1985 was a flat year in the animation world. Let’s ask the hit makers who hit the home runs on how to put an end to this situation.
HAYAO MIYAZAKI (writer and director of “Laputa: Castle in the Sky”)
What are the animated works that the young ones, the ten year olds to fifteen year olds want to watch? Doors will surely open if you keep them in mind.
It’s unthinkable that new hope can come out of TV when one episode from a TV series needs 3500 cells to be drawn. On the other hand, in movie theaters as well, there are no films that will mobilize moviegoers other than anime fans. I think that filmmakers have forgotten the basics of selling movies. Collaboration films intended for overseas markets are all the rage, and even though I want the fans who are in Japan to see these films, they can’t and all I’m left with is frustration. Only deterioration can come out of this situation. Actually, there isn’t even one anime today that is aimed at older kids in elementary school to kids in middle-school - the very kids who should be watching anime. (The anime available now) is aimed at younger kids at elementary school and then jumps straight into anime for college kid anime maniacs. It’s a tough time for fifteen year olds who are put aside by society. Twelve year olds to fifteen year olds are the kids who need the most comfort and yet the situation now is that they get their comfort from handheld video games. Those who produce animation are losing sight of their targeted audience. The remaining anime fans are making anime that they want to watch, and this is a symptom (of the present situation) that is beyond redemption. This is why video animation is still backward in terms of its production, and only its format is new.
If one has an earnest approach, children will definitely react. This is a real example - in a run-down middle school, in his morning greeting, a new principal said, “I don’t determine a person’s value by his or her grades or appearance”. Miraculously, all misbehavior was gone from that day’s afternoon onwards. What children want has always had just one theme - an adventure that saves the mind and heart.
(Caption for illustration at the top of the page)
The hero “Pazu” and heroine “Sheeta” from “Laputa: Castle in the Sky”. Mr. Miyasaki comments that “For a young lad, living at all times in itself is an adventure. The reason why Japanese adventure novels are boring is that the hero (in these novels) makes a living out of going on an adventure.”
SUGII GISABURO (executive director of “Touch”)
What people want nowadays can’t be found in data. What is the secret of the hits “Night on the Galactic Railroad” and “Touch”?
Honestly speaking, if anything, I genuinely make animation to match my desires, not thinking that today’s animation is trending towards this way, or future animation should be this way. In other words, I think a great deal about my daily life, figuring out what is lacking and coming up with desires felt by everyone else. I just happen to be a person who creates, so I vent out those accumulated desires and discontent and let them combust in my work.
My works are quite heavy in terms of cycle and tempo, whether it be “Night on the Galactic Railroad” or “Touch”. I sometimes think if this kind of heaviness is ok or not. But that is because I have a desire for this heaviness, and also because I have this easy pleasure within me. Instead of work that is borne out of being hung up just on data, I think work that is borne out of my inner natural desires is more acceptable to people. In the meantime, “Touch” will be shown as an hour and a half movie in the spring so please look forward it.
ISAO TAKAHATA (producer of “Laputa”)
Movies that make the mind and body come alive are what’s important. As for me, I am trying my hand at my first live action film. I am shooting a documentary.
I think nowadays, the thing that a lot of people working in anime has forgotten is the excitement they felt watching adventure movies when they were kids, the kind of excitement that even your body moved spontaneously. In that sense, I think that works such as Hayao Miyazaki’s films should be brought out to the rest of the world and after (producing his) “Nausicaa”, I am still producing. When kids’ minds are liberated, there’s no reason to think that they won’t spontaneously move. In this day and age dominated by computer games, a lot of kids’ play involve just using the brain and nerves so I’d like them to experience things that energizes the blood and makes the body dance. The difficulty is, I think it’s a difficult time now to have a situation in place wherein you let them experience adventure. If you can’t make people believe in the world portrayed onscreen, you can’t pull viewers into the adventure onscreen.
