A Guide To Anime Studios – First Part

 

That’s it. A Guide To Anime Studios. A recopilation of information about a lot of anime studios. Without any particular order. Part One of Two.

Tatsunoko Pro:

The Price of Smiles, 2019, Tatsunoko Pro, Dir. by Toshimasa Suzuki.

-A very old anime studio that celebrated its 55th anniversary on 2017. It was established in 1962 by Tatsuo Yoshida. Their first anime was “Space Ace”, in 1965.

-In their long history, they have been producing really popular series and helped to develop a lot of talented individuals.

-Due to the influence of their president, who was a manga artist, a lot of their early series focus on high quality drawings with a very graphic novel touch to them, with bulkier, more detailed designs than the competence. During that time, they develop three specially talented animators: Masami Suda, Tsuneo Ninomiya and Tomonori Kogawa, a vital part of their works on the 70’s, where they were called “Tatsunoko’s Three Wings”

-Between 1977 and 1990 they had a subsidary called Anime Friend, that was used like a workshop for mecha animators during Super Space Fortress Macross, including people like Ichiro Itano.

-In 1978, they established the Tatsunoko Animation Technology Research Institute, with Koji Sugii being appointed as the director and Sadao Miyamoto and others being appointed as instructors/teachers.

-At the time of production of Zillion. Animation Producer Mitsuhisa Ishikawa, whose contracted had expired, was set to be disbanded with his entire production team to a new subsidary of the studio after Zillion’s completion, Tatsunoko Production Office was then founded. Takayuki Goto, the character designer of Zillion, and his animation crew Kaneyume, also independent from Tatsunoko, was working there.

-On 1987, the employees of that branch including Goto and Ishikawa established the limited company IG Tatsunoko, now called Production I.G, integrating both Tatsunoko Production Office and Kaneyume.

-On 2005, Takara Tomy, the famous toy company, acquired 88% of the studio’s stock, becoming part of the company.

-On 2014, NTV bought from Takara Tomy 54.3% of Tatsunoko’s share, becoming the major shareholding on the company. Takara Tomy also continues to own 20% of the company’s stock, and continues to work with Tatsunoko to this day, Production I.G also owns a porcentage of their shares.

-On recent years, they have become pioneers on digital and paperless animation.

Related Animators: Shigeki Kuhara, Akira Takada, Manabu Nakatake, Keisuke Goto, Sayaka Toda, Ryoochimo, Tatsuro Kawano, Noriyuki Imaoka, Natsuki Yamada, Tatsuya Yoshihara, Ryu Nakayama and Shun Enokido.

Former related animators: Ippei Kuri, Koji Nanke, Sadao Miyamoto, Koji Sugii, Motosuke Takahashi, Masami Suda, Tamotsu Tanaka, Norio Shioyama, Chuuichi Iguchi, Tsuneo Ninomiya, Takayuki Goto, Yasushi Tanizawa, Ikuo Yamakado, Takashi Hashimoto

Former Tatsunoko Research Institute members: Hiroshi Hamasaki, Tetsuya Kobayashi, Yoshio Mizumura, Koichi Hashimoto, Hiromi Maesawa, Kimiko Tamai, Kazuo Watanabe, Sadatoshi Matsuzaka, Mariko Aoki, Masahiro Kurio, Kanji Nagasaka, Masayoshi Nishida, Atsushi Wakabayashi, Norio Matsumoto, Yoshihiro Kitano, Yasuhito Kikuchi

Diomedea:

Domestic Na Kanojo, 2019, Diomedea, Dir. by Shota Ibata.

-It’s the spiritual succesor to Studio Barcelona, a small studio founded by former Group TAC producer Nobuyuki Suga, who retired from old age after losing his physical conditions to run the bussiness, it was officially established on 2007 after Barcelona co-representative Mitsuru Ohara succeded the bussiness, thus, strictly-speaking, it’s not Studio Barcelona, but Diomedea. Ohara himself originally wanted to establish his own studio, but became connected with Suga working on TAC and became co-representative of Barcelona.

-They often animate works by Kadokawa

-They have many in house (raised from douga inhouse) animators, and utilize them as the main staff on their inhouse projects. As far as the actual drawings go, they would mobilize their inhouse (i.e. homegrown) animators (keyframers with AD experience) to all work as ADs on a single episode, which allowed for the drawings for some episodes to be more consistent. However, on season 1 of KanColle there were composition/composite errors that would appear occasionally that were caused more by the scheduling problems.(rather than the availability of competent draftsmen)

-Their most chronic case was 2018’s Beatless, where they had to insert four recaps to allow the schedule to catch up, anime director Seiji Mizushima tweeted “I’m out of control-” before developing a sudden deafness caused by the stress. He eventually ended up on the hospital, with the schedule collapsing further out of control.

-A lot other of their series such as Chio-Chan’s School Road suffered from heavy outsourcing to foreign companies, and Gi (a) rlish Number Shura had to be cancelled due to difficulties gathering up staff.

Animators: Mitsuru Ohara, Masakazu Ishikawa, Naomi Ide, Shingo Tamaki, Shota Ibata, Tsutomu Miyazawa, Kazuhisa Kosuge, Mino Honda, Mayuko Matsumoto, Tsurugi Kato, Akane Ogawa, Tatsuo Honda, Shunpei Mochizuki

Related Animators: Sorato Shimizu, Kenji Masuda, Kazunori Ozawa, Kouta Moroishi

Home-Grown Animators: Yuki Komatsu, Hiroyuki Saita, Daiki Komatsu, Masato Anno, Asami Nakatani, Sayaka Tokunaga

David Production:

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Winds, 2019, David Production, Dir. by Naokatsu Tsuda, Yasuhiro Kimura, Hideya Takahashi

-Former Gonzo producers Taito Okura and Koji Kakita established it in 2007. The studio was bought by Fuji TV on 2014.

-They are one of the production companies involved in digital inbetweening, they have been working recently with the software CACANi, that has a poor track record on Japan.

Tezuka Production:

The Quintessential Quintuplets, 2019, Tezuka Productions, Dir. by Satoshi Kuwahara

-Their main purposes are copyright control and production of Osamu Tezuka’s works.

-Osamu Tezuka established it on 1968 as an anime production company, as a succesor of Mushi Pro. They started producing at the end of the 70s, on specials to television, animating Tezuka series like Black Jack, Astroboy, Jungle Emperor and Hi no Tori. In the 2000s, since the late-night animation boom, their number of works started to sharply decreased. Their first stand alone production was Sengoku Musou. Since 2010, they have been constantly collaborating with other anime studios.

-They own their own subcontract studio on China, Beijing Xiele Art & Fine Arts Co. Ltd. On Japan, they mostly subcontract their work to G&G Direction and Kino Production. Their key animators usually are veteran freelancers.

Related Animators: Akio Sugino, Junji Kobayashi, Shinichi Seya, Noboru Furuse, Masayoshi Nishida, Toshio Kawaguchi, Kenichi Shimizu, Shigeru Chiba, Michinosuke Nakamura, Keita Saito, Kazuki Aoki

Former Related Animators: Toshimitsu Kobayashi, Yoshiyuki Ito, Mieko Hosoi, Tsunenori Saito, Yuko Iwasa, Atsuya Miura, Takashi Shinohara, Miyuki Katayama, Yuichiro Fujimoto, Nana Miura, Momoko Yamada

Telecom Animation Film:

We Rent Tsukumogami, 2018, Telecom Animation Film, Dir. by Masahiko Murata

-A production company launched by Yutaka Fujioka, the founder of Tokyo Movie, searching to create an studio that produces “full animation” on Disney-fashion. With their first work being the movie Nemo. Toei Animation legend Yasuo Otsuka was employed to train the animators at this studio.

-They had in-house teams for everything, from animation to photography to editing.

-They mostly produced a lot of overseas work, specially with Warner Bros, but since Warner Bros switched to South Korea to their animation production on the 2000s, they have focused more on Anime production.

-They were also pioneers on digital animation, being very early adopters of Tablets to animate.

-Their bussiness situation since 2016 has been dire, having debt issues. For this reason, they are dismantling their digital division and focusing on small, collaborative projects.

-They have been in charge of all the latest installments of the Lupin III franchise.

Animators: Kazuhide Tomonaga, Hisao Yokobori, Yuichiro Yano

Related Animators: Yasuo Otsuka, Atsuko Tanaka, Teiichi Takiguchi, Masaaki Kudo

Home-Grown Animators: Sadao Tsukioka, Hayao Miyazaki, Yoshifumi Kondo, Tsukasa Tanai, Yasunao Aoki, Masaaki Endo, Makiko Futaki, Chie Uratani, Nagisa Miyazaki, Satoko Morikawa, Toshihiko Masuda, Hiroyuki Aoyama, Kazuyoshi Yaginuma, Yuko Kusumoto, Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, Tatsuyuki Tanaka, Shinji Hashimoto, Shojiro Nishimi, Takashi Umeda, Takashi Kawaguchi, Kenichi Ohki, Shin Itagaki, Ayako Hata, Yuka Shibata, Ryotaro Makihara, Taiichi Komata, Keiko Nakaji, Takayuki Kitagawa

TNK:

Senran Kagura: Shinovi Master, 2018, TNK, Dir. by Tetsuya Yanagisawa

-An animation studio founded by former Tatsunoko Pro producer Nagateru Kato on 1999. Nowadays, their president is Keisuke Kawai, the company’s producer.

-It was originally a subcontractor company. Their first major work as animation producers was Hand Maid May. They became a corporation on 2006.

-They are known by harem, over-the-top nudity series like High School DxD.

-“Qualia Animation”, which has been producing the HoneyWorks movies, are an alternate name to TNK.

Animators: Jin Isurugi, Takeshi Kanda

Related Animators: Tetsuya Yanagisawa, Maki Fujii, Junji Goto, Tsutomu Miyazawa, Takuya Asaoka, Masahiro Shimizu, Kazunori Ozawa

Toei Animation:

Star Twinkle Pretty Cure, 2019, Toei Animation, Dir. by Hiroaki Miyamoto

-The largest and oldest single anime studio ever. There are too many good people, but since it is so large, a lot of the talent is disperse behind their multiple ongoing series. They are known by the popular manga adaptations like Dragon Ball, Sailor Moon and One Piece, but they have done basically everything with the years, they produced anime’s first colour movie on Hakujaden, produced some of the earliest anime and have a producer thousands of shows and movies since 1959.

-In the past, the studio has an iron rule of 3000 sheets per episode, but sometimes, the number got to 3500. 3500 sheets were about 300 cuts and 200-300 backgrounds. Because you couldn’t surpass that number, many Toei animators perfected the art of timing and sheet saving techniques, of limited animation. If that number was exceeded, often there was some problems on the company handling with the excess. Toei is constructed over efficiency and smart organization.

-The studio has a lot of key animators, going on the hundreds of in-house animators, more than on any other studio in the industry

-They have an studio on the Philippines called Toei Phils. (TAP), not to be confused with the subcontracted japanese studio of the same abbreviation. The Philippines studio has grown since the 2000s, now taking over entire episodes and even do key animation on movies.

