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Miyazaki: The Problem With The Anime Industry Is It's Full of Otaku
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Arsenette wrote:

One thing I've noticed in all the arguments against what Miyazaki is saying is mostly due to the fact that Americans are trying to commandeer the word "otaku" as something "good". It isn't. Even teenagers these days don't look at the word as something good. So he's right that the industry is narrow-minded and unable to branch out outside of their little world. From an artistic point of view it's impossible to recreate something you've never experienced. As the saying goes "do only what you know" and otaku's lifestyle and isolation limits their creativity. Miyazaki is 100% correct.


Warning, a'bit of a rant here

From an artistic point of view, creating something you have never experienced is half the damn point. Someone who labels an entire industry they themselves are part of as "narrow minded" is arguing form a point of bias. Telling someone to "Do what you know" is as stupid as saying "Just be yourself" to someone in need of advice. People don't simply "do what they know" they know what they do. They go out of their way to spend hour after hour learning, researching, and engrossing themselves in something. You can not tell me or anybody else that it's pointless. You can not convince me a person who spends their life reading books is somehow lesser than someone who spent their live doing something else. I will argue this again and again and again as the very idea of of such offends me. You are not limited by what you have not done, only enabled by what you have. I said this earlier in the form, and I hold it true. Human beings are not so simple as Miyazaki's quote implies.

You label the word "otaku' as bad, not me. A word can carry a social stigma, but what I am is not limited to your social perception. Gay is another social stigma, do people not own it? Is it wrong to be gay simply because it's socially unacceptable? Are their not people who defy such words at every chance they get, or wear such as a badge of honor?

Otaku's are often embarrassed for their taste, and why the fuck should they be? Why are you sitting here telling me that this stereotype is not only true, but those who're labeled as such are limited in what they can accomplish? An industry is an Industry, it's not some magical competition of creators trying their best to be original. It's millions of dollars to produce a product. Miyazaki is an extremely qualified critic, but he has no weight when it comes to the industry itself. He sits in an ivory tower with huge wads of cash and a hefty weight to his name. Simply telling someone a movie was made by him makes it twice as good. When he wants to animate something, he has years of experience and years of time to animate it, and since he makes movies over series, he is able to spend far more time and cash for any detail he so wants.

Otaku is essentially a word for obsession. Otaku are people who're obsessed over something. Tech, Anime, Guns, Camera's, Movies. It doesn't mater. These people have a hobby, and this word tells them they're lesser for it. How can you not get angry at such an accusation?
How can you tell me that using the word in a positive way is wrong? If a man walks into the room and proudly proclaims himself an Otaku, do you look down at him for it? Do you go out of your way to tell him that he is a loser for believing such, and should be ashamed of himself? What kind of asshole are you to do such a thing? Do you have some magical right to judge someone so easily?

I'm sorry that I come off as insulting, the wording of your post got me angry. I was originally going to just post a picture of a Tyrion Lannister quote about taking the names people call you, and making it your own so they don't hurt you. By should you let what others call you bother you? But re-reading your post made me want to argue against it.
Miyazaki isn't only wrong, he's offensive. He's famously feminist and dislikes it when the Male and Female lead end up as a couple, preferring them to become friends. As far as directing and writing go, he's a genius. But social interaction isn't something Miyazaki is famous for.
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I'm not an animator, but I would love to be a satirical writer, so naturally, this is coming from a "writer's" perspective.

Miyazaki is accurate. Just flat out 100% accurate. Part of the reason why people love his films is because he writes characters that other humans can relate. Even if the characters are not humans, like Ponyo, they still act human, and they still have complex personalities like humans.

Me personally, this is the biggest problem with the anime industry. Writers and creators just flat out don't feel like thinking of something new, original, or realistic for their characters. Therefore, 99.9% of them feel flat and stereotypical.

Miyazaki, you are a genius, and you will always be a genius.
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Posted 1/31/14 , edited 1/31/14

Felstalker wrote:


Arsenette wrote:

One thing I've noticed in all the arguments against what Miyazaki is saying is mostly due to the fact that Americans are trying to commandeer the word "otaku" as something "good". It isn't. Even teenagers these days don't look at the word as something good. So he's right that the industry is narrow-minded and unable to branch out outside of their little world. From an artistic point of view it's impossible to recreate something you've never experienced. As the saying goes "do only what you know" and otaku's lifestyle and isolation limits their creativity. Miyazaki is 100% correct.


