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This 10,000 word monstrosity that has been consuming my life for a month is finally done. Done enough for me to let it be for a while, at least.
I present: The Multiplying Horror Girl in Contemporary Japan, an examination of a contemporary trope in Japanese popular media including Ringu, Tomie, Parasite Eve, and of course, Kyarypamyupamyu.
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And my “multiplying horror girl” paper thus nears its conclusion.
“This virality—the capacity for rapid, extensive multiplication in which the infected becomes a vector for further infection—functions on the level of both content and form in examples like the Ring media mix. In terms of content, Sadako and her curse take the form of a virus, one that infects the viewer of the videotape and instills within them a literally life-or-death urge to pass it on and thus contribute to its multiplication. In terms of form, Sadako and the Ring went “viral” in a way that prefigures the contemporary sense of the term: that is, upon the release of the movie in 1998, Sadako and the Ring narrative became hugely popular and ubiquitous in Japan and eventually worldwide, prompting their making and remaking into one medium after another (films, television series, manga, videogames, theme parks and so on), continuing on until today. Much like how the enormously successful merchandising strategy of the Pokémon franchise was not only reflected within but strengthened by the in-game narrativization of endless consumption (“Gotta catch ‘em all!”), the Ring franchise’s core concept of virality provided both the model and impetus for a proliferation largely driven by word-of-mouth, the consumer functioning as the vector.”