Industry Animator Recommendations

Hiya folks, Ino here!

This thread is all about recommendations works of pros in the industry for animation newbies getting started in learning about Sakuga. I’m knowledgeable about screenplay writers and directors in anime, but learning about animators without any immediately identifiable character designs feels intimidating.


Who’ve been the pioneers of modern sakuga, and who are the rising stars to keep an eye on?

Here are my favorites:

Megumi Kouno

She’s the one that actually got me interested in learning more about sakuga. Her work in Idolm@ster really inspired me. I love how bouncy her animations feel, and she’s really good at not just character acting but her action and effects animation is great too imo.


I first found out about China after looking up the animators for Yama no Susume. His character animations have a really nice feel to them that I can’t quite put my finger on but watching his work is really pleasing.

Keisuke Kobayashi

I love his character animation. There’s a lot of great timing and weight in the movements that he draws that give a nice realistic feel.

Toshiyuki Inoue

Speaking of realism, this guy is one of the masters. He’s been in the industry for a very long time and his mastery over animation is apparent in his work.

Norio Matsumoto

Matsumoto is another industry veteran known for his work in Naruto and Naruto Shippuden. A lot of the great action sequences in the show were done by him. He is my favorite when it comes to action animation.


Oh wowie!

I’ve watched Im@s CG several times and cementing it as one of my favorites were the smooth dance sequences that don’t rely on CG character models. I hadn’t realized Megumi was responsible for so much of it’s charm!

(AAAAAAAH how do you embed mp4 files from Sakugabooruuuuuuu)

China’s nice, too! Umph Keisukes control of perspective is amazing! Hooooooooo man and Keisuke made some of my favorite scenes from Eromanga! Ahhh I’m melting!! Hmm hm! Toshiyuki made some nice scenes in Miss Hokusai I liked too. I haven’t seen his work in Satoshi Kon movies but I do like a lot of what I’m seeing. Man oh man, Naruto, Captain Tylor, and even Medabots! I was literally raised by Norio Matsumoto!

This is sooooooo exciting!! Thanks @Marc-G!

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Shinya Takahashi, Mitsuo Iso, Hironori Tanaka and Nishiki Itaoka. Yoh Yoshinari as well. :slight_smile:

I’ve found that Mitsuo and Shinya are always pleasant to watch whether they’re doing some dynamic action or convincing character animation (good examples in Welcome to the Space Show, Dennou Coil). Hironori has such a breadth of work as well, it’s hard to think of what exactly I enjoy about his work at this point, haha. I recall some fights he worked on in various shows having a nice balance of dynamism and readability (some of that can be seen in Yes PreCure 5). Nishiki… well, I started following them recently after they blew me away with their Cure Milky transformation in Star Twinkle PreCure :slight_smile:

Yoh… I love his ideas, the way he times/paces his stuff. It’s all-around awesome but I think that’s what really hits me with his work. Dude is awesome :smiley:

Whew Shinya’s been adapting my boy Yuji Iwahara’s character designs for awhile! His camera work is nutty, and he’s not afraid to mess around with perspective. Ahahahahahaha! I didn’t know Iso was the man who brought me this masterpiece: Hooooooly crap I watched a bunch of Hinori Tanaka and just got absolutely lost in there. Aaaaaaaaaa wow Nishiki Itaoka’s henshins are incredible. My brain was screaming “Stop! Stoooooop! I can’t take any more or I’ll fry!” after the second Precure sakuga.

And Yoh? I was straight raised by Yoh. He’s why I love Gainax/Trigger apparently. Thanks so much for sharing @Yogurthead! :pray::pray::pray::pray::pray::pray::pray::pray::pray::pray::pray::pray::pray:

Incidentally, I also really like Arifumi Imai:

Hmmmm mastering anatomy really is just the tip of the iceburg, isn’t it? You have perspective, specal effects like fire and debris, expressions, movement of clothing, fluidity of motion… These guys have so much imagination, they don’t even know where to put it all! I’m absolutely stunned!

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I know the feeling! My brain has a hard time understanding how some people can even suss that out in their head, haha. Arifumi Imai so fun to watch, he even infuses the simpler stuff he’s done with so much energy.

To be honest, it’s as inspiring as it is intimidating, if that makes sense. Just have to remember that everyone starts from the same place with this kind of thing. As you said, strong foundations like anatomy are key, and they also make progressing later on much less painful.

Was poking around on sakugabooru tonight looking into some shows I’ve enjoyed over the years and hoping to find credits for nothing specific, and I came across Shukou Murase. Michiko to hachin, Gundam Unicorn, Ergo Proxy, lots of great stuff with her name on it and a lot of it is really nice character stuff. In particular, I love the scenes with Audrey and the old man from Unicorn. This one especially.

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Here are some of my favorite :

Yutaka Nakamura

He is often referred to as the Grant Master of action animation. He is known for working on anime like Cowboy Bebop, Sword of the Stranger, One Punch Man and many more

Megumi Kouno

Marc-G already talked about her so I won’t say much. I really love her dance and hair animation with fluid movement and her character design

Taichi Ishidate

He is one of kyoani’s star animators, I first found about him while watching this video

I adore the way he animates the body with fluid movement and exaggerated gesture in some occasions


Kigami was one of the legendary animator having worked on anime like Akira, violet evergarden, hibike euphonium and many others, he was also an instructor at the Kyoani school giving rise to talented animators in the industry, unfortunately he passed away recently in the kyoani arson (RIP) leaving us with his work to learn and draw inspiration from


I recommend this play list it is where I first got introduced to sakuga and started learning about animators like yutaka nakamura and megumi kouno

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Mr. Nakamura sure is amazing. He’s given us sooo much great stuff over the years. When I first started really paying attention to sakuga and who was responsible, something that really impressed me about him was the precise way he was able to animate the mecha from Star Driver and at the same time give the movements so much personality.

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I love this cut in particular from him, also from Star Driver. Balances over-the-top mecha action with a sort of weightiness to it that doesn’t overwhelm the viewer with just flashy effects (Apocrypha #22 was a little hard to watch tbh).


That one is gorgeous! I’d forgotten about the movie. That fight has quite a bit going on but is pretty easy to read and follow. I haven’t seen Apocrypha #22, I’ll have to check it out because you’re not the first person to mention it in this context, haha.

Yoshinori Kanada is one of the most influential animators in the industry with a generation of animators influenced by him (most notable example is Hiroyuki Imaishi) who later on became dubbed as “the kanada school of animation” he also earned the respect of Hayao Miyazaki who he later worked with on movies like Valley of the Wind and Princess Mononoke, he is also very well known for the way he animates dragons which are given the name Kanada dragon. He is also regarded as the father of sakuga itself