Anime’s thoughts on artificial minds and gendered bodies: from transhumanism to transindividuality

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The complex fictions appearing in mass-consumption media such as films, video games, comic books and genre literature aren’t just entertainment. They often are themselves a medium of reflection and creation where new ideas are born and those already alive are tested and transformed. When that happens, the technical specificities of a certain medium (or of a particular media ecology) can have a crucial role in determining the shape of these intellectual outcomes, which bear the mark of the place where they were produced and disseminated.
In this chapter, we take a look at the ways one specific medial milieu, that of manga, anime and their reciprocal influences and adaptations, has contributed to the ongoing discussions about transhumanism, posthumanism and the relationships between AI, embodiment, gender, and the limits of human identity
We focus on a minimal corpus consisting of four anime franchises: Ghost in the Shell (GitS), Serial Experiments Lain (SEL), Akira, and Evangelion . All of them are very influential works, recognised by critics and fans alike, and have had an enduring influence on contemporary science fiction inside and outside their immediate medial and cultural spheres. Furthermore, all of them are directly concerned not only with broader transhumanist and posthumanist ideas, but specifically with the roles that AI could play in a technological overcoming (or abandonment) of classical human identity. GitS is treated in special detail because, in our opinion, it presents the clearest instance of a questioning of the transhumanist ideals, as is NGE, which we consider a sort of contramodel of the same ideals, and an example of the notion of posthuman being used to dismantle traditional humanist/transhumanist dichotomies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication Gender in AI and Robotics
Subtitle of host publicationThe Gender Challenges from Interdisciplinary Perspective
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023

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