If you're a fan of anime, you're probably familiar with studios like Gainax and Madhouse, who are known for creating some of the most influential anime out there. But did you know there are some recently established animation studios creating high-quality and original anime right now? Here are four up-and-coming animation studios that have been making waves of late.
Probably the most well-known on this list, Trigger was founded by former Gainax staffers Hiroyuki Imaishi and Masahiko Otsuka in 2011. In that short time, Trigger has worked on several TV series, including the smash hit Kill la Kill. This year Trigger added to its growing résumé of anime with the emotional rollercoaster Kiznaiver and the wacky Space Patrol Luluco. In 2014, Otsuka talked to Silicoera about the decision to go independent:
“Freedom of creativity is probably the greatest environment an animator or creator can wish for. "In order to secure a permanent and stable environment that allows our freedom, [the decision] was to go independent and take responsibility for ourselves. We value what the director demands the most. Or, say, what the staff wants to create. The initiative lays with the staff more than what studio demands for.”
Mappa was founded by Masao Maruyama, a former founder of Madhouse, in 2011. At Madhouse, Maruyama was known for green-lighting all kinds of ambitious projects, most notably the 2009 animated film Redline. Mappa shows that Maruyama's tendency toward high-reaching projects is stronger than ever, with works like Terror in Resonance and Punch Line coming out of the studio. When asked about the trials of establishing a new studio, Maruyama admitted to Ani-Gamer:
"I actually didn’t build the studio. I’m currently 74, and when I left Madhouse, I was 70. Everyone around me told me 'You’re way past your retirement age. So maybe you could just retire.' And I said, 'No, I just wanna keep on making stuff.'"
3. Wit Studio
Founded in 2012 by Production I.G producers George Wada and Tetsuya Nakatake, Wit Studio is largely known for its anime adaptation of the popular manga series Attack on Titan. However, it's also made a name for itself with original anime like last year's The Rolling Girls and Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress, which aired this year. Wada spoke with Keio University in 2014 about the inception of his company:
"[We're] creating an environment where we can concentrate on producing high quality pieces, and I feel it was a really good thing that we could start as a group company. "Now that I founded my own company, I have complete control of 'what to produce', and this freedom that allows me to do anything is so exciting. I would like to keep producing pieces that have a unique taste as WIT STUDIO, different from Ghibli or I.G."
4. Studio Colorido
What sets fledgling Studio Colorido apart from other Japanese animation studios is its focus on using digital methods for almost every aspect of animation. With young talents Hiroyasu Ishida, Yojiro Arai and Takashi Nakamura on board, Studio Colorido has created few original net animations to date, yet what they have produced is threaded with an enduring quality. These titles include Fastening Days and short films like Hinata no Aoshigure. When asked about the type of animation Studio Colorido wants to make, Arai said:
"I want to make people laugh. Animation can hyperbolize the depiction. I think it works well in comedy."