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All good things must come to an end, and that includes anime.
“Japan will just no longer be the center of world animation,” Anno told Russian news outlet RIA Novosti. “Maybe in five years, Taiwan will be such a center.”
He predicted that anime in its current state would be dead within 20 years, partly for economic reasons. Kotaku points out that this might not be far off the truth, as it’s already surprisingly hard to make ends meet in the Japanese animation industry.
Perhaps Japanese anime is entering its twilight years, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anime will die out entirely. Modern animation is still influenced by hand-drawn methods from the early 20th century, and Western cartoons like Avatar: The Last Airbender have proven very successful using art and storytelling styles made popular by Japanese anime.
Art evolves, and change is inevitable. Anno’s message may sound apocalyptic, but it seems more to do with the Japanese film industry than the art form of anime itself, since anime’s influence will undoubtedly live on elsewhere.
Also, before you become embroiled in an argument about whether Anno’s prediction is correct or not—remember these are just the words of one man. He may have created Evangelion, but that doesn’t make him an anime prophet.
Gavia Baker-Whitelaw is a staff writer at the Daily Dot, covering geek culture and fandom. Specializing in sci-fi movies and superheroes, she also appears as a film and TV critic on BBC radio. Elsewhere, she co-hosts the pop culture podcast Overinvested. Follow her on Twitter: @Hello_Tailor