Top Recent Anime Movie Director Comparison

One thing I sometimes wonder is how movies from all the great directors stack up. Over the last decades, the four directors whose films consistently come up on the best of list are Hayao Miyazaki, Mamoru Hosoda, Satoshi Kon and Makoto Shinkai. I also want to add Mamoru Oshii in to the mix as well. To judge which films are better than others, I look at their rating across the websites listed below. Note that the methodology is similar to the one I used to measure the Ghibli films:

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Top Anime Directors in 2000s – Movies / OAVs

After having learnt how to put pictures on the blog and make it look more attractive, I want to present the top movie directors again in a more accessible, non-technical format. I have mentioned most of the top ones to death but it never hurt to actually highlight them out again since they all deserve as much attention as I can give them. For this exercise , I will combine both movies and OAVs together. The next eight directors (with multiple films in the list, ranked in order of how many times their works are being mentioned in all of the lists used to compile the results) are definitely among the best short-format anime directors you will find in 2000s.

1). Shinkai Makoto

Why he is listed: 5 Centimeters Per Second (2007), The Place Promised in Our Early Days (2004), Voices of a Distant Star (2002)

My one-title recommendation (if you want to check one of his works out, I recommend this): Voices of a Distant Star

Other noteworthy works: She and Her Cat (1999)

Affiliated studios (studio that the direct has done the most works with): Comix Wave Inc.

Comment: The way this guy used lighting is as good as it gets. The quality of his animation is always top-notch. He can be quite a one-trick pony with his story-telling but when it’s told this well and look so good, I don’t consider that such a bad thing:) Hailed as ‘the next Miyazaki’ I really hope he can live up to such title for years to come! If anyone has not seen it yet, I would really urge you to check out Voices of the Distant Star for what this guy is capable of. This is the 25 minutes OAV that he, other than music and voice acting, essentially create by himself. It’s so well-done and the animation looks so great that it is pretty unbelievable that this is a one-man effort. Plus, it’s pretty short too so you won’t be wasting too much time if you happen not to like it!

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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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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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