As an avid anime fan, I have come across many talented artists who have brought my favorite anime to life. This article focuses on the best anime artists you should start following today as an anime fan
Animation is a type of art that has developed well beyond its original ideas. This may be seen in commercials, cartoons, and other forms of animation every day. Anime, on the other hand, is a type of animation that has rapidly grown in both popularity and quality since its inception.
Today, you’ll discover the greatest anime creators of all time—those who have produced works that go beyond the boundaries of their own genres and even their native nations. These are the individuals that created some of the most well-known anime, and they should be honored for their contributions to the genre.
Watch out for these 19 best anime artists who have created the most memorable characters and breathtaking scenes in some of your favorite anime.
Under the tutelage of Miyazaki, Ghibli has earned recognition and multiple awards, both nationally and internationally. Of the ten highest-grossing animated films in Japan, half are productions of Studio Ghibli, including films like:
Yoh Yoshinari is an animator who got his start in the anime business thanks to his brother. He sent applications to Gainax and Madhouse after finishing professional school, but only Gainax responded.
Yoh joined Madhouse, but due to a miscommunication, he eventually changed to Gainax. He started working on the visual development for the movie Aoki Uru at Gainax and soon rose to the position of key animator. In his design work for Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann and Little Witch Academia, Yoshinari is known for his distinctive style, which uses spheres to indicate volume and perspective.
His favorite American artists include Genndy Tartakovsky, Craig McCracken, and Lauren Faust. He names Nijitte Monogatari as one of his major influences. Some of his great work include:
Manga author Katsuhiro Otomo is also a hugely renowned anime creator. Otomo directed and animated a portion of the animation for Akira while also creating the manga. This anime and science fiction movie is regarded as one of the most genre-defining works of art.
The animation and manga for what would be the most costly animated film ever produced in 1988 were both independently created by Otomo at the same time. Since then, Akira has evolved into a movie that every fan of animation is familiar with. It also made “Neo Tokyo” a widely used futuristic science fiction setting today.
4. Hiroyuki Imaishi
Japanese key animator and animation director Hiroyuki Imaishi is one of the Studio Trigger co-founders. He is renowned for his brisk and frenzied animation style, which is complemented by his thorough storyboarding and snappy direction. He worked at Gainax where he produced a number of anime films, such as Neon Genesis Evangelion, Kare Kano, and FLCL, before starting Studio Trigger.
Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, which won numerous honors, served as his debut film as a filmmaker. Other anime programs he later directed were Kill la Kill and Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt.
Yoshinori Kanada is a major influence on Imaishi, and Imaishi’s artwork pays special homage to Yoshinori his art. 2011 saw him leave Gainax and launch Studio Trigger. He has taken part in other anime series and movies like:
Kare Kano (His and Her Circumstances) (1998) Storyboard, Key Animator, Animation Director, Script (ep. 19)
Medabots (1999) Animation Director (episode 14), Key Animator
FLCL (2000) Animation Director (episode 5)
PaRappa the Rapper (2001) Ending Animation Director (ED1)
BNA: Brand New Animal (2020), Storyboard Artist (episode 5)
Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt (2010)
Star Wars: Visions (2021) (“The Twins”)
Cyberpunk: Edgerunners (2022)
5. Akira Toriyama
For pushing the bounds of Japan and creating one of the most well-known animated series in the world, Dragon Ball, Akira Toriyama is recognized as one of the greatest anime artists of all time.
Since 1978, Toriyama has been working as a mangaka. His first work was an original manga named Dr. Slump, which at the time was thought to be excellent. But it wasn’t until 1984 that he struck gold with the invention of Dragon Ball.
He was shortly approached by Toei Animation, an animation studio, that adapted the manga into an anime series.
The actual impact was felt when Dragon Ball was shown abroad, despite the fact that it quickly became a national hit. It’s reasonable to say that Dragon Ball is still one of the most well-known and recognizable anime series in existence.
6. Yutaka Nakamura
Animator, designer, and director of photography Yutaka Nakamura is from Japan. His powerful and distinctive action sequences, which frequently utilize impact frames, are well renowned.
Known for key animation of great shows and films including Cowboy Bebop, Space Dandy, Fullmetal Alchemist, One Punch Man, My Hero Academia, My Hero Academia Movies, Pokémon, and Eureka Seven are among his accomplishments.
