An Investigation of the Applicability of Susan Napier’s Japanese Animation (Anime) ‘Genre Classification Model’ in Kenyan Animation
Masibo, Faithsandra Nekhonga
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This research project explored the unconventional genre practices illustrated in the Kenyan Animation industry. Some practitioners in this industry are experimenting with unconventional genre and thus lack a way to classify their films within traditional genre classification. The project investigated the applicability of Susan Napier’s Japanese Animation (Anime) Genre classification model in the Kenyan Animation industry. The films targeted for this research had to illustrate unconventional genre practices. Three films were selected purposively to illustrate their unique generic position. These were: Luanda Magere and the Witchdoctor (2015) by Mark Njoroge, Yellow Fever (2012) by Ng’endo Mukii, and Wageuzi (2012) by Andrew Kaggia. Additionally, the research went ahead and highlighted other films that illustrated unique genre practiced within the Kenyan Animation Film Industry and could be classified within Napier’s genre template. Primary data was collected through film content relational analysis using an observational guide, interviews, and Focus Groups. Focus Groups matrices were used to understand the viewers’ position on the genres of the films studied and Interview matrices to understand the Filmmaker’s perspective on the genre they practiced. Secondary data was collected through close reading in libraries, the Internet, e-books, and online discussions. Data collection was done through Audio and Audio-Visual recording devices, note taking and the use of snapshots. The research project employed Susan Napier’s Theory on Contemporary Genre Classification in the Anime Industry. Napier generalized Japanese Animation into an overall grouping of three main categories: The Apocalyptic; the Festival; and the Elegiac. The research used this model to classify unconventional genre films in the Kenyan Animation Film Industry. The research also employed the Formalism theory and engaged the theories of Theo Van Leeuwen on Semiotics and Iconography and Daniel Chandler on Genre in the study. The study illustrated that some practitioners in Kenyan Animation Industry experiment with unconventional genre. Additionally, the research illustrated how Napier’s Genre model can be employed in the Kenyan Film Industry. The study promotes further research into contemporary genre studies.