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Marketing anime to a global audience: A paratextual analysis of promotional materials from Spirited Away

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This article will focus specifically on the marketing materials utilized in the Japanese and American markets for Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi (Spirited Away) (Miyazaki, 2001). That is to say, it takes a more in-depth look at the paratextual deployment of film posters and theatrical trailers. Building on the work of Rayna Denison, Keith Johnston and Eriko Ogihara-Schuck, this study delves deeper into the specific paratextual elements present within Spirited Away’s promotional ephemera. Focusing on two primary factors – branding and linguistics – the following campaign analysis examines the meaning behind the addition and elision of certain signifiers. By comparing the different versions of both posters and trailers, this article highlights areas of cultural difference, postulating that the anglophonic paratexts have undergone a process of Disneyfication. Finally, the author extrapolates the key selling points that are accentuated for both the domestic and global markets of Studio Ghibli films and then muses on the resulting hierarchy of brand networks that appear to have formed.
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Keywords: Disneyfication; Miyazaki; Studio Ghibli; anime; globalization; marketing

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of London

Publication date: April 1, 2018

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  • The East Asian Journal of Popular Culture is the first academic peer-reviewed journal for scholars, teachers, and students from around the world who have an active and passionate interest in the Popular Culture of East Asia. The journal is devoted to all aspects of popular culture in East Asia and the interplay between East Asia and the wider world. With the growth in popularity of Asian visual products in the Western world and the increasing strength of the Asian markets, this publication fulfills the need for an international journal that allows Western and Asian film, media, literary, music, fashion, digital media, television, art and cultural scholars alike to engage in discussion. In the last few decades there has been a huge rise in the interest in East Asian popular culture. The East Asian Journal of Popular Culture will be engaging directly with that trend. From film to music; art to translation and fashion to tourism, this journal will offer a forum where multidisciplinary work can come together in new and exciting ways.
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