By Neal Hebert
This weekend, to celebrate producing another 15 pages of dissertation (I'm at about 160, with all chapters save the conclusion about 60-75% done), I decided to allow myself a small reward: I started watching a new-to-me anime Attack on Titan, a Japanese animation that's made a huge critical impact on the anime enthusiasts among my group of friends. If you found the image above a bit disquieting there's a reason: Attack on Titan and its horrific imagery plays by the genre-relevant norms established throughout the past 200 years by the writers, filmmakers and animators whose work established the genre of story-telling we call horror.
I knew nothing about this cartoon going in, other than it's extremely gruesome post-apocalyptic fiction. And it was that! (DISCLAIMER: parents who have kids who love stuff like this should watch the first episode before letting their children watch!) But what made me decide to blog about this was the way this piece, directed by Tetsuro Araki, clarified aspects of Noel Carroll's theory of monstrosity advocated in Philosophy of Horror: or, Paradoxes of the Heart and, in turn, revealed how Carroll's ontology of monstrosity is something that creators can do to make monsters rather than just categorize those monsters already in existence.