One Piece anime series is taking a historic step by bringing on board an American director, Henry Thurlow, to direct an episode – marking the first time in the series’ long-running history to do so.
Thurlow, an American animator currently residing and working in Japan, is set to direct the series’ 1066th episode, in an industry where directorial roles are typically held by Japanese natives.
News of Thurlow’s directorial role was first reported in the July issue of Newtype magazine and later confirmed by the animator himself via Twitter.
This unprecedented appointment isn’t just a first for One Piece, it’s potentially a pioneering moment for Toei Animation, the production studio behind the series, as Thurlow is the first non-Japanese director for any of Toei Animation’s television series.
Thurlow’s impressive resume has seen him contribute to renowned projects such as Sweetness & Lightning, Nurse Witch Komugi R, ClassicaLoid, Naruto Shippūden, and Tokyo Ghoul.
He started working as an animator at Toei Animation in July 2021, where he has contributed to both the One Piece series and the One Piece Film Red.
His first work on One Piece, happens in the episode #903. He animates this scene from Luffy Vs Urashima. From that scene, he begins to become a regular in the anime— ???????? (@Hatchofly_) June 9, 2023
KA: Henry Thurlow pic.twitter.com/uZOtTDhyto
While Thurlow’s contribution will be historic in One Piece anime, he isn’t the only foreigner to leave his mark on the anime industry.
Other notable names include Sunghoo Park, the South Korean director behind “Jujutsu Kaisen”, Kyoung Soon Park who directed Doraemon movies, and D’Art Shtajio, a Tokyo-based studio founded by Americans, which has worked on an array of projects including an episode of “Star Wars: Visions Volume 2”.
These instances illustrate that while anime is inherently Japanese, the creative process behind it is becoming increasingly global.
The debut episode of Henry Thurlow as a director, episode 1066 is set to air on June 25. The episode is likely to revolve around the climax of the fight between Trafalgar Law and Eustass Kid against Big Mom, based on the recent adaptation pacing of the series.
Fans are eagerly anticipating the episode under Thurlow’s direction and are hopeful that this cross-cultural collaborative effort could set a precedent for future episodes and series.
What are your thoughts? Are you looking forward to the episode? Let us know your opinion in the comment section.