Arama They Didn't

7:13 pm - 01/31/2014

Ghibli’s Hayao Miyazaki says the anime industry’s problem is that it’s full of anime fans

It’s hard to imagine legendary anime director Hayao Miyazaki needing to be any more lauded than he already is. Over 95 percent of Japan’s population has watched one of his movies, people see uploading his films to the Internet as being the fast track to popularity, and he’s even got a celestial body named after him. Really, though, after seeing the quality of his work, it’s hard to argue with the respect he receives. The man is clearly a genius.

However, Miyazaki is also a 73-year-old man, and like many individuals who have reached such an age, occasionally can’t resist the stubborn urge to grumble about how the people who came up after him are screwing up his industry.

A series of screen captures from an interview given by Miyazaki was recently posted on Japanese website Golden Times. In the images, we see the director working on a drawing of a young girl, of course with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth (we’re beginning to suspect the smokes are some sort of growth that protrudes from Miyazaki’s mouth, given the rarity of seeing him without one).

As he sketches, Miyazaki expounds on why he’s able to do the things he does.

“You see, whether you can draw like this or not, being able to think up this kind of design, it depends on whether or not you can say to yourself, ‘Oh, yeah, girls like this exist in real life.’”

“If you don’t spend time watching real people, you can’t do this, because you’ve never seen it.”

“Some people spend their lives interested only in themselves.”

“Almost all Japanese animation is produced with hardly any basis taken from observing real people, you know.”

“It’s produced by humans who can’t stand looking at other humans.”

“And that’s why the industry is full of otaku!”

On one hand, it seems a little obvious that Japan’s animation studios would largely be staffed by the people known as otaku, given that the term, in its most commonly used unqualified form, generally refers to people who really like anime.

▼ In other news, boxing is full of dudes who really like punching stuff.

At the same time, it’s hard to argue with Miyazaki’s criticism of otaku in relation to the more pejorative connotation the word holds, that of a person lacking in social breadth and well-rounded life experiences. Given the way in which his films’ characters have been striking chords with audiences for decades, the famed director’s derision of many other artists’ inability to properly project human elements in animation definitely has some credibility behind it.

So if your dream is to be the next big thing in the anime industry, it might be in your best interest to get out of the house a little more.

▼ Feel free to take your sketchbook with you.

atelierlune 1st-Feb-2014 12:36 am (UTC)
It's because only a hard core fan would devote themselves to sub-poverty wages, grueling hours, and little chance at advancement in order to be in your industry, sensei.
jagithebassist 3rd-Feb-2014 12:48 am (UTC)
This was the first thing I thought of after reading this article.

It's kinda hard to gain life experience by interacting with people if your job requires 16+ hours of animation animation animation. There are of course exceptions to the rule (Pixar, but they're American) and of course people are willing to work extra hard for something they're passionate about--but the animation industry is just all kinds of ridiculous.
atelierlune 3rd-Feb-2014 01:02 am (UTC)
I can only assume that it is his advanced age. If there is a particular mode of anime that Miyazaki would prefer to see in the world right now, he above all others is in a position to cultivate talent in that direction. If any production company has money and resources for such a thing right now, it's Ghibli. But that's not happening. Instead of putting a hand to shaping what could be, Miyazaki is complaining about what isn't. By many accounts, anime is dying, but it isn't because there aren't passionate people committed to the art form. It's disappointing that Miyazaki doesn't or won't see the situation for what it is.

EDIT: Missed a word. Srry.

