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Miyazaki: The Problem with Today's Anime is that it's Filled with Anime Fans

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7 replies to this topic

#1 kirant


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Posted 31 January 2014 - 09:35 AM

Caught this in the news today. It's a pretty cool read first:


Here's the primary comment:

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!

Screw this. It's 2:30. My response is in my sig.

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#2 Fire Blazer

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 08:26 PM

I totally know what you mean

I just kinda accept things for what they are as a genre and such

obviously for me to watch as much anime as I do these unrealistic perceptions of people must appeal to me a little *shrug*

I still find the best part of anime to usually be the epic action scenes that you can't really do with real people though


Signature thanks to Shu.

#3 kirant


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Posted 31 January 2014 - 09:00 PM

QUOTE (Tenebrae Candidae @ Jan 31 2014, 11:19 AM)
1:Even if someone is an outgoing person with social mastery, it doesn't mean they can draw which facial expressions and body movements they look at daily, plenty of people don't notice these things other than passively (how often would you see people describe the distortions of the face in order to describe what someone looked like when they were angry instead of just going all, "That person was really angry!") and even if they do recall them, a lot of the time they will not understand the underlying functions that allow this to happen (and trust me when I say trying to draw those things without understanding them is a ridiculous pain in the ass in comparison to when you're taught why, even if people who have mastered it don't have to think about it anymore because they're just too used to it by now)

However, he never said that. It's a very common logical fallacy what you're claiming (fallacy of the inverse). It's important to know that A therefore B does not allow not A therefore not B as an extension of the argument.

The basis of that statement is:

A, then B
Not A, therefore not B

That's a confusing sentence (since logical terms tend to clog up very quickly), so let's look at it this way. Wikipedia listed a fairly easy example:

If it rains, then the grass gets wet. [A, then B]
It is not raining. [Not A]
Therefore, the grass is not wet. [then not B]

From this example, A is obviously "rain", and B is "wet grass". This is the exact same type of logic applied in the above...the logic you use is A is equal to "if you are not seeing people", and B is "you draw poorly". The inverse of the logic (the third line) does not hold as logically an extension of Miyazaki's argument.

In more practical terms, what we can say is that he believes quality animation cannot be done by having people who don't observe others...but observing others might not be the only factor in being a good artist. And given the absolute absurd end of that, it's almost impossible to believe that he believes its the only factor.

QUOTE (Tenebrae Candidae @ Jan 31 2014, 11:19 AM)
2:It's usually not that worth it to even care about keeping realistic nuances when animating (and there's even less with the low pay they tend to get) because lots of people don't care much in the first place (and when it gets bad enough, we get to make fun of it on the internet) I personally never cared much for the animation quality difference in Hayao Miyazaki's works even if it's supreme over the others.

We have to consider who we're talking about though; Miyazaki is probably one of the most old school artistically inclined directors bar none. If memory serves, he stuck with hand drawn artwork far into the era of computer animation.

To be honest, I'm not the biggest into caring about animation. However, I can appreciate excellent artwork and I do find myself kind of not caring as much in recent days. What this may be an extension of is Miyazaki's dislike of the moe-character art form. While he initially backed it, he has gone record for saying it's more akin to lolicon these days. I mean, I get where he's coming from. Moe characters are driving more and more towards a pseudo-sexual design in their intent. The intimate desire to have a protective relationship with the character starts treading eerily towards this line...and you probably know where Miyazaki stood on that aspect long before this comment.

On that note though, I would suggest that most directors probably do not appreciate their art being made fun of. Remember, these are guys who probably could earn better money doing something else. They're making stuff they love. Didn't the Gurren Lagann team fire their director after a hideous art episode?

QUOTE (Tenebrae Candidae @ Jan 31 2014, 11:19 AM)
and anyone that's watched Neon Genesis Evangelion and followed it for even a little while probably heard what the writer of that was dealing with.

Just going to highlight this one in specific - Anno initially despised the treatment of his characters. He and Miyazaki have long stood in the same corner on this shift (though I'd argue Anno is perfectly fine accepting it as long as the money is insane). I've seen many speculate (and agree with the argument that) the infamous hospital scene in End of Evangelion was written as a "screw you" to all the fans who sexualized Asuka. To be honest though, Anno kind of hated everything about the otaku culture at the time and it's pretty obvious in his work that he was intending to reflect how creepy it all was...then missed the mark horribly.

