According to Chainsaw Man’s Tatsuki Fujimoto, Hayao Miyazaki’s swansong film, The Boy and the Heron, leaves a void in the ability to realistically depict other fantasy cultures. Fujimoto praises Miyazaki for his extensive knowledge of other countries, allowing him to create fantasy works that accurately portray specific or multiple cultures. Miyazaki’s range of environments, which often includes underrepresented areas within Japan, has garnered recognition and admiration. On the other hand, Fujimoto expresses his own criticism, suggesting that he and others in their 30s and 40s, like himself, may struggle to create a fantasy world that goes beyond resembling the settings of a Final Fantasy game.
Chainsaw Man, the manga series created by Fujimoto, makes numerous references to Western culture, which sparked discussions when it was adapted into an anime. The interview with Fujimoto focuses on Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli’s contributions to the fantasy genre, highlighting their ability to construct fantastical worlds through extensive research. Fujimoto draws a distinction between manga artists like himself, Hirohiko Araki, and Yugo Kobayashi, who masterfully incorporate their knowledge of foreign cultures into their works, and the level of research and attention to detail that has made Studio Ghibli renowned.
Fujimoto believes that although it is possible to create works based on gathered research, the era of specifically traveling abroad for research purposes might be coming to an end. He suggests that creators will have to rely more on their own knowledge and resources rather than firsthand experiences from foreign countries.
The Boy and the Heron is Miyazaki’s final film, created as a parting gift to his grandson. It has been met with box office success in Japan despite minimal promotion. The extended IMAX release of the film in US theaters is expected to introduce many fans to Miyazaki’s work and might serve as a bridge connecting two cultures for future generations.
Overall, the article highlights the unique ability of Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli to realistically portray various fantasy cultures based on extensive research and knowledge. It also raises concerns about the lack of creators who can replicate this level of authenticity and calls attention to the potential shift in how creators approach world-building in the future. The Boy and the Heron serves as a significant milestone in Miyazaki’s career and may influence the future direction of the fantasy genre.