Additionally, he is well-known for his meticulously rendered animations of wreckage, often known as “yutapon cubes” (after his pen name in the animation community) and for becoming a trademark of his work. The action scene at the end of the film Sword of the Stranger is among his most well-known creations. He equally worked on:
My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission (2021) (key animator)
7. Satoshi Kon
One of the rare anime creators who wasn’t also a mangaka was Satoshi Kon. This indicates that he was a solely dedicated animator, which was evident. With the 1997 release of Perfect Blue, a movie that immediately attained cult status, he began his career as an animator.
Kon contributed to a number of further motion pictures and animated programs throughout his career as an active animator. His work emphasized intricate shots with smooth motion, demonstrating his mastery of the form. These are some of his movies you should try out if you have not watched them:
Perfect Blue(1997 – Mystery/Thriller 1h 30m)
Millennium Actress(2001 – Fantasy/Drama – 1h 27m)
Tokyo Godfathers(2003 – Drama – 1h 37m)
Paprika(2006 – Sci/Fi/Adventure – 1h 30m)
8. Yoshiaki Kawajiri
Yoshiaki Kawajiri is a well-known Japanese animator and director who is well-known for his particular brand of gritty, adult-targeted anime that frequently has explicit themes and brutal violence. Among anime animators, Yoshiaki also has one of the most distinctive anime art styles.
Kawajiri has worked on a number of critically praised anime productions over the course of his long career, including the TV shows “Wicked City” and “Demon City Shinjuku,” as well as the films “Ninja Scroll” and “Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust.”
Along with his work in animation, Kawajiri has written and illustrated a number of manga, including “Bio Hunter” and “Birdy the Mighty.” He is widely regarded as a pioneer in the anime field and, via his own vision and style, has influenced a great number of contemporary animators and directors.
Wicked City (1987)
Neo Tokyo (segment “Running Man,” 1987)
Cyber City Oedo 808 (1988)
Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (2000)
The Animatrix (segment “Program,” 2003)
Highlander: The Search for Vengeance (2007)
9. Eiichiro Oda
He is not actually an anime artist(rather a manga artist)but this article could not talk about him(You will equally discover others). Eiichiro Oda’s name is almost as well-known as Akira Toriyama’s. He is best known as the creator and mangaka of One Piece, Japan’s current best-selling manga.
Serialization of One Piece began in 1997, swiftly gaining a following among manga readers at the time. Two years later, Toei Animation, the same studio that approached Toriyama, approached Oda, and One Piece premiered the following year.
Oda’s most notable accomplishment is his ability to keep a long-running series like One Piece running without major problems for so long. Today, One Piece has 1000+ animated episodes.
10. Makoto Shinkai
Makoto Shinkai (formally Makoto Niitsu) is a manga artist, animator, filmmaker, and novelist from Japan. He began his career as a video game animator in 1996 and rose to prominence as a filmmaker in 1999 with the publication of the original video animation She and Her Cat.
Shinkai studied Japanese literature at Chuo University and credits his interest in art to the manga, anime, and books he read in middle school.
Makoto Shinkai also won several honors, including Best Director at the 2020 Tokyo Anime Award Festival and Best Animation Director at the 26th Japan Movie Critics honors.
The most famous work of Hideaki Anno has to be Neon Genesis Evangelion. However, before he got to that position, some of his early projects were with Studio Ghibli. In 1984, he worked as an animator on Ghibli’s first film, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. Later, he returned to Ghibli, this time for the film Grave of the Fireflies.
Anno started Gainax, an animation firm that went on to make several other films, the same year. Gainax created Neon Genesis Evangelion in-house in 1995, which premiered the same year and had an impact no one in the company could have predicted
12. Megumi Ishitani
Megumi Ishitani is an outstanding animation director and storyboard artist best recognized for her work on the iconic anime series One Piece and Dragon Ball Super.
She graduated from the GEIDAI program at the Tokyo University of the Arts and rapidly achieved recognition at Toei Animation for her exceptional talent.
Ishitani’s directorial debut on One Piece, episode 957, was followed by episodes 982 and 1015, which were hailed by fans and industry professionals alike.
She is well-known for her remarkable storyboarding abilities, attention to detail, and ability to generate exciting and cinematic episodes. Ishitani’s skill and ability to effortlessly organize episodes have made her one of the finest filmmakers of all time.
