and not always whimsical illustrations, fantastic visions on an epic scale, remorseless realism that is neither sentimental nor cynical, and unexpected insights into the agonizing predicaments of the human situation.

Manga target defenseless readers of all ages, sexes, and demographic characteristics. They range from Sailor Moon to Spirited Away, from Astro Boy to Fullmetal Alchemist, from Cowboy Bebop to Neon Genesis Evangelion, from Fruits Basket to Naruto.

Manga and Philosophy: Fullmetal Metaphysician is a toolkit for understanding manga, helpful both to seasoned otaku and to the freshly addicted. While digging out the deeper meanings of manga, Manga and Philosophy also presents essential information on the history, impact, and specialized sub-varieties of this living, breathing, rapidly proliferating species of art.

“The love of the writers for manga shines through every chapter in Manga and Philosophy, covering such diverse subjects as religion and mythology, war history, women’s comics, the meaning of adulthood, the emotion of heroism, the morality of Death Note, and of course, the work of master Osamu Tezuka (whose Black Jack is an excellent choice for discussing ethical dilemmas in the timely light of health care costs).”

—Johanna Draper Carlson, founder of and

“By linking inside knowledge with thoughtful musings, the authors of Manga and Philosophy: Fullmetal Metaphysician have produced this unique and zesty manga metaphysics. The book’s exploration of manga themes, concepts, and narratives is testimony to the diverse ways that manga can be experienced by a global fandom.”

—Laura Miller, author of Beauty Up: Exploring Contemporary Japanese Body Aesthetics and co-editor of Bad Girls of Japan

“The popularity of manga has been steadily increasing, due in part to the depth of the storylines manga presents to its readers, a depth that at times can transcend time, space, and genres. The exciting chapters of Manga and Philosophy: Fullmetal Metaphysician show some of the ways that manga has been able to achieve this depth with its framed pages.”

—Leron James Harrison, University of California, Irvine

Josef Steiff is Associate Chair of the Department of Film & Video at Columbia College in Chicago. He wrote The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Independent Filmmaking (2005) and co-edited (with Tristan D. Tamplin) both Battlestar Galactica and Philosophy: Mission Accomplished or Mission Frakked Up? (2008) and Anime and Philosophy: Wide Eyed Wonder (2010). Adam Barkman is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Redeemer University College. He is the author of C.S. Lewis and Philosophy as a Way of Life (2009) and Through Common Things (2010).

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