Female TV Anime Directors Summer 2018

Banana Fish
Director (監督) : Hiroko Utsumi

A few years after directing her debut work of the TV anime Free! and its sequel in 2013 and 2014, Hiroko Utsumi finally returns to the directors seat. Beginning her career at Animation Do, Utsumi was a regular contributor to a number of Kyoto Animation projects – including ClannadK-On!, and Tamako Market – before getting the chance to helm a series on her own. Since leaving Animation Do, Utsumi has been freelance, mostly working on Bones and MAPPA projects, including directing and storyboarding the second ED for the soccer anime Days.

With a known fondness for the cute boys, Utsumi is hired to direct an adaption of Banana Fish at MAPPA. The original manga ran for nine years beginning in 1985. The story follows Ash, the leader of a gang in New York City, investigating the last words of a dying man.

Back Street Girls
Director (監督) : Chiaki Kon

Chiaki Kon’s career as an anime series direct has spanned over a dozen years covering varying genres, but her current project may well be he oddest. She directs a manga adaption of Back Street Girls, where three yakuza members undergo extensive surgery to become women and become idols.

Kon’s career as a director began with an adaption of a horror visual novel, Higurashi. Since then she’s has projects going nearly annually, and occasionally multiple in a year. Her projects range from boys love, to light novel adaptions, to children’s anime. In the past few years, Kon has a gotten a number of movies under her belt, as well as credits working on the Crystal arc of the re-adaptation of the legendary Sailor Moon manga.

100 Sleeping Princes and the Kingdom of Dreams
Director(監督): Yukina Hiiro

Yukina Hiiro has been active in the anime for decades, directing and storyboard episodes in the early 1990s, including series like Genji Tsūshin Agedama and You’re Under Arrest. She made her directorial debut in 2006 on the adaption of the boys’ love otome game Gakuen Heaven. Her second anime series would be in the opposite direction, an adaption of Yumi Nakata’s undergarment-oriented manga Chuu-bra!! Last year, she returned to the boys’ love genre with an adaption of Hitorijime my Hero.

There is much less of a wait for Hiiro’s next project, as she’s directing an adaption of 100 Sleeping Princes and the Kingdom of Dreams. The TV series adapts a mobile game for women, where the heroine is tasked with waking up prices from “dream eaters” to save the world.

Gintama: Silver Soul Arc Second Season
Director (監督) : Chizuru Miyawaki

Chizuru Miyawaki continues as director for yet another season of the Gintama franchise, with longtime series director Yoichi Fujita supervising.

Miyawaki was primarily a key animator up until she received an opportunity to work as an animation supervisor for episodes of 2004’s Monster. She first joined the Gintama anime series as an animation supervisor, acting in the role for the very first episode in 2006 but was absent from that role from the series after the first fifty episodes. She rejoined the franchise in 2011 for its second season, this time joining the series’ roll of episode directors and storyboard artists.

She would then work as assistant director for the first season of Cute High defense Force Love! under the original director of the Gintama franchise, Shinji Takamatsu, and broadcast in the Summer of 2015. Miyawaki would take the reins as director of the Gintama franchise that summer as well, making her official directorial debut.

Angolmois: Genkou Kassenki
Assistant Director (助監督) : Kumiko Habara

Kumiko Habara has been directing and storyboarding episode of anime since at least 2001, beginning with Angel Tales. Her most significant contributions are to children’s anime, including YugiohDetective Conan, and Pripri Chii-chan, Her first work as an assistant direct came on another children’s series: 12-sai in 2016.

As assistant director for Angolmois, Habara will be tackling a much different genre. She’ll be working with director Takayuki Kuriyama to adapt a historical manga about Japan defending themselves from Mongol invasion in 1274.

Sunohara-sou no Kanrinin-san
Director (監督) : Mirai Minato

Mirai Minato directs Sunohara-sou no Kanrinin-san with SilverLink’s Shin Oonuma as chief director and Keisuke Inoue assisting. The anime adapts a harem manga about an effeminate boy and his interactions with the caretaker of his dormitory and female classmates.

“Mirai Minato” is a pseudonym adapted since she began working at SilverLink. Her first director work came with the Prisma Ilya series but recently also directed an adaption of Masamune-kun no Revenge in 2017. She is also a regular contributor for episode direction and storyboards on other SilverLink projects.

Because Mirai Minato operates under a pseudonym, and limited information can be found, assumptions about gender have been made, so caveats apply.

Zannen na Ikimono Jiten
Director(監督): Mariko Tokunaga

Zannen na Ikimono Jiten is a series of children’s books that show interesting facts about various animals. The series will air as ten 5-minute episodes on NHK in mid-August.

Mariko Tokunga is the series director for this short. She graduated from Tokyo Zokei University and began working at an animation company before going freelance. She’s worked as an animator on various projects, including directing and animating the “Usamaru” short for LINE Japan and directing and storyboarding all 24 episodes of the Shirotan: Shirotan ga Ippai! short series over the past year.


3 thoughts on “Female TV Anime Directors Summer 2018

  1. I really appreciate the work you do here to keep on top of what women in the anime industry are directing each season.

    If I may ask about something that caught my attention, though…I’m wondering what you mean by Utsumi having “a known fondness for the boys love genre”? Is it because of how she directed Free and Eternal Summer? Or is there an interview where she talks about this? I’m really curious because Free and ES aren’t, by definition, of the BL genre (neither is Banana Fish, for that matter), and I personally haven’t come across anything where she talks about BL…


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