Opinion: Toshi Suzuki’s comments about Hideaki Anno’s role as the “next-Miyazaki”

The latest news concerning the state of Studio Ghibli has just reached the United States. As Scott Green on Crunchyroll puts it,

During this, Suzuki spoke to Anno’s role in the future of anime, and the ever-popular subject of a next-Miyazaki, insisting that after Miyazaki, it has to be Anno.

As those “in the know” are familiar with, Ghibli is going through a “restructuring” period right now as it tries to adjust to losing the most well-known, and perhaps most prestigious, anime director living today, Hayao Miyazaki.

Toshio Suzuki’s comments add an additional entry to Hideaki Anno’s now 30-year public relationship with Studio Ghibli. Anno had first received major attention as an animator when he worked with Studio Ghibli on the 1984 film Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. He was known for animating the “god warrior” at the end of the film, as shown below.

Last year, Hayao Miyazaki has stated that, if a Nausicaa sequel were to be made, then he would be willing to let Hideaki Anno direct the film.

When asked if he was interested in making a continuation or part 2 of Nausicaä, he replied, “No, I don’t. I don’t really feel like doing it, but Anno keeps on saying, ‘I want to do it! I want to do it!,’ so I tell him now that I’ve come to think lately that if he wanted to do it, it would be fine for him to do it.”

Will Hideaki Anno become the replacement for Hayao Miyazaki?

It is important to not jump ahead. Is that question even worth considering? Let us look at it this way.

I am a little confused about the terminology that Scott Green uses. Specifically, “next-Miyazaki.” What is a “next-Miyazaki”? Hyphenation changes the meaning of words. Why hyphenate “next Miyazaki”? To me, there is a difference between “Anno is the next Miyazaki” and “Anno is the next-Miyazaki.” I can also confused by the fact that Anno is “a” “next-Miyazaki,” not “the” “next-Miyazaki.” What is the difference? Well, I can only provide my opinion.

My position on this is that they are not actually considering Anno joining Ghibli. As I have talked about in my previous article,

The general manager of Ghibli, Toshio Suzuki, made it clear what they want to do when he retired in March from producing. As was said in an article by Anime News Network, “Instead, he hoped to step aside and boost the new era of Ghibli with “young strength” such as 36-year-old Nishimura and 40-year-old Yonebayashi.”

Toshio Suzuki is on record for saying that he would like Ghibli’s young talent to lead the studio. He said this back in March. If he is already considering abandoning that plan, then I feel very sorry for the current Ghibli employees.

Perhaps what Toshio Suzuki means is that, Anno must assume a leading position in the anime industry. Hayao Miyazaki is the most well-known anime talent in the world, even after he has retired. He is one of only two anime creators to ever win an Academy Award (the other one being Kunio Kato). Spirited Away is Japan’s most financially successful film ever, with a box office total of $330 million.

Anno is, to a lesser extent, a world-renown anime creator. His series, Neon Genesis Evangelion, is considered a must-watch for anime fans around the world. Even Robin Williams was a fan of the series. The Evangelion anime has also spanned a very successful media franchise.

So, the question then becomes, Should Anno become the “face” of anime for overseas audiences?

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One thought on “Opinion: Toshi Suzuki’s comments about Hideaki Anno’s role as the “next-Miyazaki”

  1. tamerlane

    I think Anno already was the face of overseas anime during Evangelions peak, perhaps even moreso than Miyazaki. He definitely had a profound effect on TV anime comparable to Ghibli’s impact on feature film anime. It seems like an odd comparison too since Anno is mostly known as a TV director and only relatively recently went into film.

    Reply

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