Top Anime Directors in 2000s – Series

This post is a continuation of the top 100 anime series analysis I posted earlier. This time, I want to look at the directors, who are most responsible for shaping the series to be as good as it is (at least that is my assumption anyway). To tell you the truth, I am as guilty as anyone in not being able to name the directors of a lot of my favourite anime series, so this is a pretty good exercise for me to recount them. Also, I hope you also find it useful as a brief guide of which director has the best track record and that you should probably pay some attention if you come across their names in any future anime. I will be listing the directors who have more than 1 features in my top 100, as that should somewhat suggest a sustained pattern of excellence for these directors, from most number of titles first.

1). Sato Junichi


Why he is listed: ARIA The Origination, ARIA The Animation, ARIA The Natural, Princess Tutu

Latest Offering: Maria’s Great Sea Story (2009)

Other noteworthy works: He also direct Sailor Moon, Junker Comes Here and Gatekeeper

Comment: He tops the list but 3 of his 5 comes from the ARIA franchise. He also directs ARIA The Arietta (Another OAV from the franchise). The only surprise for me about this guy is he directed Sailor Moon back in the day! He definitely have some longvity over 1990s and now 2000s

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Analyzing Anime Movie type from 2000-5

Having been able to collect data up to 2005, I got a bit curious about how the segmentation of the movies and how many ‘original’ anime films are actually released in each year, as opposed to ‘sequels’ or ‘franchise’. The root of this comes from the fact that in my top anime of 2000s analysis, there are only 34 films good enough to be listed in the whole decade (3.4 films a year). The number sounds a little on the low side (Only under 4 good anime films released per year?), so I want to substantiate that by looking at all movies being produced during the same period and put this number into a bit more perspective.

When analysising the group type of the films, I have separated them into 3 categories as followed:

a). Original – Films that are not based on any prior anime series or franchise

b). Sequel – Follow-on from anime series or movies

c). Franchise – Part of a franchise of anime or game series. Tend to relate more to more popular series

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Analysis of Animes Released in 2000-2003

I will briefly take a break from all the anime of the decade analysis and dive into a new topic that I have been working on. Having worked on all the anime people love enough to mention as the best of the decade, it left me wondering, how many shows are there really out there?

This led me to start compiling data of all the animes basing it on the the wikipedia page that list all the animes produced by year. It also has all the data so far that I find useful for other analysis like demographic, year released, director. It is a rather time-consuming exercise so I have only managed to cover 2000-2003 so far. The rest will follow. Also, do let me know if there is any other website which may offer a more comprehensive animes that were released by year. I still have to browse around Anime News network to cross-check the wiki list but so I may have to update this number later in case wikipedia is not as all-knowing as I hope it is… As for the date, I have categorized each one based on their release date in Japan, which is consistent with how I treat the top anime list.

First, let’s look at the total number of productions during these four years

Year Movie OAV Series Total
2000 11 19 40 71
2001 18 42 71 131
2002 23 37 69 129
2003 14 36 76 126
Total 66 134 256 456

A few observations from this:

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Analysis on Animation Directors – Movies

While my mind is circling around the topic of movies, I will get around to looking at the directors that are responsible for these 34 titles on the list and see if there is any interesting patterns within them. I have read in quite a few blogs / podcasts already about whether general anime fans really know the directors that work on the famous or favourite movies.

The argument goes that you most likely will know who direct Schindler’s List, Gladiator or Pulp Fiction, but outside of Miyazaki Hayao and maybe Oshii Mamoru, people would not be able to recognize the directors’ names. I imagine with the names being in Japanese, a lot of people just give up trying to recite them but do you feel that this is really the case? Can you name the director of Akira, Grave of the Fireflies or Ninja Scroll (admittedly I only know 2 out of 3 here so I may also be one of the guilty ones).

Anyway, on to the list:

# Director Title count
1 Miyazaki Hayao 3
1 Kon Satoshi 3
1 Hosoda Mamoru 3
4 Various 2
4 Shinkai Makoto 2
4 Oshii Mamoru 2
4 Anno Hideaki 2
8 Yuasa Masaaki 1
8 Kawamoto Kihachiro 1
8 Matsumoto Leiji 1
8 Michael Arias 1
8 Ando Masahiro 1
8 Mizushima Seiji 1
8 Morita Hiroyuki 1
8 Nakamura Ryutaro 1
8 Nomura Tetsuya 1
8 Ohara Minoru 1
8 Aramaki Shinji 1
8 Rintaro 1
8 Gohda Kiroaki 1
8 Sugiyama Keiichi 1
8 Asaka Morio 1
8 Watanabe Shinichiro 1
8 Yamamura Koji 1

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Analysis on Animation Production Studios – Movies

This post will be similar to the last one but focusing on the anime movies and their studios instead. This list includes all the movies that are mentioned at least once in any of the list. I have also worked out a way to paste table onto the blog which looks much nicer than the pasted picture I used before. I will try to update the previous posts also. Firstly, here is the summary of each studio and how many titles it animated in the list

Rank Animation studio Title count
1 Madhouse Studios 7
2 Studio Ghibli 4
3 Studio 4C 3
3 BONES 3
5 Studio Khara 2
5 Toei Animation 2
5 Comix Wave Inc. 2
5 Production I.G 2
9 Shochiku Film 1
9 SHAFT 1
9 ufotable 1
9 Gonzo 1
9 Square Enix 1
9 TMS Entertainment 1
9 AIC 1
9 Imagica 1

Quick comments based on this:

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