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How Mari Okada Went From Shut-In to Anime Director


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BodaciousSpacePirate
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 10:14 am Reply with quote
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She also worked alongside director Jun Nishimura to write anime-original scenarios for Simoun and True Tears.


(Should be Junji Nishimura, Jun Nishimura is a music producer. Otherwise, great article!)

Simoun is actually where I first heard of Mari Okada, as she wrote nine of that show's most memorable episodes - if you remember a particular scene from Simoun, chances are good that Okada wrote it.
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Kicksville



Joined: 20 Nov 2010
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 10:41 am Reply with quote
I must have bad luck with Okada written anime, because the things I've seen with her name on it have been terrible - Canaan (cheap and lame), Black Rock Shooter TV (abominable), and Gundam IBO (plenty of good ideas, very poor execution and pacing). All had an affinity for going for cheap, unearned drama stabs. Lupin III: A Woman Named Fujiko Mine was the one of those I liked (great ending with a great message), although that had some unevenness to it. It's not always fair to pin blame on a show not working out on one person when there's so many involved, but when it happens that many times...

Notably, the things I haven't seen are all the ones that she is most praised for, namely Hana-Saku Iroha, anohana, and Simoun, so...I oughta fix that sometime, and maybe I'll better understand her popularity. There are certainly writers/artists/directors who I might have different opinions on if I'd seen their worst stuff first, after all.

Interesting to see DT Eightron come up. I saw I think around half of it many years ago - some neat ideas, but fairly weak overall and pretty forgettable at the end of the day.
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SHD



Joined: 05 Apr 2015
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 11:02 am Reply with quote
Kicksville wrote:
Notably, the things I haven't seen are all the ones that she is most praised for, namely Hana-Saku Iroha, anohana, and Simoun, so...I oughta fix that sometime, and maybe I'll better understand her popularity. There are certainly writers/artists/directors who I might have different opinions on if I'd seen their worst stuff first, after all.

I don't know. I've seen AnoHana, Aquarion Evol, Nagi no Asukara, that terrible Rurouni Kenshin "reboot" OVA, Gundam IBO, Kiznaiver, plus a bunch of others, but never seen an anime that Okada Mari was involved with that I liked*, and I had the same issues with every one of them - cheap melodrama, an obsession with teenagers and unrequited love, tryhard edginess...

I guess I'm just not into her "unique style".

*Otome Youkai Zakuro and Red Garden being the exceptions, and the former was an adaptation sticking very close to the source, while the latter was a collaboration effort.


Last edited by SHD on Wed Sep 06, 2017 11:16 am; edited 1 time in total
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AksaraKishou



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 11:12 am Reply with quote
SHD wrote:
Kicksville wrote:
Notably, the things I haven't seen are all the ones that she is most praised for, namely Hana-Saku Iroha, anohana, and Simoun, so...I oughta fix that sometime, and maybe I'll better understand her popularity. There are certainly writers/artists/directors who I might have different opinions on if I'd seen their worst stuff first, after all.

I don't know. I've seen AnoHana, Aquarion Evol, Nagi no Asukara, that terrible Rurouni Kenshin "reboot" OVA, Gundam IBO, Kiznaiver, plus a bunch of others, but never seen an anime that Okada Mari was involved with that I liked, and I had the same issues with every one of them - cheap melodrama, an obsession with teenagers and unrequited love, tryhard edginess...

I guess I'm just not into her "unique style".

*Otome Youkai Zakuro and Red Garden being the exceptions, and the former was an adaptation sticking very close to the source, while the latter was a collaboration effort.



Well, i wouldn't fault her for that, since most of her life is more or less edge incarnate. <.<
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Vaisaga



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 11:14 am Reply with quote
Well this certainly explains a lot. I like the drama in her works but the thing I appreciate the most is that she rewards suffering with happiness. The journey her characters go through actually have meaning, versus some one like Gen Urobuchi who just rewards suffering with more suffering.
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MarshalBanana



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 12:02 pm Reply with quote
I'm surprised she has become as successful, since without fail every time I see her mentioned, it is always followed by an onslaught of criticism.

