Post-Cinema: The Legend of O-Ren Ishii

Transmedia can be clearly observed in a segment of Tarentino’s Kill Bill volume 1 (2003), which tells the story of the character O-Ren Ishii in a six-minute animated segment that illustrates the death of her parents and her bloody revenge. The animation style is Japanese and imitates animation from the 1970s, but the accompanying music is reminiscent of the Western genre (Clements, 2013). The music adds supplementary meaning to the scene. What should be a disconcerting use of music that is better associated with the old West is transmuted to an animated Japanese segment.


The Legend of O-Ren Ishii (2003).




There is an extent to which this draws on the videogame genre in that it includes a sense of the back-story to a game character being given to the player (Brown, 2013). The animation is highly stylised, extremely violent, and creates affect through distancing the observer from the subject of the vignette. We feel some sympathy for the main character’s plight, and the music and the vividness of the wrongs inflicted upon her make us supportive of her violent revenge.


Filmmaking has been transformed from an analogue process to a digitised one. Digital technologies, combined with neoliberal economic relations, have resulted in new ways of manufacturing and articulating experience (Shaviro, 2016). Cinema no longer holds the dominant position in terms of the expressive medium of the twenty-first century, and post-cinema is an attempt to express what role cinema adopts in such a situation. Post-cinematic effects include the new forms of interactivity, multimedia and different Internet platforms. This segment is curious as a part of O-Ren Ishii because it shows the multiple layering of influences that means that several older genres are combined to make a short-animated sequence that, by being in a Japanese style of animation, helps situation the scene and following section in Japan in style as well as through content.

– Ziyi Wang



  • Brown, W. (2013). Supercinema: Film-Philosophy for the Digital Age, London: Berghahn Books. 
  • Clements, J. (2013). Anime: A History, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Shaviro, S. (2016). Post-Cinematic Affect. In S. Denson & J. Leyda (eds.), Post-Cinema: Theorizing 21stCentury Film, Falmer: Reframe Books, pp.129-144.

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