Abstract

This article explores the popular shift to a media‐ecological understanding in post‐1960s Japan. Bookending its investigation with two actual funerals held for fictional characters in 1970 and 2007, it tracks the trope of death to map the increased interlocking of media temporality and everyday temporality in intensified media capitalism. As characters attain the ability to die, they are increasingly reanimated (to die again) in other media. Death and reanimation thereby become an expression of transformations at the intersection of media‐systemic, economic, and aesthetic levels. The article concludes that death and reanimation across media channels point to a new rhythmic temporal regime. Characters are now mortal but cannot die, doomed to become eternally wandering media‐mix zombies. The article relates this media economy linked to themes of death and animation to recent discussions of capitalist animism by figures such as Michael Taussig, Achille Mbembe, and Steven Shaviro. The article then offers a brief outlook on the most recent expressions of this zombie economy in narrative tropes of time loops and alternative realities.

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