Thursday, February 20, 2014

Why I Don't Agree with Hayao Miyazaki's Opinion on the Anime Industry

Kiki's Delivery Service was a favorite of mine as a child.
I'm aware that I might get a lot of hate for this post, but oh well. Recently I read an article regarding Hayao Miyazaki's thoughts on the anime industry. Miyazaki states that the problem with the industry is that it's full of "otaku" who don't spend time watching "real people." He goes even further to state that anime is made by humans who can't stand to look at other humans.  I completely disagree with this statement.

First, for those who don't know him, let's take a look at Hayao Miyazaki. For a brief summary, "Hayao Miyazaki is one of Japan's greatest animation directors. The entertaining plots, compelling characters, and breathtaking animation in his films have earned him international renown from critics as well as public recognition within Japan." (Source IMDb) He is also known for Studio Ghibli, an animation company.

From the above paragraph you can see he is a very esteemed individual, and the average person has every right to take his words to heart over a simple writer. However, I believe everyone's opinion matters. So if you would please, hear me out.

It seems to me that people like to toss around the statement, "otaku are to blame." With a group so low on the social scale, it's easy to make them the scapegoat. Not only is this statement, in my opinion incorrect, it is also a hasty generalization. Miyazaki's statement is just placing the blame. By doing this we're not accomplishing anything, just finding a group to bully around. He's judging a group of people that he doesn't even know. I feel that if you really want to better younger generations doing this is an absolute no-no.

Something that people seem to forget is that anime is fiction. People watch for various reasons, to escape reality, for entertainment, for review, etc. So if we deal with reality on a daily basis and real people, why should we have to worry about whether our anime feels "real" or not?

Then again, maybe he is right. Maybe anime is produced by humans who can't stand looking at humans, but is this necessarily a bad thing? Who can judge someone when anime is essentially a work of art, a concrete representation of their outlook. The fact that we can't enjoy something as much because characters are less real, is ridiculous. Have people forgotten how to have fun?

What was more appalling than his comments were the responses of other anime fans. They continued to drone on about increasingly popular "moe anime." People complain that anime has become nothing but an outlet for fan service. They state characters are unrealistic and are two-dimensional, having little to no depth, and of course it goes back to otaku.

One comment was extremely disturbing, "Watching anime should be a hobby, not an all-encompassing lifestyle. Otaku not only sully the anime industry, but they perpetuate negative stereotypes about the Japanese."

So you're saying that people can't live as they want to now? What!?

I would spend long amounts of time going into my thoughts of otaku, and why being one is not necessarily a negative, no matter what part of the world you're in. However, I've stated it numerous times before. If interested please read this post.

From what it looks like to me, people are stuck in the past with old-fashioned views. We're in 2014 now. This isn't the 90s. While the anime industry isn't perfect, there is no reason to right it off due to the appearance of cutesy characters. Anime doesn't need to be dark and realistically drawn to have a good message. I believe that their are certain problems in the industry, such as lack of originality, but to say that moe is the cause is foolish.

Throughout my days I have been hit with the same criticism. People tend to write off what I say due to the characters I like. I've been judged and told that I have bad tastes. Statements get tossed around such as, "Of course you'd like that character/anime," in a way that could be related to a royal looking down on commoners. Not only is it hurtful, but it's discouraging when a community of people who share your hobbies, thinks of you in such a way.

I for one appreciate moe, but I also appreciate more in depth stories. I think the balance of both is something that makes well roundness.  I feel we don't have the right to judge others based on their likes and dislikes, or lifestyle. As long as they aren't causing pain or hurt to anyone else, what's the problem?

Yet people don't seem to feel this way, and thus the true problem with the anime industry is born.

I believe as fans we are divided, and by being divided we are causing the fall to the industry ourselves. By thinking the same way as Miyazaki, we are discouraging future generations.