Warning, a'bit of a rant here

From an artistic point of view, creating something you have never experienced is half the damn point. Someone who labels an entire industry they themselves are part of as "narrow minded" is arguing form a point of bias. Telling someone to "Do what you know" is as stupid as saying "Just be yourself" to someone in need of advice. People don't simply "do what they know" they know what they do. They go out of their way to spend hour after hour learning, researching, and engrossing themselves in something. You can not tell me or anybody else that it's pointless. You can not convince me a person who spends their life reading books is somehow lesser than someone who spent their live doing something else. I will argue this again and again and again as the very idea of of such offends me. You are not limited by what you have not done, only enabled by what you have. I said this earlier in the form, and I hold it true. Human beings are not so simple as Miyazaki's quote implies.

You label the word "otaku' as bad, not me. A word can carry a social stigma, but what I am is not limited to your social perception. Gay is another social stigma, do people not own it? Is it wrong to be gay simply because it's socially unacceptable? Are their not people who defy such words at every chance they get, or wear such as a badge of honor?

Otaku's are often embarrassed for their taste, and why the fuck should they be? Why are you sitting here telling me that this stereotype is not only true, but those who're labeled as such are limited in what they can accomplish? An industry is an Industry, it's not some magical competition of creators trying their best to be original. It's millions of dollars to produce a product. Miyazaki is an extremely qualified critic, but he has no weight when it comes to the industry itself. He sits in an ivory tower with huge wads of cash and a hefty weight to his name. Simply telling someone a movie was made by him makes it twice as good. When he wants to animate something, he has years of experience and years of time to animate it, and since he makes movies over series, he is able to spend far more time and cash for any detail he so wants.

Otaku is essentially a word for obsession. Otaku are people who're obsessed over something. Tech, Anime, Guns, Camera's, Movies. It doesn't mater. These people have a hobby, and this word tells them they're lesser for it. How can you not get angry at such an accusation?
How can you tell me that using the word in a positive way is wrong? If a man walks into the room and proudly proclaims himself an Otaku, do you look down at him for it? Do you go out of your way to tell him that he is a loser for believing such, and should be ashamed of himself? What kind of asshole are you to do such a thing? Do you have some magical right to judge someone so easily?

I'm sorry that I come off as insulting, the wording of your post got me angry. I was originally going to just post a picture of a Tyrion Lannister quote about taking the names people call you, and making it your own so they don't hurt you. By should you let what others call you bother you? But re-reading your post made me want to argue against it.
Miyazaki isn't only wrong, he's offensive. He's famously feminist and dislikes it when the Male and Female lead end up as a couple, preferring them to become friends. As far as directing and writing go, he's a genius. But social interaction isn't something Miyazaki is famous for.

I'm going to counter-rant your rant.

For the record, all you've done is prove Arsenette's point. You've stripped "Otaku" of the negative elements it properly pertains to as a word in the Japanese language, rewritten its definition as something akin to "Nerd" and run with it.

"Otaku" doesn't mean you have a hobby, it means you have an obsession that cripples you as a human being. They could choose to "own" the term, like "Fujoshi" or "Gay" but it's impractical to force a new definition as an outsider.

Miyazaki said "Otaku." We know what he means by "Otaku." In this context it is a "Bad Word." It doesn't matter what the word means "To You." You are not speaking. Miyazaki is. You must use his dictionary to translate his meaning.

I'm not sure where else you're going with this.
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It could be that there's trouble with the focus of production teams.

Calling in an expert on a certain field for a better point of view, getting a first person point of view on a subject, or interviewing people whose lives have undergone certain experiences would liven up some anime. Of course the hopelessly obsessed will be making it. That's the way it's always been (and based on the pay and workload of Japanese anime staff, it'd probably remain that way.)

But if the trouble is an outsider perspective, and if such outside perspectives are marketable, I can't see why they couldn't borrow people from outside of the anime scene to make it more dynamic and give assistance with scenarios and dialogue. Usually a story focuses on the perspective of a certain type of individual. They could be a store owner, a teacher, ex-military, fun-loving, a dedicated parent. These people exist in some form. Maybe not in the anime's context, but I'm sure people would be able to come up with rather interesting takes on what-if scenarios. After all, people know what they know. If your anime staff is full of people that know anime but aren't experts on certain aspects of human behavior or certain real-life scenarios, it certainly can't hurt for them to be openly exposed to them or someone that is exposed to such things daily brought in to assist in editorial work with the pre-production staff, writer, and director.

