The Anime Companion 2
© Stone Bridge Press
René Walling · September 18, 2005 | When watching anime, it is easy to get lost in cultural references you aren't familiar with. This book explains them so you can enjoy your anime even more.

Mostly an encyclopaedic listing of all things uniquely Japanese, along with a reference to one or more anime or manga titles where they are referred to, The Anime Companion 2 is useful for those interested in discovering more about the Land of the Rising Sun. After all, what better way to find out about Japan than through its main cultural export?

Written in a simple, easy to understand style, the entries give enough information for the reader to have a basic idea of what things are about. All entries are listed alphabetically using the Roman alphabet, the kanji (ideograms) for each entry are also included as are kana (the syllabic form of Japanese writing) for some of them. Simple icons let you know what category entries fit in (for example, People, Food and Drink, History/Society or Landmark). The indexes and glossaries at the end of the book are worthy of note.

One disappointment was the sidebars. Usually, sidebars are used in books to provide additional information on a given topic; in this case, they are sometimes used to provide a soapbox for the author. I have nothing against the opinions voiced (in fact I agree with most of them), it's just that the tone of those sidebars jars so much with the rest of the book that it would have been a better idea to exclude some of them and stick to the matter at hand. When the sidebars stick to facts, they fit the format of the book and enhance it very well.

The Anime Companion 2
Written by Gilles Poitras
Stone Bridge Press
176 pages

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Fully cross-referenced (including references to the first volume), this book is chock-full of information about Japan, its culture, history, geography, cuisine and history;—in fact, it's about everything except animation. So don't expect to find out about obscure or even well-known anime titles in this book. If you are interested in finding out what makes Japanese culture unique, and how this uniqueness is reflected in anime, then this book (and the previous volume) is for you.
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