When legendary director Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro) announced his retirement from Studio Ghibli, the world of Japanese animation mourned. But many also saw an opportunity for new talent to take center stage in the vacuum left by the famed director.
In The State of Japanese Animation in a Post-Miyazaki World, scriptwriter Dai Sato and animator/producer Justin Leach discuss possibilities of Miyazaki's successor and the future of anime. Taking place next Wednesday, April 6th at 6:30 pm at Japan Society, the talk will be followed by a reception.
With nearly 50 years in the industry between them, Sato and Leach, both members of Japan Society’s Innovators Network, have worked closely with high-profile anime directors, including Shinichiro Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo) and Mamoru Oshii (Ghost in the Shell). Sato has written scripts for highly acclaimed television series and films including Samurai Champloo, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, and Cowboy Bebop. Leach's work in the animation industry includes CG creator on Innocence: Ghost in the Shell 2 and on the animation sequences in Kill Bill.
Though many names have been suggested as potential candidates for the title of “the next Miyazaki,” including Miyazaki’s son Goro Miyazaki, Ghibli director Hiromasa Yonebayashi, and Mamoru Hosoda, who directed The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, there is no clear successor.
"What needs to happen to evolve to the next step is to develop these collaborations with people from different countries that find a way to reach a global audience," Mr. Leach recently told The New York Times.
Dai Sato (born in 1969) started his career as a TV script writer/program planner and a lyricist at the age of 19, and later ventured into the video game and music industries. Today, he is first and foremost an animation scriptwriter, with side projects creating scripts and concepts for various media. In 2007 he created Storyriders Inc., Ltd. of which he is the president and CEO. More at http://www.storyriders.net/eng/profiles/.
Justin Leach has had many years of experience working in the animation and film industry in the United States and Japan. In 1997, Justin began his career as an animator at Blue Sky Studios having worked on several award winning commercials, shorts and films including the Academy Award winning short, Bunny. In 2001, Justin moved to Japan to work as a CG creator at Production I.G on Mamoru Oshii's Innocence: Ghost in the Shell 2 and Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill animation sequences. In 2005, Justin was part of the founding team hired to jump-start Lucasfilm's new 3D animated series: Star Wars: The Clone Wars. In 2007, Justin returned to work at Blue Sky to work on such films as, Ice Age 3: Dawn Of the Dinosaurs, Rio, Ice Age 4: Continental Drift, Epic, Rio 2, Ice Age 5: Collision Course (2016), Ferdinand (2017) and the Peanuts Movie. In December of 2012, Justin was the first person to successfully produce a Japanese anime using Kickstarter called Kick-Heart. The film was written and directed by Masaaki Yuasa and created at Production I.G. The award-winning film has gone on to participate in some of the top animation and film festivals around the world. Just has gone on to be Associate Producer on an episode of Adventure Time called “Food Chain” directed by Masaaki Yuasa for Cartoon Network and Under the Dog directed by Masahiro Ando, Kickstarter’s highest funded animation project to date. Justin is based in New York.
Japan Society’s Talks+ Program examines vital issues and themes in modern Japanese art, culture and design. Programming is designed to inform and to provide a gateway through which Americans can appreciate the powerful global influence of Japan’s culture and its many trend-defining artisans. Programs bring together experts and practitioners for provocative discussions on diverse topics including aesthetics, consumer culture and cuisine. More information may be found at www.japansociety.org/programs/talks.