It’s not that uncommon to find the elder statesmen of anime criticizing what’s new and/or significant in the field. Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tomino told Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress’ director that it was a bad idea, especially since trains are “on rails, can’t deviate from their path and can’t fly.” Ghost in the Shell director Mamoru Oshii has been critical of Mamoru Hosoda and Hideaki Anno. Plush he’s always trolling Ghibli. Now, Gainax co-founder Toshio “Otaking” Okada is letting Your Name. have it.
Toshio Okada (58) is basically THE otaku. Well, the “Otaking.” He left/dropped out of college in the late 70s after he forgot to hand in his course registration paperwork, then lived off an allowance from his parents who thought he was still in school. He hung out with folks like Hideaki Anno as they prepared the legendary Daicon sci-fi convention anime shorts. Then he realized he could make money selling model (garage) kits at a mark-up, so he formed General Products. In ’86, he helped found anime production company Gainax and became its CEO, retiring from that position in ’92. Since then, he’s been recognized as an authority on otaku, writing books (including English-translated Sayonara, Mr. Fatty!, about an otaku approach to dieting), appearing as an expert on TV and lecturing.
While given to big pronouncements (the late 00’s You Otaku Are Already Dead for example), the Otaking tends to be thoughtful rather than simply dismissive. Still, in a Kyoto lecture, he unloaded on the new hit anime movie Your Name.
Your Name is a huge hit. There are a lot of women who are saying the film is a masterpiece, and it has me worried about the future of Japan. Come on, the film just uses the good parts of films and manga that’ve sold well in the past. It’s rubbish. As a person who’s been involved in anime, there wasn’t one second of Your Name that I thought was interesting or moving. Seriously, the story and script are awful. Even comparing it to the artistry of Hayao Miyazaki’s films is a mistake.
55-year-old manga author Tatsuya Egawa (best known internationally for Golden Boy, Oh! My Goddess’ Kōsuke Fujishima was one of his assistants) was similarly unimpressed, last month saying, “from the perspective of a professional, I didn’t find [Your Name] interesting at all,” and, “it lacks [Makoto Shinkai]’s voice, and it’s just composed of elements that sell.”