He eventually did seem to get over it though. Rebuild is kind of how it looks when he's not pissed off at everyone.

QUOTE (Tenebrae Candidae @ Jan 31 2014, 11:19 AM)
But then, the writers of live action things and books and other things also don't really write that much closer to human nature plenty of the time, so it's really more of a matter of either how much they care about details or not I guess.

To a degree yes and to a degree no.

I think where he's looking is the overall trend over decades upon decades. Remember that he's a veteran director and akin in experience very much to Spielberg in experience. The trend isn't likely something he's tried to mention as over the last decade. Art has shifted there, but less so than if you look over how the animation trends have changed over 20 or even 30 years.

QUOTE (Tenebrae Candidae @ Jan 31 2014, 11:19 AM)
However, even without the use of realism/keeping close to reality, plenty of shows reached commercial success even to people that aren't normally into anime.

Commercial success does not equal artistic success. The two are often very separate. The biggest money makers will typically follow the lowest common values. I mean, how else did Grown Ups get a SEQUEL, let alone green lit?

Money drives the business and, ultimately, what sells right now is covert sexualization. I've generated discussion on this before and the conclusion I've reached is that moe-character shows (which I suspect Mikazaki is kind of attacking in the same breath) are stable; they generate money...not the highest, but they're safe returns. By comparison, the other shows are often called

QUOTE (Tenebrae Candidae @ Jan 31 2014, 11:19 AM)
Also I have an issue with how you speak of...whatever the main character of that not popular anime was called (it seems I can't even remember it when I had read her name like 5 minutes ago) having the traits of the classical antihero. I think there's a big difference between an anti-hero with a lot of problematic traits that are often things others deride for being traits of weakness, and a total loser who's just disgusting. (I also can't understand why so many people like that show for anything other than the comedy purpose of watching such a person fail at life either, though.)

Fair enough...but I think the point stands to reason that the show is ultimately portraying the a lifestyle the director enjoys in a negative, inclusive manner in which only the inclusive fans will understand or enjoy. And this is the scary part. I mean, I enjoy some shows like this (anybody who puts up with me on this forum knows my love of Community as the live action equivalent of inside jokes tongue.gif), but when your whole area is heading this direction, you've go problems.

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#4 kirant


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Posted 01 February 2014 - 03:27 AM

QUOTE (Tenebrae Candidae @ Jan 31 2014, 02:54 PM)
The thing here i'm focusing on is on his statement about how the industry must be full of otaku, it must be full of people that cannot stand interacting with other human beings, and that the evidence of this is in how little of the animation is relevant to realistic humans (along with other things, such as moe and little character depth.)

I think this comes down the order of the message. Notice how he slanders the industry first. I have no doubt he actually knows who is running companies and has met with a few to talk business. I think he knows the first part, that these are people who are fans and who probably are themselves introverted and interested in the medium. I also have no doubt that he does a lot of screening for his own work and talks to a lot of animators who, when asked, respond with "Uh...yeah..." when asked about real life experience.

In general, I believe that comment can come from an industry expert. Then he threw in the Japanese media nuclear bomb of words to punctuate and emphasize his meaning. It'd be like ending off a rant with "and so, ladies and gentlemen, kirant is a gamer who likes violent video games!" on TV. You and I might not take it poorly, but many people will freak out when they hear that. I think the order points out that he isn't calling them otaku and that otaku can't draw...but that people in industry are out of touch with reality a bit, then calling them otaku.

If you want, you interpret the comments as a claim that the behaviour of the animators are why only otaku are interested in the industry side. Miyazaki undoubtedly has the highest international success with his shows based on order.

QUOTE (Tenebrae Candidae @ Jan 31 2014, 02:54 PM)
I just wanted to mention that it probably only really helps when others are deliberately analyzed, so there's probably plenty of people in the animation industry who could easily be leading normal lives

There might be, there might not be. Anime is one of the cruellest industries. Animators legitimately earn near minimum wage prices and work fanatic hours. If you're a free lance artist with no further interests, it's unlikely you'll find yourself there. Several bloggers I've read from actually indicate that you can't even get a job by asking for one...people are lining up and fighting each other for minimum wage jobs. So I do suspect dedication is part of the equation.

