Current State of Anime Production Companies – nani?

Hello, Kyra here! This is [Onam… wait, no. Today I have something different. I’m not sure if I’ll do this again anytime soon, but for now let’s call today [nani? #1], posts where I translate something weeb related.

A few days ago I ran into a spread page scan of the Japanese Magazine [iP!] on a very famous AniBlog from Japan. It was an overview of the reality of Anime Industry and an interesting chart comparing some of the most important companies on how long have they been on the field and how many works they have produced as Prime Contractors.

Today I’ll provide a rough translation of what was said in that article, as I found it to be very interesting and full of nice trivia (And you guys know I love trivias). Please keep in mind that I’m not a professional translator nor am really knowledgeable in specific jargon of this field, so this post is bound to have errors or missing nuances. Hopefully it will be sufficient enough so that the average joe can understand the general idea. That being said, I’ll gladly accept corrections and suggestions in the comments, if so needed.

 

2017011720562249b

Original Spread

edited

Some guidelines to help you locating yourself below

imgur link for both original and guideline version: http://imgur.com/a/TcDEN

(1) Current State of Anime Production Companies

The globally known Anime Empire – Japan. Every three months a great amount of shows is produced and fans all around the world enjoy them. Today we will take a closer look into these Production Companies. Let’s approach the current state of Anime Production!

(2) Glossary

元請け(moto.u.ke; Prime Contractor)

Company who is the primary responsible for a given work. It is featured in the credits as アニメーション制作~(Produced by ~).

グロス請け(gurosu.u.ke; Sub-contractor)

There are many types of sub-contractors, グロス請けmainly being used when a Prime Contractor delegate a whole episode to another Studio. Featured in the credits as [XX話制作協力], where XX is the episode number.

ヤマカン(yamakan)

Anime Director, 山本寛(yama.moto yutaka). Famous for speaking frankly and without reserves on Social Media.

kVin recently summarized the whole Yamakan deal on the second question from this Q&A post on Sakugabooru blog.

Machi ★ Asobi

Anime and Gaming event held in Tokushima. Also features the [Newtype] magazine Anime Awards.

Eva Revenue Issue

The earning from Evangelion movies were supposed to be split between Gainax and Khara according to a contract but due to a delay in this payment, Khara sued Gainax. There are apparently further legal issues involving yet another party claiming Eva movies rights.

(3) [Anime about Anime] and Anime reality as of 2016

There was recently a popular Anime that tried to convey the hardships of the Industry to people outside the field. Of course it was largely beautified as the reality is something much heavier. Let’s take a closer look.

Miyamori (SHIROBAKO): 600h/month is unheard of!

People who are ingenuously attracted into Anime Production will probably break down eventually. And in reality there are (probably) no studios filled with bishoujos.

SHIROBAKO – Young girls working Drama

Produced by P.A.WORKS and aired in Winter 2014/15. A great part of the characters were modeled after real people. It also brought forth the famous expression万策尽きた(ban.saku.tsu.kita; to run out of all possible alternatives).

ガーリッシュナンバー(Girlish Number) – Crap Seiyuu Growing Up Story

Produced by Diomedea and aired on Fall 2016. Became famous for its self-tormenting approach to creating a bad work and also great art. Showcased how people inside the business often horribly deal with their work and each other.

(4) Is reality even worse than fiction? Some common knowledge facts about this hideous industry

Details exposed to the public

In Nov/2016, a female animator from P.A.WORKS was quickly fired after uploading on Twitter a photo of her paycheck. The total amount was so harshly low that it created a huge uproar. Thoughts like [being Animator is tough uh…] flooded the web as people were both startled and saddened by this incident.

Translation of the above mentioned paycheck and related tweets can be found here.

Other similar news about P.A.WORKS infamous hardships here and also here.

Acknowledgement of young adult staff suicide

In 2010, a member of A-1 pictures committed suicide. A struggling 600h/month working schedule developed into depression, but it was only recognized as death from overwork in 2014. The function performed by this person was managing the schedule of Anime Production Progress. It is hard to even imagine the hardships that this person went through while alive.

(5) Progress is always barely scraping by… is the schedule ok?

Around 50 new works are aired every 3 months, [There are way too many 1-cour shows!] is increasingly concern among anime fans. Recently airing postponing incidents are also more frequent. Improvement in budget usage and airing schedule is essential, while requiring a drastic change in strategy planning. Despair.

After hitting the bottom in 2010, the number of shows aired per year has continuously increased.

If everything else fails, do a recap episode!

