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Masako Shinohara (田中 敦子, Shinohara Masako, died August 25, 2015) was a Japanese animator.

She was one of Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata's oldest colleagues, having worked with them since the 1960s at Toei Animation. Miyazaki famously gave her the responsibility of depicting Clarisse in The Castle of Cagliostro. She was known as the house animator who tends to focus on scenes of everyday life and crowd scenes rather than on action scenes.



Shinohara began her career in Toei Animation (then known as Toei Doga) in 1967 as an in-betweener animator in Jack and the Witch, only a few years after Hayao Miyazaki.[1] She worked on several other Toei films including Andersen Monogatari (1968), Flying Phantom Ship (1969) and 30,000 Miles Under the Sea (1970). She drew her first key animation in The Wonderful World of Puss 'n Boots in 1972. After leaving Toei Doga in 1972, she worked as an in-betweener checker in Heidi, Girl of the Alps in 1974 and has been involved in virtually every Miyazaki project since. She also worked as an animator on Anne of Green Gables, directed by Isao Takahata.[2]

In Miyazaki's directorial debut The Castle of Cagliostro (1979), he left the responsibility of drawing the heroine, Princess Clarisse d'Cagliostro, to Shinohara. She joined Telecom Animation Film soon after and was later credited as head of the original staff. She then spent a short period working freelance before finally settling down at Studio Ghibli.

Notable Animation Cuts

Shinohara became known as one of Ghibli's house animator who tended to focus on scenes of everyday life and crowd scenes rather than on action scenes. In Castle in the Sky, she drew the scene on the Tiger Moth, giving her ample room to breathe life into everyday actions. In Kiki's Delivery Service, she drew the scene of Osono telling Kiki to deliver package to Tombo, and Kiki laughing after she and Tombo are thrown off the bike (after the exciting bike ride by Toshiyuki Inoue), scenes that are exemplary perhaps for the delicate mix of emotions conveyed by the characters. She also worked on the laborious crowd scene at the end (alongside Toshio Kawaguchi and Yoshinori Kanada), animating the part where Kiki catches Tombo.

In Princess Mononoke, she drew the scene where San discovers Ashitaka lying in the forest and feeds him, and the section where Ashitaka catches the bow and arrow from Koroku.

In Howl's Moving Castle, her final film before she retired, she animated the scene where Sophie is cleaning up Howl's house.[3]


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