Yoshiaki Kawajiri (川尻 善昭 Kawajiri Yoshiaki?, born November 18, 1950) is a critically acclaimed writer and director of Japanese animation. He is the creator of titles such as Wicked City, Ninja Scroll, and Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust.
Kawajiri was born on November 18, 1950 and grew up in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. After he graduated from Yokohama High School in 1968 he began working for a few years as an animator at Mushi Production Animation until it closed in 1972. He then joined Madhouse Studio and in the 1970s was promoted to animation director and finally debuted as a film director with 1984's Lensman, directing jointly with the more experienced Kazuyuki Hirokawa (Kawajiri also did the character design along with Kazuo Tomizawa). Gaining an interest in darker animation, he next directed The Running Man. Afterwards, he was instructed to make a 35 minute short based on Hideyuki Kikuchi's novels, which was released as Wicked City. After completing it, however, his producers were so impressed, he was asked to make it feature length. Kawajiri enjoyed the dark tone so much he agreed and managed to complete the entire film in under a year. '
After Wicked City received such critical and commercial success when released in 1987, Kawajiri gained a lot more freedom and began scripting and designing his own film set in feudal Japan, which was released as Ninja Scroll, about the Japanese folk hero Jubei Yagyu. After the western release in 1996, Kawajiri's status as a director received international recognition and was asked in 2002 to direct a segment of The Animatrix, titled Program, considered as a showcase of the best directors Japanese animation has to offer. Before The Animatrix, he also directed Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust which was based on a novel by Hideyuki Kikuchi.
Kawajiri directed Highlander: The Search for Vengeance. It was released on DVD on 5 June 2007. In an interview with Ain't It Cool News with producer Galen Walker, about 7–8 minutes of added scenes with no opening exposition text sequence were removed when the film was released and Kawajiri did not like it. But the director's cut will include the footage.
He has script approval for Ninja Scroll's sequel, which is listed as being in pre-production with no specific release date as of 2010.
- Lensman (1984) - Director
- Neo Tokyo (1987) (segment The Running Man) - Director, Screenwriter
- Wicked City (1987) - Director
- A Wind Named Amnesia (1990) - Screenwriter
- Ninja Scroll (1993) - Director, Screenwriter
- Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (2000) - Director, Screenwriter
- The Animatrix (2003) (segment World Record) - Screenwriter
- The Animatrix (2003) (segment Program) - Director, Screenwriter
- Azumi 2: Death or Love (2005) - Screenwriter
- Highlander: The Search for Vengeance (2007) - Director
- Demon City Shinjuku (1988) - Director
- Goku: Midnight Eye (1989) - Director
- Goku II: Midnight Eye (1989) - Director
- Cyber City Oedo 808 (1990) - Director
- The Cockpit (1994) (segment Slipstream) - Director, Screenwriter
- Biohunter (1995) - Screenwriter
- Birdy the Mighty (1996) - Director, Screenwriter
- X (2001) - Director, Screenwriter
- Yoshiaki Kawajiri at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- Template:Title without disambig at the Internet Movie Database
- Interview With Yoshiaki Kawijiri at The Animatrix Official Website