When anime production progress is in danger, [Recap Episode] and [Special Program] are there to save the day. Others desperate measures include [BD will fix it] and [Broadcasting station requested to adjust the schedule].

Actas, The King of Troubles

Recently the show レガリア(Regalia) showcased a drastic move of interrupting an airing anime on episode 4 in order to re-air it later after major corrections. “Maybe” this led to Long Riders! having its episodes postponed twice on Fall. Behold the power of the king!

(6) 作画崩壊

作画崩壊(saku.ga.hou.kai) is the feeling that viewers get as the animation/production quality lower as the series progresses. As this is something that isn’t uncommon at all, this word is very frequently used. That being said, creating a ruckus because of in-between frames and production is a breach of manners. Please understand the hardships of those drawing as well.

(7) Mutual supporting or competition? Anime Industry is a rivalry of talented and influential entities.

Japanese Anime Industry pours over 200 new works every year. Prime Contractors, Sub-Contractors and Specialized Studios all take part in vast numbers. For a single Anime, it is common to have many different studios being each responsible for a specific part. In the chart below (Kyra: again, here is the imgur link to the previously mentioned image ) we compare these companies by the number of works produced recently as Prime Contractors and how long they have been on the field. By taking a closer look on the Production Companies, you might change how you view Anime!

Note: on top of hyperlinks to MyAnimeList page of every anime mentioned below, you can also click on the Studio name to be taken to a page with every show that studio participated in its production.

 

(1) エイケン(Eiken)

Famous Works: Tetsujin 28-gou, Bonobono

Founded in 1952. After working with Commercial production, took part in nationally popular series like Sazae-san.

(2) 手塚プロダクション(Tezuka Production)

Famous works: Astro Boy, Young Black Jack

(3) サンライズ(Sunrise)

Famous works: Mobile Suit Gundam Series, Kakumeiki Valvrave

Many famous mechanical designers are part of it. In the recent years diversified into works related to Idols and Light Novels.

(4) 亜細亜堂(Ajia-dou)

Famous works: Nintama Rantarou, Shuumatsu no Izetta

(5) ガイナックス(Gainax)

Famous works: Shinseiki Evangelion, Houkago no Pleiades

A doujin circle that became a global level Anime Production Company. Recently continuously affected by creators leaving. Once bathed in glory, Gainax broke due to financial difficulties. Not only that, being drowned in scandals involving tax evasion, problems related to the revenue of Eva-series, situation doesn’t look very good for them.

(6) 日本アニメーション(Nippon Animation)

Famous works: Chibi Maruko-chan, HUNTER x HUNTER

Formerly a staple in the industry, suffered financial trouble during 90s, resulting in the staff leaving one after the other.

(7) ユーフォーテーブル(Ufotable)

Famous works: Fate/ZERO, Tales of series

As they have an Studio situated in Tokushima, they are closely related to the Machi Asobi event. Acknowledged for its high-quality animation.

(8) アクタス(Actas)

Famous works: Girls & Panzer, Long Riders!

Group of outlaws that, when acting as Prime Contractor, almost certainly will run into trouble. That being said, displayed a good result with Garupan.

(9) Studio 4ºC

Famous works: Tekkon Kinkreet, Berserk Ougon Jidaihen

Recognized for their OVA [The Animatrix]. The movie Tekkon Kinkreet was also granted 2008 Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year (among many other awards).

(10) Ordet

Famous works: Black Rock Shooter, Wake Up, Girls!

Read as [oosu]. Originally had a rather troublesome leader (Yamakan), but its representative changed in 2016.

(11) デイヴィッドプロダクション(David Production)

Famous works: Ben-tou; Jojo na Kimyou na Bouken

Founded in 2007. Not many produced works but due to Jojo they are (probably) safe from here on.

(12) ホワイトフォックス(White Fox)

Famous works: STEINS;GATE, Gochuumon wa Usagi desu ka?

Releasing big hits as SG, Gochiusa, Re:Zero in succession. In a position where its next work is always highly expected.

(13) ポリゴン・ピクチュアズ(Polygon Pictures)

Famous works: Sidonia no Kishi, Ajin

Since 1983 creating Commercials and Game oriented CG. Debuted in the Anime scene in 2015. Characterized by Full 3DCG production.

(14) スタジオカラー(Studio Khara)

Famous works: Evangelion movies

Founded by Hideaki Anno after leaving Gainax. Anime aside, also contributed to the recent movie Shin Godzilla.

(15) トリガー(Trigger)

Famous works: Kill la Kill; Kiznaiver

Founded by former Gainax members. Able to captivate with striking direction and animation.

