TOKYO (TR) – Prolific anime director Yutaka Yamamoto came under fire online last month for saying obsessive adult fans of anime were “handicapped people” before issuing an apology in jest, reports J-Cast News (Sept. 24).
Yamamoto, known for successful productions like “The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya,” faced a barrage of criticism after he tweeted on September 23, “It’s gotta be said, people who are years into adulthood and still watch anime are handicapped people.”
Replying to criticism such as, “Did you lose your mind after getting too involved with anime?” Yamamoto tweeted, “Well, handicapped people still have human at heart, so I guess ‘evil’ is the only way you can describe them.”
A barrage of angry responses followed, such as: “Don’t treat people who are just a little different like they’re disabled, that’s rude toward people actually suffering from disabilities.”
Yamamoto responded by posting on his blog that he had said such things many times before. “You guys are all like Pavlov’s dogs or something, I guess this means anime might actually have some kind of brain-melting effect,” Yamamoto wrote in the post.
On September 27, Yamamoto posted a mock apology, stating that he was “deeply sorry” regarding the controversial comment.
“I ended up saying that these ‘anime-watching creatures years into adulthood’ — that is, those things called otaku — were actually ‘human beings’ like handicapped people,” Yamamoto said in the blog post.
Yamamoto added that he is reflecting on what he wrote. “From now on, I’m going to join hands with only those that are ‘human beings’ and devote myself to the development of anime to ensure that it won’t get crushed by evil or vermin,” he wrote.
Yamamoto is not the only anime director who made headlines over controversial comments. Decorated animation director Hayao Miyazaki, co-founder of Studio Ghibli, made headlines around the world in 2014 after he claimed the anime industry was suffering due to many of workers being otaku.