Is it unlikely every one of them are like that? Yeah. Statistically speaking, it's probably some will be off that side. But I think as a trend, he very easily could be right.

QUOTE (Tenebrae Candidae @ Jan 31 2014, 02:54 PM)
I'm sure everyone out there has a past with people that could be used to make the characters in question realistic, but that doesn't mean they can remember the things in great enough detail to draw(or write) it well, even if it was designed to be a copy of what they knew.

Again though, that's another one of the inverse fallacies discussed before: based on the comments, we can't assert he's stating the inverse as well. Nor do I think anybody believes that.

QUOTE (Tenebrae Candidae @ Jan 31 2014, 02:54 PM)
It's just easier to go with what's good(successful enough) now, and since it's making money I don't see why they need to care too much over this kind of thing unless they make the pretense of loving their works and putting their best efforts into it.

And that's a major point of discussion on many places is "why change if we're making money?". Absolutely correct that anime industries aren't your friends and are just looking to maximize profits.

QUOTE (Tenebrae Candidae @ Jan 31 2014, 02:54 PM)
I don't think i've heard of Anno writing it in a way that is designed to try to express hatred for otaku culture or something (not the original series anyway, I know about the movie scene with Shinji and his hand)

Huh. Really? It's pretty well plastered over any basic research done on the man.

Anno is/was known to go through mood swings of pretty epic proportions. He wrote a fairly kid-friendly anime (Nadia if you're an anime buff or historial) right before this and was really, really depressed.

If you want a source on that, page 180 of this book pretty much summarizes it all:

Hopefully that worked. If not, just look up "the anime machine a media theory of animation pdf". It's the first link.

Sure, Gainax was flirting with tax problems by the time Evangelion wrapped up, but you can see the tone change really harshly even if you believed the narrative was going to get darker anyways.

QUOTE (Tenebrae Candidae @ Jan 31 2014, 02:54 PM)
and unless you're exclusively referring to the treatment the show's fans are giving his characters I haven't heard anything about that either. (If you have a link, do share.)

This is probably one of the most famous points about Evangelion. I mean, from an anecdotal point of view, as worthless as it is, the biggest merchandise magnet for years was the Evangelion stuff. Hec, you can find videos of voice actress Tiffany Grant littering an entire room with only Asuka's merch. She has a vested interest, but that much of it exists. It's quite a large amount...

The easiest example though was Rei Ayanami. She was written purely to be creepy. In fact, if you go by the designer, the exact words used were "Whatever else, [Rei] needs to be painted in as a bitterly unhappy young girl with little sense of presence". She instead ended up being a fetish doll to the point where she was legitimately the anime sex symbol for a long time. In fact, people typically point to Rei as the start of the moe character movement. In specific, the alternate world scene where she's running around, looking pretty cute doing so. In wake of some terror bombings, the reality of Evangelion (and post-apocalyptic anime which were prevalent at the time) hit a little too close to home and the fan thoughts kind of shifted towards "You know what we need? Endless derivatives of our favourite characters doing cute things for no reason".

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#5 SmashedFish


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Posted 04 February 2014 - 05:57 AM

It's kinda late and I don't feel like composing a thesis on the subject, so I'll say that I agree with Miyazaki on this one. There was a pretty good tumblr post on the topic that I ran by earlier, and I'll see if I can find that.

Edit: http://smashedfish.t...hbito-meezdeez7

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#6 kirant


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Posted 04 February 2014 - 07:33 AM

QUOTE (SmashedFish @ Feb 3 2014, 10:57 PM)
It's kinda late and I don't feel like composing a thesis on the subject, so I'll say that I agree with Miyazaki on this one. There was a pretty good tumblr post on the topic that I ran by earlier, and I'll see if I can find that.

