Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Random Musings: Anime Talk: Hayao Miyazaki VS the fans.

The meme in question.
Well, this day could be going better. One of my external hard drives became corrupted and is now yammering on about the benefits of the Dark Side for hours on end. So I installed some program to see if I can fix it, but its taking forever. So in the meantime, let's talk about something completely irrelevant for a while.

About a year or so back on Facebook I shared a meme that had four or so pictures of 3 girls from three separate anime series and under each picture was written the words "like", "comment", "share" written in big letters, and the fourth pic was written "Ignore if you hate anime." Honestly, the only reason I shared it is because I thought it was mildly funny, and a friend of mine had used a picture of one of the girls as her Facebook avatar for a while. I wasn't trying to start anything....But another friend of mine (let's call him "Edward")  decided to start something anyway. For no reason other than he was irritated at something, he decided to leave a link to an article from Kotaku called One-Punch Man Shows why Manga Still Matters.

The article was more or less an opinion piece, but I didn't understand why he was posting it when manga (Japanese Comics) was never even mentioned. So when I asked him, he said this (and for the sake of brevity, I'm paraphrasing):

I'm not a fan of Otaku culture, or the mainstream agenda of anime as a product, neither the over-saturation of the Anime industry being filled with Loli/Shotacon garbage or tween romance with a twist in highschool etc[...]I share (Hayao) Miyazki's sentiment on anime[...]I try to be as moderate and understanding in all my views as possible, but I have very little respect for the anime industry at the moment, and other then a handful of good ones, most are just more of the same with a twist. 

Clearly, anyone who knows anything about anime can tell that Edward doesn't know what the hell he's talking about. Especially when you consider that both "Loli" and "Shotacon" are genres of pornography of questionable legality-Seriously, Edward, what the ***ck have you been watching?- And never mind the fact that there is a LOT more to anime than what he's suggesting. Yes, a lot of anime (particularly the anime that gets released in the west) does feature teenagers as their central characters -probably because a lot of anime and manga is actually targeted at teenagers *ahem*- but dude, how can you say what you said with a straight face when anime like Akira, Attack on Titan, Tokyo GhoulBerserkMirri Nikki, Ghost in the Shell , Fairy Tale, Death Note, Full Metal Alchemist , Gurren LagganNeon Genesis Evangelion, and the way to many to count Moble Suit Gundam shows exist? How?!

But what does this have to do with Hayao Miyazaki? Well, he said that he shared Hayao Miyazaki's sentiment on Anime. But reading his reply, and knowing what I know of Edward, I don't think he understood what Miyazaki actually meant.

Alright, for those who don't know, Hayao Miyazaki is a Japanese animator and film director who is often considered to be the anime industries answer to Akira Kurosawa. Anyway, sometime in 2014, Hayao Miyazaki said in an interview that he didn't like a lot of modern anime and supposedly ended his comments with  "Anime was a mistake."  Now, because this is the internet, this got blown out of proportion and many interpreted this as Miyazaki, well, calling the very medium he himself  help legitimize as an art form garbage, and was disrespecting anime fans. This outrage might seem justified...until you realize that Hayao Miyazaki never said that. And this is where the confusion lies. What Miyazaki actually said was that modern anime was:

"[...] produced by humans who can’t stand looking at other humans. And that’s why the industry is full of otakus!

The video I posted above sums this up better than I can, but basically what Miyazaki meant is that he feels that the quality of anime has gone down in recent years because many of his modern contemporaries are obsessive anime fans who don't know how real people act. In other words, the people making anime nowadays don't have the real world experience or people skills to make compelling narratives or believable characters, and instead rely on cliches and archetypes that they grew up watching on TV (well that and the whims of their bosses). Now, whether or not he's correct is up to one's own interpretation of the medium. And, in my opinion, that's something that needs to be taken on a case by case basis. However, I do agree with him on the point that one must be as well rounded as possible to create something compelling. But it's also important to note that Miyazaki didn't grow up watching anime. His interests always laid elsewhere, not just in animation, hell I'm convinced that if he didn't make movies, he would have found another way to express himself and be just as famous and influential. And his style of making films isn't exactly copied by the industry at large.  So this could just as easily be a case of an old man saying "Back in my day we didn't blah blah blah!" Whose to say? I don't know the guy, so all I can do is speculate.

And what I speculate is that I don't think that Miyazaki hates anime (Hell, one of his best friends in the industry is Hideaki Anno, the guy who created Evangelion, think about that for a second), or its fans (so long as they are sane) or anything like that. He loves animation, he loves filmmaking, he just wants to see more good anime than bad. And that's something I think everyone can get behind.

And I'm done for now guys. See you next week.


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