Fun With Numbers: Directors With Blockbuster Chops (Part 2: 2 Shows)

Continued from part 1, here are the rest of the directors that managed to notch multiple credits on 10,000 plus per volume hits. 13 guys directed two non-sequel hits, which, adding in the 4 from before, gives a total of 17 people in the history of anime to make this particular list.

As before, note that while anidb and ann are being used, they are potentially incomplete sources. For example, Tsuda Naokatsu only receives Uta Kata production assistance credit on ann. I will generally give direction credit to anyone who is listed as a director on one of the two sites, and directed a plurality of the episodes. Series director vs. plain Director titles for shows that gave the two to different people were tricky to interpret – I opted to give the title to the staffer listed as just director.

An Important Note About The Classification: I only included non-sequel anime when looking for directors. This means nothing with some manifestation of a 2 in the title. Ditto for Gundam or Macross franchise entries after the original. My rationale is that it’s a lot harder to make a prime-time anime from scratch, even with popular source material, than it is to continue living in a house you or someone else built. I count A Certain Scientific Railgun and Mononoke as spinoffs rather than sequels, as the series they spun off of are considerably less well-established franchises.

Directors With 2 10k+ Anime:

Akiyuki Shinbo

First Credited On: Urusei Yatsura (1985-1991 OVA, 10th episode of 11)

10k+ Series: Bakemonogatari (2009), Madoka Magica (2011)

Less Notable Work: Metal Fighter Miku, Dance in the Vampire Bund

Recent Work: Nisekoi, Mekakucity Actors

Goro Taniguchi

First Credited On: Earthian (1989)

10k+ Series: Infinite Ryvius (1999), Code Geass (2006)

Less Notable Work: Gun x Sword, Fantasiata Doll (Credited as Creative Producer, Writer)

Recent Work: Jungle Emperor Leo (2009), Fantasista Doll (2013, Not as Director)

Hayao Miyazaki

First Credited On: Gulliver’s Space Travels (1965)

10k+ Series: Lupin III (1971), Future Boy Conan (1978)

Less Notable Work: Sherlock Hound

Recent Work: The Wind Rises

Hideaki Anno

First Credited On: Nausicaa (1984)

10k+ Series: Nadia (1990), Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995)

Less Notable Work: Re: Cutie Honey

Recent Work: Rebuild of Evangelion

Hiroshi Nishikiori

First Credited On: Pygmalio (1990)

10k+ Series: Azumanga Daioh (2002), A Certain Magical Index (2008)

Less Notable Work: Kaiketsu Zorori, Okusama wa Mahou Shojo

Recent Work: Futari wa Milky Holmes

Hiroyuki Imaishi

First Credited On: Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995)

10k+ Series: Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (2007), Kill La Kill (2013)

Less Notable Work: Dead Leaves

Recent Work: Kill La Kill

Junichi Sato

First Credited On: Maple Town Monogatari (1986)

10k+ Series: Sailor Moon (1992), Aria the Animation (2005)

Less Notable Work: Akuma-kun, Umi Monogatari

Recent Work: Tamayura, M3 – Sono Kuroki Hagane

Kazuhiro Furuhashi

First Credited On: Urusei Yatsura (1981-1986 series, 185th episode of 195)

10k+ Series: You’re Under Arrest (1996), Rurouni Kenshin (1996)

Less Notable Work: Get Backers, La Chevalier D’Eon

Recent Work: Gundam Unicorn

Morio Asaka

First Credited On: Urusei Yatsura (1985-1991 OVA, 8th episode of 11)

10k+ Series: Cardcaptor Sakura (1998), Chobits (2002)

Less Notable Work: Galaxy Angel, Final Fantasy 7: Last Order

Recent Work: Chihayafuru

Naokatsu Tsuda

First Credited On: Uta Kata (2004)

10k+ Series: Inu x Boku SS (2012), Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure (2012)

Less Notable Work: N/A

Recent Work: JJBA: Stardust Crusaders

Takahiro Omori

First Credited On: Urusei Yatsura (1981-1986 series, 142nd episode of 195)

10k+ Series: Natsume Yuujinchou (2008), Durarara (2010)

Less Notable Work: Hyper Police, Gakuen Alice

Recent Work: Samurai Flamenco

Tetsurou Araki

First Credited On: Cardcaptor Sakura: The Sealed Card (2000)

10k+ Series: Death Note (2006), Attack on Titan (2013)

