Masters of Japanese Anime

Anime is technically an abbreviation of “animation” in Japanese. It references all types of animation. Outside Japan however, anime is used to refer specifically to animation from Japan, characterized by vibrant characters, colourful graphics, and fantastic themes that capture the interest and imaginations of audiences of all ages from around the world.

Code Geass. | Vanny

Japanese anime is a diverse art form that encompasses all genres from cinema and at times is also considered as its own genre. Its production methods and techniques have been adapted through the years alongside technological breakthroughs in animation. Ideally, the main ingredients of anime involve a story combined with graphic art, cinematography and characterization. Anime is meant to focus less on movement and more on the realism of setting and the use of camera effects.

The anime industry in Japan consists of over 430 production studios and with English-dubbed programming, Japanese anime has captivated the international audiences as well. Here are some popular Japanese anime masters that have made anime a worldwide success:

Hayao Miyazaki (born January 5, 1941) – renowned Japanese producer, film director, animator, author, screenwriter, and manga artist whose career spans more than five decades.  He is the co-founder of the film and animation studio Studio Ghibli.

Miyazaki has won multiple awards for his animated films with The Castle of Cagliostro being the first. Among all his works, Spirited Away and The Wind Rises have garnered the most awards.

KCP Summer Anime/Manga 2013 students at Ghibli Museum. | KCP Flickr

Akira Yasuda (born July 21, 1964) – animator, character designer, mecha designer, and game designer who also is know for the pen name “Akiman”. Yasude used to work for the video game company Capcom. He was responsible for various design works such as Final Fight series and Street Fighter II: The World Warrior. He was also part of the production of several anime productions such as Code Geass, Overman King and ∀ Gundam.

Osamu Tezuka (3 November 1928 – 9 February 1989) – his contributions to manga and anime earned him the titles of “the father of manga”, “the godfather of manga,” and “the god of manga.” He was a manga artist, animator, film producer, cartoonist, medical doctor and activist. Tezuka is considered to be the Japanese counterpart of Walt Disney.

Tezuka headed the animation production studio Mushi Production (“Bug Production”), credited for being responsible for pioneering TV animation in Japan.  His works among others include Astro Boy (Mighty Atom in Japan), Princess Knight, Black Jack, Phoenix (Hi no Tori in Japan), Kimba the White Lion (jungle Emperor in Japan), and Unico.

Osamu Tezuka