Makayla Lynnette O'Flynn

Art History

Makayla is an art history major living in Aurora, Colorado. She is planning to graduate in the year 2025. After earning her bachelor’s degree, she plans to move on to get her master's in library science. Along with writing art history papers, she also creates art during her free time. Some of the mediums she works with include digital art, graphite, and occasionally painting.

Thesis Title
Buddhism and its Reputations in Animation, Manga, and Video Games

In art history, art has been used to serve in spiritual practices for Buddhism. Some of the works range from sculptural depictions of Buddha himself to works that depict stories and themes of Buddhism in mediums such as sculpture reliefs and paintings. However, despite there being research on these artistic depictions along with contemporary fine art, there still needs to be more research regarding contemporary art forms like animation, manga, and video games. For this thesis, these art mediums will be analyzed to see how elements of Buddhism, like theme, symbolism, and figures are used in a popular art form that is growing in popularity with the public. Some of the series covered will include Avatar the Last Airbender, Saints Young Men, Pokémon, and Genshin Impact along with other videogame, animation, and manga series. This thesis will also go over how the cultures these series come from influenced these series' creations on how they use Buddhism. Some of the cultures that are covered include the United States, Japan, and China. Because these forms of media need massive wide public perception, the creators of these series need to adapt to these cultures for them to succeed. So, creators need to learn how to balance out these cultural ideals along with utilizing elements of Buddhism in their works. This project argues that using Buddhism in popular art forms lets creators come up with new stories for an audience around the world. This thesis will contribute to scholarly research of Buddhist art by examining how popular media forms utilize the themes of the religion in an evolving world through a transitional lens.