The Ready Player One movie includes so many characters from all sorts of popular genres that it was inevitable that anime characters showed up somewhere on the screen. Fans were excited when they spotted Mechagodzilla, the RX-78-2 Gundam, and the bike from Akira. As part of promoting the Ready Player One movie to Japanese audiences, director Steven Spielberg opened up in interviews about how anime has inspired him.
Spielberg says he had a chance to meet Hayao Miyazaki of Studio Ghibli, who is now known internationally thanks to Disney releasing such anime movie classics as Howl’s Moving Castle and Spirited Away to English-speaking audiences.
“I got to meet him. I brought my daughter here to Tokyo and I had a chance about eleven or twelve years ago to meet him,” Spielberg said, according to Go Boiano. “We talked about the process of what comes first, the story or the characters. And he was expressing the fact that the story is the character. For him, the characters are the story.”
Spielberg says he admires “the whole world of Miyazaki, and his taste and his storytelling abilities” and even claims that Studio Ghibli’s “Spirited Away is one of the greatest animated films ever made, might be better than any Disney film I’ve ever seen.”
The main point that can be taken away from Spielberg’s comments is that he’s complimenting Miyazaki for making character-driven movies rather than let the plot drive the film.
Studio Ghibli has had such an impact that an official Studio Ghibli theme park is being planned. According to Anime Herald, Ghibli Park will be built in Japan on a two square kilometer space. Ghibli Park will recreate the environments of Hayao Miyazaki’s My Neighbor Totoro, although newer concept art shows architecture that resembles Howl’s Moving Castle. Ghibli Park is scheduled to open in 2020.
The topic of anime favorites also came up in the interview. Unfortunately, the Ready Player One movie director did not reveal his favorite waifu, but Steven Spielberg’s anime obsessions were apparently focused more on machines than famous anime characters.
“I think my favorite Japanese ‘character’ is the motorcycle from Akira,” Spielberg said. “I love that machine.”
The runner-up was Mechagodzilla, which explains why that character showed up in the 2018 Ready Player One film. Needless to say, Spielberg has good taste.