Otaku USA Magazine
Poll Asks, “Who Will Save Anime?”

As OUSA readers are well, well aware, Hayao Miyazaki retired last year.

From directing anime films, at least. For a retired guy, Miyazaki is supposedly pretty busy, working on a new manga about Japan’s “warring states period.” But no more movies, he says.

So NTT DoCoMo, a cell phone provider in Japan, recently took it upon themselves to poll their users and ask, “now that Miyazaki has retired, who will take anime forward?” 8,585 respondents, uh, responded, and their answers may shock you (if you’re easily shocked)!

At the top of the list, with a hefty plurality was (drumroll) Goro Miyazaki, son of Hayao and director of two Ghibli films, the oft-ridiculed Tales of Earthsea and the less critically-lashed From Up On Poppy Hill. As we reported, the younger Miyazaki has taken the helm of a new TV series, the first ever for Ghibli, set to air this August.

In second place, Evangelion guy Hideaki Anno, who has been busy producing and directing the Rebuild of Evangelion films, as well as starring in The Wind Rises.

In third place, the guy many have hailed as “the next Miyazaki,” Mamoru Hosoda, whose latest is Wolf Children. Rounding out the top five are Mamoru Oshii, the Ghost in the Shell and Sky Crawlers director who’s currently working on a live-action adaptation of Patlabor, and Katsuhiro Otomo, director and writer of Akira, whose latest is the compilation film Short Peace.

It’s an interesting poll, because Goro Miyazaki hasn’t (yet) shown the kind of talent as guys like Hosoda or Anno. On the other hand, he’s got that last name. Let’s remember despite what the internet may have led you to believe, most people in Japan aren’t huge anime fans – but everyone, and I mean everyone, has seen at least one Ghibli film.

It’s possible many of the respondents just didn’t know anyone else on the list (though the new Evangelion films and Wolf Children both did big bucks). Or it’s possible people used Goro Miyazaki as a kind of proxy for Ghibli, meaning they think Ghibli will carry on the anime tradition, regardless of who’s in charge of the features.

This is all just speculation, but for even more speculation and the complete list, hop over to Rocket News.

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Matt Schley

Matt Schley (rhymes with "guy") lives in Tokyo, and has been OUSA's "man in Japan" since 2012. He's also written about anime and Japanese film for the Japan Times, Screen Daily and more.