Young Guns 18: Tomoki Misato

By Alixandra Rutnik and Brett McKenzie on Nov 18, 2020

Highlighting the creative superstars that make up the class of Young Guns 18

2020 has been one rollercoaster of a year, but fortunately, the spirit of creativity can't be dampened. Want proof? Check out the winners of Young Guns 18!

Beginning with our largest and most diverse jury in history, acclaimed creatives from across the globe spent three months reviewing hundreds of submissions from insanely talented young professionals seeking validation for all of their hard work. After narrowing down the field to 83 top-notch finalists, the jury engaged in virtual discussion and debate, deciding who will win one of the most career-impacting honors in our industry.

In the end, we are honored to present the 31 incredible winners of Young Guns 18, a diverse collection of artists, filmmakers, animators, designers, illustrators, and others, all of them representing some of the very best that their fields have to offer.

We invite you to learn about all 31 Young Guns 18 winners in this series of interviews.







When did Young Guns first pop up on your radar?

I knew about Young Guns after I saw my favorite stop motion animator post on SNS that he was a Young Guns 17 winner. Thankfully, he invited me to submit to Young Guns 18! I've been to film festivals many times, but this was the first time that all artists submitted six works regardless of genre and technique. I understood that it would be judged as one creator, not as one work.

You're a first-time entrant — congrats! What made you enter this year?

The past winner Kenta Shinohara (YG17) introduced Young Guns18 to me. I will turn 28 in this month. If I was not selected as a winner this year, I was thinking of entering again because I can publish some my new works next year.

Young Guns is as much an exercise in self-curation as it is in sheer creative talent. After all, you are only allowed to submit six projects. How did you go about deciding which pieces to submit and which to leave out?

In the first place, there weren't many works that I could submit. I aimed to submit a variety of styles. Of course, they all have different genres and techniques, but I also decided to differentiate the styles of my work by chosing different theme colors. 

What went through your mind when you discovered that you won, knowing how difficult it is to make it into Young Guns?

I was happy just to be a finalist, but I was so surprised to be a winner. I am honored to be recognized by the world as a creator while I'm still in my twenties. I'm so excited to join the talented Young Guns family.

If you had to pick one of the six projects that you entered as your favorite, which one would it be and why?

My most favorite project is "My Little Goat," because I could focus on story telling. It was completed in a way that I was most satisfied.

If you had to describe your creative style, the part of your work that’s most distinctively “you”, what would it be?

Making character’s expressions makes my work most distinctively “me.” There are many ways to create expressions and they direct emotions and stories. I will keep doing character animation on stop motion, because my style brings the puppets to life.

Who are some of the biggest influences on your work and career, people who may have had a hand in mentoring and supporting you?

My biggest influence on my work is John R. Dilworth. His TV series “Courage the Cowardly Dog” made me strongly interested in making animation for the first time. Even now I respect his animation in making my animation.

Now that you’re in the Young Guns family, are there any past winners you look up to and admire?

Kenta Shinohara (YG17).

It goes without saying that 2020 has been a pretty crazy year, with a global pandemic and social upheaval shaping so many facets of our lives. Aside from the positive news of winning Young Guns, how has this year been for you?

I'm currently directing my first TV animation series, and I just recently completed it. I've been working on stop-motion at home for a long time now and I don't go outside very much, so the pandemic didn't affect my production. However, the reason I could complete the project was that each of the staff members took care of their health and supported me. I often work alone, so I gathered my staff together for the first time, and I learned the importance of teamwork. I'm still in the process of growing up, but as a director, I'd like to continue to watch over our team and grow so that we can make great work.

Name a creative/professional dream that you have yet to fulfill — hey, maybe Young Guns can help propel you in that direction!

In the future, I hope to make VR animation in the stop-motion! Or an original animation movie!

Any last words about winning Young Guns 18 that you'd like to share?

I am grateful for the jury and everyone who supports me! I will keep working hard to present new work with confidence. Thank you very much.


"Tomoki's stop-motion work is incredibly entrancing. The movements and editing are gracefully fluid, which further brings you into Tomoki's storytelling ability. He captures you with his rich character design, directorial talents, and balanced symbolism until you are emotionally full. "

Chad Michael
Young Guns 15 Winner

"Tomoki Misato's work is aesthetically very unique, talking about serious issues in a funny, engaging way. His characters are truly compelling and charming in telling the story."

Lina Kovačević
Young Guns 5 Winner

"Tomoki Misato draws upon fairy tales and everyday life stories to conjure a world that can be magical, frightening, funny and beautiful. The animated characters — be they felt puppets or shrink plastic — are very emotionally expressive. They convey subtle nuances and character traits. The motion is fluid and feels so natural, making the impossible appear plausible. Carefully chosen colors set the stage from dreamy to nightmarish. Tomoki skillfully mixes different techniques for the most expressive effects and displays incredible attention to detail."

Sigi Moeslinger
Antenna Design
Young Guns 2 Winner


Make sure to check out all the Young Guns 18 Winners in the archive!

Young Guns 18 Archive



The Breathtaking Ivan Cash
ADC102 Craft Cocktail Edition
From the Jury Room: ADC's Packaging/Product Design
From the Jury Room: ADC's Publication Design







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