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denpa on screen

Denpa is genre of Japanese cinema and anime released from roughly the mid 1990s to mid 2000s that has been retrospectively recognised for its recurring themes and striking aesthetic.

‘Denpa’ is a Japanese word that means electromagnetic wave or radio wave. Within the genre, characters tune into these waves and feel their effects: they sense things, hear voices and see spectres.

They are susceptible to the waves due to alienation caused by their oppressive surroundings which is depicted by a distinct, industrial aesthetic: chain link fences, telephone poles, a web of powerlines across the sky, trains, manholes and sewers, grainy and distorted footage, a muted colour palette etc.

These bleak urban spaces lead to alienation and raise themes of tradition…

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