3 Popular Anime Films By Naoko Yamada!

If you are an anime fan, I think you might heard about “Keion” or “A Silent Voice”.

Both of them made a big hit and became films later.
I still have the manga of A Silent Voice.

The director of those anime films is Naoko Yamada.
Up-and-coming female director of Kyoto Animation Studio.

Her new work “Heike Monogagari” is showing now and people in Japan are paying attention.

Here I introduce you her popular 3 works, Keion, A Silent Voice and Heike Monogatari with some other works she was involved in.


K-On! is all about music.
But not like “The Music”.
It is more like slow and light school life of girls who love music.

The story starts girls reviving band club in middle school.
The club was to abolish because all the students in the club graduated from school.

Ritsu, who entered the middle school, wanted to play music, so she solicits other students to become the member of the band club.

This K-On! became very popular when it aired on TV in 2009.

Interesting point of Keion is it started originally as a four-frame cartoon.

We call it Yonkoma Manga in Japanese.
Dramatic structure finishes just in four frames.

K-On! popped up from this Yonkoma Managa and became anime and then film later because of the popularity.

Film of K-On! earned over 14 million dollars (Over 1.5 billion yen) at the box office and received Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year.

I just watched a couple of episodes and I liked the touch of Keion had.

K-On! was the anime which had a big impact and became a kind of social phenomenon at the time.


Official Website of TBS

A Silent Voice

Silent Voice was one of the rare anime which became a controversial.

People said this was great and others said this was bad.
Because the theme was bullying and not one-way film which finishes by saying bullying is bad.

It was very deep.
Not like an ordinary one-way story which scoops up only the surface saying one is good and one is bad.

It reflects the voice of both sides.

Surprising point of A Silent Voice is that the author Yoshitoki Oima was only 19-year-old when she made this Koe no Katachi (Japanese name of A Silent Voice).

Her work was accepted for the 80th Rookie Manga award of Magazine in 2008.

If you know Attack on Titan, the author Hajime Isayama also applied for it on the same year.
In an interview, he said what a great new rookie appeared after he read A Silent Voice.

The producer of Kyoto Animation was also impressed with the comic and directly contacted the publisher Kodansha to make the film.

And Naoko Yamada was elected as the director of the film of A Silent Voice.

She said in an interview that she was very happy to be selected.

She said making a movie of 7 volumes of comics was tough.
As you know, many episodes have to be reduced within the time frame.

Still, she said even if she had to reduce some episodes, she determined not to waver from the essence.

Always return to the core part of the original comic and never waver from the essence even if she had to reduce good episodes, she said.

Under the direction of Naoko Yamada, A Silent Voice finally became film in 2016.

After the showing, A Silent Voice earned over 21 million dollars (Over 2.3 billion yen) and got several film awards such as Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year, Japan Movie Critics Award, Japan Media Arts Festival Award, etc.

If asked, I would say this anime is all about communication.
We sometimes misunderstand that we could understood others.

We have to listen to the voice deep inside heart which can not float up to words.

I think this A Silent Voice is not only for children but for adults.

I also wrote my impression on A Silent voice in the following article.

A Silent Voice (Koe no Katachi) : Meaning of “Koe” and Ending Scene

A Silent Voice

Official Website

Heike Monogatari

This Heike Monogatari is the latest anime directed by Naoko Yamada.

It started last month, that is, January 2022.

Made based on the real Japanese story which happened about between 800 and 900 years ago.

In those days, there were two samurai clan which hold great power in Japan.
They were Heike and Genji.

They battled each other and the story was passed down by lute priest called Biwa Houshi.
Every Japanese learns about this Heike Monogatari in elementary school.

Naoko Yamada also said in an interview that she memorized the story in school, adding that she was also lucky as she could learn the story again in the process of creating the anime.

I also learned and memorized it but forgot most of the story now, haha ^_^;

Now I keep watching Heike Monogatari and found that this anime goes much deeper than that of textbook we leaned in school.

If you want to know about very old Samurai history, I recommend you to watch Heike Monogatari.
I think this period is the origin of Samurai warriors in Japan.

Naoko Yamada says she focused on each person.
We tend to focus on the battle and conflict but every person in those days had private emotion as well like us today.

She says she does not want to categorize people in those days as something very different from us.

What they enjoyed and what they saw in their lives at the time?

She wanted to draw them by getting close to their feelings, she told.

Heike Monogatari

Official Website

Other Popular Anime and Films Naoko Yamada involved in

There are many other popular anime Naoko Yamada joined for the creation process.

Mainly for the original drawings and storyboards.

Followings are the works she involved in from 2005 to 2018.


Full Metal Panic! (The Second Raid) (2005)
Episode 9 and 13

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (2006)
Episode 2, 7, 10 and 12

Lucky Star (2007)
Episode 2, 8, 13, 14, 20 and 24

CLANNAD (2007-2008)
Episode 5, 8, 12 and 17

Episode 3, 10, 16 and 22

Hyouka (2012)
Episode 9 and 14

Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions (2014)
Episode 5

Free! (2013)
Episode 7

Beyond the Boundary (2013)
Episode 5

Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! Ren (2014)
Episode 5

Free! -Eternal Summer- (2014)
Episode 12

Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon (2017)
Episode 8

Violet Evergarden (2018)
Episode 5

Summary of Popular Anime Films By Naoko Yamada

A Silent Voice (Work By Naoko Yamada)

Her works have something strongly appeal to our hearts.

Becoming anime director is so difficult as you know.
And most of the anime directors are men and over 40.

It’s very surprising in her twenties she became a director and brought works which got several awards into the world.

As long as I watched her interview, she has very strong will but very modest when she replies.

If you have not watched her works yet, check any of them!
Through the film and anime, you would feel her and creators emotions!!

Kyoto Animation Studio

Official Website

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