Agreed, but the message he is trying to convey seems to have gotten lost in translation. This can also apply to the entertainment industry in general. The title and everything outside Miyazaki's word are very misleading.
He's basically saying what any creative person will tell you; to get inspiration from the outside world and come up with your own thing. (at least that's how i interpret it, without reading the author's bias)
Miyazaki has always been a heavy critic of animation and animation quality, so it is not surprising that he would make a statement like this. In some ways I would agree with him, if only that I feel the market is a bit flooded with animation that may not always adhere to certain standard of quality. Some scenes may be well animated for the important events, such as action sequences while story, dialogue scenes are just pose-to-pose animation frames and super deformed expressions. I think his point is that nowadays there is less emphasis on an animator really drawing and trying animate using the "principles of animation" techniques.
In any case, he has always been a critic, and very difficult to work for from what I've heard from interviews with him. And, he has certainly earned that right to be a harsh critic, being that he will go down in history as being one the greatest animators who ever lived. He was a harsh critic even to his own son who made Tales from Earthsea with Studio Ghibli, which really in my opinion lacked something to really truly take it from being an "okay" move to a "great" film. So I can empathize with his reasons why, when he said he didn't like the movie his son made.
The same goes for Disney and Pixar films that have John Lasseter's involvement. The ones that do are clearly better films and much more enjoyable to watch. Not just from an animation standard, but from a storytelling standard. Miyazaki has visited Lasseter before to show his appreciation to him for his animation abilities and practices if that gives any indication of his standard of quality that he can appreciate or the very bar that he sets for himself.
I fully understand what he's trying to say and agree with it. This is based on an issue that seems to be engrained in the Japanese culture, unfortunately. Remember, the term 'otaku' has heavy negative connotations in Japanese culture. Especially now that there's the whole deal with hikikomori and all as well. It doesn't help the situation.
Animation is meant to be a reflection of real life to a degree. When I took my survey of animation class, one of my daily assignments was that I had to bring in a sketchbook with 20 new sketches in it. They had to be something I saw from real life. My teacher explained it that through watching how the real world functions and how things move and so forth, we would become better animators and storytellers.
He's basically saying the same thing that was hammered in repeatedly in my class, as well.
If you shut yourself in and only watch animation, you do not have exposure to the real life that can provide positive influences to these things.
exactly, I'm taking similar classes right now (life drawing and such), so what he is saying makes perfect sense. I also have a feeling many people in the western world don't understand the meaning of otaku.