Onderhond wrote: ↑February 8th, 2021, 10:13 pm
St. Gloede wrote: ↑February 8th, 2021, 9:50 pm
That said, I think the direction Ghibli took anime in was much better than what came before. They brought a degree of poetry and cinematic magic you could hardly find elsewhere - especially in their early work
I guess you have to define how early we're talking about. But from the mid-80s onward, I don't think they had a real edge on other big names. And I think artists like Oshii, Otomo, Hiroyuki Yamaga and Rintaro did just as much, if not more, to define anime and its richness.
I think what they did was allow popular anime to touch on something more human, to allow quiet, poetic moments and a sense of wonderful serenity. The ability to keep a long shot of everyday life, be it nature or a bowl of rice - and keep you in that moment.
Before Ghibli a film like Totoro could not have been made - they tried to get funding for all of the early to mid-80s - and allowing for such a calm sorry of children dealing with the idea of their ill mother - with magical creatures that are likely not on screen for more than 5-10 minutes, is quite unique.
That said, Miyazaki's work is not that rich in this regard, it is primarily Takahata that pushed animation onwards, played with form and showed us what was possible. Miyazaki was, in terms of form, not very versatile, though in my opinion better than anyone at the sense of wonder, and creating magical worlds. This is just far less revolutionary/unique in the context of what came before, at least on the surface.
As for the directors you mentioned, I'm not quite sure if I can agree. I can absolutely buy your point re Oshii, and while I'm not a fan, he clearly had a big impact on anime and stands out with a style I can see why you'd love. It also fits well in with the wave of more madhat, slightly seedier anime, which has always been going strong, and still is - even though it may not have the same gigantic appeal (especially in the west) as the Ghibli-light films.
Hiroyuki Yamaga only made one film (I find it abysmal, but I know many love it), Otomo made the great Akira - tying in with the more madhat type of anime of Oshii - but then rather disappeared and Rintaro has not really made a lasting impression on me. I will say Metropolis looked good though.
St. Gloede wrote: ↑February 8th, 2021, 9:50 pm
While he died early, I think Kon for instance both owed and did not owe anything to them, and the same goes for the poetic films of Shinkai - or the utter madhat films of Yuasa. I don't think they are trapped copycat ting Ghibli, but rather walking onwards.
I think they're walking entirely different paths and I wouldn't be surprised if some of them got where they are today by revolting against the type of anime Ghibli made (though that's just a personal feeling, not based on anything specific). Apart from mainstream popularity, I think Ghibli didn't really add much to the world of Japanese animation after Totoro/Grave of the Fireflies (except for Takahata's latest films).
As for their influence the past 15 years, I think films like Letter to Momo (how you go from Jin-Ro to that is just baffling), Summer Days with Coo and the work of Hosoda are clear examples of what I was talking about. But also the lack of pretty much anything else when it comes to high profile anime features. Even Yuasa's latest plays like a lesser Ghibli film. It's all a bit disappointing when you lived through the 90s-mid 00s.
I never saw Letter to Momo as the animation style looked a bit off-putting, but I can definitely see Summer Days with Coo and Hosoda - and while I'm not a big fan of Coo and think Hosoda would be lesser Ghibli, I don't have any complaints. If Ghibli, or rather Miyazaki senior, can be blamed for pushing a kind of either magical realism or (Totoro and Coo) or broader magical worlds (not really unique - but I suppose the approach might be) I take a different angle where this is very much welcomed and diversifying.
Before Ghibli we had the dark and seedy anime for adult, and the manga-style child adventures, which Miyazaki in many ways is a development from - and the addition of something more universal and grounded to the mix - seems quite good + as you are not really including Kon, Yasa, Shinkai, etc. there has been even more variety since - and likely in part because Ghibli opened up for more adult animation without the seedier/madcap elements.
And I think we see even more variation as well, with more traditional dramas being animated, as well as other genres. I'mn not as involved in anime as you, and there were of course elements of everything before Ghibli - but I do think they popularised Anime being able to "do more" - and when you see something like Only Yesterday, which is just a drama about a wayward young woman looking back at her life as a child in the 60s - I think we see just how much they were able to push anime forward, to expand even small, dramatic stories with a degree of cinematic magic. This is arguably something Shinkai went on to develop even further, with meditative films often leaving elements of plots behind (and it is incredible to see that his short and beautiful Garden of Words is the 10th most rated anime film from the 10s).