Friday, May 26, 2017

Get Off My Lawn: Miyazaki out of retirement, again.

So "Your Name" does all kinds of awesome, and 5 minutes later Hayao Miyazaki announces he's not "retired" anymore for the second time.  The official story is that he saw a Studio Ghibli short animation and was all kinds of motivated to do it better.  There are two problems with that explanation:
1) It's total BS it's much more likely that he doesn't like to be a figure who might one day be surpassed by someone or something else in the animation industry, and so he's engaging this Saraharu O type strategy of making sure no one gets a chance to do that no matter what it takes.  But much like big O there, it's not going to last forever, and he can't stand it.
2) Even if that stated official reason is 100% true it doesn't make the situation any better.  Like Vladimir Putin can't stand to see the Russian government run by anyone else, Miyazaki simply will not stand to see Ghibli continue without him.  Now we could take a look at Earth Sea and say to ourselves, "well maybe that's a good thing" but whenever someone is motivated by something like that, the results are inevitably tainted. 

You go sit in the corner and think about what you've done.

There have been rumblings out there.  About what it's like at Ghibli when Miyazaki is actually around.  Some of them disturbingly mirror descriptions of what it was like when Steve Jobs was around the office.  Now, my big smug I told you so aside, it's at least obvious to everyone now that Steve Jobs was a massive gaping dickhole, as nice to be around as a flatulent badger with a toothache, and about as technically "creative" as Thomas Edison (that means he was good at stealing ideas).  So no matter what some palpably perceived public persona permeates people's minds, there's always that potential of it being erroneous either through organic processes or deliberate interventions.  

Am I saying that Miyazaki is just as bad?  Well I'm saying it's possible that he is. He's coming back to a studio where he can walk around like God, where no one will ever tell him "no" to anything, and jumping back into a field that has seen some serious technological advancements that he undoubtedly does not completely grasp.  Thankfully Miyazaki is actually genuinely talented and we probably won't see anything like Jar Jar on the horizon, but like Jay Leno, he's still barging back in even after stepping out and having others take the torch, only to be displaced by his desire to still be the main ingredient in theatrical animation.  The Baby Boomer motus operandi as it were.

Nobody does something like that unless it's to win at something.

He's doing this to spite someone or something that he's fixated on.  Yes, I could be completely wrong, but I'm the Angry Otaku, if there's one thing I know all too well it's the bitterness and spite that can only come from fine aging over years, and this smells exactly like that.  The guy is 79, a bajillionaire, and openly admits he has actually no fun doing these things.  His ability to communicate with people who are generations younger than him, which any production is going to depend on, may have atrophied or just disappeared all together, and he seems like the kind of guy who has one of those "don't make eye contact" rules that applies to most people in the office.  Yes, I am a glass-half empty kind of guy.

Imagine getting stuck in an elevator with this guy.

If you're reading this and wondering how I could say such things about such a "nice old man" I would just reply; "shut the hell up, you've never met the guy" you're just going on visuals alone and the fact that you like the movies he creates or stamps his name on.  If you think about he's also got be (inadvertently) responsible for at least a few cases of Paris Syndrome since his films seem to depict some sort of Disney-fied provincial Europe that never really existed but his Japanese fans end up thinking is completely true to life accurate.  Much like what was done with Steve Jobs, his brand identity, and company he's associated with are all being portrayed in the most benign and flattering light as possible, not only from their own PR efforts but by a press and media that simply can't bring itself to even ask the questions that may lead to image-shattering revelations.  They would just rather not look behind the curtain, and you can't even really blame them.

Everything's fine!

So until Miyazaki starts driving around a McLaren a Mercedes with no license plate and parking in the handicapped spot a-la Steve Jobs, I am going to hold out hope that this really is just him coming back to make more movies just for the sake of making more movies... but I don't think that's the likely version of what's happening.  Come back in 6 years and we'll see what happens.

No comments: