Anime Legend Mamoru Hosoda: Miyazaki Retirement Has Brought "Freedom" to Industry

By Schroter, Shawn | Screen International, November 22, 2016 | Go to article overview

Anime Legend Mamoru Hosoda: Miyazaki Retirement Has Brought "Freedom" to Industry


Schroter, Shawn, Screen International


When Hayao Miyazaki announced in 2013 that The Wind Rises would be his final feature, a number of obituaries were written declaring the end of traditional animation. Miyazaki's blend of old-school hand-drawn animation and naturalistic stories had turned his company Studio Ghibli into an international powerhouse, and in Japan there didn't at first look to be any film-makers to fill his shoes.

But in fact Japansese anime is in rude health, with the most successful films in recent years sticking to 2D with only occasional nods to their computer-generated Hollywood counterparts. Originally slated to direct 2004's Howl's Moving Castle for Studio Ghibli, Mamoru Hosoda has been the driving force behind a number of well-received, popular animated films including 2012's Wolf Children and 2009's Summer Wars.

Hosoda has accomplished a strong balancing act, making entertaining films filled with emotional resonance that can be appreciated by adults and children alike.

The way Hosoda sees it, Miyazaki's decision to step back from his role as the representative director of Japanese animated films - a position he has held for over 30 years - has brought a certain amount of "freedom" and "democratisation" to anime.

"I think that there's still a real possibility that the industry could get even bigger, much bigger," Hosoda told Screen at the Tokyo International Film Festival, when asked about the style's recent surge in popularity.

Hosoda can take a chunk of credit for that surge after his 2015 film The Boy And The Beast proved a huge success at the Japanese box office, and was followed this year by Makoto Shinkai's anime blockbuster Your Name.

"There were a lot people who said, 'Oh, Japanese animation is finished' [after Miyazaki said he was stepping away] but if you look at it more objectively, it could be the birth of a new industry," he said.

"Japan is really the only country that is still producing this type of animation. …

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