If you’re reading this article to find out how you can turn your love of Dragon Ball Z into a college scholarship, you’ll unfortunately have to look elsewhere. But if you’re interested in finding serious critiques of issues in anime, you’ve come to the right place. While anime criticism is still a burgeoning field in the west, there are some writers out there who have given it their best shotand the results are fascinating.A pricey but recommended collection is Cinema Anime edited by Steven T. Brown (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006, 53 list price). This tome looks at works as diverse as Serial Experiments Lain, a dark series tackling the increasing ways in which communication is being superseded by technology; the works of Satoshi Kon, who produced works dealing with the blending of fantasy and reality and what defines identity; and works featuring cyborgs.Anime and Philosophy edited by Josef Steiff and Tristan D. Tamplin (Open Court, 2010, 20 list price) is part of the Popular Culture and Philosophy series. In this book, writers point out the important questions that directors have tackled in works like Dragon Ball Z, Ghost in the Shell, and Spirited Away, and also attempt to offer some possible answers. For those who never thought that cartoons could focus on the important issues of death, love, and how to define the soul, this book is a welcome starting point for exploration. While the films are discussed in detail, you can simply stay one step ahead of the book and be exposed to a long list of classics.Susan J. Napier offers up Anime from Akira to Howl’s Moving Castle: Experiencing Contemporary Japanese Animation (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005 Updated Edition, 22 list price). Napier goes through a number of different anime genres, illustrating each with examples from different seminal works. Again, this book will offer up a number of titles to check out if you’ve never been exposed to a particular genre, or even to the medium. However, the real pleasure of the book comes from seeing how different themes transcend individual works, and how these works create a dialogue that gives a greater picture of modern Japanese culture. In many cases, this culture is also tied into increasing globalization, so such works also offer relevant food for thought for American audiences.An interesting perspective on the trend is offered in Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture Has Invaded the U.S. by Roland Kelts (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007, 17 list price). Kelts discusses not only what themes define anime, but how they became so pervasive, and why they attract Westerners so much. He ties the transgressive nature of many anime works to the differences between American and Japanese cultures and the historical events which resonate within them. Whether you’re an anime fan or are just interested in what drives them, this book is a wonderfully useful resource.