Animators: Naoki Tate, Noboru Koizumi, Yuichi Hamano, Mitsuru Aoyama, Akira Inagami, Katsumi Tamegai, Tadayoshi Yamamuro, Yoshitaka Yashima, Kenji Yokoyama, Toshio Deguchi, Kodai Watanabe

Home-Grown Animators: Yasuji Mori, Yasuo Otsuka, Daiichiro Kusube, Kazuko Nakamura, Shuji Konno, Makoto Nagasawa, Norio Hikone, Yoichi Kotabe, Shigetsugu Yoshida, Sadao Tsukioka, Keiichiro Kimura, Tsutomu Shibayama, Osamu Kobayashi, Manabu Ohashi, Hideki Hamasu, Koichi Arai, Katsuyoshi Nakatsuru, Masahiro Ando, Mamoru Hosoda, Takaaki Yamashita, Shinya Hasegawa, Tatsuzo Nishida, Yuki Hayashi

Related Animators: Yoshihiko Umakoshi, Kazuto Nakazawa, Sushio, Takashi Hashimoto, Hisashi Mori, Ken Otsuka, Yoshikazu Tomita

Dogakobo:

Meddlesome Kitsune Senko-San, 2019, Dogakobo, Dir. by Tomoaki Koshida

-Established on 1973. By F Production animator  Iku Ishiguro. His master since Nichido New Pro, Hideo Furusawa, served as an advisor to the company, his son, Hideaki, also joined the company.

-Formerly a subcontractor company, but started to produce their own series on the 2000s.

-In recent years, their capacity has been expanded enough to support multiple series by season.

-TYO Animations was originally part of the studio, but, because of differences on the policies, they left. A while after that, Hal and Yumeta merged to consolidate the TYO Group with them, that caused the final separation.

-After Yuru Yuri’s production, Masahiko Ota and other animators on the same style and trends of animation started to heavily work on the studio, creating their now cartoonish image.

-Shota Umehara, a producer desk on the company, was very well known by giving opportunities to young animators with cartoonish, fun animation sensibilities, he is a great producer and the trust from animators and studios alike is strong. He is now serving as a producer on CloverWorks.

-The company used to have constant stable-scheduling back then, since Umehara left, the number of animation directors have drastically increased. Apparently his impact was too big.

-In recent years, they have mostly produced Moe and SoL series.

Animators: Hideaki Furusawa, Junichiro Taniguchi, Mamiko Nakanishi, Chiaki Nakajima, Masashi Kano, Hirofumi Okita, Atsushi Shoga, Yusuke Soen

Related Animators: Jun Yamazaki, Ai Kikuchi, Takashi Naoya, Katsuhiro Kumagai, Yuki Nakano, Masaaki Yamano, Masahiko Ota, Shinji Ochi, Yoshiyuki Fujiwara, Ryosuke Nishii, Nobuyuki Mitani

Home-Grown Animators: Megumi Kagawa, Masami Shimoda, Katsuichi Nakayama, Hiroshi Kugimiya, Atsushi Irie, Akiyuki Shinbo, Shinsaku Kozuma, Hiroyuki Kanbe, Hisashi Mori, Takashi Mukouda, Atsuko Sasaki, Susumu Mitsunaka, Emi Kouno, Tetsuaki Shibata

TMS Entertainment (Tokyo Movie):

Cinderella Nine, 2019,TMS, Dir. by Susumu Kudo

-An old anime company established in 1964, by Yutaka Fujioka as Tokyo Movie Shinsha. On 2000, after an alliance with Sega, they changed their name to TMS.

-On the 70s, they collaborated on most of their series with Daiichikiro Kusube’s studio A Production, now called Shin-Ei Animation

-In 1972, Madhouse was established by ex-TMS staff with funding from Fujioka, producing their first series with Tokyo Movie

-In the 80s, they launched Telecom, to produce full animation

-American investing group Merril Lynch bought 7.54% of TMS Shares in 2003. On 2005, Sega Sammy Holdings adquired 50.2% of the company, making them a partially owned subsidary of Sega Sammy, with the deal completing on 2010 to adquire all of TMS shares and make it a wholly owned subsidary of Sega Sammy, with Sega’s CG division starting to form part of the studio.

-In 2011, former president Masato Matsumoto created the subsidary “Studio Saki Makura”, but merged with the main studio the following year

-They used to have ten production lines, but now there are the following studios under the management of the production headquarters with different names:

  • V1 Studio. Producers In Charge: Keiichi Ishiyama, Takeshi Mizukami, Kiyoaki Terashima. Mostly in charge of Detective Conan propierties.
  • Double Eagle. Producers In Charge: Tetsu Kojima, Masahiro Koyama, Daisuke Kawashima, Takeshi Yamakawa. In charge of series like ReLife and Trickster, as well as the Cardfight Vanguard series.
  • 3xCUBE Studio. Producers In Charge: Yusuke Kubo, Kazuyoshi Iwasaki, Yasuji Nozaki. In charge of the Anpanman anime and series like Sweetness and Lightning.
  • 8Pan. Producers In Charge: Yousuke Tsuruki, Ippei Takemura, Shusuke Katagiri. In charge of series like D. Gray Man Hallow and Zetman, as well as the Yowamushi Pedal franchise.
  • Drowis Studio. Apparently a subdivision of Double Eagle, by producer Tomoki Iuchi. Produced Lupin III Goodbye Partner.
  • Rogue Studio. Unknown producer. Assist the other studios.

The following production lines were dissolved:

  • 777 Studio. The producer of this studio was Ryusuke Aoki. Produced Monkey Punch content.
  • Po10tial Studio: Dissolved when the producer left from Telecom. Yu Kiyozono was the producer. Like 777, they were in charge of Monkey Punch works, produced the acclaimed Fujiko Mines series.
  • Studio Saki Makura. Dissolved when merged with the main office, their produced was Masato Matsumoto. They were in charge of series like Brave 10.

Related Animators: Osamu Nabeshima, Hajime Kamegaki, Hideyuki Motohashi, Kazuhiro Ochi, Tomonori Sudo, Hirotoshi Takaya, Futoshi Higashide, Toshihiko Masuda, Shinichiro Minami, Takashi Kawaguchi, Akio Kawamura, Kumiko Shishido, Yoshiharu Shimizu, Yuko Iwasa, Mari Tominaga, Yuzo Aoki.

Home-Grown animators: Tomonori Kogawa, Takeo Kitahara, Kenji Kodama, Sachiko Kamimura

Trigger:

SSSS.GRIDMAN, 2018, Trigger, Dir. by Akira Amemiya

-Established on 2011, by former Gainax director Masahiko Otsuka, animator Hiroyuki Imaishi and producer Kazuya Matsumoto. Under Ultra Super Pictures.

-The staff present on the studio was mostly the base of Gainax productions on the late 2000s, with names like Yoh Yoshinari and Akira Amemiya being the core of the studio

-They started by doing collaborative works with A-1 and members of the USP group like Ordet, Sanzigen and Liden.

-They are always actively recruiting young passionate animators and creating original passion-projects anime

-They kept their original links with Gainax and with other former-Gainax studios like Khara, with the likes of Kazuya Tsurumaki, Takeshi Honda and Masayuki collaborating with them on a regular basis

Animators: Hiroyuki Imaishi, Yoh Yoshinari, Sushio, Akira Amemiya, Yusuke Yoshigaki, Yuka Shibata, Takafumi Hori, Mai Yoneyama, Yuto Kaneko, Masaru Sakamoto, Shuuhei Handa, Shota Sannomiya, Tetsuya Hasegawa, Hideki Nakagawa, Kengo Saito, Michel Sugimoto, Rie Ishige, Kai Ikarashi, Kana Yamaguchi, Yukina Kai, Mayumi Nakamura, Shiori Miyazaki, Masanobu Ishiyama, Hiroki Itai, Reo Itoyama

Related Animators: Nobutoshi Ogura, Daizen Komatsuda, Chikashi Kubota, Atsushi Nishigori, Toshiyuki Sato, Hiromi Taniguchi, Kazumasa Ishida, Naoki Hiramura, Emi Tamura, Nobuhiro Osada, Naoki Takeda, Yuki Yonemori, Keisuke Kojima, Kotaro Nakamori, Ikuo Geso

Home-Grown Animators: Kazuto Arai, Takumi Sunakohara

Nippon Animation:

Hyakko, 2008, Nippon Animation, Dir. by Michio Fukuda

-Koichi Motohashi, representative of Zuiyo Eizo, established it on 1975

-For a while, Toei Animation, Tatsunoko Production, Tokyo Movie and Eiken were their usual collaborators at a production level

-They produced the World Masterpiece Theater, a series of adaptations of classic western books, starting from 1975 as they succeded Zuiyo Eizo as the producers of the then named Calpis Children’s theater, the animation block got a series per year until 1997, where low quality, low ratings and lack of interest for funding them ended the block. On 2007, House Foods World tried to reignate it by producing adaptations of Les Miserables, The Orphans of Simitra and Before Green Gables, but on 2010, the block had been shutted down again due to continous lack of interest from audiences.

-They produce Chibi Maruko-Chan, one of the longest running anime ever

-Since the late 90s, they have been cruising through various legal problems from internal issues into the studio and missed pays of royalties to voice actors. Because of that, their production have decreased since entering the 2000s.

-Motohashi died from Myelodysplastic Syndrome. His daughter, Kazuko Ishikawa, has taken over the management of the studio

Animators: Yoshiharu Sato

Related Animators: Hayao Miyazaki, Isao Takahata, Yasuji Mori, Yoichi Kotabe

Home-Grown Animators: Masahiro Kase, Toshiaki Motoya

Nexus:

Comic Girls, 2018, Nexus, Dir. by Yoshinobu Tokumoto

-Established in 2012 by former A-1 Pictures producer Hiroshi Nakamura, with the studio also being connected by him to Asterism.

-It’s a small company of around 20 people, but still have departaments for animation, inbetween animation, finishing, photography, etc, doing the whole workflow from themselves

-Their anime often present very small credit lists, with, depending on the producer at charge, also presenting very impressive animator showings for individual animators, often as solo or duo-trio animator episodes.

-Their first anime was Wakaba Girl, but it was a short anime. Their first full-lenght anime was Comic Girls, who had a good enough scheduling to be completely finished before the broadcast.

-Overall, they are a very exciting prospect on anime production, and if they can expand more, they will be very interesting to follow on years to come

Animators: Usaku Myouchin, Emi Yamazaki, Natsumi Kikuchi

Related Animators: Kazuya Nakanishi, Yasuyuki Noda, Daiichi Kitahara, Ayako Saito, Masaharu Watanabe

TYO Animations (formerly called Hal Film Maker)

-Established in 1993. Became a part of TYO Group in 2003.

-They start doing subcontract work by taking over in 1999 of Studio Junio’s works and staff. So, at their beginning, they were deeply connected to Junio’s acquaintances.

-There are many times when they subcontract work to other Kansai studios like Wanpack, Ordet and Elle.

-During the late 2000s, there was a major staff leak to Satelight and other studios.

-Between 2007 and 2009, they completed the merging with Yumeta and TYO, closing down and being renamed as TYO Animations.

Former Animators: Tetsuya Kumagai, Hideaki Nakano, Ryota Watanabe, Masaya Nozaki, Akihiro Taniguchi, Satoshi Hata, Katsunobu Ito, Masatoshi Niwa, Masashi Wakayama , Mitsuhiro Iwasaki, Toshiyuki Arai, Yukihiro Kobayashi, Mariko Kawamoto

Home-Grown Animators: Sachiko Takimoto, Miho Ogawa, Tomokazu Sugimura, Shunta Sakamoto, Ayumi Miyamoto, Ayashi Suzuki, Katsuhiro Kumagai, Yuu Kobayashi, Mutsumi Nakata, Tomoe Tanaka, Kota Ito, Yoshiyuki Okubo

Former Related Animators: Itsuko Takeda, Michinori Chiba, Usami Koichi, Yuko Kusumoto, Nobuhito Akada, Junichi Hayakawa, Ikuko Ito, Tatsumi Tamagawa, Keiji Goto, Megumi Kadonosono, Makoto Koga, Masahiro Aizawa, Mieko Hosoi, Ryosuke Tanigawa, Satoru Fujimoto, Koichiro Ueda, Hiroyuki Kaido, Miki Yoshikawa

Passione:

-Founded by Kazuhiro Saito, who had previous anime experience as productor desk on Studio Fantasia, but spent far away from the industry during a long time before founding the studio

-They are known by their adult heavy-ecchi works

Related Animators: Makoto Uno, Sayaka Koiso, Keiji Ishihara, Masaaki Sakurai, Masahide Yanagisawa, Izuro Ijuin, Takeo Takahashi, Kazuyuki Ueda

Studio Pierrot:

-Founded in 1979 by anime director Yuuji Nunokawa, to produce the anime The Mysterious Journey Of Nils, with the backing of his former studio Tatsunoko Production.

