5 Best Japanese Anime Directors Creating Renowned Anime

On Your Mark diercted by Hayao Miyazaki

As international contents, more and more people have become to watch anime on TV and video streaming sites online recently. They get never bored of it since a large number of new anime are being created and released every season.

There are lots of outstanding anime series and movies which have popularized anime worldwide, and they are behind the the great efforts of renowned anime directors.

This is an introduction of 5 best Japanese anime directors who have made highly-appraised anime series and anime films ever. This greatest anime director guide will also help you to decide which anime to watch next.

1. Hayao Miyazaki

Ponyo diercted by Hayao Miyazaki
Ponyo diercted by Hayao Miyazaki

Hayao Miyazaki (宮崎駿) is the most famous and praised anime directors all over the world. He has created about 20 Studio Ghibli movies since the new animation studio Studio Ghibli was founded in 1985 and its first anime movie Castle in the Sky was released in 1986. Many of both domestic and international people have grown up watching the Studio Ghibli animations since they were in childhood.

The 2001 fantasy anime movie Spirited Away, directed by Hayao Miyazaki, won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature at the 75th Academy Awards in 2003. It is also known that he achieved the Academy Honorary Award in 2014, which was the second case in Japan following Akira Kurosawa in 1989.

It was announced by Studio Ghibli that Hayao Miyazaki would retire from producing full-length films in 2013. Fortunately, however, he has restarted making a new Studio Ghibli movie How Do You Live? since 2017.

Representative works: Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)/Princess Mononoke (1997)/Spirited Away (2001)


If you are interested in anime or Japanese pop cultures, you may have watched some Studio Ghibli movies. Many of the ren[…]

Nausicaä from Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

2. Makoto Shinkai

Weathering with You directed by Makoto Shinkai
Weathering with You directed by Makoto Shinkai/©︎2019「天気の子」製作委員会 (https://twitter.com/tenkinoko_movie)

Speaking of Japanese anime directors, many anime fans associate a modern anime director leader Makoto Shinkai (新海誠), who belongs to the Japanese animation studio CoMix Wave Films Inc. He has created high-quality anime movies since his first short film was released in 1999 and the anime movie Voices of a Distant Star in 2002.

Makoto Shinkai has become much more famous worldwide since his masterpiece Your Name was released in over 100 countries and regions in 2016, which won several international awards. In 2019, the successful fantasy anime movie titled Weathering with You came to the big screen in 2019.

His anime have been highly-appraised for the beautifully painted pictures that are inspired by the real life locations in Japan in addition to the touching drama stories and music that matches every scene.

Representative works: 5 Centimeters per Second (2007)Your Name (2016)/Weathering with You (2019)/ Suzume (2022)


Anime has got more well-known as one of hot series on video streaming services or one of popular movie genres all over t[…]

3. Katsuhiro Otomo

Akira directed by Katsuhiro Otomo
Akira directed by Katsuhiro Otomo/©1988マッシュルーム/アキラ製作委員会 (https://v-storage.bnarts.jp/sp-site/akira)

Katsuhiro Otomo (大友克洋) is a Japanese manga artist and anime director, who has been praised by international anime fans since his greatest anime movie Akira was released in 1988.

The top anime director made his debut with his first manga Fireball in 1973 and created the manga series of Akira from 1982 to 1993. Its anime movie adaptation of Akira was directed by himself in 1988, which has popularized Japanese anime and him all over the globe. Following the outstanding work, he directed the next full-length anime movie Steamboy in 2004.

A lot of Katsuhiro Otomo fans have lookedforward to his new movie since it was announced a new anime movie Orbital Era and a rebuild of Akira would be created at Anime Expo 2019.

Representative works: Akira (1988)/Steamboy (2004)


Katsuhiro Otomo is one of the most influential manga artists and animation directors in Japan especially in the 1980s. H[…]


4. Mamoru Hosoda

Belle directed by Mamoru Hosoda
Belle directed by Mamoru Hosoda/©2021 スタジオ地図 (https://twitter.com/studio_chizu)

Mamoru Hosoda (細田守) is one of the best anime directors in Japan and overseas. He made the 20-min anime movie Digimon Adventure in 1999 as the director of Toei Animation, one of the most famous animation studios in Japan. Following his debut, he directed his first full-length anime movie Digimon Adventure: Our War Game! in 2000.

Mamoru Hosoda has been much more famous and popular worldwide since his masterpiece The Girl Who Leapt Through Time was released in 2006 and Summer Wars in 2009. In 2011, his own animation studio named Studio Chizu was founded, and he directed the first Studio Chizu anime movie Wolf Children in 2012.

He has created renowned full-length anime movies about every 3 years including The Boy and the Beast in 2015 and Mirai in 2018. Mamoru Hosoda’s latest anime film Belle will be released in 2021 summer.

Representative works: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006)/Summer Wars (2009)/Wolf Children (2012)


There are a great number of popular anime series that are loved by not only Japanese but also international people. Anim[…]

Mamoru Hodomo Movies

5. Tatsuyuki Nagai

Her Blue Sky directed by Tatsuyuki Nagai
Her Blue Sky directed by Tatsuyuki Nagai/©2019 SORAAO PROJECT (https://twitter.com/soraaoproject)

An anime director who has earned more reputation in Japan lately is Tatsuyuki Nagai (長井龍雪). The modern anime director has directed many popular anime series and anime movies ever.

Tatsuyuki Nagai first directed the anime Honey and Clover II in 2006. And then, his first original anime Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day (あの日見た花の名前を僕達はまだ知らない。) was released in 2011, which is looked on as his masterpiece. Its anime movie adaptation was released in 2013, followed by highly-valued anime movies The Anthem of the Heart in 2015 and Her Blue Sky in 2019.

His directed anime series and movies have been made with the anime creating team Super Peace Busters since it was formed by Tatsuyuki Nagai, a screenwriter Mari Okada and a character designer Masayoshi Tanaka when Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day was made in 2011.

Representative works: Toradora! (2008-2009)/Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day (2011)/The Anthem of the Heart (2015)


There are several worldly famous anime directors in Japan, and more expected creators have distinguished themselves as a[…]

Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day

Of course, there are more anime directors you should pay attention to, however, this article introduces just several selected best anime directors who have had a large influence on the global anime industry. Don’t miss their directed anime series and movies if you are a fan of Japanese anime.

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