My kids are totally into Yu-Gi-Oh!. For me it’s still a very arcane and complex game and manga. Mimi Ito’s Technologies of the Childhood Imagination: Yu-Gi-Oh!, Media Mixes, and Everyday Cultural Production (PDF, 140 KB) out of Structures of Participation in Digital Culture can shed some light for adults who sneer at it.
Working with highly technologized and phantasmagoric social sites like otaku practices and the media mix for Japanese children suggests a differently inflected research imaginary for those of us who study media technology. My effort has not been to suggest that we have seen a decisive shift in technologies of the imagination, but rather to evoke an emergent set of research questions tied to the new technologies and practices of a rising generation, and to an increasingly transnational network of otaku media hackers.
Just as electronic media and globalization have forced a rereading of more traditional social-scientific concepts such as place and locality (e.g., Appadurai, 1996b; Gupta & Ferguson, 1992; Meyrowitz, 1985), media mixing* invites attention to social and cultural processes in all media, both old and new. Media mixing involves attention to a highly distributed and pervasive imaginary that spans multiple material forms, an imaginary that is massive, but not mass. In addition to an analysis of the relation between reality and text, production and consumption, media mixing also demands that we query the relation between differently materialized and located texts, exploring issues of intertextuality, multiple materialities, and a distributed field of cultural production. Perhaps most important, the media mix demands a continued attentiveness to the politics, productivity, and creativity of the everyday, as technologies of the imagination populate even the most mundane corners of our daily lives.
Other Networks: Media Urbanism and the Culture of the Copy in South Asia by Ravi Sundaram (PDF, 148 KB)