I am incredibly surprised at how well-received my films are in America. I never expected them to be, because even in Japan, they are highly controversial. In a typical animated film, there will be a ‘good’ character, and an ‘evil’ character. The movie will then focus on telling the story of how the good character struggles against, and eventually defeats the evil character. My films, however, do not adhere to this plot structure.
I do not think that heroes should be portrayed as strapping young men that save the day by fighting against and overpowering the evil beast. Children needn’t grow up believing that they need physical strength to be considered ‘strong’. I also find that women are all too often portrayed as weak, helpless, or in need of rescuing, and it is often a strong, young prince who comes to save her from her struggles. Many of my movies have strong female leads – brave self-sufficient girls that don’t think twice about fighting for what they believe in with all their heart. They’ll need a friend, or a supporter, but never a saviour. Any woman is just as capable of being a hero as any man.
When I say ‘hero’ do not picture someone with the strength to fight and conquer evil – because evil is not something that can ever be conquered or defeated. Evil is natural. It is innate in all humans. But while it can’t be defeated, it can be controlled. In order to control it, and live the life of a true hero, you must learn to see with eyes unclouded. See the good in that which is evil and the evil in that which is good. Pledge yourself to neither side, but vow instead to preserve the balance that exists between the two."