The Agency for Cultural Affairs [文化庁] is a semi-governmental body in Japan, and every year they host the Japan Media Arts Festival, which gives out awards to, among other things, animation. In the past, they had given the Grand Prize to well-deserving masterpieces such as Mamoru Hosoda’s The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006) and Summer Wars (2009), Satoshi Kon’s Millennium Actress (2001), and Hayao Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke (1997) and Howl’s Moving Castle (2001).
However, it has been 3 whole consecutive years since 2012 when a Japanese anime last took the Grand Prize. The last three winners were Laurent Boileau Jung’s Couleur de peau: miel (2013), Anna Budanova’s The Wound (2014), and Boris Labbé’s Rhizome (2015).
Whether you accept this as evidence that Japanese animation has been showing signs of decline is up to you. In the past few years, many “must-see” films such as Isao Takahata’s The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (2013), Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises (2013), Mamoru Hosoda’s The Boy and the Beast (2015) and Keiichi Hara’s Miss Hokusai (2015) have come and gone, but for me personally they were decent but not Great with a capital G.