Top 5 Influential Anime Directors

Top 5 Influential Anime Directors

It’s no secret that the anime industry has changed the world.

From its humble beginnings in the early 20th century to its current status as one of the most influential forms of entertainment in existence, Japanese animation has taken on a life of its own. It’s no longer just a niche genre for kids and teens—it’s now an international phenomenon that appeals to audiences of all ages and backgrounds.

And while there are many factors that contribute to the popularity of anime, one thing remains clear: without these people, there is no anime. So today we’re going to take a look at some of history’s most important innovators, creators, directors, animators and more who have helped shape this exciting art form over time.


#1. Osamu Tezuka

We'll start with Osamu Tezuka (1928-1989). Tezuka was an artist who worked on several different animations throughout his career, including Astro Boy (1963), Kimba the White Lion (1965), Metropolis (2001) and Black Jack (2004). He won an award for best animated film at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1963 for "Jungle Emperor Leo" and also received an award from UNESCO for his contributions towards children's education through animation.

#2. Hayao Miyazaki

Hayao Miyazaki is another name that might ring a bell if you're familiar with anime at all—and for good reason! Miyazaki was responsible for creating some of Japan's most iconic works: Spirited Away (2001), Howl's Moving Castle (2004), Ponyo (2009), and so many more!

#3. Mamoru Oshii

Oshii has directed over 20 feature films, including Urusei Yatsura: Beautiful Dreamer (1984), Ghost in the Shell (1995), Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade (1999), and Avalon (2001). His style tends toward realism, with more emphasis on human emotions than on action sequences.

#4. Akira Toriyama

Akira Toriyama is one of the most influential people in Japanese anime history because of the global powerhouse hit Dragon Ball Z. These series have become some of the most popular shows on television worldwide and helped more western audiences catch up to the allure of Japanese animation.

#5. Satoshi Kon

He began his career as an animator at Studio Madhouse in 1986, working on the first Lupin III TV series. In 1988 he directed his first feature-length film, Perfect Blue, which became an international hit and won several awards. He continued making films throughout the 1990s and 2000s, including Millennium Actress (2001), Tokyo Godfathers (2003), Paranoia Agent (2004), Paprika (2006), and Dreaming Machine (2008).

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