As of late, I’ve felt that quite a few anime creators have been taking a reductive approach to determining what is necessary for a piece of fiction to actually work. They’re examining the innards of animation as a story-telling device, and removing seemingly vital organs in order to determine whether it was a heart or if it was just the tonsils. The three most prominent examples I can think of are Miyazaki, Oshii, and Kyoto Animation.
Miyazaki asks, “Do I really need a cohesive narrative when I just want to illustrate a series of events in animation?” and then creates Ponyo.
Oshii asks, “Does my movie really need to be actively engaging when I want to make a movie entirely about tedium?” and then creates Sky Crawlers.
Kyoto Animation asks, “Can a work be considered ‘new’ if everything BUT the story itself is entirely redone?” and then creates the Endless Eight portion of Haruhi.
In every instance here, creators are using their reputations to put surprisingly experimental animations in a public setting for mass consumption. In the case of Oshii and Miyazaki, it’s in the theater, and for Kyoto Animation it’s on TV in the form of one of the most popular anime in recent years. And with these experiments, they are asking a rather weighty question: what exactly is fiction? They’re asking themselves, asking the audience, asking the industry, and depending on the answer they receive, we may see more works like this or less.
How do you feel about this? Should creators be using such public settings to experiment to such an extent?