Director Digest: Shinichiro Watanabe

Welcome, dear readers! My blog series Director Digest will take a look at a selected anime director each time. In this case, it’s Shinichiro Watanabe, and very famous and beloved director. First, I’ll show a list of 8 anime series or OVAs that this man directed; not that that this is not the extent of his career, but enough to know his major projects. Afterward, I’ll provide some notes about Mr. Watanabe and reveal my personal favorite of his works. Let’s rant!

(Shinichiro Watanabe)

8 Director Roles

Carole and Tuesday (2019)

Cowboy Bebop (1998)

Genius Party (2007)

Macross Plus (1994)

Samurai Champloo (2004)

Space Dandy (2014)

Spacy Dandy 2nd Season (2014)

Zankyou no Terror (2014)

Notes and Favorite Director Role

I haven’t seen Genius Party or Macross Plus, but all the others are anime series that I heartily enjoyed. Without a doubt, the crowning achievement of this brilliant director is the classic anime Cowboy Bebop. Outside of being a director, Watanabe has had production positions in a number of other anime series, including some that I like a lot. He was director of the ending song art in Death Parade. He also did some storyboards in Tenkyuu no Escaflowne and Ergo Proxy.

Are there any patterns or similarities among the works of Shinichiro Watanabe? Carole and Tuesday is about two young singers trying to make their own music without AI on a future Mars. It’s quite colorful and creative with characters. It has that in common with Cowboy Bebop’s lively, fun sci-fi world, as well as the incredibly similar Space Dandy universe. Samurai Champloo also has an air of roguish fun and strong originality, although it’s historical and not sci-fi. I think the thing tying all these series together is the fact that they happen in unusual and unique worlds/settings. They are also loaded with exciting and often fun adventures. So it seems that Watanabe loves making and taking on stories that share these traits.

Although Cowboy Bebop is clearly the more popular, imaginative, and “fun” production, it is actually not my favorite work by Watanabe. My favorite is Zankyou no Terror, or Terror in resonance. You’ll notice I didn’t include it when I discussed the other productions. That’s because it’s simply so different from the others. Zankyou no Terror contains dark and realistic story elements relevant to our world. There’s no sci-fi. There’s no bright color palette, and “fun” adventures. It’s hard to believe that this anime was directed by the same man who directed Space Dandy.

These vast differences are part of why Zankyou no Terror is my favorite Shinichiro Watanabe anime. I think this series has a lot of important things to communicate, whether it’s character psychology, human nature, corrupt political organizations, or of course, terrorism. All these reasons make Zankyou no Terror very important to me.

Thanks for reading my work today! Your readership is greatly appreciated. See ya next time!


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