Works of anime, manga/manhua, gaming and related forms of popular culture contain, interpret, and are in turn embodied and informed by sound and music. Sound and the audiation of sound is an ever-present aspect of the consumption of media — even the lack of sound creates its own soundscapes. Music, instrumental, vocal, electronic, and even implied, color the ways that audiences interact with characters and storylines in conscious and even unconscious ways. The study of soundtracks and the ways that they assist in telling these many and multi-layered stories, however, is just one of the branches of inquiry into the ways that sound influences their understanding and reception. Fan-based art such as Vocaloid and DTM creations through the software of Niconico have expanded from their musical origins into gaming and manga, AMVs and MMVs are often musically conceived to reimagine the narratives upon which they are based, fanfiction authors have increasingly listed songs and tracks that colored their creations, reception and reaction videos record perceptions of this media, and responses to all of these from internet audiences provide countless testimonies to the power of sound and memory.

This issue of Mechademia will consider sound and soundscapes, broadly conceived, as an aspect of the deeper narratives of anime, manga/ manhua, gaming, and related fields. The editors invite papers of 5000 to 7000 words revolving around critiques, musicological, socio-cultural, musico-psychological, music theory and analytical approaches, and acoustical considerations toward the investigation into the global ramifications of soundscapes.

Possible topics include:

  • Music, sound, and narrative in anime, manga, gaming, and other East Asian media, including sound effects and musical iconography
  • Musical allusions to notable compositions, performers, or genres (e.g. classical, jazz, rock, traditional folk musics)
  • Media representations of idol singers, musicians, bands
  • Composers in the contents industry
  • Original soundtracks (OSTs) in visual media and fan practice
  • Image songs, character albums, podcasts, and other tie-in audio media
  • Fan creations: AMVs, MMVs, Vocaloids, Desk Top Music (DTM) software
  • Group dances, song memes, viral music/performance phenomena
  • Links between anime otaku culture and J-Pop/K-Pop/C-Pop idols and groups
  • Voice acting, seiyû, voice-based celebrities