-In the 80’s, the company began to conduct a copyright management business aiming to become  a studio that not only produces anime but also invest on their creation

-In 1983, they produced the first OVA ever, Dallos, and started the OVA boom of the 80s.

– They used to work for Fuji TV, but now they work mainly on TV Tokyo series.

– At the time of establishment, it was very rare a studio launched by animators and directors, with directors belonging as employees. Therefore, the power of their directors is strong, and there have many auteur directors emerging from the studio through the years.

-Personal connections of the series directors usually make the bulk of the staff for long-running series. In the early days, Tatsunoko and Deen-based staff were deeply connected with them.

-In addition to the production line called “Pierrotism”, which mainly worked on movies, their subsidary for KA and finishing Pierrot Fukuoka was closed on 2012.

-On 2009, they founded Pierrot Plus to manage their usual outsourcing to a few key studios like Mouse and Jiwoo Animation. Their work as treated like Pierrot series, but are mainly completely outsourced.

-Former staff from the studio have founded studios like Seven Arcs, Arcturus, feel. and Studio Guts

Animators: Tadakatsu Yoshida, Yoshiyuki Kishi, Masahiro Neriki, Yuichi Endo, Hiroki Takagi, Masaharu Tada, Hidehiko Okano, Retsu Ohkawara, Rinako Nishihara, Ichiro Uno, Yoko Suzuki, Hiroyuki Yamashita, Masayuki Koda, Mifumi Tomita, Mika Okubo, Kumiko Tokunaga, Emi Tomita, Tatsuya Koyanagi, Toshiro Fujii, Seung Ah Han, Katsuya Yamada, Yukiko Masuda, Eri Taguchi

Home-Grown Animators: Tsuneo Ninomiya, Noboru Furuse, Takeshi Osaka, Toshiya Niidome, Akemi Kobayashi, Yasuko Miyazaki, Koji Motoyama, Takenori Mihara, Masaaki Nishida, Kiichi Takaoka, Ayumi Nakamura, Ryoichi Nakao, Masaya Irahara, Yoshinori Tokiya, Shinya Ohira, Shiro Kudaka, Masami Shimoda, Katsuichi Nakayama, Haruo Miyagawa, Shinya Takahashi, Hiroto Tanaka, Masayuki Kobayashi, Mari Kitayama, Yasunari Nitta, Tatsuo Yamada, Shigeyuki Kimishima, Kanji Nishida, Miyuki Ueda, Ryoji Ikematsu, Shinji Saruwatari, Eitaro Abe, Atsushi Komori, Takato Fukuyama, Atsushi Ogata, Teruaki Tokumaru, Mamoru Otake, Ryuta Yanagi, Kumiko Tokunaga, Kayano Nishizawa, Yasuto Nishikata, Shigeki Kawai, Hideto Tanaka, Asuka Mamezuka, Naoki Kobayashi

Related Animators: Motosuke Takahashi, Asami Endo, Masahito Yamashita, Shinsaku Kozuma, Akiyuki Shinbo, Yuji Moriyama, Yoshiharu Fukushima, Takafumi Hayashi, Osamu Kobayashi, Tomomi Mochizuki, Hirotaka Kinoshita, Masaya Onishi, Kyoko Matsubara, Atsuko Inoue, Atsushi Wakabayashi, Tetsuya Nishio, ToshiyukiTsuru, Hirofumi Suzuki, Tokuyuki Matsutake, Keiko Shimizu, Masahiko Murata, Shinji Sato, Manabu Fukazawa, Tetsuto Saito, Yasuhiko Kanezuka, Chiyuki Tanaka, Masaru Hyodo, Hidetsugu Ito, Hirotsugu Kawasaki, Hiromi Okazaki, Kumiko Horikoshi, Masashi Kudo, Tomomi Ishikawa, Seiko Asai, Zenjirou Ukulele, Masaharu Watnaabe, Yoshiharu Shimizu, Tadashi Matsuzaki, Tadashi Fukuda, Hiroaki Imaki, Naoyuki Asano, Kazumasa Orii, Makoto Shimojima, Daisuke Tsumagari, Hiromi Yoshinuma, Anna Yamaguchi, Yuri Ichinose, Reiko Sato, Yuko Matsui, Manabu Kurihara, Masashi Yamada , Momoko Nagakawa, Tomomi Yabuki, Atsuki Shimizu, Narihito Sekikawa, Kanchi Suzuki

P.A Works:

-It was founded on Toyama in the year 2000 by former Production I.G producer Kenji Hirokawa.

-Their initial name was Etsu Douga Honpo, and on 2002, they changed their name to P.A Works

-At the beginning of their life as a studio, they mostly were subcontracted for Production I.G and Bones, their first work as main producers was True Tears, on 2008

-Kenji Hirokawa retired from production after the making of their first movie Maquia -When The Promised Flower Blooms-

-A young animator complained about the studio’s wages via Twitter in 2016, getting them in trouble into the anime community, the animator complained the bad wages of the studio and that they required in-between animators that hadn’t graduate after three years to pay for their own desk, resulting on a exploitative, humillating system that forced animators to quit if they were not considered good enough. They did a completely insencere apology on their web-site and the animator’s account was suspended shortly after, giving the company a bad name on the anime community. Later the company adopted an hourly wage system, that did not improve the wage structure of the company.

-They had many in-house animators and directors since their beginning, with a solid studio identity, having recently produced fully in-house series like Uchoten Kazoku and Uma Musume Pretty Derby.

-Kenji Hirokawa is deeply connected with Toshiyuki Inoue, asking him to do key animator for the studio most compromised series and movies like Uchoten Kazoku, Shirobako, Maquia, etc. They even released the “Uchoten Kazoku Inoue Toshiyuki Art Book”, so, future animators can learn from Inoue’s animation techniques and time sheets, that included a DVD with commentary on it.

-Since Horikawa’s retirement, the new produced is Mitsuru Tsuji.

Animators: Masayuki Yoshihara, Asuka Kojima, Yuji Miyashita, Hiromi Makino, Kazuko Amano, Yurie Oogashi, Yuki Akiyama, Yasuo Fujii, Kousuke Kawazura, Noboru Sugimitsu, Kanami Sekiguchi, Yuriko Ishii

Related Animators: Tadashi Hiramatsu, Toshiyuki Inoue, Ayumi Nishihata, Kayoko Nabeta

feel.:

-Makoto Takigasaki, former Studio Pierrot producer, founded it on 2002 with Yoichiro Uesaka et al. They are a sister studio to ZEXCS.

-From the following year, with Munenori Nawa and others as episode directors, and the animation and finishing departments established, they started to produce immediately.

-There are many animators that have flowed between them and J.C Staff, and viceversa, as well as the Series Directors and Animation Directors that they both share.

-In 2015, they moved to Koganei. Assez Finaud Fabric, the main company for Zexcs finishing, photography and editing, started to work with them and co-produce their series. Nowadays, Zexcs does KA and 2nd KA for most of their productions and Assez Finaud Fabric is in charge of finishing, photography, CG and editing.

-They also have a great relation with ufotable, with ufotable often doing KA and 2nd KA for feel. and viceversa.

-Their series usually have an stable production, very appreciated about their moe girls drawings. Since the 2013, they held “Croquis Meetings” where an external animator, ZEXCS, and the original author of the work participate, in order to maintain the high quality of the work

-In recent years, Ryo Araki and Tetsuya Takeuchi have joined as main animators for a lot of their works, leading to improvements on quality

Animators: Shinichi Tatsuta, Yuko Kanai, Ayaka Tsujikami, Yui Fujii, Yoshihiro Hiramane, Saori Tagashira, Satomi Kamata, Eiichiro Furuyama, Saki Yanagawa

Related Animators: Naoto Hosoda, Munenori Nawa, Kazuyuki Matsubara, Kazuhisa Nakamura, Etsuko Sumimoto, Gou Suzuki, Motoaki Sato, Kuniaki Masuda, Noriko Shimazawa, Ryo Araki, Tetsuya Takeuchi

Home-Grown Animators: Kazuhiro Ota, Toshifumi Akai, Yuki Morishita, Hiroyuki Saita, Ryunosuke Murakami

Brains Base:

-They were founded in 1996 by Tokyo Movie producer Kazumitsu Ozawa. They started to produce Anime on 2000.

-Their work varies a lot depending on the director and animation producer on charge

-Since 2013, they have been constantly bleeding talent as their animator producers left one by one, creating studios like Shuka, Lapin Track and Platinium Vision, now they are a shell of a studio, a living dead that insists on breathing

Animators: Hiromasa Sato, Kentaro Matsumoto, Hideyuki Motohashi

Related Animators: Tetsuya Takeuchi, Koji Yabuno, Takao Asano, Haruo Okuno, Takahiro Chiba, Hideki Nakamichi, Masakazu Kawazoe, Tomotaka Shibyama, Keiichi Honda, Tomohiro Kishi, Tatsuo Yamada

Platinium Vision:

-Founded in 2016, former Brains Base producer Yu Oishi

-They are the Brains Base production department in charge of Aoharu x Kikanjuu

-Hideaki Nakano is their in-house series director

Production I.G:

-Founded in 1987 by ex-Tatsunoko Pro producer Mitsuhisa Ishikawa.

-They are known by their high-quality movies, and their reputation and recognition from movies like Ghost In The Shell on the occident is very high

-For many years, they were one of the studios in charge of Crayon Shin-Chan’s animation, but dropped off in 2014, with the studio formed by ex-Production I.G employees Production Good Book replacing them in 2015.

-On the words of animator Kyoji Asano, in the 90s, the basic salary at time of joining was 50,000 yen, around 460 dollars, and after that, he was paid for volume, producing 500 sheets a month during a three month period

-They have various production lines and a subsidary studio on Niigata

-Their production line of Fushu, Studio iG (now Signal.MD), had a division of 3DCG on IGFX

-In addition to the I.G Port companies, they have also a relationship with a long set of studio formed by former employees, like M.S.C, Good Book and P.A Works

-There have been a constant bleeding of producers since 2014, most of them leaving for 3DCGI anime studios, such as Hirasawa and Shibata for SANZIGEN, Nishimura for Sublimation and Ogami to Trislash

-The two companies behind the management of the studio are independent from it

-Their production departments are divided on two branches, plus Niigata and X, one of the known production managers is Ryuji Sanmoto, their divisions usually have a main creative leader behind them, Goto for the first, Kise for the second, Komurakata for Niigata and Tada for X.

