Floating around the internet are countless memes featuring Hayao Miyazaki painted a peaceful scene and uttered what is considered his most controversial line, “Anime is a mistake.” The irony that a household name in the anime industry would have such a harsh stance towards its own genre is, frankly, laughable.
There’s just one problem – Miyazaki never actually said this. The quote appears to have been improperly taken from an interview from 2014, in which the filmmaker was discussing the issue with the mindset of many artists in the modern anime industry. Anime is not a mistake, rather it is impossible to connect it with reality.
Hayao Miyazaki never said Anime was a mistake
The infamous line in which Miyazaki criticized anime comes from a series of screenshots of an interview posted on the Japanese website Golden Times. The English translation of the interview shows that even though this quote was never said, Miyazaki still has some strong opinions about the anime industry, especially the artists involved in it . “If you don’t spend time observing real people, you can’t do this, because you’ve never seen it,” he said. “Most Japanese animation is produced with little to no basis in observing real people… It is produced by people who cannot bear to look at other people. And that’s why this industry is filled with otaku!”
Miyazaki’s problem isn’t the anime itself. Rather, his concern is that people in the industry are relying too much on their expectations of what anime should be like and not enough on the human experience. Building a hands-on experience is common advice for artists of any genre, but Miyazaki seems to feel it’s especially necessary and overlooked in his industry. Everyone knows that he has high standards when it comes to anime, one of the many reasons why he had a difficult time deciding to retire. It seems like the easiest way to try and meet those standards is to just step away from the screen.
Miyazaki wants anime artists to build from reality
Although it’s interesting to think about the creator of such strange films as Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle As a grump with a grudge against his own industry, misleading or outright false quotes like the famous meme take away from the wisdom he has to offer. Miyazaki is truly dedicated to his art, and he wants to see it continue to develop into something even better than it is now. To create something magical, anime artists must build a foundation based on the reality of the world. Based on Hayao Miyazaki, anime isn’t a mistake, but disconnecting it from the human experience is.
Source: Sora News 24 and Golden News Archives