Personally I like some of her works like Black Rock Shooter and IBO(though the article does say she didn't have a great deal of involvement with the latter).
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belvadeer



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 12:19 pm Reply with quote
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Okada describes one chilling moment when her mother brandished a kitchen knife and said, “I can't bear having a child like you. I'll kill you.” Her mother attacked her, but even as a middle school student, Okada was taller and stronger. She easily restrained her mother, leaving the frail woman in tears. It was the first time Okada has seen her mother cry her heart out, and in that moment she seemed “less like a human and more like a tiny, writhing cow.”


Holy crap, that had to have been traumatizing for a middle schooler to experience. I know there have been countless stories about parents murdering their children in the media, but just imagine coming home one day and having either parent say that and try to kill you. Horrifying.
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angelmcazares
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 12:50 pm Reply with quote
An interesting and informative read. I have never understood the dislike toward Okada's writing. She is one of my favorite writers in anime. I have liked most of the anime where Okada has been involved; Anohana and Hanasaku Iroha are my favorites.
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TasteyCookie



Joined: 19 Jan 2017
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 12:51 pm Reply with quote
SHD wrote:
I don't know. I've seen AnoHana, Aquarion Evol, Nagi no Asukara, that terrible Rurouni Kenshin "reboot" OVA, Gundam IBO, Kiznaiver, plus a bunch of others, but never seen an anime that Okada Mari was involved with that I liked*, and I had the same issues with every one of them - cheap melodrama, an obsession with teenagers and unrequited love, tryhard edginess...

I guess I'm just not into her "unique style".

*Otome Youkai Zakuro and Red Garden being the exceptions, and the former was an adaptation sticking very close to the source, while the latter was a collaboration effort.


Criticizes her for "cheap melodrama" and "tryhard edginess" when she was literally almost murdered by her own mother during middle school... The irony is too good. I think people tend to forget that these things happen in real life and are not always being written by some teenager whose biggest hardship was having their smartphone taken away.

The reason Okada's works are especially beloved is their characters and their drama are believable. At least for the vast majority of fans, which is why works like Anohana and Hanasaku Iroha became such massive hits. You don't have to like her works at all but calling her some cheap edgelord is pretty disgusting. "Oh you were almost murdered and bullied to the point of extreme social anxiety? Pfft that's just cheap melodrama you crying baby." Rolling Eyes
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SHD



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 1:29 pm Reply with quote
TasteyCookie wrote:
Criticizes her for "cheap melodrama" and "tryhard edginess" when she was literally almost murdered by her own mother during middle school...

So what? I'm sorry to hear that this happened to her, but going through trauma doesn't make someone a good writer or a good artist in general. If she's using her works to deal with her issues that's good for her and I wish her all the best, but I'm not sure why you think this negates her failings as a writer. I went through some heavy stuff in my life too (that I'm not going to discuss here), as I imagine many of us have. I've written stuff influenced by my experiences, and I'll never ever make them public, partly because they're too private, and partly because I'm perfectly aware that they suck. Sure, writing them was therapeutic for me, but I'm under no illusions as to my own talent (or rather, the lack thereof).

FWIW I'm not saying that she's crap. I'm saying that her style doesn't work for me at all. If you like it good for you, but I don't think anyone is obligated to like something just because the writer has had a bad childhood.

TasteyCookie wrote:
The reason Okada's works are especially beloved is their characters and their drama are believable.

.........nope. Frankly, no. And the sad thing is that the basic idea is usually good, and then she takes it all the way up to eleven at which point it turns into ridiculous and eyeroll-inducing, at least for me.

