As a longtime anime fan, it’s fun to follow different anime directors and writers and animators and see how they grow and develop. It’s always lots of fun to analyze the kinds of stories they tell, and how they influence each other. I asked J-List’s Twitter followers to tell us which anime creators they loved to obsess over, and here is the list we came up with!
Do you obsess over any directors? I just love the works of Hideki Anno, who did Gunbuster, Evangelion and Shin Godzilla. I obsess over his camera angles and precision of dialogue, even for mundane background characters. pic.twitter.com/m7OjxJ8uLK
— J-LIST (@jlist) September 22, 2019
While I’m a big fan of the works of David Lynch and Quentin Tarantino, the director I’ve always been the most drawn to is Hideki Anno. His directorial debut was the incredible Aim for the Top: Gunbuster, which spans 12,000 years and is in part a love letter to Western sci-fi like Ender’s Game or The Forever War. Anno also created Nadia and Evangelion as well as the excellent Shin Godzilla. He also animated the God Warriors from the Seven Days of Fire from Nausicaa back in the day.
I’ve been a lifelong fan of Hayao Miyazaki’s storytelling, which is always a quality experience. The biggest trouble is picking a favorite film. The amazing world-building and characters of Nausicaa or Laputa? The charm of Totoro or Kiki? The amazing journey of Chihiro in Spirited Away, or the unforgettable love story of The Wind Rises? Amazingly, Mrs. J-List had not seen any Ghibli films before meeting me, but as we raised our kids on the movies, I made sure she saw them all.
Often called the successor to Miyazaki, a comparison he scoffs at, Shinkai is nevertheless an incredible animator and storyteller whose tales always affect viewers deeply. Most famous for his smash hit Your Name, he’s equally renowned for stories like The Garden of Words, which turned a wooden gazebo in a park in Shinjuku into an instant holy land with fans, and the new Weathering With You. Interestingly, he got his start making videos for hentai games
Another amazing director, he was the brilliant mind behind the Ghost in the Shell film and outstanding Stand Alone Complex series. He cut his teeth back in the day making the 2nd Urusei Yatsura film, Beautiful Dreamer, which is still a cult classic. He also is responsible for the first two Patlabor movies, which are still beautiful today.
Another brilliant anime creator who brought us some of the most surreal anime works of all time, such as Perfect Blue, Millennium Actress, and of course Paprika. He sadly passed away in 2010.
Another name we can’t leave off this list, Tomino has a legendary pedigree, starting out doing writing and storyboards for Astro Boy before making some of the best-loved robot anime of the 1970s. He’s the creator of Mobile Suit Gundam, which all fans take for granted today, but was quite a dangerous gamble for studio Sunrise 40 years ago.
One of the most celebrated anime creators today, Nitroplus employee Gen “The Butcher” Urobuchi has been involved with creating some amazing stories, from Madoka Magika to Psycho-Pass to legendary visual novels like Saya no Uta and sweet pool. Here’s an overview of the best output by Nitroplus over the past 20 years.
The man responsible for blending idol culture with anime in Superdimension Fortress Macross, he was in a manga club with artist Haruhiko Mikimoto at Keio University. They wanted to create an animated version of the idols they loved (Seiko Matsuda and Akina Nakamori), and also wanted to capitalize on the boom in transforming mecha, which Kawamori was so good at designing.
An animator whose work is very dear to my heart, since more than any other work, Space Battleship Yamato (aka Star Blazers) is responsible for me being in Japan today. His magnum opus might be 1982’s Arcadia of my Youth, a high-budget film that shows how Captain Harlock became an outcast and a pirate.
How about you? What anime creators do you love to obsess over? Let us know on Twitter!
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