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

1).  don’t think this list will come as much of a surprise, the top top 5 movie directors are probably the most well-known directors of the lot in the last decade [Hiyazaki from Ghibli; Kon from Perfect Blue, Paranoia Agent; Hosoda ;Shinkai of Voices of the Distant Star fame; Oshii)

2). Notable names in the rest of the lists include Watanabe Shinichiro (Cowboy Bebop), Rintaro, Matsumoto Leiji (of Galazy Express, Captain Harlock fame)

Director Studio Title Rank
Hosoda Mamoru Madhouse Studios The Girl Who Leapt Through Time 3
Hosoda Mamoru Madhouse Studios Summer Wars 12
Hosoda Mamoru Toei Animation One Piece: Omatsuri Danshaku to Himitsu no Shima 26
Miyazaki Hayao Studio Ghibli Spirited Away 1
Miyazaki Hayao Studio Ghibli Ponyo on the Cliff By the Sea 10
Miyazaki Hayao Studio Ghibli Howl’s Moving Castle 15
Kon Satoshi Madhouse Studios Millennium Actress 4
Kon Satoshi Madhouse Studios Tokyo Godfathers 5
Kon Satoshi Madhouse Studios Paprika 8
Various ufotable Kara no Kyoukai – The Garden of Sinners 9
Various Studio 4C Genius Party 21
Anno Hideaki Studio Khara Evangelion: 1.0 13
Anno Hideaki Studio Khara Evangelion: 2.0 19
Oshii Mamoru Production I.G The Sky Crawlers 22
Oshii Mamoru Production I.G Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence 24
Shinkai Makoto Comix Wave Inc. 5 Centimeters Per Second 2
Shinkai Makoto Comix Wave Inc. The Place Promised in Our Early Days 6
Nakamura Ryutaro SHAFT Kino’s Travels: The Country of Sickness – For You- 33
Mizushima Seiji BONES Fullmetal Alchemist: Conquerer of Shamballa 25
Asaka Morio Madhouse Studios Card Captor Sakura Movie 2 28
Yuasa Masaaki Studio 4C Mind Game 18
Ando Masahiro BONES Sword of the Stranger 7
Watanabe Shinichiro BONES Cowboy Bebop: Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door 11
Rintaro Madhouse Studios Metropolis 14
Michael Arias Studio 4C Tekkonkinkreet 16
Nomura Tetsuya Square Enix Final Fantasy VII: Advent’s Children 17
Ohara Minoru TMS Entertainment Lupin III: First Contact 20
Gohda Kiroaki AIC Ah! My Goddess: The Movie 23
Kawamoto Kihachiro Imagica Fuyu no Hi 27
Aramaki Shinji Appleseed 32
Sugiyama Keiichi Gonzo Origins: Spirit 29
Matsumoto Leiji Toei Animation Interstella 5555 30
Morita Hiroyuki Studio Ghibli The Cat Returns 31
Yamamura Koji Shochiku Film Franz Kafka’s A Country Doctor 34

3). There are quite a few other shounen franchise-based movies out there but only One Piece: Omatsuri makes it onto the list. Got to give Hosoda a credit for that!

4). A common theme here is that certain studios are related to only certain directors. Hosoda and Kon are Madhouse aces. Miyazaki is predictably Ghibli’s. Shinkai also seem to only use Comix Waves for all his outings and anything worthwhile from Production I.G is led by Oshii.

5). On the other hand. Studio 4C’s choice of director is pretty scattered.

Last chart to show direct sorted by the number of votes he get from all the rankings:

# Director # of votes
1 Kon Satoshi 28
2 Miyazaki Hayao 26
3 Shinkai Makoto 20
4 Hosoda Mamoru 18
5 Various 8
6 Anno Hideaki 6
6 Ando Masahiro 6
8 Rintaro 5
9 Watanabe Shinichiro 4
9 Oshii Mamoru 4
11 Michael Arias 3
12 Yuasa Masaaki 2
12 Ohara Minoru 2
12 Nomura Tetsuya 2
15 Mizushima Seiji 1
15 Nakamura Ryutaro 1
15 Morita Hiroyuki 1
15 Asaka Morio 1
15 Kawamoto Kihachiro 1
15 Aramaki Shinji 1
15 Sugiyama Keiichi 1
15 Gohda Kiroaki 1
15 Matsumoto Leiji 1
15 Yamamura Koji 1

6). List again puts Miyazaki, Kon, Shinkai and Hosoda at the top, way above any other movie directors over the last decade. Apart from Miyazaki who is 67, the other three directors are around 40 years old (Kon 47, Hosoda 43, Shinkai). Throw in Ando (43) whose movie directorial debut also cracks the top ten, and these four are young enough to produce many more great movies for us to watch in the next decade or two!

7). Kon’s work is slightly more well-rated than miyazaki, but that’s splitting hairs:)

8). One have to remember also that the one title that make Shinkai so well-know is VOice of the Distant Star and it is not in this list. Adding the vote for that in (10) and Shinkai might even be top!

9). Then again, this does not take into account the ranking in which each title is being voted in the list. I might get around to doing that analysis sometime later after I am done with about 10 other things I also want to do:)

Looking at this list of 34 films, I can only name 17 directors correctly without cheating (only miss Sword of the Stranger in the top 10). Admittedly there are a lot of obscure name there in the list though! How well do you out there know your anime film directors?

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