The title on everyone’s lips this year when it comes to be anime films seems to be Your name. It’s breaking records around the world, and getting so popular that even the creator is a bit tired of dealing with it. But when it comes to the Tokyo International Film Festival, the programming director feels that Japan’s film festival scene has had “enough” of the tropes used in the film.
When speaking of Your name., A Silent Voice, and Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni — all three of which received time at this year’s festival — programming director Yoshihiko “Yoshi” Yatabe said that he’s seen more than enough of “schoolgirls and time slips.” In particular he says that too many domestically made works rely on the imagery of “blue summer skies, fluffy clouds, and sailor suits.” While he admits that he considers Your name. a wonderful movie, he notes that compared with overseas creators, the tropes may stand out as childish.
That said, he is happy to see more anime being received positively worldwide, but seems displeased that the reverse — positive reception of overseas work in Japan — is less true.
Yatabe had always made a big push to have anime included at the TIFF, but also wants to see more foreign animation get noticed. However, he notes that the anime market shows “little interest in foreign animation,” potentially because there is so much to choose from. Annual animated film output has more than doubled worldwide in the last decade, leaving fans overwhelmed by the amount of choice and thus turning their eyes back toward domestic blockbusters.
The 2016 Tokyo International Film Festival screened more than 150 films from around the world, including recent blockbusters and digitally restored classics. All animated films screened were Japanese in origin.
Kara Dennison is responsible for multiple webcomics, runs social media and interviews for (Re)Generation Who, and is half the creative team behind the OEL light novel series Owl’s Flower. She blogs at karadennison.com and tweets @RubyCosmos.