-The following is a explanation on every current studio of I.G:

  • I.G 3: Now called Signal .MD. Their producer in charge was Wataru Kurosawa, they have been active since 2011. Produced Shining Hearts and Giovanni’s Island
  • I.G 4: Their producer in charge is Keiko Matsushita. Produced series like Robotic;Notes, Haikyuu and Ballroom E Youkoso
  • I.G 5: Their producer in charge is Toru Kawaguchi. They produced most of Tsutomu Mizushima’s work at the studio, the Blood franchise and the Psycho Pass franchise
  • I.G 6: Their produced in charge was Tetsuya Nakatake. Now they are part of Wit Studio.
  • I.G 7: Their producer in charge was Yutaka Ogami. They produced Production I.G’s Crayon Shin-Chan outsourcing work, plus series like Moshi Dora and Suisei no Gargantia. Ogami left the company on 2015.
  • I.G 8: Their produced in charge was Tomohiko Ishii. They focused on 3DCG works with Kenji Kamiyama. Their status is unknown.
  • I.G 9: In charge of the Ghost In The Shell franchise. Tomotoshi Nishimura and Megumi Sato were their producers in charge. It was created for the production of Stand Alone Complex, they are pioneers on 3D Layouts and digital 3DCG Animation. Now their 3DCG division exists independenly as Sublimation. They were the main studio of Kenji Kamiyama, but he switched to Studio 8 more recently.
  • X: Rui Kuroki is their producer in charge. Usually co-produces series with M.S.C, with Shunsuke Tada as Series Director.
  • I.G ??: Their producer in charge is Shun Fukudome. Produced Mahoujin Guru Guru and Shingeki no Kyojin Chugakko
  • I.G ?? 2: Their producer in charge is Koichi Bansho. Produced Joker Game and collaborated into the Psycho Pass franchise.
  • I.G Niigata: Created when Kouji Komurakata returned to his home town of Niigata, I.G often sends a number of episodes of most of their series to be produced there as easy outsourcing.
  • Wit Studio: Before their creation, they were Studio 6. By themselves, they have fourth divisions, the first one is their main studio, directed by Tetsuya Nakatake, that produced works like Shingeki no Kyojin and Owari no Seraph, their second and third are by Maiko Okada and Kei Otani, serving as a solitaire unit, produced the movies of Donten ni Warau, the fourth is Hiroya Hasegawa’s division, that produced series like Mahotsukai no Yome. They have been known constantly by their horrible production meltdowns.
  • Signal .MD: Before their creation, they produced movies like Giovanni’s Island, while their 3DCG studio produced movies like Appleseed XII. Their producers are Yoshiki Sakurai, Fuminori Honda and Takehito Ueno. Their 2D section specializes on digital animation.

Division 1 Animators: Takayuki Goto, Kyoji Asano, Akiko Nagashima, Toru Okubo, Yasutaka Kubota, Toshiyuki Yahagi, Keita Matsumoto

Division 2 Animators: Kazuchika Kise, Hiroyo Izumi, Minoru Ueda, Mitsunobu Nakamura

Division 3 Animators: Tomohiro Shinoda, Yuki Sato

Niigata Animators: Kouji Komurakata, Ryota Niino, Fumi Morita

Wit Animators: Arifumi Imai, Takuma Ebisu, Yasuyuki Ebara, Rena Igawa, Norihiro Naganuma

Related Animators: Hiroyuki Okiura, Tetsuya Nishio, Masatsugu Arakawa, Hisashi Ezura, Atsushi Takeuchi, Naoyoshi Shiotani, Toshihisa Kaiya, Satoru Nakamura, Keigo Sasaki, Yasuhiro Aoki

Home-Grown Animators: Miyako Yatsu, Masahiro Sekiguchi, Shiho Takeuchi, Masahiro Sato, Akiko Nakamura, Katsuya Kikuchi, Genki Matsumoto, Tomotaka Shibayama, Kanami Sekiguchi, Shinichi Yokota, Izumi Seguchi, Yuuga Tokuno, Kiyu Katagiri, Shinji Itadaki

Niigata Home-Grown Animators: Keiichi Honda, Keiko Sato, Narihito Sekikawa

Production IMS:

-It was established in 2013 by ex-AIC producers Yoshiyuki Matsushima and Yusuke Yuki

-Their first anime was Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha. Some of the main staff members of the series established TROYCA during the production and later became independent

-They have been known by the constant melting of some of their series, however, they have kept close connection with animators like Kazuto Arai, Satoshi Sakai and Naoki Miyajima

-Suddenly, the company started to fall apart on 2017, becoming the subsidary of a solar power company and reports of unpaid staff everywhere, leading to suspicions of poor management. They tried to restructure with the dissolution of their digital department to try balance the books, but they eventually declared bankrupcy on June of 2018, with the proceedings starting on October of that same year, the bankruptcy after only five years of existence shocked the companies involved with the studio

Former Animators: Hiroyuki Kobe, Hisashi Saito, Yoshihiro Watanabe, Shinpei Kobayashi, Keita Hagio, Yosuke Ito, Takao Takegami

Related Animators: Hiroyuki Furukawa, Kana Miyai, Satoshi Sakai, Takenori Tsukuma, Kazuto Arai, Naoto Nakamura, Asako Nishida, Masahiro Yamane, Narumi Kakinouchi, Kazuo Takigawa

White Fox:

-Founded in 2007 by OLM producer Gaku Iwasa, producer of the production line TEAM IWASA, that produced Utawarerumono.

-He is aiming for a safe space for animators and good working conditions. Most of the staff is made up from people that he already had connections from since his OLM days.

-The number of works per year as been established as an internal policity, to maintain the staff unestressed and focused on only one or two things at the time. Therefore, their schedules are consistently stables, altrough Steins;Gate’s episode were corrected until just before the very delivery of the episodes, making even Iwasa exhausted. They later restructured to handle better with 2-cour productions.

-Their website is updated frequentely indicating the staff that has a contract with the studio on exactly that time, something unusual for an anime studio

-There was a case of leaked setting material from Katanagatari via illegal access to their website

-They opened in 2016 a subsidary in Izukogen, Shizuoka, with the sole purpose of cultivating new animators, with less worries with the salary due to the cost of the living expenses being very low, with the own studio establishing dormitories. Furthermore, under the guidance of active animators from the studio, they aim to creative an ambient of friendly competitiviness on communal living where animators can develop naturally and eventually get to work for their main studio

Animators: Kazuhisa Nakamura, Taro Ikegami, Masahiko Nakata, Atsushi Itagaki, Ryosuke Kimiya, Nobuhiro Muto, Hiroyuki Hashimoto

Former Animators: Motoki Tanaka, Takashi Shiokawa, Naoto Hosoda, Tatsumi Fujii, Ikuo Yoshida, Kyuta Sakai, Daisuke Mataga

Bones:

-Established in 1998, by members of Sunrise 2nd Studio, that were just out of producting Bebop, along with producer Masahiko Minami, key creative figures like Toshihiro Kawamoto and Takahiro Komori followed him

-They have a reputation for impressive 2D Mecha animation and solid schedules and quality across their series. In particular, they showed a surprising high level of stability on 4-cour series like Fullmetal Alchemist, Soul Eater or Eureka Seven.

-They have their own photography department, Chappi being the most known member of it, specialized on doing the photography on EDs drawn by Norimitsu Suzuki

-Once, a table of studio’s data was made public on the internet, with information of unpublished works and personal information of various famous animators

-They established a bussiness alliance agreement with the video distribution service Netflix around 2017

-Below is each production line of Bones. It was consolidated into a new office in 2010.

  • A: Their producer in charge is Naoki Amano. Their latest work is Shinichiro Watanabe’s Carol & Tuesday. Toshihiro Kawamoto and Koichi Hirokawa are big creative forces of this production line. They are consistently on good schedule, and when Bones do outsourced episodes to other studio, they are usually on charge.
  • B: Their producer in charge is Masahiko Minami. Makoto Watanabe, the first producer, left for D, and Yuki Nagano, their second producer, recently left to found Studio Durian, so Minami stepped up to the task. Their latest work was Mob Psycho 100 II. They are usually the studio in charge of Bones big sakuga shows.
  • C: Their producer in charge is Yoshihiro Oyabu. Their latest work is the third season of Boku no Hero Academia. Animators like Yutaka Nakamura, Yoshiyuki Ito and Norimitsu Suzuki are very regular staff on this line.
  • D: Their producer in charge is Mari Suzuki, after their previous producers Makoto Watanabe and Noritomo Yonai left, the second one to create studio Lay-Duce and the first one to E. They are the second youngest production line. Their latest work was the third season of Bungou Stray Dogs. The staff seems to have many people related to Studio Hibari.
  • E: Youngest production line. Their producer in charge is Makoto Watanabe. They were established for the Eureka Seven movies. They are the most consistent studio, arriving the animators at morning and leaving early at night. 80% of the animators of the production line are mechanical animators, commanded by mecha star Yasushi Muraki.

Animators: Toshihiro Kawamoto, Takahiro Komori, Koichi Horikawa, Hiroki Kanno, Yutaka Nakamura, Takashi Tomioka, Tsunenori Saito, Kenji Mizuhata, Yasuyuki Kai, Nekomataya, Nobuaki Nagano, Ayumi Kurashima, Iori Kudo, Akira Takeuchi, Kenta Yokoya, Arisa Hoshino, Takuma Nakamura, Yoshiyuki Ito, Yasushi Muraki, Jun Shibata, Hideki Kakita, Katsumi Terahigashi, Norimitsu Suzuki, Yasuhiro Irie, Kenichi Yoshida, Kazumi Inadome, Kumiko Takahashi, Takashi Kawaguchi, Atsushi Hasebe, Hiroshi Osaka (Late)

Home-Grown Animators: Atsuko Nozaki, Kengo Saito

Madhouse:

-Established in 1972, by Masao Maruyama, Osamu Dezaki, Yoshiaki Kawajiri and Shigeyuki Hayashi. The name is an acronym for three out the four of them MAruyama Dezaki Hayashi OsamU ShigEyuki. Yutaka Fujioka also backed the studio at their beginning, and most of their earlier works were co-produced with Tokyo Movie.

-Produced mainly OVAs series known by their impressive art direction and avant-grade directing techniques. Their first solo series as producers was 1989’s Yawara!

-During the final of the 90s and during the 2000s they focused on series by auteur directors like Yoshiaki Kawajiri, Satoshi Kon, Sunao Katabuchi and Mamoru Hosoda, as well as giving series to fascinating creators like Mitsuo Iso and Masaaki Yuasa, and giving anime to more niche manga propierties like Kaiji, studio was very well praised during all of the 2000s, with also a continuous fabric of talented directors like Hiroshi Hamasaki, Tetsuro Araki and Sayo Yamamoto. On the other hand, a lot of their series were mainly outsourced to korean studio DR. Movie, so it’s a mixed bag

-In the 2000s, there was a large number of talented directors and animators, but in 2010, after the bankruptcy and NTV’s buy-out of the studio, staff started escape the studio on a mass exodus of poor management. Of their four founders, the only one that remains on the studio is Yoshiaki Kawajiri, Shigeyuki Hayashi retired on 2012, Osamu Dezaki died on 2011 and Masao Maruyama established MAPPA on 2011 and then M2 on 2017.

-Their only talent left is sprinkled through Yuichiro Fukushi’s P series, mostly directed by Shingo Natsume

Animators: Yoshiaki Kawajiri, Takahiro Umehara, Kunihiko Sakurai, Kunihiko Hamada, Shigeru Fujita, Yoshinori Kanemori, Michiyo Suzuki, Satoshi Tasaki, Akiko Oshima, Kayo Sakazume, Keiko Fujii, Akane Oguchi

Related Animators: Akio Sugino, Manabu Ohashi, Yoshinori Kanada, Takashi Nakamura, Kazuo Takigawa, Nobumasa Shinkawa, Nobuteru Yuki, Hiroshi Hamasaki, Yutaka Minowa, Takahiro Yoshimatsu, Hiroshi Koujina, Shinji Otsuka, Kitaro Kosaka, Kumiko Takahashi, Michio Mihara, Masaaki Yuasa, Yasuomi Umetsu, Satoru Utsunomiya, Takuo Noda, Mieko Hosoi, Yuzo Sato, Hisashi Abe, Masaki Hyuga

Former Animators: Koji Morimoto, Atsuko Fukushima, Takeshi Koike, Ryutaro Nakamura, Tensai Okamura, Jiro Kanai, Norimitsu Suzuki, Kenji Hayama, Hiroshi Nagahama, Katsuya Asano, Shougo Furuya, Hideo Hayashi

MAPPA:

-Established by Madhouse’s Masao Maruyama in 2011 after departing the company. A few years after that, Manabu Otsuka became the president as Maruyama left MAPPA themselves to fund M2.

