16th Animation Division Critiques

The Rise of “Everyday Life” as a Subject

The story has suffered a noticeable decline. Or perhaps it would be more apt to say that the narrative urge is vanishing from animation.
This is a trend that began a few years ago. Irrespective of what may be going on in TV series or films, storytelling in animation has decreased drastically, and in its place the subject of "everyday life" has taken the animation world by storm. There is clearly a proliferation of works that attempt nothing more than to depict the emotional inner workings of their characters in ordinary settings - or more precisely, to depict their "moods." It seems, indeed, that this has already become not just a trend, but something approaching an actual genre.
Perhaps there simply isn't as much demand for drama as there once was.
But from a creator's standpoint, one can't help but wonder if this is a good thing. After all, the history of Japanese animation has been that of a single-minded quest for drama, for a good story, and it was this obsession that spawned the distinctive qualities of the genre. It didn't matter if the expression itself was crude or artless, as long as it told a story. If we simply discard the unique mode of expression this approach engendered, what type of expression can we expect to emerge in its place?
It is unthinkable that the "everyday" can ever replace the narrative. This is why I tried to show my support for the few works that displayed a desire to tell new stories in this era of narrative decline.

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.