Toshio Suzuki says the legendary director isn’t surprised by Demon Slayer’s success.
Studio Ghibli co-founders Hayao Miyazaki and Toshio Suzuki have a pretty clear division of duties. Miyazaki, the director, has a single-minded focus on creating the next great anime film. Meanwhile, it’s Suzuki, in his role as producer, who talks with fans and the press.
This makes Suzuki not only the best source of insider information as to what’s going on inside the walls of Ghibli, but also what’s going on inside the mind of Miyazaki. So occasionally Suzuki, in the course of an interview, will sprinkle in an anecdote about the most respected creator in the history of Japanese animation, and one of his recent ones involves Miyazaki’s feelings about Demon Slayer Kimetsu no Yaiba.
While appearing on the April 25 episode of Fuji TV’s Bokura no Jidai talk show, the subject of Demon Slayer’s runaway success came up, and Suzuki, reenacting Miyazaki’s reaction to a conversation they’d had, said:
“So [Miyazaki] says to me, ‘It seems like Kimetsu is a big hit.’ I haven’t actually seen the anime, or read the manga it’s based on, but I’ve heard about it from other people, so I gave him [Miyazaki] a basic overview of it, and he said [nodding solemnly], ‘Yeah, an anime like that’ll be a success.’”
With Suzuki feeling like he needed to give Miyazaki a synopsis, it sounds like the Ghibli director hasn’t seen Demon Slayer for himself ether. But just because he hasn’t seen it doesn’t mean he’s completely uninterested, as Suzuki went on to quote Miyazaki as saying:
“Well, you know, to me, Demon Slayer is my rival.”
It’s a less emotionally detached reaction than Miyazaki had when he was asked about Demon Slayer while he was cleaning the streets near his Tokyo home, though Suzuki doesn’t say whether the “rival” comment came before or after that incident, not whether it was before or after the Demon Slayer movie, Mugen Train, passed Miyazaki’s Spirited Away as the highest earning movie of all time in Japan (though the interview with Suzuki took place well after Demon Slayer took over the top spot).
In any case, though, Suzuki’s tone of voice when imitating Miyazaki doesn’t seem to have any malice, so assuming it’s an accurate portrayal, odds are the Ghibli director isn’t so much angry at Demon Slayer for its success as he is driven by it to make something great of his own, sort of like how Gundam’s creator dreams of crushing Evangelion.