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This article analyses the surveillance aesthetic of Hideaki Anno’s 1998 film Love & Pop. It is proposed that the film communicates the concept of “soiveillance”—a watching (veillance) that is of one’s self (soi). What underpins soiveillance is the paranoia associated with social surveillance (Marwick 2012), specifically the self-consciousness involved in the image sharing that constructs the virtual self of the social media user (Willett 2009). With its theme of enjo kosai—or “paid-dates” between adult males and female teenagers—Love & Pop’s communication of soiveillance further illuminates the impact of one’s gender status within the social network, and the manner in which real-world patriarchy and misogyny pass into the virtual construction of selves. The methodology used to argue these points rests on a reconfigured take on the term “scopophilia” within the study of visual media. Scopophilia, rethought as a love of vision itself, aligns with Murakami’s (2000) theory of the superflat on three key points: the acknowledgment that emerging technologies have created new image-functions and image-structures that require a broadening of our theoretical vocabulary; an atemporal approach to the reading of images, such that a late-nineties film like Anno’s can provide important insights into 21st century concerns; and a recognition of intermedial convergence, which allows us to read the activity of online video sharing as a form of narrative equivalent to the sequencing of shots within a cinematic montage.
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