It's not like this is unusual. Most books that are centered around certain subject matter required the writer to openly engross themselves in that subject matter to get it across clearly and impressively (or they might be co-written in such a way.) At least, they are that way if the writer wishes to convey a perspective that hasn't been brought up before. Everyone appreciates not only impressive character development, but impressive plot development, technological, setting, and artistic developments in their stories. Anime, which has absolute freedom of expression and is limited solely by budget, can certainly use plots from perspectives that haven't been brought up prior or from artistic perspectives that haven't been engaged in. And that, requires proper research.

During Disney's golden age of film, a majority of the animators were recently graduated painters from art schools. Under certain staff they were given the subject matter to study. The team actually had animals that they'd practice drawing and would watch while the film Bambi was being created. For the realistic human characters, they'd practice with live models, the models would act the scenes out, the animators would act the scenes out. A lot of the creation of the films were dynamic, and consequently, the animation was as well.

It would have been rather simple for them to simply record water dripping, and then copy its effects for a scene that was an important aspect (or simply use a modern 3D program to simulate such an action in a way that isn't grating.) Instead, the animators were required to study the dripping of water and effectively interpret it.

tl;dr "Your staff is full of one-trick ponies? Get some new ponies and teach the old ones new tricks."
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Insomnist wrote:

For the record, all you've done is prove Arsenette's point. You've stripped "Otaku" of the negative elements it properly pertains to as a word in the Japanese language, rewritten its definition as something akin to "Nerd" and run with it.

"Otaku" doesn't mean you have a hobby, it means you have an obsession that cripples you as a human being. They could choose to "own" the term, like "Fujoshi" or "Gay" but it's impractical to force a new definition as an outsider.

Miyazaki said "Otaku." We know what he means by "Otaku." In this context it is a "Bad Word." It doesn't matter what the word means "To You." You are not speaking. Miyazaki is. You must use his dictionary to translate his meaning.

I'm not sure where else you're going with this.


I have, that was part of my point. I'm trying to say that taking the name and running with it isn't a bad thing. That despite it being such a negative social stigma, there are people who use it to define themselves. Using Otaku as an insult, or agreeing with someone who does, is something inherently wrong.

The idea isn't to force a new definition, but force a more positive outlook. It's a very western cultural view in and of itself. But that's going off topic.

Miyazaki uses the word Otaku as a way to insult the industry. Miyazaki hates the moe-blob and unoriginal crappy characters. That's the entire meaning of the comment. He's insulting Otaku. He's not making some grand statement about Anime being unoriginal. He's simply insulting something he does not like. Casually dismissing the entire problem as "they don't get out enough" and "they don't know how to talk to people"

I don't want to put Arsenette on the spot light, but I do want to put the words said out there. Miyazaki is simply insulting people based on a stereotype. I do not agree with him, and think he's a bit of a hypocrite.

How many series has Miyazaki worked on that he wasn't the Director and writer for? How often does he actually work with other people? All I see are his views in each movie, like nobody ever says no to Miyazaki. He's a fucking genius writer, but that's not all.

Miyazaki is in a position that never requires him to compromise his work. If the film isn't done yet, it's not done yet. If the characters arn't deep enough, a scene doesn't have the right impact. He simply has to redo it. He doesn't use computers, and he's not forced to. Miyazaki doesn't have to work within all the constraints the average creator has to, and then he goes out and says the reason they suck is because they're not looking around them? Their are plenty of problems in the Industry, but it's not as simple as that!
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He probably meant that anime is not doing it realistically anymore (the motions and stuff).
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Felstalker wrote:


Insomnist wrote:

For the record, all you've done is prove Arsenette's point. You've stripped "Otaku" of the negative elements it properly pertains to as a word in the Japanese language, rewritten its definition as something akin to "Nerd" and run with it.

"Otaku" doesn't mean you have a hobby, it means you have an obsession that cripples you as a human being. They could choose to "own" the term, like "Fujoshi" or "Gay" but it's impractical to force a new definition as an outsider.

Miyazaki said "Otaku." We know what he means by "Otaku." In this context it is a "Bad Word." It doesn't matter what the word means "To You." You are not speaking. Miyazaki is. You must use his dictionary to translate his meaning.

I'm not sure where else you're going with this.


