04 November 2010

Laputa’s 100 Best World and Japanese Animation Directors (2003)

My husband returned from the Biodiversity talks in Nagoya on Sunday bearing a copy of the publication of the 150 Best World and Japanese Animated Films (世界と日本のアニメーションベスト150) that I had ordered from a secondhand bookshop. The book contains the result of questionnaires given to animation professions at the Laputa Animation Festival in 2003. I was expecting it just to be a brochure, but it is in fact a quite detailed book at 187 pages with illustrations.

The list of 150 films is accompanied by commentary and images. It also includes the actual lists made by the participants with their commentary. As I surmised in my previous post about the list, the professionals are heavily dominated by Japanese animators due to the location of the event. They range from commercial animators like Anpanman creator Takashi Yanase to independent animator and scholar Koji Yamamura. The international guests who participated include Yuri Norstein, David Ehrlich, the Brothers Quay, Raoul Servais, Jacques Drouin, Paul Driessen, and Michael Dudok de Witt, to name but a few. I will share some of the more interesting details from the publication in the coming weeks as I slowly make my way through the detailed contents.

The organizers seem to recognize the list’s shortcomings and have added a “Pick up 30” selection of films that didn’t make the final cut but that they feel are important and should be recognized. They also came up with a list of the 100 best animators of all time. Like the 150 list, this one is also flawed. Technical errors in the assembly of information have led to some quirky details – for example, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera appear on the list twice at #36 and #89. Once using their full names and once under their company name Hanna-Barbera. John Hubley also appears twice. Once on his own at #81, and together with his wife Faith Hubley at #90. 

This is probably due to clerical errors on the part of the person typing up the list, compounded by the difficulties in transcribing foreign names in katakana. For example, last weekend I was trying to translate a list posted on the JAA website in which members listed their favourite animated works and animators. I was using the “search and replace” function on Word in order to speed things up a bit, and I discovered that names like 'Svankmajer' had been transcribed in katakana in at least 4 different ways. I would imagine that at the Laputa event this would have been made even more complicated by the international guests using a variety of different types of handwriting on their questionnaires.

It is also interesting to note that several of the animators being polled were reluctant to rank the films that they admired. Koji Yamamura, for example, awards a three way tie for what he considered to be the best films of all time and then says that the rest of the films in his list of 20 were in no particular order. Thus, this list of 100 top animators is all in good fun and not to be taken too seriously.


1. Yuri Norstein
2. Hayao Miyazaki
3. Walt Disney
4. Isao Takahata
Frederic Back Collection: L'homme Qui Planet Ait Des Arbres / Le Fleuve aux grandes eaux / Crack! / Animation
5. Frédéric Back
6. Jiří Trnka
7. Max and Dave Fleischer
8. Kihachiro Kawamoto
9. Norman McLaren
10. Nick Park
Short Stories "Jabberwocky" & more / Movie
11. Jan Švankmajer
12. Paul Grimault
13. Tadanari Okamoto
14. Osamu Tezuka
15. George Dunning
Tomorrow's Joe / Animation
16. Osamu Dezaki
17. Yugo Serikawa
18. Alexandre Alexeieff
19. Mamoru Oshii
20. Tex Avery
21. John Lasseter
22. Kenzo Masaoka
23. Brothers Quay
The Snow Queen (Yuki no Joo) / Animation
24. Lev Atamanov
25. Aleksandr Petrov
26. Tim Burton
26. Caroline Leaf
28. Koji Yamamura
29. René Laloux
Karel Zeman Sakuhin shu (collection) / Animation
30. Karel Zeman
31. Taiji Yabushita
32. Roman Kachanov
33. Toshiyuki Tomino
34. Michael Dudok de Wit
35. Katsuhiro Otomo
36. William Hanna/Joseph Barbera
NFB Kessakusen Co Hoedeman Film Works / Animation
37. Co Hoedeman
38. Ladislas Starevich
39. Yoji Kuri
40. Brad Bird
The Looney Tunes Collection: Best Of Bugs Bunny / Animation
41. Chuck Jones
42. Taku Furukawa
43. Raoul Servais
43. Eduard Nazarov
45. Paul Driessen 
Pojar-san no DVD Box / Animation
46. Břetislav Pojar
47. Fyodor Khitruk
48. Hideaki Anno
48. Dianne Jackson
50. Masaaki Osumi
Ginga Tetsudo no Yoru / Animation
51. Gisaburo Sugii
51. Te Wei
53. Ryan Larkin
54. Ralph Bakshi
55. Priit Pärn
NFB Kessakusen Ishu Patel, Caroline Leaf, Jacques Drouin Film Works / Animation
56. Ishu Patel
56. Pete Docter and Lee Unkrich (Pixar)
58. Winsor McCay
59. Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis
60. Kimio Yabuki
Cleopatra / Animation
61. Eiichi Yamamoto
62. Bruno Bozzetto
63. Rintaro
64. Hiroyuki Okiura
65. Oskar Fischinger
66. Sadao Tsukioka
67. Richard Williams
68. Tex Avery and Michael Lah (MGM)
69. Hiroyuki Yamaga
70. Mark Baker
"Mori wa ikite iru" + "Yuki no Joou" / Movie
71. Ivan Ivanov-Vano
72. Dušan Vukotić
73. Suzan Pitt
74. Peter Foldes
75. Nobuhiro Aihara
Emotion the Best Final Yamato (Uchu Senkan Yamato Kanketsu Hen) / Animation
76. Leiji Matsumoto
77. Noboru Ishiguro and Masaharu Kawamori (aka Shoji Kawamori)
77. Gerald Potterton
79. Will Vinton
79. Keiichi Hara
81. Charles and Ray Eames
81. Takashi Ito
81. Jonas Odell and FilmTecknarna
81. Richard Condie
81. Giannini and Luzzati
81. John Hubley
The Golden Voyage Of Sinbad / Movie
81. Ray Harryhausen
81. Jean-François Laguionie
89. Hanna-Barbera
90. John and Faith Hubley
91. Zbigniew Rybczyński
92. Terry Gilliam
93. Piotr Kamler
Lupin III "The Mystery of Mamo" / Animation
94. Soji Yoshikawa
95. Noburo Ofuji
95. Keita Kurosaka
95. Gianluigi Toccafondo
The Adventure of STRAY SHEEP / TV Animation
95. Tatsutoshi Nomura
99. Renzo Kinoshita
100. Piotr Dumala


Are there any surprises for you? I am glad to see that my favourite animator, Norman McLaren, made the top 10. If I were making a list of the best animators of all time, it would include Lotte Reiniger, Evelyn Lambart, and Ub Iwerks.

Is there anyone else who needs to be added?
© Catherine Munroe Hotes 2010
This blog entry is a part of the Japanese Film Blogathon 2010

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