Edit: http://smashedfish.t...hbito-meezdeez7

Just gonna pick and choose some random things from your tumblr that I thought I'd elaborate on:

- Otaku not being a positive group ala nerd. This is correct. The term itself is neutral, but it is played by media as extremely derogatory. As such, it's typically not used positively unless you're already "inside" the group. Again, I'll compare it to being a "gamer" who likes violent video games. The rest of society will probably look down on you for your choice and your proud gamer nature. Heck, I typically avoid the word for that reason (and refer to gamers typically as "game fans").
- Lolicon: That and moe have been obvious interactions of the impossible purity. Hell, Patrick Galbraith wrote an entire academic article about how these traits are used as a purity and escape...a 2D creation that intentionally can't exist...something that won't change. "My waifu" in effect. I go into much more detail (I have ~8000 words written down on my blog about moe characters as a whole. The relevant one I think is part 2), but I'll leave that to interested parties.

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#7 kirant


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Posted 04 February 2014 - 09:48 PM

QUOTE (Tenebrae Candidae @ Feb 4 2014, 10:47 AM)
Nerd is a positive word in the west? (At best i'd see how it means someone has specialization in a certain field most people aren't into...but most of the time nobody bothers to make a difference between geeks and nerds either.)

It is acceptable by today's standards. We have many people disclaiming they are "art nerds", etc. To be labeled one isn't necessarily a detriment to your personality in this day and age. I recall not too long ago, a major Canadian news anchor referred to herself jokingly as one. We have TV shows which has an entire punchline of "look, nerds!". The stigma isn't there.

The term doesn't hold the same connotative meanings. Which is why using it as a comparable to "otaku" isn't perfect. Many people point to "anorak" in UK slang, but even that is falling out of favour as anorak becomes less derogatory.

Look at it this way: the term is closely linked to the "otaku murderer" and gains a lot of widespread stigma from that. This is why I link it to "gamer". "Nerd" by comparison doesn't have much relation to mass murderer as much as either of the other two terms. Correctly linked or not, the face of public I find is that claiming you love games like Doom will get you a huge strike against society to a whole different level.

Time has started to pass, but I do find the two terms fairly comparable in terms of that level of stereotyping and negative connotation.

Thing is, we live in a fairly niche community here. We, strictly speaking, aren't the "public at large". Remember, when video games can be shown a link, people are all too eager to jump on their throat. Yet such simple acts aren't blamed if there is violent literature. Or movie. Games aren't respected as a medium, plain and simple. In Japan, anime is barely given higher support. Miyazaki, to be honest, is probably the only widely respected anime director. People, like with games, were all too eager to jump on the otaku murderer's "otaku" aspect when his VHS collection was raided.

Let's be honest, when we think of video game marketing, we think of garbage like Dead Island's "marketing"...throw a female body torso into pre-ordered packages. Hey...that was Laura Croft's entire marketing plan (part of the reason to this day I'll always consider her a mixed gain for game as an artistic medium). Anime is not much better. I subscribed to a few official anime YouTube channels and they fully realize the reputation they get. They just instead play up to it and create that inclusive nature I so dislike.

The way around the reputation, first, is fixed is to show media that they're more than that. Challenge expectations and good things will follow. When expectations are defied, the world stands up and takes notice. That's why Spirited Away winning an Oscar was so huge; it was the first time anime ever gained international accreditation. But nobody but Miyazaki followed suit. What needs to happen is to have continual offerings of that style, that universality as an art. And the way that happens is to show companies they can't simply play up to their inclusive jokes anymore. Tell they we want more Red Dead Redemptions instead of Duke Nukem. Serial Experiments Lain instead of Strike Witches. And pay with that in cold hard cash, about the only thing companies care about. Once that happens, opinions of the medium generators will have to change to make better profits, leading the rest of society into admitting worth in the medium.

But the problem is this is grassroots. This only happens if the fans of the medium care enough about the reputation of the medium...and, as of right now, they don't.

(Really, this is all stuff I look forward to writing up more formally in the next couple weeks...which is why I linked the two right away)

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#8 GyppyGirl2021


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Posted 06 February 2014 - 05:22 PM

I agree with Miyazaki.

Referring in specific to one thing that has already been mentioned here but bears repeating:
Otaku is an extremely derogatory term in Japan. You do NOT want to be called 'otaku' over there.

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