TasteyCookie wrote:
You don't have to like her works at all but calling her some cheap edgelord is pretty disgusting. "Oh you were almost murdered and bullied to the point of extreme social anxiety? Pfft that's just cheap melodrama you crying baby." Rolling Eyes

For one, as I said above, traumatic background =/= automatic talent. And two, how was anyone expected to know all this? If she hadn't released her biography would you have jumped on me for daring to criticize her? Sorry but all the tragedy in the word won't make me think that a girl being nicknamed "Anal" and this "joke" being repeated over and over again is funny or ingenious.

Having traumatic life experiences is sadly not rare at all, for all you know the writer you can't stand is also working through some issues. Are you going to suddenly turn into a fan when this gets revealed?


Last edited by SHD on Wed Sep 06, 2017 1:41 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Darkabomination



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 1:31 pm Reply with quote
It's that kind of anxious emotional struggle that makes me a fan of her works. It's what made Selector Infected/Spread Wixoss as harsh of a personal look at card game anime that it is and elevated what could have otherwise been a paint by numbers expo dump into something memorable. That would explain some of the more disturbing moments with Hitoe and Akira quite a lot.
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DmonHiro



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 1:43 pm Reply with quote
Reading her story I get why most of her shows are the way they are. I don't like all of them, but I can at least undesrstand her world view a little bit better. And some of the stuff she wrote was damn entertaining. WIXOSS season 1 was great.
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Codeanime93



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 1:52 pm Reply with quote
So far I've only watched IBO and I was disappointed in half of it, the first half was decent at best. I haven't seen anything else from her but I'm rather not enthused too much to watch more series made by her if it turns out to have such an awful second half to it like IBO.

I'll watch more of her series to see if I hate her work overall.

And also yes I feel sorry that she did suffer that abuse as a kid, no one should go through that.
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HeeroTX



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 2:02 pm Reply with quote
SHD wrote:
Sorry but all the tragedy in the word won't make me think that a girl being nicknamed "Anal" and this "joke" being repeated over and over again is funny or ingenious.

While I disagree with some of your other thoughts on her works, I agree that it's "personal preference" kind of thing. But I've heard this jab at AnoHana before and it's frankly both ridiculous and disgusting. The girl has a nickname that could "phonetically" be read that way IN ENGLISH but is not intended that way NOR is it intended to be a "joke" in Japanese (it's native language). Saying that's an INTENDED "joke" of the writer is like saying that Hayao Miyazaki INTENDED to title one of his movies "The Whore" in Spanish.
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SHD



Joined: 05 Apr 2015
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 2:27 pm Reply with quote
HeeroTX wrote:
SHD wrote:
Sorry but all the tragedy in the word won't make me think that a girl being nicknamed "Anal" and this "joke" being repeated over and over again is funny or ingenious.

While I disagree with some of your other thoughts on her works, I agree that it's "personal preference" kind of thing. But I've heard this jab at AnoHana before and it's frankly both ridiculous and disgusting. The girl has a nickname that could "phonetically" be read that way IN ENGLISH but is not intended that way NOR is it intended to be a "joke" in Japanese (it's native language). Saying that's an INTENDED "joke" of the writer is like saying that Hayao Miyazaki INTENDED to title one of his movies "The Whore" in Spanish.

I'm sorry but you're mistaken - アナル/"anaru" is in fact Japanese for "anal" (one way to say it, anyway), both as reference to a certain sexual act and the, er, digestive track opening (that would be "anus" in English). That is how it is used in colloquial language, you can often see it in porn, fanfic, doujinshi, chats, etc. If you don't believe me here's the dictionary entry for アナル but you can just google the word with safe search off and see it for yourself.

This is why the girl in question is so embarrassed about this nickname and keeps telling people not to use it. And they keep using it anyway, because 1) "aww it's just an innocent childhood nickname that happens to have an embarrassing/adult meaning! lololol" and 2) lololol that cute little loli keeps saying "anal". By the way this is actually a pretty typical "Okada-ism".
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