Less Notable Work: Kurozuka, High School of the Dead

Recent Work: Attack on Titan

Tsutomu Mizushima

First Credited On: Doraemon: Nobita to Ryuu no Kishi (1987)

10k+ Series: Big Windup (2007), Girls Und Panzer (2012)

Less Notable Work: Kujibiki Unbalance, Kemeko DX

Recent Work: Witchcraft Works


I’ll save the detailed comments for a later post, but two things jumped out at me here. First, no less than 4 of the 13 guys in this post had jobs on the latter half of Urusei Yatsura. True, it was a long series, but that’s a pretty neat coincidence. Second, there are a depressing zero female directors on this list. Here’s hoping Naoko Yamada/Hiroko Utsumi/Atsuko Ishizuka/insert promising young talent name here can crack this list sometime in the next two years or so. Right now it’s a bit of a downer.

By the by, below are the list of studios these directors directed these shows at. 8 of the 13 directed both series at the same studio, which is fairly inconclusive evidence as far as the theory that staying in one place gives a director more freedom to pick juicy projects goes. Overall, though, directors who stuck with one studio for a run outnumber those who didn’t on this list 11 to 6. Anyway, here’s the info:

Akiyuki Shinbo – Shaft
Goro Taniguchi – Sunrise
Hayao Miyazaki – TMS/Nippon Animation
Hideaki Anno – Gainax
Hiroshi Nishikiori – JC Staff
Hiroyuki Imaishi – Gainax/Trigger
Junichi Sato – Toei/Hal Film Maker
Kazuhiro Furuhashi – Gallop/Deen
Morio Asaka – Madhouse
Naokatsu Tsuda – David Production
Takahiro Omori – Brain’s Base
Tetsuro Araki – Madhouse/IG
Tsutomu Mizushima – A1 Pictures/Actas

8 thoughts on “Fun With Numbers: Directors With Blockbuster Chops (Part 2: 2 Shows)

  1. Anno has a flimsy case here. Sales of Nadia was non-existent until Eva dropped and people begins to revisit his back catalog. Something treats those sales as re-release, which I think should not simply be considered equivalent to first release sales.

    • You’re free to consider it however you like; it’s just one way of looking at the data. You could draw a couple different lines and get a couple different permutations of this list.

      The reason I include rereleases in the numbers for pre-2000 series because they were dealing with a fundamentally different market situation – less available infrastructure/data for companies to print sufficient copies for original releases, TV series being taken less seriously in favor of OVAs, anime for adults in general being a very niche market. Rereleases for these series can mean a series attained classic status over time (or kids who agreed it was a classic finally scrounging up the money to buy), which I see as sufficient justification for elevating those with sufficient sales. Similar things happened with all of Aura Battler Dunbine, You’re Under Arrest, Rurouni Kenshin, City Hunter, and Votoms (if anything, the shakiest case by your argument is Kazuhiro Furuhashi). Also, with regards to Nadia specifically, it did notch an Animage Grand Prix in 1991, so it’s not like it wasn’t popular at the time.

      • Your stance is understandable. I just find the variance involved in re-releases (format change, # of releases, age, spotty record keeping, price point, etc) so high that lumping it with first release an uncomfortable prospect. It also make keeping your dataset consistent more difficult, I think, since re-releases can extend the sales timeline indefinitely. As an example, Ikuhara might able to squeeze in on this list somehow/eventually, if you count Utena’s 9k box set.

        • You make a fair point – accidentally comparing apples and oranges is always a risk to keep in mind when compressing large sets of data into simple metrics.

          I don’t count series directors, so Ikuhara would have to make another 10k show in addition to such a surge to make it onto this list. Not that I would mind sticking him on there! As a matter of fact, I think potential changes to the list are the best part of it – before the season, I was really excited for Mahouka (an emotion which lasted not too long, mind) because it represented a chance to put Mamoru Ono on it. I’m actually hoping to be able to post stuff to the effect of “_ just became only the Nth person in the history of anime to _”. It’s fun to be able to celebrate those sorts of achievements when they happen.

  2. Pingback: Fun With Numbers: Directors With Blockbuster Chops (Part 3: Commentary) | Animetics

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  4. Interesting list. It should probably be noted that Taniguchi did not in fact direct Fantasista Dolls though, so until recently his last proper directorial role was actually the 2009 Jungle Emperor Leo TV special.

    • I’ll make a note of that in the post as well. Wasn’t sure how to count the Fantasista credits that had him as Creative Producer+Writer of last 2 episodes. I assumed it was at least a role larger than a standard producer, so it was worth noting.

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