Top Anime Directors in 2000s – SeriesPosted: May 24, 2010
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
2). Kamiyama Kenji
Why he is listed: GITS:SAC, GITS: SAC: 2nd Gig, Eden of the East, Seirei no Moribito
Latest Offering: Currently busy directing the series of Eden of the East films.
Other noteworthy works: Jin Roh: THe Wolf Brigade. Ver haunting take on the Red Riding Hood
Comment: the ace of Production I.G. His most recognizable work is obviously GITS: SAC but he also produce a couple of good series in recent years too. Jin Roh is such a good film that everyone should check out.
3). Ishihara Tatsuya
Why he is listed: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Kanon 2006, Clannad, Clannad ~After Story~
Latest Offering: Disappearance of Suzumiya Haruhi (Chief Director)
Other noteworthy works: Air (in 2005) was his first directorial work
Comment: Kyoto Animation’s ace, having produce most of their acclaimed titles that make the list. The 6 titles listed above are I think most of his directorial efforts. Pretty good hit rate I have to say! He definitely have not totally missed yet thus far…
4). Omori Takahiro
Why he is listed: Baccano!, Natsume Yuujinchou, Koi Kaze
Latest Offering: Durarara!!
Other noteworthy works: Jigoku Shoujo, Gakuen Alice, Fancy Lala
Comment: He has been directing for quite a while but does not seem to hit fullstride until Baccano! and now Durarara!! seems to also follow in the right side of goodness also.
5). Asaka Morio
Why he is listed: Gunslinger Girl, Chobits, Nana
Latest Offering: Last contribution is storyboard duty in Claymore.
Other noteworthy works: Directed Cardcaptor Sakura in 1998-2000
Comment: He is another director that seems to go way back. Another good talent but he has not produced anything good since 2006’s Nana. Works predominantly for Madhouse
6). Taniguchi Goro
Why he is listed: Planetes, Code Geass
Latest Offering: Recently directed Code Geass R2 and Jungle Emperor Leo.
Other noteworthy works: Infinite Ryvius (1999)
Comment: I’d like to blindly follow anything this guy product just for doing Planetes! But he also follows that up with Code Geass too, which although not quite as popular in my ranking, is ranked 15 in ANN’s all-time list. Did not realize he did Infinite Ryvius also so my respect for him from me goes up even further:)
7). Yasuhiro Takemoto
Why he is listed: Lucky Star, Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu!
Latest Offering: Directed second season of Haruhi. Also directed The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya
Other noteworthy works: Full Metal Panic! Second Raid (both TV and OAV)
Comment: Another budding KyoAni talent
8). Takamatsu Shinji
Why he is listed: School Rumble, Gintama
Latest Offering: Sora no Manimani (2009)
Other noteworthy works: One of 5 directors who did KochiKame series (a relatively long running police comedy series, which ran for 367 episodes from 1996 to 2004), other School Rumble sequels (2nd Semesters, OAV)
Comment: Specialized in comedy. Also have done a bit of robot series (directed a few SD Gundam episodes)
9). Hamana Takayuki
Why he is listed: Kemono no Sou-ja Erin, Library War
Latest Offering: The above two titles
Other noteworthy works: The Prince of Tennis, Idaten Jump, Sisters of Wellber
Comment: New up-and-coming Production I.G’s director. Although he has not seemed to produce anything good apart from the two listed titles, these two titles are from 2008 and 2009 so hopefully he has found a recipe to making decent series and continue the trend
10). Hamazaki Hirotsugu
Why he is listed: Texhnolyze. Shigurui: Death Frenzy
Latest Offering: n.a.
Other noteworthy works: n.a.
Comment: These two titles are the only two he has directed. Rather decent hit rate:)
11). Chigira Koichi
Why he is listed: Last Exile, Full Metal Panic!
Latest Offering: The Tower of Druaga (2008,2009)
Other noteworthy works: Brave Story
Comment: Gonzo’s supposed most consistent director. Gankutsuou’s Maeda Mahiro does not count since apart from this series, he has not really produced anything good at all.
12). Kojima Masayuki
Why he is listed: MONSTER, Magical Shopping Arcade Abenoabshi
Latest Offering: Piano no Mori (Movie, 2007).
Other noteworthy works: directed Azuki-chan and Master Keaton (another Urasawa work so no surprise there I guess)
Comment: Pretty prolific animator but has not produced anything much recently
13). Kasai Kenichi
Why he is listed: Honey and Clover, Nodame Cantabile
Latest Offering: Bakuman (co-directed with Tatsuyuki), Aoi Hana
Other noteworthy works: Major, Mirmo Zibang!
Comment: One part of the J.C. Staff duo. Love Bakuman manga so will be interesting to see how the anime adaptation will come together. Still need to see Honey and Clover myself too…
14). Nagai Tatsuyuki
Why he is listed: Toradora!, Honey and Clover II
Latest Offering: Bakuman
Other noteworthy works: Toaru Kagaku no Railgun
Comment: Another half of the J.C. Staff duo. Along with Kasai, they seem to alternate doing the best this studio has to offer (Nishikiori did Azumanga Daioh but he did not seem to have done anything else decent so it seems like a one-off for him!)
15). Igarashi Takuya:
Why he is listed: Ouran High School Host Club, Soul Eater
Other noteworthy works: Directed Sailor Moon Stars and Ojamajo Doremi
Comment: Another one that goes all the way back. Can’t really comment much on him since i have only seen Ouran (and like a lot) of all his works.
16). Oonuma Shin
Why he is listed: Ef~ Tales of Memories, Pani Poni Dash
Latest Offering: Baka and Test: Summon the Beast, Natsu no Arashi!
Other noteworthy works: Negima OAV
Comment: Only Shaft director to make more than 1 series on the list
17). Daichi Akitaro
Why he is listed: Fruits Basket, Bokura Ga Ita
Latest Offering: Prince Makaroo
Other noteworthy works: Now and Then, Here and There (1999), Animation Runner Kuromi (2001)
Comment: Forgot to add him when I was posting this blog yesterday but here is me atoning for it. This guy is also another of my favourite. I really adore Fruits Basket and NTHT (which just missed the 2000 deadline so it does not appear in my ranking list) is also another series that should be a in anyone’s must watch list. It is so haunting and really portray so well the best and worst in human beings. He has not really done anything new series recently though (Prince Makaroo seems to be an annual series that is in its 13th season in Japan in 2010)
There are also 59 other directors who only directed one list series. A few more famous names in this lot are Kon Satoshi (Paranoia Agent; This is the only series he’s done so at least he’s 100%), Watanabe Shinichiro (Samurai Champloo) and Rintaro (Captain Harlock)
As for the directors of the two top anime series by a long way on my list, Haibane Renmei’s director, Tokoro Tomokazu is listed as having only directed Helsing OAV and Niea_7 other than his masterpiece. Quite a thin resume I have to say. As for Nagahama Hiroshi, apart from Mushi-Shi, he has only directed Jubei-Chan 2 and Detroit Metal City. Really serious different in tone and genre he’s capable of doing! We need more work from these two guys!
One question to everyone out there. In the case of anime like Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya when ANN list Ishihara as chief director and Takemoto as director, whose directorial credit should the title really go through? How does the relationship like this work?
Is there any anime director that are specially memorable to you or ones you will follow the next directorial effort no question asked?