13. Ken Sugimori
Ken Sugimori’s significance can be summarized in one word: Pokémon. He’s been the franchise’s principal designer from its inception and continues to work on it to this day. He is still in charge of creating new Pokémon for each generation.
Pokémon is yet another franchise that has grown beyond the borders of Japan and has infiltrated the animation industry in all its forms.
It should also be noted that Pokémon made its way into the video game business, with considerable success coming from the produced smartphone app Pokémon Go. In Japan, you can find many Pokemon Centers that feature Pokemon goodies
14. Norio Matsumoto
Norio Matsumoto is a character designer and animator in the anime and manga industries. Matsumoto is well-known for his action animation and ability to work swiftly and efficiently.
He began his career at Tatsunoko’s animation training institution and has worked on a variety of popular anime programs like Hunter x Hunter Rurouni Kenshin, Naruto, and You’re Under Arrest.
Matsumoto’s technique incorporates smear-filled character animation, as well as drawing smoke without highlights.
He is influenced by animators Satoru Utsunomiya and Takashi Nakamura, and he has worked on multiple projects alongside Atsushi Wakabayashi.
Matsumoto occasionally creates his own storyboards and enjoys conflicts taking place in open areas. He is well-known in the anime and manga communities for being a well-connected and helpful member.
15. Rumiko Takahashi
Rumiko Takahashi is a Japanese manga artist who is famous for her works such as Inuyasha, Ranma 1/2, and Urusei Yatsura. She was born on October 10, 1957, in Niigata, Japan.
Takahashi started drawing manga while in high school and won a prize from Shogakukan’s annual New Comic Artist Contest in 1978. She made her professional debut with her manga series Urusei Yatsura which was serialized in Weekly Shōnen Sunday from 1978 to 1987.
Her following works, such as Maison Ikkoku, Ranma 1/2 and Inuyasha, also became popular and her success helped to establish her as one of the most influential manga artists of all time.
Takahashi’s works are known for their unique blend of comedy, romance, and action. She often features strong female characters in her stories, breaking away from traditional gender roles in Japanese media. Her art style is also distinctive, with her characters having large, expressive eyes and detailed hair.
Takahashi’s influence on the manga industry is significant as many of her works have been adapted into anime series, movies, and other forms of media. She has won numerous awards for her works, including the Shogakukan Manga Award, the Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize, and the Inkpot Award.
16. Kentaro Miura
Kentaro Miura was a Japanese manga artist who was famous for his work Berserk. He was born on July 11, 1966, in Chiba, Japan.
Miura started drawing manga while in middle school and made his professional debut with his one-shot series Miuranger in 1985. He gained recognition for his unique art style and storytelling in his manga series Berserk which was serialized in Young Animal from 1989 until his death in 2021.
Berserk is known for its dark and violent themes, and for its complex characters and storytelling. The series has been adapted into anime series, movies, and video games, and has gained a dedicated fanbase around the world.
Miura’s influence on the manga industry is significant as he inspired many other manga artists with his art style and storytelling. He also influenced other forms of media, such as video games and movies.
17. Koyoharu Gotouge
Koyoharu Gotouge is a relatively fresh artist on the scene, best known for her work on the anime Kimetsu no Yaiba. Kimetsu no Yaiba, or Demon Slayer, premiered in 2019 to tremendous acclaim from long-time and new anime viewers alike.
The important point to note here is that in 2020, a movie based on the anime was produced, which continued the plot. This film has become the highest-grossing anime film in the world in less than a year, surpassing all prior films by Miyazaki, Oda, and Toriyama.
18. Hiromu Arakawa
Hiromu Arakawa has only created one series that has piqued the public’s interest: Full Metal Alchemist. This series contributed to the acceptance of anime as a mainstream medium that anybody, regardless of location, could enjoy.
Full Metal Alchemist is now acknowledged by the general public as one of the best-written and developed stories in the history of animation.
19. Shinichiro Watanabe
Shinichiro Watanabe is one of those artists who arrives once in a lifetime, creates something amazing, and then vanishes. Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo are two of his most prolific productions.
Both of these series are well-known in the animation industry for the innovations they brought to anime in terms of animation style as well as well-written characters and stories.
These 19 anime artists have created some of the most memorable and beloved characters and scenes in some of your favorite anime. Their unique styles and talents have brought these stories to life and made them unforgettable.