New media symbiosis: An analysis and remediation of voyeurism as a rhetorical tool in Akira Toriyama's “DragonBall Z”
Sutton, David E.
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The purpose of this study is to expand on Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin's work in Remediation regarding the repurposing of older, successful rhetorical tools and technologies for use in newer mediums. The study theorizes the answers to the following: Are anime voyeuristic in nature? Do they utilize an unidentified narrative voyeur to show the secret, hidden portions of character lives without the author taking a direct level of responsibility for what the audience sees and how they process it? Do the films use the voyeuristic position to preserve societal ethics? Do anime works utilize the voyeur as a tool to reveal secret pieces of information to the audience and increase immersion by persuading the audience to watch for signs that signify whether an important event has occurred? The study analyzes the remediation of voyeurism into a rhetorical tool used in Japanese anime. Analysis focuses on two major rhetorical uses for the tool: to judge ethics and to identify semiosis. Analysis begins with a close viewing of three episodes of Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball Z in which three characters commit seppuku to atone for improprieties in battle. Using internal soliloquies, observable only by the voyeur, the audience is capable of judging the merit of the characters' sacrifices. Analysis continues with a close viewing of three episodes of Dragon Ball Z that use the voyeur and semiotics to engage the reader in semiosis in order to discover whether the actions of Goku, Gohan, and Vegeta, are worthy of heroic praise. The study reveals how remediation of the rhetorical voyeur has been used to make anime works deeply immersive by revealing secret information to the audience that is necessary to determine the worthiness of seppuku or the meaning of signs. Furthermore, the argument asserts that rhetoric must study the remediated tools of the past to understand all of the available means of persuasion. Moreover, anime is a rhetorically stimulating medium, ripe with remediated rhetorical tools to explore.