Guillermo del Toro is voicing his lifelong admiration for animation auteur Hayao Miyazaki.

The director was tasked with penning the tribute to Miyazaki as part of Miyazaki earning a spot on the TIME 100. In his writeup, del Toro praised the Oscar-winning “The Boy and the Heron” writer/director for crafting his own filmic tastes. Del Toro has announced that he is looking to focus on animated projects going forward.

“I discovered Hayao Miyazaki’s Toei Animation films as a child — films like ‘The Wonderful World of Puss ’n Boots’ and series like ‘Heidi and Marco,’ in which his style and influence became increasingly identifiable,” del Toro wrote. “Encountering ‘My Neighbor Totoro’ as an adult, my mind snapped back to those earlier works, and I recognized how much this man had shaped my childhood.”

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Del Toro continued that Miyazaki is a “one-of-a-kind creator who exists fully in his art,” with an entirely “genuine” approach to the craft.

“He is the single most influential animation director in the history of the medium, and one of my top 10 favorite storytellers in any audiovisual medium,” del Toro wrote. “Miyazaki’s work provokes that rare emotion — the shiver of recognition of a type of beauty that is impossible in the real world and thus exists only in his films. Yet he is also a brutal realist regarding greed, war, and human rage. He knows that we shape and destroy the planet and that humans are the best and the worst of our world.”

Miyazaki exited his retirement after 10 years to create “The Boy and the Heron.” He won his second Oscar following his “Spirited Away” award in 2002. Miyazaki is tied for being the most nominated director ever, and is now the oldest winner in the animation category.

Del Toro’s tie to Miyazaki even led to a personal nickname, Guillermo del Totoro, thanks to “Pacific Rim” child actor Mana Ashida. The star asked if she could call the director “Totoro-san,” as a reference to Miyazaki’s “My Neighbor Totoro.” Del Toro later confirmed the on-set experience via Twitter.

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