Hosoda: 'Japanese Anime Has Problem With Women And Girls'
Cannes, France, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 16th Jul, 2021 ) :Mamoru Hosoda has bones to pick with both Steven Spielberg and Hayao Miyazaki, the other great Japanese animator to whom he is often compared.
The dystopian tropes about the internet that run through so many movies, including Spielberg's "Ready Player One", are not doing anyone any favours, particularly women, Hosoda told AFP at the Cannes film festival, as his latest feature "Belle" premiered.
First reviews of the movie were ecstatic, with the Hollywood Reporter saying its "wildly imaginative future world takes your breath away" as the story rises to a "series of swelling emotional crescendos" that are always rooted in real emotion.
Father of a young girl himself, the Japanese master told AFP he wants to empower her generation to take control of their digital destinies rather than cower in fear.
"They have grown up with the net... yet are constantly told how malevolent and dangerous it is," Hosoda said.
"Belle" is his riposte, a spectacular dive into the rollercoaster emotional life of a shy adolescent girl called Suzu, in a 21st century take on "Beauty and the Beast".
To her surprise, and everyone else's, Suzu becomes a pop diva called Belle in the virtual universe of an app called U.
Rather than being burned by online abuse and harassment as she acquires billions of followers, Suzu uses her online avatar to overcome the haters and her own hang-ups.
Suzu and her computer geek friend are far from the women that usually populate Japanese anime -- which is where Hosoda takes issue with Miyazaki, the Oscar-winning legend behind classics such as "Spirited Away".
His 2012 classic "Wolf Children" is a paean to the fierce independence with which she brought up her little pack alone.
Without naming Miyazaki, Hosoda was unsparing about the Studio Ghibli founder.
"I will not name him, but there is a great master of animation who always takes a young woman as his heroine. And to be frank I think he does it because he does not have confidence in himself as a man.
He wants to free his heroines from being paragons of virtue and innocence and "this oppression of having to be like everyone else".
Hosoda and Miyazaki have history.
But Hosoda walked out midway through to set up his own studio.
The director prefers stories that "show the good and the bad in people. This tension is what being human is all about".
Which is why he was also drawn to bringing "Beauty and the Beast" up to date.
"In the original story the Beast is the most interesting character. He is ugly and has this violence but he is sensitive and vulnerable inside too.
"Beauty is just a cipher. It is all about her looks. I wanted to make her as complex and rich." That duality is also there in his fascination with the digital world that began with his first hit, "Digimon: The Movie".
"I keep returning to the internet. First with 'Digimon' and then with 'Summer Wars' in 2009 and now again."And he is more convinced than ever that we cannot keep dismissing it as the source of all evil.