Transnational cult and/as neoliberalism: The liminal economies of anime fansubbers

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Abstract

This article will consider how two contested terms – the ‘transnational’ and ‘cult’ – can be brought into dialogue via a focus on English-language fansubbing labour. Testifying to translation’s ‘transformative’ cultifying capacities, anime fansubbers in the West operate in an imagined space between Japan and the United States. A third space of imagination rather than transnational flow per se becomes vital here. I will expand on this by considering how anime fansubbers’ labour can be conceptualized as liminal, intersecting ‘informal’ and ‘formal’ economies whilst at the same time performing transnational cult as a neoliberal supplement to industry practices. Rather than straightforwardly enacting ‘anti-mainstream’ difference, this imagined space is potentially one of competitive entrepreneurial practice and fan-branding, suggesting that aspects of fansubbing can be aligned with neoliberalism. The implication is that we need to consider transnational cult status more significantly in relation to niche and fan distribution, where both can be commercialized and/or linked to ‘mainstream’ values of branding and entrepreneurialism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-94
Number of pages15
JournalTransnational Cinemas
Volume8
Issue number1
Early online date28 Oct 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2017

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