These questions give us the opportunity to rethink how we understand the emergence and spread of distinctive cultural forms as something other than a game of “follow the money.” Instead, we need to follow the activity, the energy, the commitment of those who care, starting with what is most meaningful to them. Anime is instructive because it reveals the centrality of a kind of social energy that emerges in the space between people and media. For me, the soul of anime does not point to some ultimate, internal essence of the media as an object. Rather, the soul of anime points to this social energy that arises from our collective engagements through media, and as such, it gives us an alternative way to think about what is of value in media.

Condry, Ian. The soul of anime: collaborative creativity and Japan’s media success story. Durham, N.C.: Duke Univ. Press, 2013.
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