-Their first solo full-lenght anime was Zankyou no Terror, an high-scale production directed by Shinichiro Watanabe filled with a lot of industry’s brightiest talents

-Their movie In This Corner Of The World, directed by Sunao Katabuchi, won the Japanese Academy Award

-The Dreaming Machine, Satoshi Kon’s last movie, was on production at MAPPA as Maruyama moved it from Madhouse, trying to give body to the incomplete movie of the prodigious director. In an interview with Akiba Research Institute, Maruyama said that they decided to stop the production, leaving Kon’s final legacy in the air

-Since the 2016, they are divided in five production lines as the studio’s massive expansion on that year

  • 1: All of the studio’s works were produced there before the division on 2016. Their latest work is Kakegurui xx.
  • 2: A studio established to produce In This Corner Of The World.
  • 3: Established in 2016. In charge of Kazuhiro Furuhashi’s series Altair and Dororo
  • 4: Established in 2016. Focused on the Garo franchise.
  • Sendai: A studio on Sendai was established on 2018

Related Animators: Kazuto Nakazawa, Hisashi Abe, Toshiyuki Kanno, Yuichiro Hayashi, Yuji Hosogoe, Sayo Aoi, Rie Nishimura, Seong Ho Park, Takayuki Sano, Takashi Igari, Masao Ebihara, Atsushi Wakabayashi, Naoyuki Onda, Kenji Hayama, Fumihide Sai, Manabu Akita

Manglobe (now Geno Studio):

-Founded in 2002 by ex-Sunrise producers Shinichiro Kobayashi and Takashi Kochiyama.

-They mainly worked a lot on original anime and adaptations of Weekly Shounen Sunday.

-Due to lack of animators, they start to fall apart on a combination of lack of anime being made and the cost of production skyrocketed because the amount of outsourcing required, they couldn’t produce anime because they didn’t have animators and then they couldn’t produce anime because they went bankrupt, until they finally declared said bankrupcy on September 2015.

-Their last TV series was Gangta., which was produced while on financial turnboil, resulting on some very very bad melting drawings all over the series and the discontinuing of the blu-rays. A movie that they were also producing at the time, Gyakutsatsu Kikan, was interrupted and delayed.

-On November 2015, Fuji TV producers Koji Yamamoto and Noritomo Yonai funded Studio Geno, that served as the initial step for planning company Twin Engine, with most of Manglobe staff being carried out to Geno to finish the production of Gyakutsatsu Kikan

Related Animators: Akane Umezu, Yoshihiro Oka, Toshie Kawamura, Hideto Komori, Yo Sato, Mitsutoshi Sato, Sachiko Sugimoto, Jun Soga, Kotomi Deai, Kazuto Nakazawa, Manabu Nii, Emi Hirano, Naoaki Hojo, Tomomi Mochizuki

Milipensee:

-Founded in 2013 by ex-Gainax producer Naoko Shiraishi.

-All of Milipensee’s work is directed by her husband Shin Itagaki.

-Known by being the responsible of the animation of the Teekyu series

-Their first full lenght series was Wake Up Girls! Next Chapter. They had 9 key animators, including Shin Itagaki, with the work being entirely in-house. However, the character animation started to fall apart after the third episode, and the production complications started to be noticeable for the shortscuts that they employed to hide it. Eventually, they had to do a compilation episode to reorder the schedule, and somehow all 12 of the episode were animated only using in-house animators. That showed that they were still not up to the task of producting a full-lenght series on their own.

-And i won’t even touch the whole Berserk thing…

Animators: Hiromi Kimura, Miyuki Sugawara, Maiko Miyake, Eiji Toshima, Daichi Kobayashi, Tomohiro Uchida, Toshiaki Uchida, Hikari Yamada, Kentaro Ishikawa, Ryota Nakajima, Yoshiya Sugaya, Daiki Sato, Sumio Shinagawa, Wataru Shibata, Keiko Miyano, Aika Sugiyama, Shin Itagaki

ufotable:

-Founded in 2000 by former Telecom producer Hikaru Kondo.

-They started to be known by using Claymation on their endings, but now it has been dropped off

-The company has animation, finishing, art and digital divisions completely in-house, and their works since 2010 are focused on being produced completely in-house. In addition, in-house members participate on the song writing and composition of their scores.

-They have participated in the production comitee for almost all of their productions since 2006

-They have wide personal connections with young freelance animators, also, they started to recruit heavily since 2016

-There are many former AIC animators on their initial members. Originally, it was a few people gathered in 4 tatami and half rooms animating, now it’s a large company with over 200 employees.

-They are keen to develop local human resources, establishing an studio in Kondo’s birthplace Tokushima. In works after 2014, they often used completely home-grown staff as their main staff (directors, character designers, etc)

-They created a great studio ambient and community, key animators can step up as teachers for in-between animators, so do senior artists of the fine arts department making their juniors practice hand-drawn art to perfect their craft before moving to digital, key animators are often active on other departments as well as one on the recruiting department, etc. Even junior key animators and in-between animators have a hand on correcting and designing.

-200 yen (1.84 dollars) per cut to newcomers, they produce something on the range of 200 sheets per month. 20,000 yen (184 dollars) of house allowance. They used to have a fixed salary of 100,000 (920 dollars), now they pay by cut.

-It is forbidden working while listening to music and watching TV. They mantain a strict control over time cards to impide overworking.

-They manage the Ufotable Cafe, for the purpose of interaction with fans in several places across the country, as well as collaboration cafes with other companies. At the cafe, you can see reproductions of the production materials and raw key animation used on their anime.

-Their producer and representative is Hikaru Kondo. He also works as director, scriptwriter and sound director. He is in charge of the sound direction of all of ufotable’s anime since 2016.

-Their photography department has a very distinct style idiosincratic from their main photography director Yuichi Terao

Animators: Tomonori Sudou, Masayuki Kunihiro, Go Kimura, Atsushi Ogasawara, Shinsuke Yasuda, Shun Yamaoka, Koji Akiyama, Touko Uchimura, Ricardo Shimbakuro, Shogo Fujiwara, Satoshi Takahashi, Akane Okabe, Aoi Okabe, Mieko Ogata, Masato Nagamori, Takuro Takahashi, Mitsuru Obunai, Haruo Sotozaki, Akira Matsushima, Takuya Nonaka, Takahiro Miura

Related Animators: Tetsuya Takeuchi, Atsushi Itagaki, Keiichi Sasajima, Teiichi Takiguchi, Yoshitaka Kouno, Nozomu Abe

Former Related Animators: Jun Shibata, Seiya Numata, Toshimitsu Kobayashi, Hirokazu Kojima, Soichiro Matsuda, Hokuto Sakiyama, Shinichiro Minami, Mutsumi Kadekaru, Katsumi Terahigashi

Liden Films:

-Established in 2012 by three producers: Hiroaki Matsuura from SANZIGEN, Tetsuro Satomi from Barnum Studio and Tadao Iwaki from Shaft. They were created as a stepping stone for the holding company and studio alliance Ultra Super Pictures

-They have studios in Kyoto and Osaka, that regularly receive ex-animators from Kyoto Animation and GoHands respectively, the leading studios of those cities. They also established a Fukaya studio in Saitama, and they are advancing to establish more divisions in different regions of Japan.

-A lot of their members come from Yamakan’s studios Ordet, after a massive exodus from Ordet to Liden on 2013.

Animators: Maimu Matsushima, Shinobu Yoshioka, Rika Ota, Haruka Sagawa, Kazunari Araki, Nao Naitou, Kazuya Sakamoto, Shota Taniguchi, Nana Kunimitsu, Ayana Nishimura, Natsuya Ishida, Shuhei Miwa, Ayano Miwa, You Himuro, Yuki Hino, Yui Yokoyama, Shinya Kokaji

Lerche / Studio Hibari:

-Founded in 1979 by Tsuchida Pro producer Hiroyoshi Mitsunobu and his wife, Sachiko. They started doing outsourcing work for Mitsunobu’s former studio.

-It has been family managed since then, when Mitsunobu fell ill in 1985, his wife, Sachiko Mitsunobu, was appointed president, and his son, Seiji Mitsunobu, just graduated from college, managing director. Since 2002, they have been appointed chairman (chairwomen?) and president respectively

-In 2011, they created the production brand Lerche, not separated from Hibari, focused on the production line of Yuji Higa. Currently, it has become so succesful that almost everything they produce is branded after Lerche, but just if Higa has a connection to it

-Seiji Kishi has been used to build a directing brand to accompany the new production brand Lerche with the years

Affiliation Animator: Katsusuke Konuma, Yoshimi Agata, Tomoko Iwasa, Keiko Kurosawa, Mayumi Watanabe

Related Animators: Ryouko Amisaki, Ryozo Sugiyama, Yuji Moriyama

Home-Grown Animators: Makoto Yoshizaki, Ken Ueno, Yoshitaka Koyama, Toshiaki Motoya, Shuichi Ito, Hiroshi Ogawa, Keiko Ito, Shigeru Fujita, Masaya Ohnishi, Akio Watanabe, Satoshi Hata, Taisuke Iwasaki, Takamitsu Kondo, Naoto Hosoda, Seiya Numata, Tetsuo Hirakawa, Ryozo Sugiyama, Ikuo Yamakado, Masako Tashiro, Yumiko Hara

Lay-Duce:

-Founded in 2013 by former Bones producer Noritomo Yonai. They exists as a part of the Twin Engine umbrella that Yonai has established along with Fuji TV producer Koji Yamamoto.

-They often produce series with C2C.

Bibliography:

https://www18.atwiki.jp/sakuga/pages/2015.html

https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E3%83%A1%E3%82%A4%E3%83%B3%E3%83%9A%E3%83%BC%E3%82%B8

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Ending Analysis: Naruto Shippuden #34: A place to come back to

Ending Staff:

Storyboard/Director: Haruki Kasugamori

Animation Director: Kumiko Horikoshi

Key Animators: Haru Watanabe, Hiromi Yoshinuma, Genichiro Kouno, Yoshihiro Sugai, Anna Yamaguchi, Mamoru Otake, Zenjirou Ukulele

Song: Niji ni Sora by FLOW

On any small town, or village, in this case, we always have some places that always have been there, that our parents were on those places, our grandfathers, our teachers, and our children also going to go to those places when they eventually discover them, but what makes them magical? Easy.

They are a place to come back to.

Every single time you go back to your small town or village that you grew up in, you always visit that place, it’s like a checkpoint of your life, that place saw you grow, become an adult, have your children, your family, saw your parents grow, your grandfathers grow and probably is going to see your children grow, it’s this magical place where everyone meet, where everyone knew each other, and in this case, the Ramen guy, every time someone got back from their journeys, their missions, welcome everyone with a smile, exploiting their like for Ramen to better his economical situation on a offert-demand capitalistic scheme, the characters of the story are his clients, but more than his clients, are his family.

He saw how great legends rised to fame, the Konoha no Kiiroi Senkou, the Konohagakure no Eiyuu, the Ero-Sennin, all from his ramen post on Konoha, he was their place to come back to, the place where the torch was passed, where masters sat down with alumns to share their knowledge, where couples go to pass their time and eventually, to give their great news  of new families to the Ramen Guy, that was always there, ready to cheer them up with a bowl of Ramen, he was everyone’s family, he accepted Naruto when he was nothing, he accepted him when he became a Ninja, he accepted him when he became a legend, he accepted him when he became a father, the Konoha Guy was always there, with a smile, serving his bowl of ramen, this ending captures that, on a beautiful continous sequence of passage of time, with everyone making it to the Ichiraku Ramen for their bowls, legends, Hokages, masters, students, everyone, made it to the Ichiraku Ramen, and he always received them with a smile.