I have, that was part of my point. I'm trying to say that taking the name and running with it isn't a bad thing. That despite it being such a negative social stigma, there are people who use it to define themselves. Using Otaku as an insult, or agreeing with someone who does, is something inherently wrong.

The idea isn't to force a new definition, but force a more positive outlook. It's a very western cultural view in and of itself. But that's going off topic.

Miyazaki uses the word Otaku as a way to insult the industry. Miyazaki hates the moe-blob and unoriginal crappy characters. That's the entire meaning of the comment. He's insulting Otaku. He's not making some grand statement about Anime being unoriginal. He's simply insulting something he does not like. Casually dismissing the entire problem as "they don't get out enough" and "they don't know how to talk to people"

I don't want to put Arsenette on the spot light, but I do want to put the words said out there. Miyazaki is simply insulting people based on a stereotype. I do not agree with him, and think he's a bit of a hypocrite.

How many series has Miyazaki worked on that he wasn't the Director and writer for? How often does he actually work with other people? All I see are his views in each movie, like nobody ever says no to Miyazaki. He's a fucking genius writer, but that's not all.

Miyazaki is in a position that never requires him to compromise his work. If the film isn't done yet, it's not done yet. If the characters arn't deep enough, a scene doesn't have the right impact. He simply has to redo it. He doesn't use computers, and he's not forced to. Miyazaki doesn't have to work within all the constraints the average creator has to, and then he goes out and says the reason they suck is because they're not looking around them? Their are plenty of problems in the Industry, but it's not as simple as that!


I actually wrote something else, so I'll summarize that.

Words aren't at fault, people are. "Idiot" and "Moron" used to be euphemisms to refer to mentally handicapped people. They are now dysphemisms, a word which is apparently not in Crunchyroll's word list for spell check.

Censors are bad.

People and their social interactions are complicated. You can't just dictate changes to society and expect them to do what you say.

Further, Miyazaki, whether or not he was attempting to make a deep point or be ...intolerant, successfully said something that could be interpreted as a helpful critique. There isn't anything wrong with telling people they should experience more stuff, broaden their horizons.

Nothing is simple, I agree.
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Nobodyofimportance wrote:

I actually wrote something else, so I'll summarize that.

Words aren't at fault, people are. "Idiot" and "Moron" used to be euphemisms to refer to mentally handicapped people. They are now dysphemisms, a word which is apparently not in Crunchyroll's word list for spell check.

Censors are bad.

People and their social interactions are complicated. You can't just dictate changes to society and expect them to do what you say.

Further, Miyazaki, whether or not he was attempting to make a deep point or be ...intolerant, successfully said something that could be interpreted as a helpful critique. There isn't anything wrong with telling people they should experience more stuff, broaden their horizons.

Nothing is simple, I agree.


Odd little bit of knowledge that...might not be true. My dad told it to me long ago, and it sounded reasonable.

Originally, we called people below a certain I.Q Idiot's and moron's. These two words eventually became huge enough insults that something had to be done about it. So it was decided that we'll replace the two words with the blanket term "retard" which sounded less offensive...or something?

It didn't take long for retard to become far far worse an insult than Idiot and Moron ever were.

Additionally, growing up my dad beat the shit out of my siblings and I if he ever caught us using the words idiot and moron, insisting we used retard instead.

It's a little off topic, but words tend to change their meanings and implications over time.
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Odd little bit of knowledge that...might not be true. My dad told it to me long ago, and it sounded reasonable.

Originally, we called people below a certain I.Q Idiot's and moron's. These two words eventually became huge enough insults that something had to be done about it. So it was decided that we'll replace the two words with the blanket term "retard" which sounded less offensive...or something?

It didn't take long for retard to become far far worse an insult than Idiot and Moron ever were.

Additionally, growing up my dad beat the shit out of my siblings and I if he ever caught us using the words idiot and moron, insisting we used retard instead.

It's a little off topic, but words tend to change their meanings and implications over time.


I'm against child abuse. If knew your backstory I wouldn't have used it as an example.
I apologize.

my point was along the lines of the pejoration of words occurring due to having a relation with the underlying subject matter. So to fix the issue otaku and Japanese society need to kiss and make up.

Sorry about that.
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The problem isn't otaku themselves, it's that the anime industry is in a downward piral of exploiting otaku. Otaku both have the means and motivation to buy insanely overpriced DVDs with two episodes on it, posters, figures, hug pillows...

