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Yamakan Shares His Reasoning for Leaving the Anime Industry

posted on by Kim Morrissy

Anime director Yutaka Yamamoto (otherwise known as Yamakan) announced on his blog last week that he will no longer work in the anime industry after finishing his Hakubo (Twilight) film. A followup post on Monday went into more detail about the reasoning behind his decision.

First, Yamakan opened the post with an embedded video of a talk show he hosted in 2016, where he discussed how much he dislikes modern anime. The video was titled "Anime is dead."

Yamakan talked about how K-ON! (2009) gave him "the chills" and made him realize that he had lost his place in the industry. However, he also felt that he absolutely had to come back to the anime industry, which culminated in him directing Fractale (2011).

In 2010, Yamakan wrote on Fractale's official website (archived here) that he was prepared to put his career on the line for Fractale, and would quit if the anime was not a success. However, after the anime was released and detractors called for him to make good of his promise, Yamakan retracted his statement on his now suspended Twitter, declaring that although his resolve was true he saw no need to indulge people who had turned that into a joke.

In his recent blog post, Yamakan wrote: "What I felt then was not a mistake. But at my company there were friends from my Kyoto Animation days. I had no choice but to come back. But by then, it was already... I can't go into details, but to cut a long story short, going back was a mistake."

Yamakan had formerly worked at Kyoto Animation and had directed several episodes of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. He was series director of Lucky Star until he was replaced by Yasuhiro Takemoto from episode 5 onward. Kyoto Animation left a message on its website (archived here) stating that Yamakan "did not have the skills yet to be a director."

Yamakan wrote that after returning to the anime industry, he picked up social media and used it to criticize the anime industry. "However, I was naive to believe that after 10 years, something would change," he declared. "This industry hasn't changed at all. I thought that the one thing that could finally turn it around was the will of the people, but now even the management of social media services are interfering with me, so [being on social media] isn't working at all. It was the ultimate backstabbing move."

Yamakan may be referring to when his personal Twitter account and LINE blog were suspended.

In closing, he wrote: "It was all fruitless, but I did all I could in these 10 years. I wasn't able to change things with my own hands after all. After seeing it all play out in full and grasping the situation almost perfectly, it's frustrating to feel so helpless. But, whatever. I give up. This is where it ends."

Yamakan previously announced in 2016 that he would be taking an "indefinite leave" from anime to recuperate from "unreasonable circumstances," although he returned a few months later, stating that he was "considering" a new project. This project was revealed to be Hakubo, the last of Yamakan's self-described "Tōhoku trilogy" set in Japan's Tōhoku region in the northeast.

In January, Yamakan threatened once again to quit the anime industry. The post marked the fifth time the director acknowledged making such an announcement.

Source: Yutaka Yamamoto's blog

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