March 16, 1965
Fukoka Prefecture, Japan
With a unique creative approach that made him one of the most visually distinct forces in animation, Masaaki Yuasa was born in Japan's Fukoka Prefecture in 1965. Yuasa took an interest in drawing at an early age. He was particularly taken with the art style of anime, but thought that it would seem silly for him to work as an animator when he grew up-since animation was mostly meant for children. Then at age 14, Yuasa saw the release of the anime film "Space Battleship Yamato" (1979), which attracted both child and adult fans. This gave him the confidence to attain a fine arts degree at Kyushu Sangyo University, and pursue a career in animation soon after graduating. He would begin his career at the Ajia-do studio, where he worked as animation director on the long running "Shin Chan" (TV Asahi, 1992-) and later as animator and key animator on the show's many spin-offs. In 2004, with over a decade of animation experience under his belt, Yuasa directed his first feature, the animated action adventure film "Mind Game" (2004). Gaining increasing acclaim for his unconventional approaches to narrative, he would go on to write, direct, and storyboard the mini-series "The Tatami Galaxy" (Fuju TV, 2010) as well as the acclaimed action short "Kick Heart" (2013). Yuasa's talents were honored in the United States when in 2014, he was invited to write, direct, storyboard, and animate an episode of the beloved animated series "Adventure Time" (Cartoon Network, 2010-18) titled "Food Chain." Yuasa would continue to present his own unique vision on screen, writing and directing the feature "Lu Over the Wall" (2017), but he remained active in collaborative efforts as well, storyboarding the Netflix anime series "Devilman: Crybaby" (Netflix, 2018-). In 2017, he directed the feature "The Night Is Short, Walk On Girl" (2017), a surreal comedy about a college girl's magical night.