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Polarizing Avalon: The European virtuosity and global virtuality of Mamoru Oshii's filmic imaginary

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This article traces Asian and transnational imaginings of Europe in Avalon, Japanese anime director Mamoru Oshii's (Ghost in the Shell) ten-years-in-themaking feature film. Like The Matrix, which successfully combined video-game culture aesthetics with Asian anime and martial-arts style, Oshii's film is similarly indebted to game culture and also spawned its own worldwide cult audience. What sets Avalon apart in this tradition is that it was filmed entirely in Poland and engages with one of the most pervasive European mythologies, the Arthurian legends. The article pursues the traces of history and memory on which the film (literally) builds its computer graphics spaces, and explores how mythological images are mobilized as a response to the problems of place in game culture, rewarding success in the game with a particular grail, one with an uncanny resemblance to a global consumerist version of the European Union.
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Keywords: Arthurian myth; European imaginaries; anime; cyberpunk; game culture; new Europe

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: York University, Canada. 2: Lingnan University, Hong Kong.

Publication date: 2006-10-09

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  • The journal aims to provide a platform for the study of new forms of cinematic practice and fresh approaches to cinemas hitherto neglected in western scholarship. It particularly welcomes scholarship that does not take existing paradigms and theoretical conceptualisations as given; rather, it anticipates submissions that are refreshing in approach and exhibit a willingness to tackle cinematic practices that are still in the process of development into something new.
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