Creator of the wildly popular Neon Genesis Evangelon anime, Hideaki Anno offers a grim prediction on the future state of animation in Japan. He gives anime twenty years, tops before it simply dies out.
That may seem like a dire prediction from a well-known name in an industry that many of us enjoy, but he does seem to give some very thought-provoking and valid reasons for his statement. First, the industry seems to have stagnated when it comes to technology. While other artists and creators are dabbling into the benefits and changes afforded them with computer animation and the like, the anime industry seems to be completely stuck in their ways. In a world where everything is changing by the minute, just about any industry that seems stuck in their ways and hesitant to move forward is one that has its days numbered. His concern about Japan’s animation being propelled “by inertia” instead of by ingenuity sounds solid.
Mr. Anno… Sensei Anno? I don’t understand enough about Japanese to know what’s right… Let’s go by first name. Hideaki stated that one of the other biggies that is plaguing the industry is a lack of excitement and motivation. He stated that it was a completely different scene during a trip to Taiwan, that the animators there were excited about what they were doing and the stories that they were telling. Animators in Japan seemed to simply be carrying on, doing their job so to speak. That passion is essential, because it is conveyed in what you produce. If you’re bored with it, odds are that you audience will be as well.
Not to mention, simply numbers. There are fewer animators in Japan. Logic dictates that will mean less animation, since there are less people to actually do the work now. And other countries in Asia are gaining financial momentum, which could mean companies and animators relocating. So, what can we do? Nothing. You thought I was going to say something profound, didn’t you?
What I will say, is that there is a lot of really great anime out there, and should it be something that you’ve never taken a look at before, here are a few recommendations (the opinions of the writer are by no means the opinion of management, just me):
Death Note – The US has been trying to make a movie out of this one for years, but much like Cowboy Bebop, it is stuck in Hollywood red tape hell. I’m not complaining, mind you. Taking out all of the Asian culture seems to me like it would leave a jumbled mess of loose ends and confusion, but the anime? Totally worth it.
Samarai Champloo – I hate subbed anime, the American actors never pronounce the names right (see Bleach, *shudders*), but I discovered this one as subbed. The two main characters, two fighters with completely opposite personalities and outlooks on life, are brilliant and their interactions and arguments are hilarious.
Black Butler – He’s a demonic butler, and he scares the crap out of people for his master. What is there not to like?
Hellsing Ultimate – There is a regular Hellsing, which is good, but this one is closer to the manga. And more gloriously violent. Gloriously! Allucard is just… absolutely insane, but you find yourself cheering for his terrifying self. He’s amazing. It’s amazing. Um, just don’t watch it with your 5 year old, they might be traumatized.