Yoshinori Kanemori is a director, animation director, animator and character designer whose credits include dozens of anime projects, including Alexander: The Movie, Cardcaptor Sakura Movie 2, Death Note TV, MapleStory TV, Phantom Quest Corp OAV, X OAV/TV, Toward the Terra movie and Yawara! We asked Kanemori-san for his thoughts about getting into art and animation: What inspired me to become an artist? Looking back to when I was about six years old and still in kindergarten, I got to take a boat ride during a family trip. It must have made a strong impression on me, because I drew pictures of that boat and showed them to my teacher and my neighbors, and put them up on a wall. I remember receiving compliments from them. Maybe that was the problem; if I hadn't been complimented about them, then I probably wouldn't be drawing right now. Whether it was the family trip, my fondness for boats, my love of art, or the desire to receive compliments, a lot of things have happened since then, leading me to where I am today. If I hadn't boarded that boat back then, maybe my life would've been different. But, I remain fascinated by boats to this very day. My first encounter with animation around the time when I was in third or fourth grade (Note: this was a few years before Astro Boy [Tetsuwan Atomu] appeared on Japanese TV), and I saw Walt Disney's Bambi along with my older brother. I recall being absolutely fascinated by what I saw, and wondered how a drawing could move like that. It was captivating. Back then, most people weren't even familiar with the term "animation", so there was no way a nine-year-old could figure it out. Back in those days, Japan had kashihon-ya (book rental stores), and I used to borrow manga from them frequently. To me, the film was as if artwork from those manga had appeared in vivid colors and moved. That was probably how I progressed, starting from an interest in art, to manga, and then to animation.
After I started working in the field of animation, one thing that excited and moved me was seeing my very first animated work (in-betweens, of course) in a dark screening room as part of a completed film. I only had a few shots, though. That so-called first screening--in which the film is fully colored and has backgrounds, dialogue, music and sound effects--was truly exciting. Nowadays, that excitement has changed into a more complex emotion.
Although I can't say that boats, Bambi, and my first screening experience mean everything to me, I can say they are part of me. That first encounter with something that really motivates you is a scary thing. Life is influenced by encounters with such people and occasions. Even though the thought scares me, I would still like to have many other such encounters.