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In listening to people talk about anime director Hayao Miyazaki, there’s a collection of words you’ll hear over and over. Genius. Visionary. Legend.

So it was a little surprising to hear the man behind one of Japan’s most popular films from the last year instead voice his suspicions that Miyazaki isn’t quite right in the head.

After two decades of writing for television, Naoki Hyakuta scored a hit with his debut novel, 2006’s The Eternal Zero. The fictional tale focuses on a pair of siblings in modern-day Japan who’re searching for information about their late grandfather, a kamikaze pilot who died in World War II despite continually telling his comrades that he wanted to return home alive.

The sacrifice and patriotism in The Eternal Zero struck a chord with enough readers to make the novel a huge hit, and it was adapted into a film that opened at the tail-end of last year and went on to be a huge box office success.

▼ The poster for the The Eternal Zero movie, featuring the taglines, “A story of hopes for the future and a grand love,” and “What America feared more than anything else were the demon called the Zero and a single coward.”

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An upcoming Eternal Zero TV miniseries is further testament to the franchise’s many fans. Miyazaki, however, isn’t one of them. In an interview published before the Eternal Zero movie opened, the Studio Ghibli co-founder, generally not one to mince words, made the following comment:

“They’re making a movie about the Zero, now. The script is based on a piece of historical military fiction that’s full of lies, though…They’re just trying to continue fabricating legends about the Zero.”

▼ By carefully not using the word “eternal,” Miyazaki draped only the thinnest of veils over his criticism.

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Given Miyazaki’s numerous anti-war statements, it’s a safe bet that he was taking issue with what he felt was the The Eternal Zero’s glorification of Japan’s role in World War II.

Hyakuta was quick to respond that his intentions were nothing of the sort. In addition to taking to Twitter to defend himself, the author appeared on Saturday’s episode of TV Osaka’s Takajin no Money Black talk show. After reiterating his stance of being “thoroughly opposed to war and kamikaze attacks,” Hyakuta went on to specifically address his quarrel with Miyazaki.

“Miyazaki hasn’t read my book, or seen the movie based on it, you know?” the author claimed. “That guy,” Hyakuta’s continued, pointing to his head before being cut off by a censor’s bleep, “I wonder if he’s all right in the-.”

▼ Apparently, Miyazaki is so respected in Japan that questioning his mental capacities is an obscenity-level statement.

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Following that jab, Hyakuta decided to finish up his one-two combination by taking a shot straight at Miyazaki’s own Zero-inspired work. The director’s final theatrical anime, 2013’s The Wind Rises, is adapted from a manga drawn by Miyazaki that combines elements of an unrelated and fictional 1930s novel with almost the exact same name, historical events from the life of Zero designer Jiro Horikoshi, and Miyazaki’s own ideas and symbolism.

Hyakuta’s take on that mix of reality and fiction?

“The Wind Rises is full of lies.”

▼ Oddly enough, the cover of The Eternal Zero and the poster for The Wind Rises seem to show the exact same hill.

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Since it’s hard to discuss war without also discussing politics, Hyakuta also offered a succinct summary of his personal leanings. “I’m just a simple patriot,” he asserted. “Who I hate are people with anti-Japanese or traitorous sentiments.”

And, we’re guessing, people named Hayao Miyazaki, too.

Source: Yahoo! Japan
Top image: Ohta Books, Wikipedia (edited by RocketNews24)
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