In a recent interview, Yoshiyuki Tomino, the creator of the iconic Gundam anime series, expressed his views on the the anime industry, predicting a possible decline of the boom that the industry is currently experiencing.
Having navigated the world of anime as a freelancer for over 40 years, Tomino said that he appreciated the current improved social status of the anime industry, where animators like him no longer had to make tax officers understand what working in an anime meant.
“In the past, I had a narrow view of the world. I’ve been in the industry as a freelancer for over 40 years, worrying about my mortgage. I remember the annual tax returns. Every time I went to the tax office, I had to explain to the staff what I did in the animation business,” Tomino said. “But now, the tax office doesn’t make fun of me. From this perspective, I am very grateful for the current improvement in the industry’s social status.”
While acknowledging the current boom in the anime industry, Tomino remained cautious about its long term sustainability. He felt that the ongoing boom might persist for another 5 to 6 years, but afterward, a potential decline could be inevitable.
“The animation industry is certainly in a period of prosperity. However, whether or not this situation will continue in the future is not certain. The boom may continue for another five or six years, but that will be it, and it will decline,” Tomino said.
He drew parallels between anime and other art forms – movies & novels, saying that all of them undergo a similar phenomena of rise and fall which is reflective of the people’s mentality and cultural landscape. And so, Tomino felt that if “now is the peak” for anime, then “it may be downhill from here.”
While he clarified that anime itself as a medium won’t disappear, he felt it would be difficult for even better works than today to exist. He also gave an example of how Disney declined, to make his statements clearer.
“After the switch from hand-drawn animation to digital, Disney’s works have all been like ‘What?’. It will be a repeat of that kind of situation,” Tomino said.
He added that Hayao Miyazaki’s works will continue to be seen as classics.
Tomino was born on November 5, 1941 in Odawara in Kanagawa prefecture.
He created Gundam in 1979 and has since directed multiple anime including Zeta Gundam, Gundam ZZ, Char’s Counterattack, Gundam F91, Victory Gundam, Turn A Gundam, Muteki Kojin Daitarn 3, Space Runaway Ideon, Aura Battler Dunbine, and Gundam: Reconguista in G.