The Pure Hearted Major: on Oshii Mamoru’s Innocence

Event time: 
Tuesday, November 7, 2023 - 4:30pm to 6:00pm
Rosenkranz Hall (RKZ ), 005 See map
115 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT 06511
Event description: 

Inspired by the techno-goth style of her admired British fantast Storm Constantine, Kotani’s seventh monograph Techno-Gothic (Tokyo: Homesha Publishers, 2005) collected essays on Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Mariko O’Hara’s Ephemera the Vampire, Riche Tankersley Cusick’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the Wachowskis’ Matrix and other works, paving the way for gender-bending poetics. “The Pure Hearted Major,” the last chapter of the book, skillfully reconsidered Oshii Mamoru’s masterpiece Innocence not only as a cyborg feminist story but also as a typically techno-gothic narrative. Innocence vividly illustrates a contradiction within the organization, this time from the male cyborg’s perspective, a contradiction left undepicted in Ghost in the Shell. If the narrative of a male cyborg unable to live within a massive power apparatus without shedding tears can be seen as the most romantic of counterfeit memories, it is no mystery why Kusanagi Motoko’s command of her irregular body involves the performance of femininity. Thus, this paper, radically reconstructing Techno-Gothic from today’s perspective, attempts to explore into the potentiality of the feminist techno-gothic imagination.

Mari Kotani (1958-) is a major SF& Fantasy critic, teaching cultural studies as visiting professor of the School of Information and Communication of Meiji University from 2013 through 2015. She served as vice president of SFWJ (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of Japan) from 1999 through 2001, and also as chair of the Women Writers Committee of Japan PEN Club from 2003 through 2011. Deeply influenced by the theories such as Donna Haraway’s cyborg feminism and Marleen Barr’s feminist fabulation, Kotani’s first monograph Joseijo Muishiki (Techno-Gynesis: The Political Unconscious of Feminist Science Fiction) (Tokyo: Keiso Publishers, 1994), won the 15th Japan SF Grand Prize (SFWJ) , Japanese Nebula in 1994. Her second book Evangelion as the Immaculate Virgin (Tokyo: Magazine House, 1997) sold more than 80,000 copies and popularized the author as an authority on anime and feminism.

Her collaborations include Blood Read edited by Joan Gordon and Veronica Hollinger (Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 1997). In 2001 Kotani also helped found the Sense of Gender Award as the Japanese equivalent of the Tiptree Award. Being one of the first generation cosplayers in Japan, she also established in 2003 the annual Kotani Cup for celebrating the best cosplayer at Japanese National SF Conventions held every summer.

For more detail, please see the following website:

Mari Kotani - Literary Critic