Ichiraku Ramen is the story checkpoint of the series, it’s the place that everyone, always come back to.

 

Naruto Shippuuden Opening #18: Why Hiroyuki Yamashita understands Naruto better than anyone

The gem on this opening has various meanings.

The gem that the dead characters let go at the beginning is the wishes and hopes that they had while they were alive, that they want to keep alive on the world, deepened on the earth of the living. Ideals of peace, honor, freedom and justice that if it not was for their great work sharing them to others they will be lost to the time.

The gem that Naruto searches is happiness, his dreams, that he restless tries to catch through the series. The gem at the beginning for Sasuke was his dreams, of killing his brother and knowing that now that he has achieved his goal, be happy, then it changes the meaning, he is fighting with it, he has achieved his goal, but now he understands his brother and wants to actively fight against his dream, and Sakura is an intermediate on both sides, the light of both irradiate on her, she is the one that has always stood up from them, and even as her tears falls seeing them on their worst, she still want both of them alive and safe.

The transition shows Sakura being changed by Rin and Naruto and Sasuke by Kakashi and Obito, the gem that has been keeping them together -Rin- is destroyed, then Kakashi face backwards to the past, while Obito face forwards, to the future, with Madara’s plan on his head, finally Kakashi face forwards and Obito backwards, when Tobi’s identity is revealed and his motivations exposed, one is looking to the future, the other is looking to the past, then both are back to back, unknowns to each other, wanting to subsane their mistakes, finally they are both facing backwards, remembering the past and the gem that their lost appears as a reminiscent between them, then both face forwards, to the future, as they realize that that was what Rin would surely want for them, to both fight together so the pain that they felt would never been felt anymore from anyone.

Madara’s gem are his ambitions, that Kaguya took from his, as she is quietly revealed, showing that Madara’s ambitions werent his, but Kaguya’s ambitions, and that gem rightfully is her gem.

At the end we see everyone trying to catch a gem, is the gem of the peace, the ideals of peace, honor, freedom and justice that the lost ones gave to us, a torch-passing moment, also connecting with the Kakashi and Obito part, everyone tries to catch that gem, because with those ideals, nobody would have died, without war, hate, dishonor and distrust, nothing would have happened, and they need to catch it to end them all, but nobody can, even as they try, and the gem slips up from their hands, and keep falling, nobody can catch it, because nobody is free from those errors, everyone played their part on keep the cycle of blood around.

Finally, Naruto catch it surely and firmly with his hand, he get those values, and he ends the cycle of blood that has been perpetuated through the years on the Ninja world, he is the choosen to get that gem from the dead, so nobody would have their same fate again, with their lives ended early from the war and violence of the world. He also with this catches his dreams and happiness that he has been trying to find all along.

Storyboarder and director Hiroyuki Yamashita, with this, show us that he understands the series and its message better than anyone.

Do Kaiju live and die for the sole purpose of being defeated?: A small Gridman piece.

Do Kaiju live and die for the sole purpose of being defeated?

Yes.

And us, humans, for what we live for?

For our personal gain? Collect as much money or prestige or friends as we can make until we die? For the sake of others? To give altruistically every part of ourselves to another person? For god? To devote ourselves to a blind faith of something that we have never seen and even never understand?

We don’t know.

And we spend all of our lives trying to find the sole purpose of our lives, we are all Akane, we are all selfish, we are all lost, we are all gods that can’t adapt to their own universe, let’s take back to the episode nine of SSSS. Gridman, and let’s take back ourselves to our teenage years.

How was you when you were a teenager?

You dreamed about having a lot friends, a boyfriend, to be good in the studies, be a good person, be adored by everyone…be a god?

How was Akane?

She dreamed about having a lot of friends, a boyfriend, to be good in the studies, be a good person, be adored by everyone..be a god?

The scene where Akane’s dreams start to crumble, we look at ourselves, as we looked upon ourselves on denial after realizing that all of those dreams were all lies and tricks, unreal expectations of a perfect life.

And then we realize, searching everything that we thought it would make us happy, with what we are left? With nothing, we have nothing besides our desires, we are empty, alone, we are lost without a purpose on this world, with nothing to live or die for.

As Akane realizes, at the end of the day, we can’t reach our self-imposed expectations, we end up falling short, and when we fall short, we realize that those were impossible, that we were searching by the moon instead of just checking our pocket.

On Hopscotch, argentinian author Julio Cortazar, impersonated on his main character, Horacio, says the following:

“The hopscotch is played with a pebble that must be pushed with the tip of the shoe. Ingredients: a sidewalk, a pebble, a shoe, and a beautiful drawing with chalk, preferably colored. At the top is the sky, below is the earth, it is very difficult to get to the sky with the pebble, it is almost always miscalculated and the stone leaves the drawing. Little by little, however, the necessary skill is acquired to save the different squares (snail hopscotch, rectangular hopscotch, fantasy hopscotch, little used) and one day you learn to leave the Earth and climb the pebble to Heaven, until entering Heaven, (Et tous us amours, Emmanuèle sobbed face down), the bad thing is that just at that height, when almost no one has learned to climb the pebble to Heaven, childhood just ends and falls into the novels, in the anguish of the divine rocket, in the speculation of another Heaven to which we must also learn to arrive. And because it has left childhood (Je n’oublierai pas le temps des cérises, kicked Emmanuèle on the ground) it is forgotten that to get to Heaven you need, as ingredients, a pebble and the tip of a shoe.”

What that means?

The Heaven is the meaning of our lives, people forgot how to reach heaven, without noticing that maybe the answer is just on a pebble on our pocket that we need to push with the very tip of our shoes, Akane also forget this, we forget this, maybe the true happiness -the heaven- is not a magical whimsical fantasy of having your own world where you control everything and everyone serves you for your wishes, and if they not, you killed them with magical Kaijus.

Maybe the Heaven is something more simple, that we reach with only a pebble and the tip of our shoes, it’s happiness, it’s friendship, it’s whatever we may think of, it’s the meaning of our lives, and to reach it, we don’t need kaijus or become god, we don’t even need friends or boyfriends, we just need a pebble, a simple impulse to reach happiness.

We always live trying to reach that heaven, and until we don’t understand that, we will never reach it.

Do humans live and die for the sole purpose…of finding one?

Naruto Shippuuden’s Opening Analysis: Opening #4

Fourth Opening – Closer by Joe Inoue

An overview on the singer and song:

This is an interesting one. For start, Joe Inoue is foreign, yeah, because Joe was obviously a japanese name, he is actually ethnically japanese because his parents were both japanese but based on California rather than, well, Japan, not for nothing he shows perfect english on this song, he learned japanese from mangas, his parents didn’t talked japanese, he didn’t talked japanese, nobody on his environment talked japanese, he learned it by himself.

Another thing that he learned from himself is to play every instrument present on his songs, the keyboard, the guitar, the bass guitar, the drums, everything is 100% recorded by him, plus writing the lyrics and composing every piece of music that he mades, plus directing and editing music videos for people like Diana Garnet and himself, he is probably the single most talented person that i’m going to cover on this entire series of blog posts.

He also has an incredible work ethic, releasing 7 10+ songs albums on the last three years alone, he also has a lot of Youtube channels, for different countries, where he shows his incredible polyglot skills: https://joeinoue.wixsite.com/joeinoue/youtube

Really, this guy is talented as fuck, he is a genius.

However, the core of his sucess is not his solo stuff, but rather his also incredible work rate behind the scenes, a very in-demand music writer and producer, so, yeah, he made quite some waves despite not being incredibly succesful as a solo singer, he released three major label records between 2006 and 2010, this track is from his second album, ME!ME!ME!, the album was one week at #86 on the Oricon charts and dissapeared, the song on particular had a longer shelf-life, spending seven weeks on the charts and peaking at number twenty two, but this song, along with Kaze no Gotoku from Gintama. are his only two hits ever, both around the low points of the top fourty.

An overview on the creators:

So, for one thing, neither Tsuru or Suzuki are on this, the director of the opening was series director’s Hayato Date, let’s see a resumee of his carreer: Naruto. Yeah, he spent most of his life working on Naruto, from 2002 to 2017, that’s whole 15 years of Naruto, he previously did series like Saiyuki, Tokyo Underground and Kaze no Yojimbo, participated as storyboarder on some other Pierrot series such as Flame of Recca and Great Teacher Onizuka, he now spent his days at Pierrot’s subsidary Pierrot Plus doing things like Konbini Kareshi and Gunjou no Magmel, he is a conventional director with not a lot of personality or specially creative, he is more work man-like, rather than any kind of a directorial genius, his works are very bland and pretty boring on the visual side, but he works well for some things, openings aren’t one of them, but we will look at that on a while, the Animation Director was Yumenosuke Tokuda, all he can say about him is that…he is an animator, he sure is! nah, he has over twenty years of experience on the anime medium but he hasn’t made anything noteworthy, again, a more workman-like approach to animation, a lot of cutting corners, polish to compensate for lack of fluidy, etcetera, again, not something you will want on an opening, but we will see that later.

As the Director and the Sakkan suggest, the KA list is made exclusively of Naruto regulars: Seiko Asai, Hiromi Okazaki, Yasuhiko Kanezuka, Yuuki Kinoshita, Chiyuki Tanaka and Genichiro Kouno, with the only ones not being regulars at the time but more like “luxury animators” the duo Hiroyuki Yamashita-Norio Matsumoto, both of whom everyone knows which part they did on this opening, spoiler: is the best.

Analysis Of The Song:

I have not much to say about the song, it’s a fairly standard Pop Rock piece, a lot of loud guitars and synth melodies, a lot of drums playing on the background, in fact, a whole issue that i have with this opening in particular is that the mixing is absolutely awful, Inoue mixed himself this song, and damn, is bad, the loudness is at about 3db, that is VERY loud, and all the instruments, and even Inoue’s voice all mix together on a garrish mix when they get to the chorus, so, for the music, this song is complete trash, i just can’t stand it.

The lyric’s message is pretty well, however, just value what you got and always remember the people that left you, a pretty nice message considering the moment of the series that it was played.

Analysis Of The Video:

Ok. This video is bad. Very very bad.

The designs look a lot clunkier, the colors are very very saturated, and on a constant, it looks very bad and mediocre, including awful CGI animation, bad cutouts of the characters, stiff animation, and on general, lack of any semblance of Tsuru’s brilliance, including the last scene with Naruto running cycling through character cutouts placed over a bad CGI background, oh my god.

There is a semblance of Tsuru’s brilliance though, the Yamashita and Matsumoto scene obviously, that takes up a solid 25 seconds of the opening, but it doesn’t do a whole lot for making it better, and specially because those 25 seconds were already on the second version of the third opening.

In fact, this opening may have one of the most memorable scenes of any Naruto opening: Hidan vs Asuma, animated by Hiroyuki Yamashita, the choreography, the rotating camera, Asuma’s great facial expression when hitted by Hidan, and then, the least, but not lesser, horrified Shikamaru’s expression running to meet his dead master: Determination, then denial, and at the end, desesperation and deception are all shown on Shikamaru’s face on that cut, that on my opinion, might be Seiko Asai’s work on this opening.

After that little piece of genius work, the opening goes back to its mediocre self.

