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Articles - CfP Topic

Vol. 9 No. 2 (2023): Here Be Dragons. East Asian Film and Religion

Cyber-Transcendence and Immanence as a Religio-Spiritual Phenomenon in Cyberpunk Anime

January 5, 2023


This article argues that Western cyberpunk narratives often suggest a technologically invoked transcendence, a cyber-transcendence, which represents a new ontological sphere and offers catharsis in dystopian scenarios. While Japanese cyberpunk anime also explore the idea of cyber-transcendence, the clear distinction between immanence and transcendence often becomes blurred. Aesthetic concepts invoking transcendence can be linked to the awe-inspiring kami (deities) of Japanese Shinto, which are intertwined with the immanent sphere of reality rather than external to it. In Western cyberpunk, cyber-transcendence seems to provide the sense of depth that Paul Tillich labels the “dimension of religion”, in contrast to postmodernist meaninglessness. Cyberpunk anime provide an understanding of transcendence as a religious dimension that exists within reality.