Yoshiyuki Tomino, legendary creator of the Gundam franchise, has been speaking to Japanese economic newspaper Toyo Keizai about his concern for the anime industry citing Disney as an example of "depressing" and "boring" output.
He describes the US company's recent releases as "empty blockbusters without any personality" and judging by the record-breaking box office losses, falling stock value, clashes with stockholders, other companies and State officials, he's probably not wrong to be critical of The House of Mouse and its recent chaotic activities.
In particular he speculated that the culture of moving from hand-drawn to entirely digital projects and the use of larger, impersonal office spaces is hampering creativity. Tomino espouses a need for an "element of craziness" and for creators to "be spiritual, close to the Earth and independent" in order to be truly creative, something that Pixar used to embrace under John Lasseter, with the master Director and Steve Jobs often crawling into the service ducts to sit in their secret little base and talk about ideas. Lasseter was infamously removed from Disney after allegations of "hugging" during the height of the MeToo movement, but has recently found a home with Skydance Animation and, almost inevitably, has signed a huge deal with Netflix. The upcoming films slated for release will be directed by some of animations biggest names, including Vicky Jensen (Shrek) Brad Bird (The Incredibles), Nathan Greno (Tangled) and Rich Moore (Zootopia).
Clearly the creative talent has followed Lasseter and abandoned Disney.
He also had words regarding streaming services such as Netflix, ruminating on the increase in investment not reaching anime studios. Despite notable success with Cyberpunk: Edgerunners and Pluto to name but two recent shows, Tomino describes streaming as "a tricky system made to trap users and make it impossible for them to escape".
Tomino remains optimistic that analogue drawings will find their way back with a resurgence in the future, but whether or not the skills will still be in circulation (if they've not been lost already) remains to be seen.