Daily Archives: January 9, 2013

Anime and Frye’s Theory of Modes

Pontifus, one of the bloggers at a website called Super Fanicom, has an entry devoted to a reading of the first essay of Anatomy of Criticism.  Super Fanicom is described as

a nerd media and “alternative” pop culture blog.  That usually (but not always) means anime and video games.  We tend to be less sociological and more textual—we focus on discrete shows/games rather than the producers and consumers of those things.

The blog by Pontifus, who hails from Virginia, can be found at http://superfani.com/tag/northrop-frye/  It’s entitled “Of Diebuster, structure, and the parents of gods.”  Pontifus explores the structure of Diebuster, a six‑episode video animation, by turning to Frye’s theory of modes.  He writes:

 Now, I do enjoy examining structure, probably more than I enjoy examining socio-culturo-historico-things in the usual way.  But structural nuances, I must admit after a thousand-odd words about them, are not much of a starting point, which is to say that my thoughts on a story don’t begin with the specifics of its twists and turns.  Customarily, I’ll try to attach broad identifiers to a thing, but Diebuster even makes that difficult — about which I am thrilled, as any excuse to combine Northrop Frye and mad speculation is a good one.

Another blogger at Superfanicom, Cuchlann, had previously written a five–part series on his reading of the “Theory of Modes.”  The first of these, “Adventures in Criticism pt. 1,” can be found at


The subsequent “Adventures in Criticism,” all having to do with the theory of modes, can be accessed by following the “Next Post” thread at the end of the entry. The four subsequent posts, Adventures in Criticism, pts. 2–5 can be found at the first URL given above, though the posts are in reverse order.  Cuchlann begins as something of a contrarian, but he mellows as he gets more deeply in the theory of modes.

Both Pontifus and Cuchlann appear to be aiming for a taxonomy of anime, which is doubtless a first.