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Directors as good as Hayao Miyazaki
This is a difficult topic as he’s such a unique director and it would be unfair to make any direct comparisons. That said, there are three directors who would immediately come to mind from Japan who are favorites of mine.
The first, of course, would be Isao Takahata. Obviously when talking Miyazaki any Ghibli director could be mentioned, but it’s other co-founder stands out the most. Grave of the Fireflies is considered an all time classic, Pom Poko and My Neighbors the Yamadas are wonderfully unique in the Ghibli library, and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya has gotten a lot of attention lately. He has more films including some before the Ghibli days and all his work is definitely worth checking out.
The second would be Makoto Shinkai. Now he’s been labeled the next Miyazaki, but I find that unfair to him. No directer should be saddled with that kind of pressure and overall I feel he has a style all his own anyways. 5 Centimeters Per Second and The Garden of Words are two of my all time favorites, but all his full length film as well as his shorts are worth viewing.
The last would be Mamoru Hosoda. Besides his work with Digimon, he has three excellent full length features in The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Summer Wars, and Wolf Children. His next film, The Boy and the Beast, is coming some time this year. Interestingly, he was originally attached to direct Howl’s Moving Castle but things broke down. I think Studio Ghibli missed the boat with him because he’s proven quickly to be one of the best around.
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