Mamoru Hosoda is one of the great directors of anime films today. Some consider him a successor to Miyazaki. In fact, the director premiered Belle, his latest film, in the 73rd edition of the Cannes Festival. It is a film that focuses on a shy young woman who becomes a singer in a virtual world known as U. The film is an exploration of the formation of identity in virtuality that prevails in our world and that has no face to stop , but to integrate more in our day to day.
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The film is said to have received a standing ovation after its screening at the renowned festival. For the same reason, it was inevitable that the director would be asked questions about the world of Japanese animation. The French media . (Agence France-Presse) (via TheN24) asked him some questions on this subject. He was asked his opinion on the female representation in the anime. The director criticized the idealization of young women in the anime saying that they mythologize them instead of presenting them as beings of flesh and blood which only speaks of their being undervalued by the society of their country. Specifically, the director referred to a master of Japanese animation, he did not say his name, but everything seems to indicate that he was referring to Hayao Miyazaki himself:
You only have to watch Japanese animation to understand how Japanese women are underrated and not taken seriously by Japanese society. It bothers me to see how they are often depicted in Japanese animation. They are treated as if they are sacred, which has nothing to do with what they really are. I will not say his name, but there is a great master of Japanese animation who always puts young women as his heroes. And to be honest, I think he does it because he doesn’t have confidence in himself as a man. This veneration of young women really disturbs me and I don’t want to be a part of it.
The director mentioned that in his own filmography women do not have to follow the social pressure that forces them to be impeccable models of virtue or innocence. This comment seems to have been addressed equally to Miyazaki.
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It is interesting to see a criticism of Miyazaki because the director himself is very much given to being quite scathing when it comes to talking about contemporary Japanese animation. In one of his multiple attacks on otaku culture in an interview for Golden Times (via Sora News24), the legendary director pointed out that in anime women are not drawn that correspond to reality because those who make anime are asocial beings who do not they observe real people:
You see, whether you can draw this way or not, whether you think of this type of design, 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 looking at real people, they can’t, because they’ve never seen it. Some people spend their lives interested only in themselves. Almost all Japanese animation is produced without any basis taken from observing real people. It is produced by humans who cannot stand it. look at other humans. And that’s why the industry is full of otaku!
It is interesting that this criticism that has just been made to Miyazaki goes to in a similar vein. Hosoda He is basically saying that the director and other people in the anime industry are not seeing what young women really are like, but are describing them from an idealization of the same linked to elements such as purity. That leads me to wonder: How many young women in the cinema of Miyazaki are they antagonists? How many of the young women in your films are not paragons of virtue and are morally complex beings. I ask readers to compare the young women of Miyazaki with those of the Satoshi Kon movies, for example and you will notice a big difference.