10 directors whose anime you can identify just by their visual style

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There are countless reasons to enjoy the medium of anime, which continually pushes the boundaries when it comes to storytelling, characters, animation and more. Hundreds of new animated series come out every year, and admittedly, it can be easy for some to blend in with the crowd.

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That’s why it means so much more when a talented director is able to make his voice heard in the medium and consistently tell stories that have real impact. There are some very prolific names that have worked in the anime industry, but what’s particularly impressive is when the visual style of a director can be used as a business card.


ten Masaaki Yuasa treats the world and its wonders like fluid visual glasses

Anime Kaiba Masaaki Yuasa Memory Room

Masaaki Yuasa is one of the most ambitious names working in the anime industry right now. Yuasa is responsible for a number of iconic animated films and TV series, all of which break down human nature, privacy, and freedom in different ways. Read on the wall, Surf your wave, The night is short, walk on Girl, and Kaiba are all great, serious stories where the human body stretches to absurd proportions, the character models change at will, and the color palettes operate with staggering unpredictability. Each of Yuasa’s works is a real visual experience.

9 Satoshi Kon is a master of surreal symbolism

Satoshi Kon tragically passed away at the age of 46, but he was still able to create a phenomenal collection of works that further solidifies his status as a master of the medium. Many of Kon’s works explore themes of identity, paranoia, and the power of dreams, albeit with extremely dark imagery. Perfect blue, Paprika, and Paranoia Agent remain masterpieces that work as well as them thanks to Kon’s vivid depiction of loss and pain. His other works like Millennial actress and Tokyo Sponsors, although less surreal, are still haunting presentations of humanity.

8 Hayao Miyazaki creates magical worlds audiences want to escape

Chihiro returns home to Spirited Away.

One of the most popular anime directors at receive international recognition is Hayao Miyazaki, one of the founding partners of the prolific animation studio Studio Ghibli. Miyazaki is responsible for films like Abducted as if by magic, Princess mononoke, and Ponyo, which push determined female characters into fantastic situations, but with relevant themes that act as warnings about the state of nature.

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Other efforts, like The wind picks up, are much more grounded and relaxed, but manifest a fascination with aviation, which also permeates Miyazaki’s work. There is so much life and energy in his creations.

7 Mamoru Hosoda shows fascination with blurred lines between fantasy and reality

Beautiful protagonist Suzu singing in line

Mamoru Hosoda is a visionary anime director who has done an incredible job. His latest film, Beautiful, is a magnificent meditation on the public ego versus the private ego, but it is someone who was the first to cut their teeth Digimon movie. Whether it be Beautiful, Digimon: our war game!, Summer wars, Where The boy and his beast, Hosoda’s works all show a fascination with technology, digital realms, and humanity’s evolving relationship with artificial realms. The animation is detailed, meticulous and overloaded with color, but the the characters still feel human.

6 Hideaki Anno creates a dark, introspective world with raw aesthetic

Hideaki Anno’s resume has had a profound effect on the anime industry. Anno is best known for his meticulous work on the Neon Genesis Evangelion series, but His situation and hers, Gunbuster, and Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water still feature many animated touches and recurring themes of the Anno brand. Much of Anno’s work is imbued with an oppressive, dark light where it can feel like the animation is almost fighting the audience. It’s a gritty effect that Anno knows how to make work and turn budget issues into stylistic triumphs.

5 Katsuhiro Otomo’s vibrant and sorry Akira helped set a new standard

Tetsuo loses control of his powers in Akira

Katsuhiro Otomo is someone who will be remembered forever in the anime industry for his work on both Akira’s manga and production of the feature film. That alone would have left a sufficient mark on the industry, but Otomo’s austere and sterile style helped bring many evocative projects to life, such as Steamboy, Mushishi, Rojin Z, and the first JoJo’s bizarre adventure OAV.

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Otomo’s heavy lines and loaded action and transformation sequences have inspired countless international productions. His ability to create crumbling worlds and exaggerated physique protagonists has become iconic.

4 Mamoru Oshii has become a leading voice in the dark dystopias of cyberpunk

anime-ghost-in-the-shell

Mamoru Oshii is another key name in the anime industry who has been acclaimed as one of the most important voices in the cyberpunk genre due to his work on Ghost in the shell. Oshii’s career is extensive and he tackles many diverse genres including lighter fare like Lupine III and Urusei yatsura. However, his style appears most in hardened dystopias, such as Patlabor. Oshii is a master of detail and world-building, and that’s why shows like Ghost in the shell have persevered for so long. He skillfully mixes man and machine.

3 Makoto Shinkai tells heartbreaking stories that get lost in realism

Makoto Shinkai continues to be absolute winners, and he has already carved out a reputation for himself that is arguably as revered as Hayao Miyazaki. Shinkai’s stories may deal with fantastical concepts and supernatural ideas, much like Miyazaki’s, but they are portrayed in a much more grounded and realistic light, with the realism of the characters and environments frequently pulling the chords of audiences. . Shinkai films regularly feature fragile characters who yearn for honest relationships and escape their humble surroundings. your name, Alter with you, The garden of words, and 5 centimeters per second are all elegant but heartbreaking character studies.

2 Shinichiro Watanabe is a master of remixing styles and influences

Cowboy Bebop, Space dandy, Samurai Champloo, and Carole & Tuesday may all seem like completely different series of contrasting genres, but it’s all chaotic mixtures of influences and sensibilities that have become Watanabe’s calling card. Some of his series are cooler and calculated, like Terror in resonance, but there’s still an atypical take on how it inserts fish characters out of the water into sci-fi-fueled storylines. The style is still displayed, but he never dominates the characters. Shinichiro Watanabe almost feels like an Edgar Wright or Quentin Tarantino with the way he makes his inspirations intrinsic to storytelling.

1 Osamu Tezuka creates inviting worlds and establishes adorable heroic archetypes

Osamu Tezuka had such a crucial impact on the anime industry in its early days that it was even referred to as Walt Disney of Japan. Tezuka manages to meet these expectations, and all of her work features characters who are deeply inviting and have equally friendly expressions. Lots of Tezuka productions bias towards a younger audience or are appropriate for audiences of all ages, such as Astro boy and Kimba the white lion, but even Tezuka’s more adult fare like Black jack still wears the same softer look.

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