Before, anime and manga were only popular in Japan. But today, it’s now popular all around the world.
Do you enjoy watching or reading anime series, movies, and mangas? Do you have a favorite one that you revisit now and then?
If yes, then I’m sure it’s not only because of its thrilling and unique stories but also because of its amazing art.
You might call yourself a major anime fan. But do you know about the artist behind your favorite anime series, movies, mangas?
If not, you’ll find out here. Here’s a list of some of the world’s best anime artists, ever. I’ll be talking about their anime creation and how they impacted the world of anime art.
Don’t worry. There are no spoilers here.
Death Note: Takeshi Obata
First noticed in 1985, Obata made many illustrations before his hit manga Death Note in 2003.
This manga gave him recognization as one of the best anime artists in the world. Though he isn’t the writer of the story, he contributed so much to it with his illustrated characters we all love.
The world of anime art was never the same when Obata created his dark characters and scenes to fit the story’s mood. Even down to the facial expressions, Obata was able to depict it with great accuracy.
We always knew what Light, L, or any character was feeling and thinking by looking at them. They didn’t even need to say anything. This was how Obata captivated his audience.
Takeshi Obata partnered with Tsugumi Ohba, an anime writer. Together they came up with a chilling and unique story with art that matched it to perfection. Death Note included illustrations unlike any other.
And this is one reason why Death Note has become very popular. It was even adapted into live-action films, TV series, video games, and so much more.
Pokémon: Ken Sugimori
Ever since 1997 up to today, Pokémon has been a very popular anime. We all enjoy following the adventures of Ash Ketchum, Pikachu, and all the other Pokémons.
Anime artist Ken Sugimori created all those Pokémon characters we love and enjoy. Starting as a video game designer, he decided to try his hand on anime.
We should all be very thankful that he did. Pokémon will never be the same without Sugimori’s cartoonish yet detailed characters.
It was one of the first worldwide anime series broadcasted. The amazing and consistent character details of Sugimori caught huge attention everywhere. He never seemed to miss even the smallest detail.
If you watch Pokémon, you’ll experience the same amazing anime art… and the same amazing and adventurous stories.
Dragon Ball: Akira Toriyama
Another well-loved anime is Dragon Ball, created by Akira Toriyama in 1984. Over the years, it has become the 2nd most successful manga. It sold millions of copies all around the world even up to this day.
Since the story revolves around martial arts, there are a lot of action-packed scenes. Toriyama was a genius in portraying these scenes through his drawings.
He managed to reel in enthusiasts that witnessed detailed battles between Goku, Piccolo, and Frieza… dragon balls activated to summon dragons… the grand adventures… and so much more.
He was not only a genius in his art but also in his way of telling an action-packed yet humorous story.
Akira Toriyama has inspired many now-famous artists to follow the path of anime and anime art.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Hiromu Arakawa
Fullmetal Alchemist is a manga and series. The original was the manga written and illustrated by Hiromu Arakawa.
The series followed shortly after. But if you’ve read the manga and watched the series, you’ll notice that the endings aren’t the same.
Even though Hiromu Arakawa helped produce it.
It was the anime art, though, that caught the world’s attention. The story plot is actually very dark.
Two brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric try to use alchemy to bring their mother back to life.
Yet Arakawa met that with cartoony and colorful animation that caught people off-guard.
Hiromu Arakawa showed that it’s possible to make cute anime art with a dark story behind it.
She has mastered the contrast between light and dark to create anime art that draws anyone in.
Being one of the most famous female anime artists, she has inspired young Japenese girls.
They are now following her footsteps in creating interesting stories with amazing art.
Attack on Titan: Hajime Isayama
Attack on Titan is a newer manga released in 2009 and continues to this day.
Isayama was able to fascinate audiences with his unique story about giant humanoids. What more, his captivating illustrations showed clearly what that world was like.
Readers get to experience realistic illustrations of these giant… The fears that they instilled in the people. The facial expressions that the giants have created. That disturbing feeling inside the viewer and that is what this artist is able to do effectively.
It’ll be like living in that world… seeing the huge walls and man-eating titans all through Isayama’s brilliant illustrations.
Compared to other anime artists, Isayama focuses on half-realistic, half-cartoon drawings. Hajime Isayama doesn’t follow traditional anime art. He goes beyond that to create the best for his manga, Attack on Titan.
Naruto: Masashi Kishimoto
If you’re an anime fan, then I’m sure you’ve seen or at least heard of Naruto. Being the 3rd best-selling manga of all time, it has given Kishimoto the fame he deserves.
As a young boy, he always wanted to write his own manga. He took inspiration from Akira Toriyama. Following his dreams, he was able to become very successful in this industry.
Now, almost everyone knows Naruto Uzumaki. His spikey blond hair, orange suit, and exciting ninja missions stay with us for a long time.
And it’s not even just Naruto. The other characters are as well-illustrated and developed, as well as well-loved.
Masashi Kishimoto has impacted the fame of worldwide anime with these characters. Along with his way of telling a story through creative anime art.
Bleach: Tite Kubo
Every anime character needs a great story and personality. Tite Kubo has taken great care of that with Bleach, his manga series released in 2004.
Kubo perfected the series by providing visuals into Ichigo Kurosaki’s life.