Edited at 2014-02-03 01:05 am (UTC)
faifantc 1st-Feb-2014 01:19 am (UTC)
He can say that because he's a talent that comes along once every 100 years. :)

Someone should make a coming of age movie about an aspiring otaku mangaka being taken under the wing of an incredible well known artist as he learns to form his own style and his own world in animation from experiencing more things in life. :P
tsukikei 1st-Feb-2014 03:45 pm (UTC)
I would SO watch that.
chibi_hime 1st-Feb-2014 02:22 am (UTC)
Rather than saying that in order to draw well you need to go and look at people, I'd say that you need to interact with people in order to tell a story well and to develop characters that the audience and relate to.
kazuhime_10 1st-Feb-2014 03:24 am (UTC)
That was very well said. I agree completely.
katzsong 1st-Feb-2014 06:38 am (UTC)
I think that is what he meant.
aku_rin 1st-Feb-2014 05:17 am (UTC)
And that's why I cannot watch anime or read manga anymore. Old ones are okay, or the ones that began more than 10 years ago... But the new generation of characters and stories is just so empty.
erika_millie 1st-Feb-2014 06:22 am (UTC)
It's kinda generalizing. Although it's true that current gen is filled with moe,imouto,harem themes, there's still occasionally rare gems shining among others.
umbrellaphone 1st-Feb-2014 08:11 am (UTC)
I'm pretty sure his sentiments are primarily in regards to the current mainstream, so

Edited at 2014-02-01 08:15 am (UTC)
sakura_holic 1st-Feb-2014 07:15 am (UTC)
He's right.
Like most animes have who women are all made with big chests beauties and men are all handsome hunks.... :/ (That's one thing I observed)

As a person who wants to become an animator I had many people tell me that instead of sitting at home I must go out more and observe things, human, buildings etc..
Even the people who prepare me for University entrance exams tell me that.
Even the criteria for the entrance also involves general knowledge and awareness of the world current affairs, I guess that's a given for anything that has to do with designing and creation.

But I guess the fact that people what to make their works big and can't help but adhere to what the public likes as entertainment also plays into as to why things are as they are in the industry.
bumie 1st-Feb-2014 12:25 pm (UTC)
he said it right , I still watch oldschool anime and really don't care about the new ones like AT ALL.
blazingeternity 1st-Feb-2014 01:18 pm (UTC)
Though it also depends on taste. I know I prefer animations that look closer to "reality", but lots of people want to see characters with screwed up proportions, ridiculous features and general abstraction. To them that's probably the appeal of looking at animations - that they're not looking at something that might be considered realistic (maybe because they are fed up with their own realities, who knows).
So I don't know if this development is necessarily a bad one... even if it doesn't appeal to me.
ewanfan1 1st-Feb-2014 02:16 pm (UTC)
I think that's the way it is with all creative mediums - you have to go outside and observe the world around you. You need to see how people interact, hear how they talk, and discover how people are. Otherwise, people aren't going to care, because you will have created people and ideas that are shallow at best.
jamesalesto 1st-Feb-2014 03:28 pm (UTC)
He's right tho.

Especially in terms with believable characters. Characters' whose bodies and personalities could never exist/ get along well in real life drive me insane. The whole harem genre is exactly why I can't really stand a lot of anime in general. No real person would want anything to do with a "love interest" that does jack all to deserve the people who fawn for them. Sorry, no. Real people don't function that way.
Snow Hernandez 1st-Feb-2014 07:29 pm (UTC)
His words could have been a bit different, but what he's saying is true.

Look at the anime and Manga that get pumped out. There's a shallow formula to most of them " big breast and or attractive girl w/ Not so hot guy, but get's the girls for who the hell knows reasons. " The Harem genre alone is nothing, but stale overly done cliche's that you can tell the person who made them doesn't know or has much experience in love or the working's of females. Then you get to Reverse Harem and it's the same shit, but girl and a bunch of hot guy's. The only harem i can say that was well rounded, good and had good characters is " Ouran High School Host Club." Even that had it's flaws, but it's not just the Harem genre, it's practically any genre involving relationships and interactions.

