30th Annual Conference of the Center for Medieval Studies
Fordham University, Lincoln Center, New York City: March 27-28, 2010

Cecilia Ovesdotter Alm, "Gods as Kids in The Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok"

This presentation considers the cultural translation of Norse mythology into contemporary Japanese popular culture. Specifically, I examine the profiles and characterization of Norse deities in the Japanese anime The Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok (Jap. Matantei Roki - Ragnarok), an animated television series evolved from a Japanese manga or graphic novel.

Embarking from the Japanese concept of kawaii (i.e., a culture-sensitive understanding of cuteness embodied by, for instance, the Hello Kitty! merchandise) the anime's infantilization of the gods is explored in the visual, acoustic and linguistic dimensions of this multimedia text. Besides considering how Scandinavia and the Nordic region are creatively altered into a transcultural guise, the study examines the reception as the anime's divine characters reenter the West from the East.

While linking the Medieval to contemporary popular culture, this examination additionally contributes to a slowly growing body of knowledge within an understudied area deserving increased attention--the interfaces between the Japanese and the Scandinavian contexts.

 

Last modified: Oct. 13, 2009
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