Sachiko Kamimura, Animeeshon no kiso chishiki daihyakka (Encyclopedia of Basic Knowledge about Animation), Graphicsha, 2009
Organized as a dictionary of industry-specific terms, it captures everything from the production flow to industry jargon. This reference should be your first stop if there’s something you don’t understand.
Ango Sakaguchi, Sho Aikawa, UN-GO Aikawa Sho kyakuhonshu: Sakaguchi Ango gen an Meiji kaika Ango torimonocho (UN-GO Sho Aikawa Screenplay Collection: Ango Sakaguchi Story, Meiji Kaika Ango Torimonocho), Media Pal, 2012
Includes final scripts, pre-production notes and plot outlines. The commentaries about the finished work help you understand how the scripts were turned into an anime series.
Director Takahata deals with his own work in explaining his directorial intentions. This book will help you understand what it means to direct.
Introduction to direction that director Yoshiyuki Tomino wrote with rookie directors in mind. He writes about the basic principles behind Tomino-style direction.
Mamoru Oshii, METHODS – Oshii Mamoru ‘Patlabor 2’ enshutsu nooto (METHODS by Mamoru Oshii - Production Notes on Patlabor 2), Kadokawa Shoten, 1994
Director Mamoru Oshii explains what he was trying to express through controlling the layout. Presents the fundamentals for precise spatial sense as currently used in anime.
Kenichi Konishi, Kiyotaka Oshiyama, Hagane no renkin jutsushi mirosu no seinaru hoshi gengashuu (Full Metal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos Key Animation Book), Square Enix, 2012
This book is organized to give an accessible explanation of how key animation artists create animation.
Tomonori Kogawa, Animeeshon sakuga hou – dessan, kuukan paasu no kihon to jitugi (Animation Methodology – The Basics and Practices of Drawing and Spatial Paths), Sougeisha, 2007
This single volume explains the thinking behind the creation of anime images.
Hiromasa Oguro, Studio Ghibli, Hikari to yami Ogura Hiromasa gashuu (Ghibli THE ART series) (Light and Darkness Hiromasa Ogura Art Collection (Ghibli THE ART Series), Tokuma Shoten, 2004
The art boards included in the book are appealing, but there are also many hints to be found in the talk session where three production designers discuss Ogura’s artwork.
Works Corporation Shoseki Henshubu (Works Corporation Book Editorial Department), Anime CG no genba (Anime CG Production Site), Works Corporation, 2014
This book brings together anime-related feature stories published in the magazine CG World in 2014 and 2015. It gives an overview of 3DCG-related production.
Animage Henshubu (Animage Editorial Department) (ed.), TV anime 25 nen shi (25 Years of TV Anime History), Tokuma Shoten, 1988
One of two must-read books for getting a handle on the history of Japanese anime.
Yasushi Watanabe, Katsunori Yamaguchi, Nihon animeeshon eigashi (The History of Japanese Animation), Yubunsha, 1978
The second essential book for understanding Japanese anime history.