Mamoru Hosoda, director of Wolf Children and Belle, criticizes the portrayal of female characters in cartoons, including the films of director Hayao Miyazaki.
Mamoru Hosoda, director of films such as The girl who jumped in time, Wolf Children and the new movie Beautiful, expresses his criticism of the portrayal of female characters in cartoons, including the films of Oscar-winning director Hayao Miyazaki.
Speaking to AFP at the Cannes Film Festival, where Beautiful First presented with a 14-minute standing ovation, Hosoda said, “You only have to watch Japanese animation to see how young women are underestimated and not taken seriously in Japanese society.” He went on to say, “It really annoys me how often young women are seen in Japanese animation – treated as sacred – which has nothing to do with the reality of who they are.”
Although Hosoda did not specifically name Hayao Miyazaki, his sharpest beards were aimed at “a great master of animation who always takes a young woman as his heroine.” AFP and others saw it as a clear reference to Hayao Miyazaki, whose majority of films focus on young women and girls. Hosoda went so far as to claim that this “great master of animation” focuses on idealized female protagonists “because he doesn’t trust himself as a man.”
“This veneration of young women really bothers me and I don’t want to be a part of it,” said Hosoda, who wants female characters in his films to be free from “this oppression of having to be like everyone else” and to be able to tell stories that “show the good and the bad in people. This tension is what human being is.”
Mamoru Hosoda has personal experience working under Hayao Miyazaki. At the start of Hosoda’s career, when he had just completed a few Digimon short films (packaged and located in Digimon: the movie in the United States), Hosoda was seen as a potential successor to Hayao Miyazaki at Studio Ghibli and tasked with directing Howl’s Moving Castle. Hosoda was ousted from the film and Miyazaki himself took over as director. Hosoda’s next film, One Piece: Baron Omatsuri and the Secret Island has been interpreted as a veiled review of her time working at Studio Ghibli.
Beautiful, which tells the story of a girl who becomes a pop diva in a virtual world and falls in love with a mysterious “Beast” while battling online harassment, borrows from the classic The beauty and the Beast fairy tale, although Hosoda promises a feminist touch. In the original fairy tale, he explained, “Beauty is just a number. It all depends on how you look. I wanted to make it so complex and rich. [as the Beast]. “
Belle is now playing in Japanese theaters under the title Ryu in Sobakasu no Hime (literally translated “The Dragon and the Freckled Princess”). Anime distributor GKIDS has licensed the film in North America and has already announced plans to release it in theaters next winter.
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Source: AFP via Yahoo! New
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