The Best of Grumpy Miyazaki

One problem – Miyazaki never actually said this. The line is incorrectly drawn from a 2014 interview, where Miyazaki expresses a much more nuanced, but no less withering opinion.

“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.”

The man has standards, and he expects people to meet them.

3. 2014 – Miyazaki hates people who are too into guns.

“Otaku,” generally speaking, is a Japanese word for superfan. It’s commonly associated with anime, but really you can be an otaku for anything, even guns. Back in 2014, one interviewer, probably fishing for a spicy quote about obsessive anime fans, asked Miyazaki to comment on otakus generally, and he said this:

“Otaku? The people I hate most are those gun otaku. Speaking honestly, I think they’re really low level, and out of firearm fans, the pistol nuts are the worst. They’re the ones that have the most immature character traits left over.”

We’re guessing the overlap in the Venn Diagram of NRA members and My Neighbor Totoro fans is small, but perhaps this take will reach them and change their hearts and minds.

4. 2008 – Miyazaki disses the Prime Minister of Japan.

If Miyazaki hasn’t explicitly said anime was a mistake, he has had plenty of harsh words for anime fans, whether it’s the average dude watching home alone or Japan’s top officials. Responding to news that Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso likes manga, the director and one time manga artist said:

“It’s an embarrassment. He should do that sort of thing in his private time.”

Imagine telling a reporter that Obama shouldn’t waste so much time on those immaculately well-balanced playlists he releases every year, and instead just keep it to his private Spotify account. You might think it, but do you say it? You don’t, but Hayao Miyazaki does.

5. 2010 – Miyazaki thinks you look gross with your iPad.

Journey back with us to 2010: Steve Jobs is still alive and Apple has just released its first iPad. It’s like your computer screen, but smaller! Or your phone, but bigger! Just how cool is it? Hayao Miyazaki (a known Luddite who doesn’t use email and draws by hand) doesn’t think it’s cool at all, no thank you. In an interview for Studio Ghibli’s in house publication, he called the tablet a “game-machine type thing.”

“For me, there is no feeling of admiration or no excitement whatsoever. It’s disgusting. On trains, the number of those people doing that strange masturbation-like gesture is multiplying.”

Next time you scroll, take a moment to think about how you look.

6. 2005 and 2013 – Miyazaki welcomes the environmental apocalypse.

2004 to 2005 was arguably a peak for Miyazaki in terms of global popularity. Following the success of Spirited Away, the hype machine fully activated for the follow-up Howl’s Moving Castle, which is secretly a fashion film about a young hat-maker and her wizard friend with adventurous taste in grooming and hair dye. Miyazaki got the full New Yorker profile treatment, where he offered up a dark vision for the future.

I’d like to see Manhattan underwater. I’d like to see when the human population plummets and there are no more high-rises, because nobody’s buying them. I’m excited about that.

Eight years later, in the (pretty good!) Studio Ghibli documentary The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness, he offered up another dark prediction:

“The future is clear: it’s going to fall apart. What’s the use worrying? It’s inevitable.”

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