Sayo Yamamoto saved anime for me.
This seems like an exaggeration and, frankly, it is. But The Woman Called Fujiko Mine, my first exposure to her, moved me so deeply with its pointed critique of how writers treat female characters that I promised that I would hop on a plane to any anime convention where she was a guest. Her complex, unconventional heroines energized and inspired my blogging and made me feel like that, just maybe, someone out there behind the scenes felt the same way about women in fiction that I did. My effusive love for it helped me connect to one of my Anime Feminist collaborators, Vrai Kaiser. Every season after that I would scan the directorial credits in hopes of seeing her name, but she wouldn’t direct another series for over five years, until Yuri on Ice premiered and completely left the anime community shook.