 

Naruto Shippuuden’s Opening Analysis: Opening #3

Third Opening – Blue Bird by Ikimono-gakari

An overview on the band and song:

This is probably one of the most interesting bands i’m going to cover there. Ikimono-gakari were founded on 1999 by Hotaka Yamashita and Yoshiki Mizuno, both of them being the main lyricists of the band, and the ones that play the instruments, while a third member was added latter on, Kiyoe Yoshioka, that is the girl who sings all of their songs. They started doing Masayoshi Yamazaki’s covers on the street, and so, after Yoshioka joining, they were two 16-year olds with their classmate’s little sister doing covers of One More Time, One More Chance on the street. Also, their name was because they did “Ikimono-gatari” duties on the school and that’s where they meet, being on charge of their local school’s plants and animals when they were 6 years old.

The band went on hiatus on the year 2000.

Then how they did this opening if they went on hiatus eight years before?

The band during this hiatus period with their two main lyricists working hard on the university and Yoshioka having issues with her throat, they started to increase their fame on Japan, and around 2003, they reunited again.

Their first show was a street show in front of a train station.

Their manager was someone that had seen them once on a live venue.

This sounds like an anime, it isn’t.

They finally released their first indie album on Summer of 2003 and performed their first normal show on 2005 and they continued to publish indie music, that’s until Epic Records signed them on 2007, with their first major record album, The Story Of A Town Where Cherry Blossoms Bloom, being released on March of 2007 to great results, sold 260,000 copies on Japan, reached #4 on the charts, they were a sucess from the beginning, even if they had to change their guitar-harmonica sound of their indie work for a more polished pop rock edge.

They have an impressive CV, 5 consecutive #1 albums and 27 top ten hit singles on Japan, until they finally decided to go on a hiatus on 2017, to rest a little from all their overexposure, since they are one of the biggest bands on Japan, even having their own fan club Ikimonogatari Fan Class 1-2, they made music for sport evens, for anime, for movies, they won all kind of prizes and recognition from everywhere, they were big.

Yoshioka decided to go solo, realising her first album Utairo on October 2018, Mizuno is an happy married man living peacefully, probably making use of his Sociology title, and so is Yamashita, Sociology title too and everything.

This song was the biggest song of their third studio album, it sold 90,000 copies and reached #3 on the japanese charts, an overall success for an already giant band at this point.

An overview on the creators:

Toshiyuki Tsuru directed it. Hirofumi Suzuki sakkan’d it. Water is wet. Also, most of the animators of the previous opening also appear on this one, the main difference there is the KA work from legendary animators Tetsuya Nishio and Norio Matsumoto, altrough other interesting creators such as Gainax-breed Hirokazu Kojima, Tsuru’s friend Hiroto Tanaka, who has such a talent for layouts that has been consistently through the episodes Boruto’s main “Layout Animation Director” and series regular animator Seiko Asai.

The Song:

The music on this is very interesting, as it stray away from the normal j-pop song, Yoshioka has a very distinctive tone of voice that differentiate itself from the slog of half-baked j-pop singers around there, and interesting mixture of violins, harmonicas and acoustic guitars with the more traditional Pop Rock sounds of drums (that for once, sounds like a real person is playing the drums and is not computer-generated by some hack on FruityLoops) and electric guitars.

The lyrics are quite interesting as well, for once, they sound a lot more poetic and structured once they are translated that your usual j-pop lyrics

"Vowing never to return once I have taken flight, 
what I aim for is that blue cerulean sky.

Having yet to remember "grief", I have begun to understand "agony". 
The feelings I hold towards you are now starting to change into "words".

As I awaken from my wandering in this unknown world's dreams, 
I spread my wings, and take off into the sky."

The theme of this song is pretty clear as well, is a song about freedom and taking off any limitations that you may have, to go on with your life and go to a bright future, with freedom and peace, even being aware of your own personal failures but still trying to reach the best that you can be, find peace, love, and solace on the fact that, at least, you tried to fly.

The Video:

The video starts right after the last opening, with Sasuke refusing to go back to the village and Naruto’s feeling sad about it.

As a lot of Naruto’s openings show, this opening’s main visual motif is Naruto’s falling, remembering the people that he meet on the way and then coming back to his senses, this motif gets played as well on the eight and thirteen openings, and i understand it very well, Naruto is always tiptoeing the idea of entering the darkness, falling to it, of becoming a villain, but in a true hero fashion, his moral convictions wouldn’t let him fall on those dark waters, he has always trived to fly, go higher than he ever did, and his friends, the people that he meet on the way, are the ones that keep him always by the bright side.

The second part of this opening is just fighting with filler randos.

However, on that second part, i find the most exciting piece of animation on the entire opening, Sora’s animation around the 0:52 mark, the expression and the volume of Sora’s body movements just constantly impresses me, i think this may be Tetsuya Nishio’s work, but since people always tell me he did a different part of this opening and that that is actually Hiroyuki Yamashita’s, i don’t know.

On pretty wide terms, this is good, altrough a large chunk of the opening is useless.

Naruto Shippuuden’s Opening Analysis – Naruto Shippuuden OP#1-#2

First Opening – Hero’s Come Back by nobodyknows+

 

An overview on the band and song:

nobodyknows+ is a japanese rap group founded on 1999, at the point of this recording, they had six active members, that dropped to five around the time this song’s single was released, rappers Hidden Fish, Crystal Boy, Yasu Ichiban, Nori da Funky Shibire-Sasu (A fan of Del Funky Homosapiens eh?), and G-Ton, plus producer DJ Mitsu, i’ve listened to some of their work, is mostly very 90s hip-hop inspired, althrough, at around this time they were getting an heavier and sharper edge to their songs.

This song belongs to their third studio album vulgarhyhm, that reached as high as #32 on the charts, with the song itself being the main single of that album, reaching #17 on the japanese charts, making it a comfortable hit for them, as expected from a song of this series.

An overview on the creators:

This video was directed and animated on his totality by two animators, Hirofumi Suzuki and Toshiyuki Tsuru, the latter being the one that SB’d it, Suzuki famously started at Studio DEEN around the late stages of the 80s decade, with famous animator Atsuko Nakajima acting as his mentor and best friend Tokuyuki Matsutake practically animating everything with him, he worked a lot on the Ranma 1/2 series, worked on the beautifully animated You’re Under Arrest OVA series and was involved on a lot of OVAs at the time, and he particularly linked with colleague Toshiyuki Tsuru on the 90s, someone that he will eventually will end up working together with him during the rest of his carreer, specially on Hayato Date’s series, that ended up with him becoming the Naruto’s character designer along with Production I.G’s very own Tetsuya Nishio. Tsuru meanwhile, or, as he likes to call himself whenever working on those things, Yasuaki Kurotsu, started around the same time as Suzuki but on a completely different environment, he started on Studio Giants, along with people like Masayuki and Kazuya Tsurumaki, working on things like Takashi Nakamura’s Peter Pan or Hideaki Anno’s Nadia, and he is like, the most talented of the two, he is one of the pioneers of the use of digital technologies on Anime, using various times on Naruto and animes like Kaze no Yojimbo, also by Hayato Date, a very like, prehistoric, now really aged badly CGI, but that at the time was pretty much revolutionary, the Gaara vs Rock Lee fight, for example, couldn’t  be made without CGI rotation effects and CGI sand all over it, for example, or the scene where Zabuza’s fights with Gato’s lynchmen, he has this very cinematic vision of Anime that can’t be reached without instruments like CGI and Digital Photography, that he also uses on this opening, and that can’t also underestimate is merit of also being a great animator, again, keeping with his cinematic theme, he is an overrealistic animator, on the same way as people like Hiroyuki Okiura and Tetsuya Nishio, with a lot of tridimensionality and volume to his work, that some people can even confuse by actual CGI, so, yeah, the guy is a genius.

The Song:

Yeah, i don’t think i’m going to surprise anyone saying that this song is a great pump-up anthem, lyrics about stomping and making noise, and fighthing, and going all your will to your enemy, is a great Shonen song, and a great song to boost, DJ Mitsu’s production is very clean and powerful, just the correct emphasis on the correct beats, and the energetic shouting-like delivery style of the MCs do great accompanying DJ’s Mitsu great producing work. It’s fantastic, actually.

The Video:

This video is just a great introduction to Tsuru’s work, a lot of digital photography and editing is used on there, and most if not all of the information is conveyed through the movements and the photography, for example, Sakura around 0:33 moving weirdly-puppet like, hard spoilers on the inversed images a few seconds after that, including spoilers that wouldn’t happen until a few episodes after this opening closed out, so, yeah, that was kind of a miss, but there are two main scenes there: Gaara’s dissapearing into sand “Mr. Stark, i don’t feel well” style, with everyone trying to capture him until Naruto’s does, and the Akatsuki revelation that is one of the most badass scenes on any opening of Naruto, it’s fantastic, a rotation shot around the members finishing on a close-up of Deidara’s hand, a fantastic move (if they didn’t already showed it on the fillers leading to this, but well, who watched them anyways?).

So, yeah, this was really nice, nothing great tbh, but good.

Second Opening – Distance by LONGSHOT PARTY

An overview on the band and song:

Long Short Party is a japanese Ska band that was founded on 1998 and broke up around 2010, like nobodyknows+, they also had six members: vocalist Sasaji, guitarrist 秀一, bass player SAITARO, drummer PxOxN, trumpetist Ken Iikawa and sax player KJ,  and unlike nobodyknows+, their experiment with success went awful, like, they were independent for nine whole years before they signed with DefStar records, they released the first single, this one, a year later, and broke up just three years after it, with their debut big label album being postponed during three years until its release on 2010, the same year the band eventually broke up, their had four album-less years between 2006 and 2010, that absolutely killed them, their last independent album reached #294 on the charts, their first major label one wasn’t even on the charts to begin with, and this was their biggest single ever, reaching #25 on the charts, having just two top fourty hits, this one, and their Natsume Yuujinchou song, a two hit wonder, if you can call it that way.

They are probably really regretting this song now, well, i can believe that they were already regretting this song then, seeing that DefStar gave zero fucks about them during three stale years.

An overview on the creators:

Toshiyuki Tsuru directed it, Hirofumi Suzuki sakkan’d it, nothing new over the sun, a quick overview of everyone involved on its animation: Hiroyuki Yamashita, then promising new animator of the show, everyone already knows him and loves him, Naruto legend, spent the last twelve years stuck to this series and nothing else (except Colorful and a few cuts around there on Osomatsu-San, but you get the point). Kazunobu Hoshi, another Ranma animator like Suzuki, with less spotlights, Naruto opening regular. Takahiro Chiba, one of the shining gems of Production I.G, a graduate of the Tokyo Animator Gakuin, main guy behind Pro I.G’s Matsushita studio excellence during the past few years on series like Haikyuu, Run In The Wind and Ballroom E Youkoso. Keiko Shimizu, with very few spotlights, a trusted enough movie animator that well, animates on a anime movies for a living. Tokuyuki Matsutake, Suzuki’s best friend, Ranma guy too, really prolific, a great animator and director on its own right, now on Studio Silver, you know that you are something when Kou Yoshinari follows you everywhere. Yuu Yamashita, also known as charozo, graduated from YAG, he pretty much belongs to the same animator group as Koji Masunari and Koji Yabuno, which everyone knows are great character animators, very delicate, the Besame Mucho group, group that Suzuki, Matsutake and Chiba also belong to. Chiyuki Tanaka and Takeshi Ito, Pierrot animator, Naruto’s regulars. Hirofumi Masuda, effects specialist. Tsuru himself with his Kurotsu pen-name and Suzuki.

The Song:

This is song isn’t even close to Ska, and is also overblown as hell, with as much as instruments as you can fit in thrown loosely and very loud on the mix over Sasaji’s voice, it isn’t garrish because it has certain calm moments but it can be headache-inducing on the long term, the lyrics are just about being distant with a close friend and always wishing the best for him, well, i’m pretty sure that Naruto does, but i don’t know if Sasuke does too.