Most anime these days are infomercials, aired late at night with the production team paying for it to be on the network. So they pander to socially maladjusted nerds, wich in turn pushes away other demographics, so now they HAVE to pander to socially maladjusted nerds because that's the only big audience left.

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Felstalker wrote:

It's a little off topic, but words tend to change their meanings and implications over time.


That's the problem. It hasn't in Japan. Only the USA has commandeered the word and expect everyone to think it's the same when it's not. It's not used in polite conversation among the Japanese. It.. just.. isn't. Quite frankly it's no different than someone using the "N" word whether they use the "ga" at the end or not. That has years of history and when someone says it it has a specific meaning. No amount of trying to make a pejorative nice is going to change the fact that it was a pejorative for many decades. Otaku fits in that category. Only American fans who have this weird view of Japan through rose colored lenses thinks it's cool to use. It's not. Every single Japanese not immersed in the culture uses that term badly and it conveys a very specific meaning. You can blame Miyazaki's age all you want but this is normal throughout all age groups in Japan. It's a bad word and it conveys a very strong isolated meaning. Getting angry that it doesn't fit your definition doesn't help your cause, it only solidifies his reason for saying it. Japan's anime industry has to get out of this isolation and actually get in touch with the real world. They are in an all-time low in animators and most of the big ones are over the age of 40 years old. If something doesn't change.. when the good ones die out there will be a smaller market. That's not good for everyone around the world. Not just Japan.
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I respect Miyazaki and I can see where he's coming from, but I can't entirely agree with him.

I get the impression that Miyazaki is just being one of those old-school anime fans, someone who grew to love anime for how it used to be and can't stand most modern anime because they're so different from the anime he grew to love. I don't think he's considering that people who have just started watching anime in recent years (like me) have grown to like anime for how it is now and have trouble watching older anime because they're so different, and that there's really no difference between the two scenarios. I half-suspect that Miyazaki is using the word "otaku" to describe people like me, the people who started watching modern anime first, without considering that our views are every bit as valid as his. He says the industry is "full of otaku" who don't spend any time observing others and that causes the characters these "otaku" create to feel unrealistic, to say the least. But I know there have been a lot of anime characters in recent years who have felt very realistic to me, and I think I can safely say that I spend more time observing others than the average person does (it's kind of necessary for someone in my area of study). Maybe modern anime characters just don't feel like the people from Miyazaki's generation, and maybe that's the point; maybe modern anime characters are supposed to feel like modern-day people. I personally don't see that as a bad thing, but perhaps Miyazaki does, and that's why he felt the need to say what he did.
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He's talking about animation while he was animating a girl. Did anyone READ the interview? It's like trying to draw movement of an animal you've never seen move. I've seen a few of his interviews/behind the scenes with the upcoming crop of animators and he was floored that more than half of them didn't even know how a BUG moved.. or even knew what a gecko was.. so he freaked out.. then took his coat and took everyone outside. Then all of a sudden it was a Eureka moment "holy crap a gecko walks like this???".. they would have never done it because they live in their own little world. I think the majority of those freaking out about the word otaku aren't listening to what he's bitching about. It's a valid statement. He was talking about how people move and how most animators don't know how because they've never bothered looking at the movement of other people. Otaku at it's core are isolationists and hermits. They limit their entire world and cut themselves off from other stimuli. Lord knows most rely on computers to come up with stuff while Miyazaki is part of the dying breed of actual "animators". He's frustrated that the anime industry is going down the toilet in Japan because these are the people that are now entrusted with the future of Japanese entertainment. I see it as a valid criticism worthy of exploration.
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Arsenette wrote:

Did anyone READ the interview?

I didn't even realize there was a link.

I've just been having fun seeing people express their own thoughts through how they interpreted the blurb in the article and the discussions that came out of it. Read it now though; that website captions their image breaks in a clever way.
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It also goes a long way in explaining why we keep getting the same themes and tropes repackaged over and over again. Storytelling is based on experience, and if the people telling the stories aren't having any experiences outside their narrow otaku lives, they have to fall back on what's already been done by other people.

Nobunaga the Fool is a hilariously tragic example of this. They roll out the millionth Nobunaga story (manga readers back me up here) add in some familiar historical figure names, sprinkle in some tired tropes and presto! We have an anime folks. It's a rehashing of rehashed hash that was probably penned by a shut-in.
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