How Anime Influenced Oscar Winning Director Guillermo del Toro

The Academy Awards are over, but film lovers are still buzzing about Guillermo del Toro! He took home two trophies for The Shape of Water – Best Director and Best Picture.

Guillermo del Toro

Major awards have a way of exposing directors to a larger audience. While del Toro has had a cult following outside of Mexico for years, his pair of Oscars will no doubt win him new fans and grant him added clout in Hollywood. Basically, we may finally see his adaptation of Monster.

Del Toro has never been shy about sharing his love for anime and how the medium has influenced his style. Sure, he has a great love for fairy tales and gothic horror, but Del Toro also shed tears of joy after seeing Japan’s life-sized Gundam while promoting Pacific Rim.

The director was exposed to anime in the ’60s and ’70s as a child living in Mexico. Anime was cheap enough to import to TV stations, alongside Italian horror movies, Hammer Horror, and Japanese tokusatsu shows.

You can see these visual influences in Del Toro’s films like The Devil’s BackbonePan’s Labyrinth, and Crimson Peak. And honestly, anime is loaded with relationships between humans and non-humans, like in The Shape of Water.

Pacific Rim is Del Toro’s love letter to mecha anime and shows like Ultra Man. While the classics remain in Del Toro’s mind, he also told Complex that he attempts to keep up with newer anime and manga. He said, “I try. Anime is too big. It’s thousands of titles. I stay with the artists I love, Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira), Hideshi Hino (Hino Horror), Naoki Urasawa (Monster).” Del Toro cited Gantz and Blame as some of his favorite newer series.

And that brings us back to Monster. Naoki Urasawa’s psychological-thriller is considered a masterpiece by many and has received an acclaimed anime adaptation from Madhouse. Del Toro has been trying to get a live-action series green-lit for years, but hopes were dashed when HBO passed on the project.


It’s not uncommon for directors to use the weight of an Oscar to get a passion project produced, and we may see that happen with Monster. Would you watch if Del Toro gets Monster made?

Your friendly Canadian writer @GoBoiano. Expect to see movies & live action coverage from my side of the field!
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