Anime has become one of Japan’s most booming industries, and is even up by 12% this year. However, According to one of the most renowned anime directors today, Yutaka “Yamakan” Yamamoto (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Lucky Star, Wake Up, Girls!), the anime industry is already dead.
In an event in Osaka last July, the ever-controversial anime director declated that “Anime is Dead,” and he did in fact cause quite a stir. And during a conversation between him and former Gainax staffer and cultural commentator, Toshio “Otaking” Okada, he explained why.
Yamamoto said that “the end of anime” is personal for him, and said that “anime has steadily moved the opposite way from what I do.”He also criticized moe anime, and said that “Moe is becoming fascist” in a way, as it is now being controlled by unwritten rules such as “Don’t show panties. Showing panties is in line with male desires, so let’s show them.” During an episode in Wake Up Girls!, the director mocked this rule by showing the panties of the members of Wake Up Girls.
Yamakan has said that he actually prefers to operate under his own rules, however, when he does so, he often gets criticized. He also claims that he “can’t handle the times.”
Okada the followed up by asking Yamakan if “the kind of anime that made him want to enter the industry had disappeared.” to this, the director largely agreed, and said that he felt that an era has ended when Studio Ghibli director, Hayao Miyazaki, who is also very critical of today’s anime industry, retired. Miyazaki has been known for having quite the disdain for otakus, and once said that the anime industry had too many otakus. He also won two Academy Awards.
Meanwhile, Yamakan praised the work of what many people have tagged as the successor to Hayao Miyazaki, Makoto Shinkai, and his new film, your name. He said that when he watched the film, he felat that he “still has friends” in the industry and felt that there is still hope for change. However, he said that the times have mostly changed, and lamented that “I feel like I’m already all alone.” He said that the industry today lacks the “anime he knows” like Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind or the original Neon Genesis Evangelion. As for the new Evangelion films, Okada doesn’t seem to be a big fan of them much, as he claimed that they have a “zombie-like fixation with moe characters.”
Yamamoto then talked about the recent trend of anime which are geared towards non-otaku. He said that “Movies like Godzilla Resurgence, your name., In This Corner of the World and Zootopia fit this category,” and Okada noted that these sorts of anime are not geared towards selling merchandise.
The entire conversation between the two can be read here, though the site is in Japanese.
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