Spirited Away and Ghost in Shell’s sound director talks about the human side of working in anime

Many Japanese animation fans can rattle off a list of the animation directors or character designers they admire, but the visuals are only half of the way anime stimulates the senses. For everything that you’re hearing during your favorite show, you can thank the sound director.

It’s a role Kazuhiro Wakabayashi has been filling for decades, and we recently sat in on a talk the industry veteran gave about the unique challenges a sound director faces, what it’s like to work with some of the biggest names in Japanese animation, including Studio Ghibli’s Hayao Miyazaki and Ghost in the Shell’s Mamoru Oshii, and the surprisingly deep human element of creating the audio environment for a fictional world.

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