Every anime that inspired the Disney+ original

Many filmmakers often wear their influences on their sleeve when developing certain projects, and Domee Shi is no exception. the turn red The director has been quite open about how her first feature film for Pixar is essentially an “Asian tween fever dream” – delving into the setting and aesthetic of 2002 Toronto as well as the interests of teenage girls at that time. era (particularly boy bands, as the fictional band 4*Town plays an important role in the film’s plot.) The biggest influence, however, is anime. The effects of the anime run throughout become red, including the use of isolated movement and the lush, vibrant colors that run throughout the film. Shi said it was aimed at represent the view of the world of the protagonist Mei (Rosalie Chang); she was also open about the anime series which influenced her work. Here are all the anime that influenced turn redand how this influence is felt in the final product.


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Sailor Moon

Image via cartoon network

The anime with the biggest influence on turn red East Sailor Moon, especially its themes of female friendship. Shi went further in the Sailor Moon influence during an interview with IndieWire: “I grew up watching so many Japanese anime and reading manga written and drawn by women… ‘Sailor Moon’ is about middle school girls who saved the world, but they were also best friends and they went to the mall together. It was so, so cool. We tried to capture that spirit of friendship between girls in our film.”

Indeed, the friendship between Mei and her friends Miriam (Ava Morse), Abby (Hyein Park), and Priya (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) ends up being a major factor in turn red. Like Usagi and the other Sailor Scouts, Mei has a strong bond with Miriam, Abby, and Priya. And like the Sailor Scouts, the girls vary in personality; Miriam is a tomboy – something she shares with Makoto/Sailor Jupiter – Abby is extremely energetic and Priya has a deadpan and sarcastic approach to life. Mei’s friends also serve as an emotional anchor of sorts; she is able to keep her panda form under control by thinking about them. The gaze of Sailor Moon was also a major influence, Shi recounting Polygon that the magical girl series background inspired the visuals of Become red: “We were really inspired by the pastels and the reverie of the night, of the nocturnal landscapes.” Indeed, the scenes that take place at night use a soft light that creates a dreamlike effect.

Ranma 1/2

Image Via Animax Asia

Another anime that had a major influence on turn red East Ranma 1/2 – which should come as no surprise to anyone who has seen it. the Rumiko Takahashi The anime features a martial artist named Ranma Saotome who bathed in a hot spring while training with his father. The hot spring was enchanted, meaning that anyone who entered it would take on the form of the beings who drowned there; Ranma transformed into a girl whenever he was doused with cold water, and back to a boy when doused with hot water. His father, Gemna, also transformed whenever he was splashed with cold water – despite becoming a panda. Although hot springs are not involved in turn red, Mei’s transformation into a red panda is mystical in nature. Shi even discussed with Polygon how Ranma 1/2 and turn red shared an anime trope in common: “Ranma ½ is another anime that inspired us, especially when Mei transformed, she turned into a giant pink cloud. We kind of borrowed that from a lot of anime that was about transformation. And this whole device of a girl turning into an animal, I feel like I see that a lot in anime.


Image via Adult Swimming

Ranma 1/2 isn’t the only Rumiko Takahashi series to serve as a major inspiration for turn red. There are also elements of Takahashi’s most famous work, InuYasha. InuYasha has teenage Kagome Higurashi falling down the well at her family shrine and encountering the half-demon InuYasha. InuYasha and Kagome set off in search of the pieces of the mystical Shikon Jewel, finding new friends along the way and having to deal with their budding attraction. Like Kagome, Mei lives at the site of her family shrine with her mother, Ming Lee (Sandra Oh). Her transformation is triggered by a combination of hormones surrounding her crush on convenience store clerk Devon (Addie Chandler) and embarrassment whenever someone reports it; Both InuYasha and Kagome were embarrassed whenever someone pointed out their mutual attraction.

Fruit basket

Image via funimation

Natsuki Takaya‘s Fruits Basket is another human-to-animal transformation anime that helped shape turn red, and another anime that deals with the highs and lows of adolescence. In Fruit basket, orphan Tohru Honda meets the Sohma family and learns of a mythical disease that causes them to transform into a Chinese zodiac animal when hugged by members of the opposite sex. Again, turn red contains a character with a mythical affliction that turns him into an animal, but it reverses the main concept of Fruit basket. When Mei’s friends discover her secret, they kiss her, and she reverts to her human form. It’s a clever way to show how strong the bond is between the four, as well as a nice tribute to Fruit basket.

My Neighbor Totoro

My Neighbor Totoro.jpg

Another anime that we can see hints of in turn red East Hayao Miyazakithe classic movie My Neighbor Totoro. Totoro is one of the most beloved animated films, revolving around two sisters and their father who move to the countryside and encounter all manner of spirits and creatures. The titular wood spirit Totoro had a major influence on Mei’s panda form, as Shi revealed during a Thrillist interview: “My secret goal, in the beginning, was to create our own version of Totoro. How do we create this iconic giant grabbable animal that you just want to rub your face in? It was also tricky because we wanted her to feels like a red panda, but a magical red panda.”

It’s clear that these anime series and movies continue to have an influence long after they first aired, and we continue to see their impact on new stories today. Only time will tell if Shi draws inspiration from other anime series for her upcoming feature film.


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