My art teacher in High School would always tell us to " draw from experience " how can you have experience if you never interact. Just sitting in a Coffee shop people watching you can get a feel for how people are , there expressions , the way they are with one another. It feel's like anime is so repetitive these past couple of years, just the same shit over, and over again. There is no one there to say " hey why not do something different ". This is anime i speak of mostly, i've read quite a few Manga that had the feelings and interactions of real people. It's not just the animators the fans who buy into it and just keep pumping cash into these anime are just hurting themselves. I mean really, there are only very few gems each year that stand out and even those are sub par to the anime of the past.

Sorry i think i'm just rambling on about screw it all. This probably makes no sense, but Miyazaki's words to me rang true. Anime today seems so bland and boring with only one, maybe two being good. I'm just tired of the same old plots, same characters, same Ol' same Ol' . It doesn't matter my words, cause were gonna have this shit, until people look up and start to realize that they can do so much more than just generic, cliche's. But who can argue with money, i mean money talks. It's a two way street , both fans and animators need to stand up and want more and until that happens i just see more of this for years to come.

Sorry for the horrible english grammar and spelling. It takes a lot for me to write full on paragraphs in english without slipping into spanish. This alone took me 14min. i had to look up how to spell words. Also, long time watcher, first time Responder on here. Love this place .
rizuka 2nd-Feb-2014 12:08 pm (UTC)
omg I am agreeing so much with you!
alyssumist 2nd-Feb-2014 02:29 pm (UTC)
+1 everything! Anime these days are kinda unappealing to me anymore because most of them follow the same story arc and it's kind of unbelievable that such things will happen in real life. I prefer storylines that are more relatable than opposed to happy ever after endings.

I'm also a long time watcher, first time Responder hahaha
citrine047 1st-Feb-2014 09:08 pm (UTC)
he didn't lie

/dying at the pacquiao reference nice one op
fukkthedumbshyt 2nd-Feb-2014 03:28 am (UTC)
I wonder what Miguel Cotto's record is these days? I used to be such a big fan and felt so bad for him when he suffered his first loss. Hope he's still going strong.
asth77 2nd-Feb-2014 09:50 am (UTC)
lol whoever wrote this is kinda raging right?
Truth from Miyazaki tbh. I'm not an expert but I feel like anime characters sincerely lack complexity.
erika_millie 2nd-Feb-2014 10:39 am (UTC)
@umbrella Mainstream meaning One piece,attack on titan,etc. In fact,moe anime is considered as niche for otaku,not mainstream
akai_byara 2nd-Feb-2014 07:07 pm (UTC)
He has a point but the problem is that those kinds of anime are what's popular right now and the industry's just pumping out what fans want to see.
gigabytexx 3rd-Feb-2014 04:51 am (UTC)
It's difficult to say, because he's the old guy from different generations than people nowadays. But I kinda agree with you sir, I think I'm the only one who dont follow SnK lol

Kinda reminds me of a Japanese seminar I had attended yesterday, the theme was about "Japanese anime character business" and how anime characters being applied in everyday's life. Anime as movies alone cannot produce money, but to print it as a brand on something, THAT what makes money the most (like instant noodle with Doraemon's face on it, a Hello Kitty towel, Naruto T-shirts, etc) Obviously Miyazaki-san is still holding his idealism concept about technical matters of anime, but lbr people can like what they like without further thoughts which is why even trash animes are still quite likeable and still showing up in some brands.
He's probably kinda sad that people nowadays dont think animes as entertainment only, but some are too ridiculously unreal and make people absorbed in this fake humans and make the real anime less enjoyable.

Edited at 2014-02-03 04:52 am (UTC)
edneichon 5th-Feb-2014 06:15 am (UTC)
I understand, actually i think that's one of the reasons why i stoped watching anime or reading manga, besides rl.
rinji_chan1 4th-Apr-2014 06:07 am (UTC)
I agree with Miyazaki. For me, most animes now are like: Moe, pretty boys, sexy girls, Lolis, and the other stereotypes...
I don't hate it, I just get f**king annoyed with it every time XD

(( btw, I love that Boxing reference XD ))
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