anime film directors

(Welcome to Let’s Get Animated!, a column that spotlights the best of film animation. In this edition: the best modern anime film directors to keep an eye on.)

Ask any animation buff and they can list off a handful of great Western animation directors, and one Japanese one. Despite anime’s place on the global stage — dominating the pop culture stratosphere since the ‘90s and going on to win prestige thanks to the efforts of Studio Ghibli — most people still think of Hayao Miyazaki as the lone renowned anime filmmaker. But simply taking a shallow dive into the anime industry proves that is not the case.

That’s right, I’m back to talking about anime. While last time I gave you a beginner’s guide to the best gateway anime, this month I’ll be covering some of the most promising and accomplished anime film directors working today. Most of these filmmakers have had to ward off breathless press questions about whether they consider themselves “the Next Miyazaki” or had their films endlessly compared to Studio Ghibli’s catalogue. But these filmmakers have more than proved that they can stand on their own.

Let it be known that this list will exclusively cover directors still working today, and who work mostly in film. (So, no Isao Takahata, or Satoshi Kon, who is a master due for his own column sometime in the future.)

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lu over the wall trailer

This is not your grandma’s Little Mermaid. In fact, it’s not your Little Mermaid either. Lu Over the Wall deserves a title unto its own, as a surreal, vividly colored fairy tale that plays with the limits of imagination.

But that’s to be expected from visionary animated director Masaaki Yuasa. Most recently known for his incredibly popular Netflix anime Devilman Crybaby, Yuasa is responsible for one of the best anime films ever, 2004’s Mind Game. And Lu Over the Wall looks like it will be a worthy next film from Yuasa.

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