The List
6 Directors' Humble Beginnings

by Lynzee Loveridge,

Goro Miyazaki recently stated that he has no intention, nor the creative ability, to be the successor to his father, and it's easy to sympathize with him on it. The entertainment industry was thrust upon him because of his pedigree. Some might consider it lucky to have that kind easy-in though, especially given what some of Hayao Miyazaki's colleagues and our current contemporary directors had to go through to get there.

6. Hideaki Anno Anno is experiencing another wave of appreciation for his work right now. The Neon Genesis Evangelion director has a film festival in his honor that will screen over 40 of his works, spanning his college career to his latest film. It's amazing that he's accomplished so much considering he was expelled from college. He ended up applying for an old-fashioned "help wanted" ad in Animage and landed an animation gig working on Miyazaki's Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. Despite his reputation as a curmudgeon, Miyazaki was taken with Anno's work (and he would return to voice the main character in Miyazaki's final film). Anno founded Gainax a few short years after Nausicaa.

5. Kunihiko Ikuhara Ikuhara is one of many fresh college graduates to join the ranks of Toei Animation. Ikuhara is known for his distinct and eccentric vision, which is usually heavy on symbolism. Before he made waves with Utena, Ikuhara cut his teeth on Sailor Moon as an assistant to Junichi Sato and later taking over for him. He wasn't completely pleased with the experience and left after Sailor Moon SuperS to form Be-Papas with a few colleagues in a tiny apartment. The show was a critical success.

4. Shoji Kawamori The creator of Macross started out like a regular old Gundam fan. He, screenwriter Hiroshi Ohnogi, and character designer Haruhiko Mikimoto formed a fan club for the series while in college called "Gunsight One," a term that was reused as a call sign for the bridge of the SDF-1 in Macross. He worked as an intern and animator at Studio Nue during his college years before his buddies would reunite to turn "Gunsight One" into a reality.

3. Koichi Mashimo Mashimo is the founder of the animation studio Bee Train and best known for directing Night on the Galactic Railroad, Dominion Tank Police, The Irresponsible Captain Tylor and the .hack franchise to name a few. Before he founded Bee Train, Mashimo worked under Time Bokan and Speed Racer director Hiroshi Sasagawa at Tatsunoko. While on vacation in the 1980s, Mashimo got into a serious skiing accident. It was during his stint in the hospital that he dreamt up Bee Train, which he went on to found with help from Production I.G's Mitsuhisa Ishikawa in 2006.

2. Satoshi Kon Kon debuted as a manga artist before moving on as an animator. It while working as a manga artist and editor at Young Magazine that Kon crossed path with Akira's Katsuhiro Otomo and began working as his assistant. Kon said in an interview in 2008 that it was through networking with Otomo that he was able to break into the industry with Roujin Z.

1. Isao Takahata Acclaimed director Isao Takahata was on hand in Toronto this week to celebrate the North American premiere of The Tale of The Princess Kaguya, his most recent project with Studio Ghibli. It's surprising that the mind behind The Grave of the Fireflies hit more than one bump in his career. In fact, his first foray into film started at Toei after graduating college, and was mostly on a whim. Takahata was interested in film but he was a French literature major. His first film, Hols: Prince of the Sun, was a commercial flop and Toei demoted him after its release. He left the company (with Miyazaki) to pursue making a Pippi Longstocking film but author Astrid Lindgren put an ax to that, too. He'd jump through several more animation companies with more success than his stint at Toei before finally settling down with Miyazaki at Studio Ghibli in 1985.

The new poll: What fall television anime are you most looking forward to?

The old poll: What's Your Experience in the Manga Industry?:

  1. I read manga only. 75.4%
  2. I want to create my own manga/comics one day. 9.8%
  3. I'm a writer but haven't created a manga/comic. 8.3%
  4. I'm an artist but haven't created a manga/comic. 4.4%
  5. I work on a web comic. 1.0%
  6. I work in the North American or Japanese manga industry. 0.9%
  7. I self-publish manga. 0.1%

When she isn't compiling lists of tropes, topics, and characters, Lynzee works as Associate Editor for Anime News Network, blogs about women and LBGT topics in anime and manga on her blog Engendered Dilemma, and posts pictures of her son on Twitter @ANN_Lynzee.

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