The Video:

It’s bland. Weird naked-sasuke-with-a-snake-on-his-crotch things aside, this video mostly works on a constant bombast that i’m not really fond of on anime openings, i mean, the animation is fantastic, but the video really doesn’t do anything creative with anything, like, it just hyping for the Sasuke’s re-encounter and nothing else, with actually a very nice parelism of the first and the last scene, but everything else, it’s just a one minute and half foreshadowing on the entire arc.

 

Recent Viewing #2

I’m watching with some friends a terribad 2000-and-something eroge adaptation called Soul Link, most of the story is pretty boring and inconsequential. And nor the direction or to animation are anything to wrote home about, its pretty bland and lifeless, with the pretty bad 2000s Eroge designs that populate those kinds of series, and look both outdated and completely garrish nowadays, and probably did then. Its just an anecdote of 2000s blandness. The most relevant thing that has happened on six episodes has been the characters fucking off camera, Woo?.

I also watched Kamichu!’s premiere a few days ago, its part of the Besame Mucho project, some series and movies directed by Koji Masunari, Scriptwritten by Hideyuki Kurata and produced by Tomonori Ochikoshi. Despite the script having its flaws, the characters are lovable and the animation is impressive, the level of complexity and density of the character animation on this episode is incredible, i’ll credit animators Koji Yabuno and Tetsuya Takeuchi, that did an insane number of cuts to this episode, as well as Sakkan Takahiro Chiba. Too bad that the first and the third are trapped doing SouSakkan work nowadays, Yabuno on Pierrot and Chiba on Pro IG, but, as long they elevate the quality of everything that they work on, i’ll be thankful, i take what i can get, y’know?

Animator Spotlight: Takahito Sakazume [坂詰嵩仁]

Twitter: https://twitter.com/to__kage // Sakugabooru: https://sakugabooru.com/post?tags=takahito_sakazume

-Born on January of 1988, Takahito Sakazume is one of the youngest known animators on the industry, being only twenty-nine years old.

-Like a lot of animators on recent years, he is member of the famous webgen movement, a group of animators that got started on a non-conventional way on  anime, they started posting gifs on internet and they after some time got scout by industry people, on the case of Sakazume, he already knew Tatsuya Yoshihara since their were students, being him is senior during that time, and also Yoshihara was the first one to enter on the anime industry, calling Sakazume to participate on his directorial debut, Muromi-San, when Sakazume was only 25 years old, being one of the major players on the Tatsunoko Pro series, where he did KA 4 eps plus the OVA.

-I already mentioned Yoshihara, but the 27-year-old animators Shun Enokido and Ryu Nakayama are also fundamental on Sakazume’s development since they work together often as an animator unit, that i like to call TakaRyuShun, like if it was a megazord or something, maybe i should add Yoshihara and made it TakaRyuTatsuShun.

-After working on Muromi-San, he stayed on Tatsunoko Pro, being called to work on Ryoochimo’s directorial debut Yozakura Quartet, where he worked with the TakaRyuShun team on eps 6, 9 and 13, the second one directed by Tatsuya Yoshihara, completing the TakaRyuTatsuShun formation.

-He made his design debut on Tatsuya Yoshihara’s third TV series Monter Musume no Iru Nichijou, where he did Prop Design and participated as Key Animator on an impressive 8 episodios of the series! On this series he also did In-Between Animation for his own scene on the third episode, making it still his most impressive feat on TV anime, showing at the heights of his powers on that series.

-He gained mainstream following since the Fate/Grand Order commercials surged, animated by him and Shun Enokido, an impressive display of flashy and speedy webgen animation spectacle, that impressed even the most skeptical animation purist and the most ignorant of casual anime viewers, being known since then thanks to his Fate/ work, where he is working on right now as Action Director on the new series of the franchise, Fate/Apocrypha, series that already on the first episode animated a impressive 4-minute scene at the very beginning of the episode on team with Shun Enokido.

-His style consist of stilted animation clearly inspired by Tatsuya Yoshihara, fast paced movements and clean smears, with realistic fabric animation and impact frames reminiscent of Yutaka Nakamura’s modern style, making it a impressive combination of his inspirations.

-Tatsuya Yoshihara is directing Black Clover at Pierrot, hoping that he shows up there since i’m probably the biggest Pierrot follower on earth, and i will really happy of him being there to deliver some impressive action cuts on such a mediocre shounen series.

 

 

Script: Respecting the late Kazunori Mizuno

This was the original script for Canipa’s Respecting the late Kazunori Mizuno video, written on April 2017.

The 19th of March of 2017, on the studio Pierrot, a famous japanese animation studio known by their Shounen shows, a director of the studio was taking a nap, after working without rest during days, probably on their new series Boruto: The Next Generations, a series that was going to be the debut of young animator Hiroyuki Yamashita as Series Director, that director was a big friend of his, even doing the storyboard on the eleventh opening of the previous series, Naruto: Shippuuden, on which Yamashita did animation supervisor’s work, said director never got up and died on the studio, he was going to celebrate thirty years as Episode Director on 2018, and was going to see one of his youngsters do his debut as Series Director on the small screen with his biggest friend, Noriyuki Abe, supervising him.

 

His name was Kazunori Mizuno.

 

A few days after it, Kazuyoshi “Yagi” Yaginuma and Ken’ichi Fujisawa, two greatly talented animators that were working on the studio at the time, announced his death on Twitter, after no official announcement of the studio was made, the causes of the death are still a mystery, but everything points out that the case was a heart failure for overwork and chronic sleep deprivation, apparently he was having trouble to work properly for the amount of work that he did, and used that excuse to take a nap, where the sad event happened.

 

But let’s shed some light about who is this director and why should we care about it, shall we?

 

Kazunori Mizuno entered on the industry really young, as a Production Assistant on studio Pierrot, with only twenty-two years, he was lucky enough to receive a steady and fast promotion thanks to his incredible work ethics and talent to justify it, even being so young, he had ambition and he had the talent to be promoted to Episode Director with only one year as Production Assistant, and even more was his joy when he was permited to do his first storyboard outside of Pierrot on the Tatsunoko I.G OVA series Yagami-kun’s Family Affairs, where he worked along some of industry best animators like Yoshinori Kanada and Kazuchika Kise, and on the next years, he continued working on small OVA and TV projects with talented people, more particularly, he was a big friend of veteran animator Yoshiyuki Kishi, and he worked on everything that he was on.

 

A few years passed on, and then, the opportunity of his life came, Noriyuki Abe approached him on Pierrot to work on his new series, Yu Yu Hakusho, the anime adaptation of one of the hottest manga of that time, penned by Yoshihiro Togashi, its anime adaptation was hyped and Noriyuki Abe reunited a team of young, talented directors and animators to make it work, every one of them was trying to surpass each other constantly, a real race to see who does the best episode, and of the storyboaders, Kazunori Mizuno and Akiyuki Shinbo presented the strongest game, with a unique approach to photography and a ceratain beauty coming from their storyboards, even the action ones were superb with their clever use of angles and exciting as few photography.

 

After Yu Yu Hakusho, he directed a small, unknown AIC OVA called Kishin Corps that didn’t really take off, and returned to Pierrot on 1995 after not being present on the last cour of Yu Yu Hakusho, to work on the next Noriyuki Abe’s series Ninku, that was the debut as Character Designer of a really young and promising animator called Tetsuya Nishio, that was making waves on the industry thanks to his unique approach on character acting, that we can see even today. Kazunori Mizuno’s episodes were the most talent grabbing of the whole Ninku series, where his striking boards presented a perfect opportunity for people like the then young Yutaka Nakamura show off his talents, Kazunori Mizuno’s talent to do convincing action scenes was again probed, and he delivered, with the help of such talented animators that were always at disposition to help him out.

 

Some years after, on the new millenium, after passing a lot of time working at Madhouse on series like Trigun, Cardcaptor Sakura and Hajime no Ippo, where, he, by the way, did his first opening on the latter and after that while, he reunited with his old pal Akiyuki Shinbo on The Soultaker, being on charge of the very penultimate episode of the series, to show how much he was trusted by a legend like Shinbo to do striking work on his series.

 

Before diving into his Bleach years, let’s talk about his first full series directorial debut, Zoid Genesis, the sequel to the classic Zoids series, that at time was highly anticipated by some sakuga fans because the fact that talented animator Kyuta Sakai was on charge of the character designs, but even with the amount of talented people working on it, it didn’t worked too well, messy production was the major cause of it, a lot of outsourcing and scheduling problems ended up on a pretty regular series with only a few highlights far in-between on Seiya Numata’s episodes, most exactly, the episode twenty eight, directed by Numata’s himself, giving Mizuno one of the first chances to that young, promising animator, as Abe did with him, to direct a full episode.

 

While working on Bleach, he worked various time with his old pal Shinbo on Hidamari Sketch, Nanoha and the Monogatari series, developing a interesting style on his layouts and color design, with flat shadows and more profundity than before on the drawings, that reflected on his work, specially on his Bleach OPs, were all the tricks that he learned for Noriyuki Abe and Akiyuki Shinbo were put on practice on the openings six, nine, ten and twelve, all of them with a incredibly interesting and unique take on color design and photography, that make his work stand out when compared to the other directors, and created striking visuals only with the power of good color design and complex layouts.

 

His general work on Bleach is something to look at to: Twenty eight episodes, Four openings and Three movies during seven years, standing a lot compared with his contemporaries on the studio for his unique takes on photography and color design, creating beautiful images, and his action storyboards, that were some of the bests to look at, with over the top, well choreographed action that capture your eyes, and that are some really good examples of the Rule of the Cool, enhanced by Masashi Kudo’s excellent designs too.

 

After Bleach was finished, he moved to Naruto, where he did his debut on the episode 294, part of the Chikara saga, a special arc directed by Toshiyuki Tsuru that showed off the strengths of the production’s best staff, and after doing his episode on that, he continued on the series as the to-go director for important action episodes, taking part on the most strikingly directed episodes of the series, as Storyboarder or as Episode Director, his work presented dynamic camera, a unique color design and excellent layouts to elevate his episodes to another level, as well as his openings and endings, such as the 24th ending, one of what, I consider, is one of the best endings ever made.

 

The last aired episode of him was the episode 499, the penultimate episode of the series, a goofy light-hearted episode to end the storyline before the final episode that finished off the cycle, giving pass to a new generation.

 

This is another sad case of the crude reality of the industry, people are overworked and paid with the minimum, this, the case of Yuka Sugizaki last year [that was sadly ignored by a lot of the community, even when she was only twenty and so years old] and the production assistant of A-1 Pictures five years ago are not simple cases of “Animators” dying, but are cautionary tales about the possible future of the industry, or what will happen if the offer continue being more than the demand and the fans [and the staff themselves] doesn’t insist on better quality, better schedules and better work circumstances.

 

Studios like ufotable, Kyoto Animation, GoHands or White Fox are making waves to the change: Paying animators, production assistants & directors stable, monthly wages, doing only one or two anime for year, to keep the offer low, and not overwork themselves, and keeping their staff in-house happy and controlled, even of the driest of the situations by trying to aim for better schedules, may or not like their work, they are indeed making advances to make a better industry.

 

We should care about these cases because if we care about it, we are opening the industry to a brighter future, these are not simple cases of “Animators” killing themselves for their art because they are Japanese and you know, Japanese work a lot because they want, or at least, that what stereotypes says, the crude reality is that they are on a industry were you have to work to get a good pay, even if is at cost of your life, and that needs to change, is not going to change immediately tomorrow but we have to strive for change so talented creators like him or Yuka Sugizaki wouldn’t pass for the same destiny a few years from now.