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Film Critic Responds to Netflix's Rise in Japan

posted on by Jennifer Sherman

TBS Radio's Tama Musubi program recently conducted an interview with writer and film critic Tomohiro Machiyama (script writer for live-action Attack on Titan films). Machiyama discussed Netflix and its growing involvement in the film, entertainment, and anime industries.

In response to a comment about the "amazing" overseas value of Japanese anime, he said:

It's amazing, but no money is being invested in Japanese anime at all. Even the In This Corner of the World director [Sunao Katabuchi] was making [the film] on the verge of starvation. He was making the film for five years with no income at all with his wife.

Japan, which has squashed and made fun of its anime creators for a long time until now, is going to get big retaliation from Netflix.

Machiyama also said that Netflix's live-action series have "five times the budget of a Japanese film. Five times [the budget] in one episode." He said that Netflix is now active in Japan, and "it lets Japanese film directors and anime producers make their works." Machiyama said that the cooperation allows for the budget for simultaneous releases worldwide. He believes "Japan's anime industry will soon change completely. And the film industry will also change."

In response to a comment that actors in Netflix Originals series are offered "ridiculous sums of money," Machiyama said:

There is a big paradigm shift happening in the entertainment industry now. Until now, people making films and anime in Japan have suffered their lives in poverty. Suddenly people with ten or twenty times the budget appeared, and it is becoming a world where they say, 'it's okay to make it no matter how much money it takes.'

In addition, Machiyama commented that works that might not receive an "OK" under other circumstances or that film companies would not be able to screen can get approval through Netflix. He thinks that a "full-blown war" with Netflix will start in the media world in Japan, and it will look like "an invasion of the former American military." He advised careful consideration for people involved with Japanese media companies.

As an example, Machiyama noted that France has elevated its country to fight with Netflix. He said that the country essentially avoided an American "invasion" by blocking Netflix from France.

Machiyama believes that anime is a "wonderful" medium viewed around the world, but its development has been limited because there has been no significant monetary investment.

Netflix announced its original A.I.C.O. -Incarnation- anime series (seen above right) earlier this month. The service is currently streaming a variety of anime, and it also announced earlier this month that it will stream new titles such as Lost Song, Knights of the Zodiac: Saint Seiya, B: The Beginning, Baki, Kakegurui, and Sword Gai: The Animation.

Death Note manga creators Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata recently praised Netflix's live-action Death Note film, which debuted at San Diego Comic-Con last month.

[Via Yaraon!]


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