His directorial skills have brought Hayao Miyazaki a level of commercial and critical success, not to mention artistic freedom, unlike that of anyone else in the anime industry. Still, in spite of his enviable string of hits, or perhaps as a prerequisite to creating them, Miyazaki doesn’t exactly have an easygoing personality.

In the past, the Studio Ghibli co-founder has set his sights on authors, graphic designers, and even other animators. All of which begs the question, on the lengthy list of people Miyazaki has no patience for, who does he like the least?

The answer seems to lie in a snippet of a Miyazaki interview that has been making the rounds of the Japanese Internet, in which he and the interviewer are discussing otaku, Japan’s obsessive superfans of various fields.

▼ The passage in question

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Prompted by the question, “Aren’t you, also, an otaku?” Miyazaki sees the opportunity to shift the flow of the conversation like he’s grafting a new subplot onto a feature film, responding with:

“Otaku? The people I hate most are those gun otaku. Speaking honestly, I think they’re really low level, and out of firearm fans, the pistol nuts are the worst. They’re the ones that have the most immature character traits left over. Ha ha, don’t you agree?”

As always, Miyazaki’s complete lack of interest in pulling any punches left a strong impact in the online community, as shown by Japanese Internet comments:

“Looks like anime otaku are OK.”
“What about if you love tanks?”
“Every time I hear him talk, it just reminds me that no matter how successful some people become, they never stop being grumpy.”
“Isn’t [Space Battleship Yamato and Galaxy Express 999 creator] Leiji Matsumoto a gun otaku?”
“I don’t know if I’d call them childish, but I seriously think some firearm fans have gunpowder for brains.”

One insightful commenter even asked, “Isn’t Miyazaki kind of a military otaku himself?” It’s a valid point, seeing as how his final film, The Wind Rises, is a fictionalized story of the designer of the World War II Zero fighter, and his book Hayao Miyazaki’s Daydream Data Notes is filled with sketches of even more combat planes, tanks, and battleships.

Still, it’s kind of telling that Miyazaki’s most memorable action protagonists are usually wielding swords (Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind’s Nausicaa), spears (Princess Mononoke’s San), and bows (Princess Mononoke’s Ashitaka)

…while one of Ghibli’s least sympathetic villains, Castle in the Sky Laputa’s Muska, has a plain old revolver as his weapon of choice.

So, whether you agree with Miyazaki’s scathing view of handgun fans or not, there’s a certain internal consistency to his logic that you have to recognize, along with his adept skill at changing the subject and never giving the interviewer a straight answer to his question.

Source: Alfalfalfa
Insert images:
Alfalfalfa, Studio Ghibli (1, 2)