(16) ウィットスタジオ(Wit Studio)

Famous works: Shingeki no Kyojin; Koutetsu no Kabaneri

Former staff from Production I.G who became independent in 2012. Acknowledged for their stout works.

(17) Studio 3Hz

Famous works: Sora no Method, Flip Flappers

(18)トムス・エンタテインメント(TMS Entertainment)

Famous works: Kyojin no Hoshi; Meitantei Conan

(19) マッドハウス(Madhouse)

Famous works: Cardcaptor Sakura, One-punch Man

Due to financial problems, became a subsidiary of Nihon TV. Acknowledge for animation involving sports and action.

(20) 東映アニメーション(Toei Animation)

Famous works: Dragonball; Precure series

Leading company founded in 1948. Strong ties with Shounen Jump, animating many of their works.

(21) タツノコプロ(Tatsunoko Pro)

Famous works: Time Bokan series; Gatchaman Crowds

(22) 動画工房(Dogakobo)

Famous works: Koihime Musou; NEW GAME!

(23) スタジオ雲雀(Studio Hibari)

Famous works: MAJOR Series; Gakkougurashi!

Founded as a studio specializing in finishing production. Since 2011 the works of its subsidiary Lerche have been getting attention.

(24) シャフト(Shaft)

Famous works: Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica; Monogatari Series

From 2000 onwards went full-scale Prime Contractor. Around the same time Shinbou distinguished himself as a great talent in the field.

(25) スタジオディーン(Studio Deen)

Famous works: Higurashi no naku koro ni; Kono subarashii sekai ni shukufuku wo

(26) Studio ピエロ(Studio Pierrot)

Famous works: Yuu Yuu Hakusho; Osomatsu-san

On its early days produced works based on shounen manga or aimed at kids, but later diversified its focus. Osomatsu-san remake, 27 years later, was a big hit.

(27) 京都アニメーション(Kyoto Animation)

Famous works: K-ON! Series; Hibike! Euphonium

Boasts animation quality that resounds within other companies in the business. After creating its own paperback books publishing sector, became self-sufficient, a move received with mixed reception.

(28) Production I.G

Famous works: Ghost in the Shell series; Haikyuu!!

(29) J.C.STAFF

Famous works: Zero no Tsukaima series; Shokugeki no Souma

(30) ゴンゾ(Gonzo)

Famous Works: Kaleido Star; Strike Witches

(31) P.A.WORKS

Famous works: Hanasaku Iroha; SHIROBAKO

Its beautiful animation and careful production created a loyal audience… but its obscure internal affairs have been drawing away some fans.

(32) A-1 ピクチャーズ(A-1 Pictures)

Famous works: THE IDOLM@STER; Sword Art Online

Numerous famous works, numerous awards. While we are at it, it was also nominated for the [Most Evil Corporation of the Year] award.

(33) ディオメディア(Diomedea)

Famous works: Shinryaku! Ika Musume; Girlish Number

Completed an extravagant new company office in 2014. In a certain Anime event, attendees were presented with an introduction of their headquarters instead of talking about the story itself, incident that was widely spoken about.

(34) プロダクションアイムズ(Production IMS)

Famous works: Active Raid series; High-School Fleet

Began acting as Prime Contractor in 2014. Over the course of 3 years released 11 works. Maybe because of this fast pace, animation quality sometimes suffer.

(35) キネマシトラス(Kinema Citrus)

Famous works: Yuyushiki; Shakunetsu no Takkyu Musume

Created by both Bones and Production I.G former staff. While being new and somewhat plain, gathered a considerable number of good works.

(36) シルバーリンク(Silver Link)

Famous works: Prisma Iliya series; Brave Witches

Although its number of works has been constantly growing, few big hits. Produced an original work to commemorate 10 years of founding.



shirobako

Once again I apologize for any major error, hope you guys enjoyed it. Depending on how it works out I might start doing something like this once in a while. This weekend we will be back to our regular schedule continuing exploring Anime names, though you’ll have to wait until Sunday to see which Winter 2017 character will be our guest. See you then!

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4 thoughts on “Current State of Anime Production Companies – nani?

  1. This is very nice, Kyra. You did a lot of translation work here, and it’s very much appreciated.

    There are a lot of interesting facts here, including some surprising info about A-1 Pictures. Seems a lot of people have reasons for disliking them that I had no idea about. They made some of my favorite anime!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey Remy!

    I knew about some stuff but was still surprised overall. Then you imagine that this is not even close to everything that happens behind the curtains, making you feel like “oh…”.

    Thanks for dropping by!

    Like

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