15th Animation Division Critiques

Among perfect copies, strong stories stand out

There was a conspicuous trend among television series: a strangely large proportion was adapted from original works and executed in a way that suggests they must have been trying to copy those works exactly. Furthermore, their subjects were images of daily life from beginning to end, no longer needing dramatic developments or structure; they shared a tendency toward thinner narratives. Translating or transplanting a manga work into animation -- that is, creating an exact copy-- actually requires a high level of artistic technique and directorial skill, and in this sense supports the fact that the relative technical level of staff working on such series has risen. This may be praiseworthy insofar as it meets the demands of today's animation fans but is clearly a step backwards as a creative activity. If this trend of specialization to meet specific demands continues-- and it seems sure to do so -- it will go beyond the level of something to be apprehensive about and approach a suicidal act by the industry as a whole. Among entrants, however, a certain number of creators and directors have turned this trend to their advantage, testing out high-level narrative and standout direction. It is their works, though perhaps lacking universal appeal, which I decided to rate highly.

OSHII Mamoru
Film Director
Born in Tokyo in 1951, OSHII currently lives in Atami, Shizuoka Prefecture. He at tended Tokyo Metropolitan Koyamadai High School and went on to graduate as a fine arts major from the Education Department of Tokyo Gakugei University. He became a freelance director in 1984, and has received domestic and international attention for his cutting-edge visual worlds. He is also a game creator, novelist, scriptwriter, manga author, playwright, and university professor. In 2008 he accepted a post as visiting professor at the Faculty of Communication Studies, Tokyo Keizai University. His film works include Urusei Yatsura: Only You, the theatrical edition of Mobile Police Patlabor, and Ghost in the Shell. He received the Nihon SF Grand Prize for the animation film Innocence: Ghost in the Shell 2, which was also selected for competition at Festival de Cannes.