As Ichigo obtains the power of a Soul Reaper, we’re taken through the spell-bounding series. He has to defend humans from evil spirits, as well as guide departed souls to the afterlife.
We couldn’t have imagined all this in our heads if not for Kubo’s amazing illustration skills.
Bleach was later turned into a Japanese TV series, making Tite Kubo’s art even more popular.
The series ended a few years ago. But there are rumors that Kubo is back to creating new adventures for Ichigo Kurosaki and the crew.
Code Geass: Clamp
Clamp is not one person, but a group of 4 Japanese ladies. Nanase Ohkawa, Mokona, Tsubaki Nekoi, and Satsuki Igarashi were all self-taught anime artists.
They take turns designing original characters for mangas, series, and films. Their most famous characters were from Code Geass – a 3-part film of blood-curdling action. It was these films that made their name go worldwide.
Clamp is so unique because they don’t stick to one anime genre. They’ve made childish and comedic characters. They’ve also made dramatic characters like the one in Code Geass. Sometimes, they even crossover their characters with their other works.
Clamp is a group of anime artists that create what they want… They don’t create with a set of rules in mind. Each member is allowed to express herself through her anime art… And that’s what makes this girl group so inspirational to the world of anime art.
One-Punch Man: Yusuke Murata
Inspired to be like Akita Toriyama, Murata started his anime artist journey in 1995. By the time he illustrated One-Punch Man, his name was already mentioned outside Japan.
One-Punch Man started as a webcomic created by the artist One. Because it got a lot of attention in Japan and around the world, Murata decided to make a manga and film adaptation.
His use of digital art made One-Punch Man a combination of realistic and clever details.
His anime art isn’t just pretty. It also tells a story. Yusuke Murata illustrates the story of a bald, powerful superhero named Saitama.
Through his art, you never miss one scenery or look that adds the details to the exciting story.
One Piece: Eiichiro Oda
Are you wondering what the best selling manga series of all time is? With more than 450 million copies sold worldwide, One Piece beats them all.
This makes the writer and illustrator, Oda, one of the best-selling fiction authors. And that’s not just anime fiction!
Oda was able to weave a story with memorable characters. Luffy, a cute and charming protagonist with his straw hat, red outfit, and the scar under his eye. Or what about Sanji and Zoro? One with impressive physical strength and the other a skilled swordsman.
Oda’s characters took millions of us along with them on their epic adventures.
The popularity of it forced Oda to write and create even more One Piece mangas and series.
Spirited Away: Hayao Miyazaki and Masashi Ando
Hayao Miyazaki illustrated and directed Spirited Away. While Masashi Ando designed the characters, their combined work created a masterpiece that’s loved around the world.
Spirited Away is a tale about a 10-year-old that gets trapped in the spirit world and has to try to save her parents.
Through the whole movie, we’re met with amazing details, especially in the sceneries. The amusement park, the bathhouse, and everything else show breathtaking sceneries.
You’ll visit a world with realistic and detailed scenery… unforgettable characters like Chihiro, Haku, No Face, Yubaba, etc… and a story plot, unlike any other.
Thanks to Miyazaki, Ando, and Studio Ghibli, we’ve all enjoyed this great anime.
Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust: Yoshiaki Kawajiri
Best known for his film Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, Kawajiri makes our list.
Kawajiri’s work in this film stands out as he captures the world of humans and vampires so perfectly.
The animation shows different stories and sides. Meier Link and Charlotte, vampire and human lovers. D and the Marcus brothers, vampire hunters. Carmilla and the Castle of Chaythe, the main antagonist and destination.
We don’t need to try to imagine each side and world. It’s presented to us in a spectacular way through Kawajiri’s anime art.
Kawajiri has this mature anime style, combined with detailed muscle structure and anime eyes that just capture your interest instantly.
Yoshiaki Kawajiri especially impacted the anime world of vampires.
Neon Genesis Evangelion: Hideaki Anno
Anno works as an artist, animator, anime creator, director, screenwriter, producer. He’s even an actor and businessman. Hideaki Anno is all-in-one.
What made Anno one of the best in the world was his series, Neon Genesis Evangelion.
Anno’s anime art aims toward more futuristic stories. Neon Genesis Evangelion involves a futuristic city, bio-machines, and violent monsters. Anno also included particular characters to play the parts.
With 26 episodes, he has impacted anime art through his idea of creating his own world, all from scratch. This has helped many other anime artists to go wild with their imaginations. Anime art is not limited to what we can see in this world alone.
With Anno’s influence, many anime worlds were created and enjoyed by the whole world.
So I’ve listed some of the world’s best anime artists. You might have heard about these artists.
You might have heard the manga, series, or film they wrote and illustrated. Either way, the whole world has, and is, enjoying the creations of all these anime artists.
Why is it important to know about these anime artists? It’s so we can appreciate our favorite anime mangas, series, and films more. We can do that by knowing a bit about its background and artist.
By learning about these artists, we can find their other works—diving into more anime stories and anime arts by our favorite anime artists.
We have these artists to thank for always giving us amazing stories and even more amazing anime and manga art.
Thank them for each page, each episode, each moment. Thank them for taking you deeper into the story’s plot… learning more about the character’s personalities… and understanding the greatness of anime and manga art.