Again, I'm not necessarily saying that everything is all perfect and dandy. I'm just saying that it's not as bad as it's made out to be.  I'm enjoying the Winter 2014 season of anime and I like how things are being done, but at the end of the day, don't we all watch because we enjoy anime? If cute moe characters and shallow stories stop you from doing that...ask yourself: why do you even watch? Have you forgotten how to follow your heart and have a good time?

I urge you to take this post as you want; you may see it as the ranting of an otaku, or the humble opinion of a writer who loves Japanese culture.

My apologies if this was a long, but thank you for sticking with me this far!


  1. "I urge you to take this post as you want; you may see it as the ranting of an otaku..." which it actually is, you've proven it the moment you went all defensive. I find it ridiculous how irrational and insecure "eastern otaku" become when they see what he has to say, especially since he is one of the last great creators that give animators rare chances to make movies entirely by hand, without computer graphics, that keep teaching them and actually gives them purposeful and paid jobs.

    There was another post of this kind on, you might like to read it:

    1. lol, she was being moderately defensive. everyone is entitled to their opinion don't you think? :)
      I honestly adore Hayao Miyazaki, his movies mean so much to me. His opinions are interesting as well, I love how Chihiro's parents as pigs represent modern day Japenese (and Americans, I like to believe ^^) who mostly focus on food, eating and their food TV shows etc.
      Anyway, I was a bit surprised when I read about his opinion on anime. Now I'm not sure what an Otaku is, but I used to be a passionate anime and manga reader and the thought of labeling all anime authors as unable to stand looking at other people seemed a bit judgmental. Mangakas struck me as sensitive people who perhaps tried to escape the harsh world they live in to create stories and characters that they would've loved to be in or to befriend...
      Manga had beautiful values such as friendship and loyalty (fullmetal alchemist, one piece, dragon ball) and others were darker but still highly intellectual (death note, bloody Monday...). I find it understandable to want to drown in this beautiful world (although it can become harmful if people completely retract from reality, it might hurt them a great deal while stepping into adulthoot) and therefore harsh to judge and berate anime authors ^^

  2. I totally agreed with you. Anime are meant to be enjoyed in the end, and I appreciated thy for taking your time to write this. People that has such mindset like you are disappearing these days.

    1. Thank you very much! I feel we spend a lot of time analyzing anime, and looking at the negative aspects...when we should be enjoying it.

  3. Let me start off by saying that i fall in the group of people that absolutely do not like Moe, especially seeing as it is literally everywhere i turn. I agree with Miyazaki in this regard. Looking at the 2014 anime season, 99% of the anime that has come out is more or less exactly the same largely Moe stuff.

    As such i can see the points Miyazaki makes; anime doesn't need to be dark and heavy. And yes, there is no point in watching anime that is like real life when i am already living in the real world. But it can be different. it can be moe while appealing to different audiences.

    As it stands most of the stuff is the same and it feels like it caters towards one group of people. We want some diversity

    Great article though; the majority of the comments and articles i have read have wholeheartedly agreed with Miyazaki, and i was curious to see how someone could hold the opposite view and actually defend it.

    I should point out that the comments about otaku didn't bother. Where i live, the term otaku has no negative connotations and is in fact something one would like to be called. I didn't even know their was a negative meaning to otaku in japan till last month.

    1. Thank you for commenting!

      It's nice to see someone on the opposite side of an opinion, I think both people can learn from interacting with each other!

      I have to agree on the point that there needs to be more diversity in anime. A friend of mine brought to my attention that we lack inspirational anime. He pointed out a select few from way back when, but I agreed that we need more. So I understand the need for some more diversity. I think there's a few really good anime hidden among the generic ones, but they're not all that easy to notice.

      I think its a little hard to make clear cut answers on something like this, since anime is interpreted different ways by different people. There's people who see the current anime as perfect, others who dislike it; it's hard to find common ground.

      I guess the saying I would use here is that, if something is not broken, we don't need to fix it. However, this shouldn't stop us from improving.

      (Apologies if I'm a little off on the subject, I wrote this a while back and don't remember everything 100%)


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