Zako Akifumi (座古明史?) is a series director, episode director and storyboard artist working for Toei Animation.
He was the series co-director for Fresh Pretty Cure! and HUGtto! Pretty Cure and directed the movie Go! Princess Pretty Cure: The Pumpkin Kingdom's Treasure. He has been working on Pretty Cure since 2004, where he started with episode direction on some episodes of Futari wa Pretty Cure.
Zako Akifumi started working in major directing roles for Toei Animation in 2003, where he worked as Episode Director Assistant for twelve episodes of Ashita no Nadja. He also did the episode direction for episode seven of Ojamajo Doremi Na-i-sho, where he worked with and under Sato Junichi. They would collaborate once again during his work on HUGtto! Pretty Cure, where he shared the role of series director.
As his former work lay in series aimed at young girls, it comes to no surprise that he ended up working on some episodes of Futari wa Pretty Cure and further seasons of Pretty Cure.
Zako's personal style as a storyboard artist and episode director often comes back to more serious and emotional imagery than usual for Pretty Cure. His layouts work with shadows, repetition, unusual perspective and angles and negative space for his composition to set the tone. He also uses backgrounds to contrast or compliment the characters and their emotions.
One example of his serious style is Yes! Pretty Cure 5 episode 23, which featured the evil organization Nightmare threatening and defeating the Cures with warped mirror versions of themselves. The almost-horror like atmosphere and imagery of this episode was uncommon for Pretty Cure’s light-hearted direction. In Futari wa Pretty Cure Max Heart episode 08, he proved his proficiency for emotional heartwarming character-focused episodes. Zako is often assigned to work for the finale episodes of a Pretty Cure season due to his style and due to his strong hand as a storyboard artist for fighting animation.
Work on Fresh Pretty Cure!
Work on HUGtto! Pretty Cure
Work in Pretty Cure
|Series||Year||Episode Director||Storyboard||Series Director|
|Futari wa Pretty Cure||2004 - 2005||18, 27, 42, 48||❌||❌|
|Futari wa Pretty Cure Max Heart||2005 - 2006||08, 21, 31, 45||08, 21, 31, 45||❌|
|Futari wa Pretty Cure Splash Star||2006 - 2007||11, 21, 32, 41,
|11, 21, 32, 41, 49||❌|
|Yes! Pretty Cure 5||2007 - 2008||07, 16, 23, 29,
33, 41, 48
|07, 23, 33, 41||❌|
|Yes! Pretty Cure 5 GoGo!||2008 - 2009||09, 14, 25, 31,
|Fresh Pretty Cure!||2009 - 2010||06, 15, 24, 50||06, 15, 24, 40, 50||✅|
(From episode 16 onwards)
|Heartcatch Pretty Cure!||2010 - 2011||13, 21, 32||13, 21, 32||❌|
|Go! Princess Pretty Cure||2015 - 2016||04||04, 11||The Pumpkin Kingdom's Treasure|
|Mahou Tsukai Pretty Cure!||2016 - 2017||04, 13, 28, 36, 47||04, 13, 28, 36, 47||❌|
|KiraKira☆Pretty Cure A La Mode||2017 - 2018||12, 21||12, 21||❌|
|HUGtto! Pretty Cure||2018 - 2019||01, 48||01, 22, 39, 48, 49||✅|
|Star☆Twinkle Pretty Cure||2019 - 2020||21||21, 30, 38, 46||❌|