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So, there’s a movie that came out in Japan last week based on this little cartoon. Maybe you’ve heard of it. It’s called Attack on Titan.

The more popular an anime gets, the more attached fans become to its characters and setting, and the more demanding they become of any new part of the franchise. No anime released in the past decade has come anywhere close to the success and mainstream pop cultural impact of Attack on Titan, so perhaps it’s not entirely surprising that not everyone’s sky-high expectations were met by its first live-action film.

But if those moviegoers who were disappointed aren’t mincing words in their criticisms of the film, the people who made the film don’t seem inclined to phrase their rebuttals diplomatically, either. We’ve already seen how Attack on Titan’s director responded to one harshly worded review, and now the movie’s special modeling director is spitting back at disgruntled audiences too.

Yoshihiro Nishimura has a long filmography of Japanese horror movies, with Tokyo Gore Police perhaps the best-known in English-speaking territories. The majority of his work is in makeup and special effects, two fields in which a lot of work was necessary to bring Hajime Isayama’s Attack on Titan manga into the world of live-action cinema.

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With the movie now playing in Japanese theaters, Nishimura’s responsibilities as special modeling director are technically finished. Still, when he started hearing online grumbling about how the Attack on Titan’s film’s visuals aren’t up to the standards of Hollywood blockbusters, he felt the need to fire back through his Twitter account on August 1, the movie’s opening night.

“Everyone says Hollywood movies are great! Well, then they can go right ahead and watch nothing but Hollywood movies! Movies with high budgets and a lot of advanced techniques are great, aren’t they? Especially movies with high budgets! You should watch movies that have been hit in the face with stacks of cash! People who like to compare Hollywood and Japanese movies really enjoy that sort of thing, right?”

Perhaps realizing me might be painting with too broad a brush, minutes later he Tweeted out a qualifier, explaining, “I’m talking about people who compare everything to Hollywood films.”

But after letting his frustration simmer a little longer, he was back again roughly an hour and a half later, firing off yet another angry tweet.

“I’m sorry, but deciding what movies to see based on their budget, and comparing everything to Hollywood, that’s like how some people feel secure buying Okame natto [one of the most popular brands of natto in Japan] when they go to the supermarket. They have that absolutist ideology where if everyone says it’s good, they believe it’s good too. I think I’ve got it now, Thanks!”

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It’s actually kind of poetic how Nishimura chose to use the incredibly Japanese example of natto (fermented soybeans) to illustrate his displeasure at being compared to major American studios. Still, some online commenters felt he was completely missing the point of the complaints.

“The original story isn’t set in Japan, and most of the characters are Westerners…No one is saying ‘Everything Hollywood does is great.’ Don’t change the subject from the suitability of the movie’s vision to the audience’s ideology.”

“How do you explain the decision to plow ahead with a live-action adaptation of such a huge anime hit even without the technical capabilities and budget that Hollywood studios have?”

“It’s not the budget that makes a movie interesting, but having a theme, story, and direction that work well together. I saw the live-action Attack on Titan today, and I thought it was very well-done. I was disappointed that it didn’t seem to have much in the way of a strong message, though.”

Perhaps reassured that not everyone left the theater unhappy, Yoshimura has since deleted his more venomous tweets. Still, he might want to pour a soothing cup of tea and put on some relaxing music before he checks the online reaction to Attack on Titan’s sequel, which is scheduled for release in September.

Sources: Alfalfalfa, Jin
Images: YouTube/Toho Movie Channel