It’s not that I’m not doing my real job as a producer. I am now producing a live action documentary movie set in Yanagawa in Kyushu. It is about how our Japanese ancestors developed towns which utilized waterways. There is also a part in the movie that has graphic illustrations using anime. It’s less than 2 hours and is slated to be shown after the summer.
MAMORU OSHII (scriptwriter and director of “Angel’s Egg”)
This is a warning!! Please reduce the number of collaboration animes before Japanese animation is annihilated.
If I’m going to be severe about it, I’d say that I want all collaboration animes gone.
Those who work in big studios and places with systems in place may not feel a sense of crisis yet. But in the case of freelance animators like us who work together and put together a workplace and disperse once our anime is done, a part of our actual work is outsourced. Recently however, the small video studios and finishing studios that we outsource to are loaded with collaboration work. Japanese animes can’t compete with collaboration animes in terms of profit so when that happens, we just have to rely on the goodwill of the studio bosses, or make them feel the same way we do with regards to the contents of our work, or by chance see an opening and aim for that, or appease them or plead with them. We can’t work in just that kind of a situation. That’s why it’s almost impossible to make highly compact and solid animes in Japan now. Even without going that far, it’s almost impossible to make even decent animes in the country today. In fact, anime TV series are almost all in shambles, and I can’t even be optimistic about the video quality of the anime we have now. In this kind of situation, I can’t help but seriously think if next year, our ideas can be made into anime.
(Caption for illustration at the left side of the page)
A girl from Mamoru Oshii’s original video anime “Angel’s Egg” (drawn by Seikou Nakura). Mr. Oshii revealed that he is having a hard time because there aren’t enough animators to make even just one anime video.
YOSHIKAZU YASUHIKO (director and screen director of “Arion”)
I haven’t decided yet on what I will make after “Arion”. I will not take part in the new Gundam series.
I am very busy now with screen work for the anime “Arion” which will be shown in theaters on March 8th. But as far as I’m concerned, I’m conscious of the fact that this is my anime for 1985. Therefore, I haven’t decided yet on what my anime will be for 1986. I feel like I want to take a break for a year.
"Arion" is quite restrained for an anime to be shown in movie theaters. I’m happy that this movie is being touted as "the" main animation movie this spring but conversely, it’s a shame that there aren’t a lot of big anime movies for theaters. It’s already been decided that "Arion" is going to be shown in top-class movie theaters throughout Japan. It just shows how much anime has received recognition. I’d like to wait for animes that will pick up on this trend.
With regards to anime TV series, I was in charge of character design for “Z Gundam” this past year but I’ve decided not to be involved at all in the sequel’s new series. I think it’s better to relegate “Gundam” to the younger animators, starting with Hiroyuki Kitazume, who have grown so much in their craft. Now I sincerely think, if only someone as good as Kitazume were around eight years ago to help with “Gundam”, I would’ve been saved…
(Caption for illustration at the bottom of the page)
The heroine “Lesfina” from “Arion”, which was produced, character designed and screen directed by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko. This is the drawing touched-up by Mr. Yasuhiko. As we have discussed in a series of character designers in last month’s issue, he breathes life into his anime characters, showing genius capabilities.
(Box at the lower left side of the page)
If there were animes like this I’d watch it!
MASAMI YUUKI (manga artist)
As a rule, the three things I’d like to see are: “something that isn’t originally from manga”; “robot animation that isn’t dark”; and “in one year, a collaborative anime by Osamu Dezaki and Akio Sugino for release in Japan”. I can watch TV anime while casually lying around but I’d like anime that I wouldn’t be able to take my eyes off of the screen, something that is both easy to watch and amusing. And as written in other magazines before, I’d like to see Mr. Hayao Miyazaki’s version of “Atragon”! (Translator’s note: “Undersea Warship” in Japan)
YUUKI KUDOU (actress and singer)
I’d definitely watch anime that’s fun to watch, anime that will make me happy. At any rate, I’d like a hero on the side of justice who will beat the hell out of the bad guys and put them in a bind.
RYOKO YAMAGISHI (manga artist)
If there were an anime like Disney’s “Fantasia”, I’d watch it!
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