30 Best Anime Studios of All Time (Ranked)
A lot of anime fans enjoy the final products without actually thinking about the background behind the whole story. But, the ones who are responsible for our entertainment are the studios and their employees. There are a lot of amazing anime studios out there and in this article, we have decided to tell you a bit about the best of them. This article is going to contain a list of the 30 best anime studios of all time, ranked by their overall success, impact, and historical importance.
Gallop is a Japanese animation studio founded on December 13, 1978. Akio Wakana, head of photography at Tōkyō Animation Film, became independent and then founded Studio Gallop in December 1979. At the time, the studio specialized in photography and worked in particular for Studio Pierrot and Group TAC.
In 1983, part of the Telecom Animation Film staff joined the studio, which then turned to animation subcontracting. In 1986, the studio produced his first work, Kenritsu Chikyū Bōeigun with OB Planning. In 1994, Studio Gallop began its cooperation with the Korean animation studio Dong Woo Animation, which then began to outsource part of Studio Gallop’s production.
On February 27, 2001, the studio changed its name to Gallop and also changed its legal status from Yūgen gaisha to Kabushiki gaisha. In Europe, the studio is best known for having produced the first 6 series linked to the Yu-Gi-Oh! between 2000 and 2019.
29. Kinema Citrus
Kinema Citrus Co., Ltd. is a Japanese animation studio located in Suginami, Tokyo Prefecture, Japan, founded in March 2008. The studio was founded on March 3, 2008 by Muneki Ogasawara, who was a producer at Production I.G and Bones, along with Yuichiro Matsuka, who was also a producer at Production I.G and Bandai Visual, director Masaki Tachibana, and freelance animator Kōichi Arai.
Later, Matsuya resigned as director in 2013 to found his own studio, 3Hz, and Tachibana went independent. On July 1, 2019, a partnership was entered into between Kinema Citrus, Kadokawa, and Bushiroad.
28. Studio Trigger
Trigger Inc., also known as Studio Trigger, is a Japanese animation studio located in Suginami, Tokyo Prefecture, Japan, founded in August 2011 by former Gainax studio members Hiroyuki Imaishi and Masahiko Ōtsuka. Trigger studio was founded on August 22, 2011 by Hiroyuki Imaishi and Masahiko Ōtsuka, shortly after leaving Gainax. The name of the studio and the official website were revealed in October 2011.
In March 2013, studio Trigger released its first animated short, Little Witch Academia, and in October 2013, released its first original animated series, Kill la Kill. Shortly after its inception, Trigger, along with Sanzigen and Ordet studios, joined joint venture holding Ultra Super Pictures in 2011; the LIDEN FILMS subsidiary was created in February 2012 with Hiroaki Matsuura, Tetsurō Satomi from Barnum Studio and producer Tadao Iwaki
27. Geno Studio
Geno Studio Inc. is a Japanese animation studio located in Suginami, Tokyo Prefecture, Japan, founded in November 2015 as a subsidiary of anime production company Twin Engine. In November 2015, former producer of Fuji TV’s noitaminA program Kōji Yamamoto established the studio after founding his own production company, Twin Engine, in 2014.
Geno Studio is a subsidiary of Twin Engine, and most of its staff comes from the former studio Manglobe which went bankrupt. When the studio was established, a long-term partnership was established with Shanghai Haoliners Cultures Media Co., Ltd. to complete the production of the animated film Genocidal Organ. After further negotiations in July 2017, this partnership was finally revoked and Haoliners became a non-voting shareholder of Geno Studio.
26. Studio Colorido
Studio Colorido Co.,Ltd. is a Japanese animation studio located in Musashino, Tokyo Prefecture, Japan. The company was established by producer Hideo Uda in 2011. The studio follows the principle of “making a place where people involved in anime can continue to work in peace and contribute to the development of Japanese animation culture”.
The “Colorido” in the name of the studio translates to “rich in color” in Portuguese. The company entered into a business partnership with Twin Engine Corporation and became a subsidiary of the network, with Twin Engine CEO Kōji Yamamoto becoming co-chairman of the board of directors.
25. Science SARU
Science SARU is a Japanese animation studio founded on February 4, 2013 by Masaaki Yuasa and Eunyoung Choi. The studio was founded in early 2013 by Masaaki Yuasa and Eunyoung Choi after the former received an offer from Cartoon Network to work on the Adventure Time episode “Food Chain”, in which Masaaki Yuasa worked as director, screenwriter and storyboarder, with Choi serving as co-director, and animation being produced by the newly formed studio.
Masaaki Yuasa indicates in an interview that he wanted to create an animation studio of creatives in order to create a working environment with fewer constraints.
J.C. Staff Co., Ltd. is a Japanese animation studio located in Musashino, Tokyo Prefecture, Japan, founded in January 1986. It has produced a number of successful anime, such as Food Wars!, Revolutionary Girl Utena, Excel Saga, Shingetsutan Tsukihime, Shakugan no Shana, Honey and Clover, Azumanga Daioh, and the A Certain Magical Index franchise.
In January 1986, Tomoyuki Miyata founded his own studio, J. C. Staff, in Mitaka after working in the literary works planning department of Tatsunoko Production and as a producer at Kitty Film’s Mikata Studio. The head office was moved across from Musashi-Sakai Station in 2002.
23. White Fox
White Fox is a Japanese animation studio located in Suginami, Tokyo Prefecture, Japan. The studio was founded in April 2007 by producer Gaku Iwasa and brings together most of the staff of Team Iwasa, a former subdivision of the OLM2 studio.
In October 2019, White Fox and production company EGG FIRM announced that they have invested in a new animation studio called Studio Bind, founded in November 2018, which is responsible for adapting the Mushoku Tensei series.
22. OLM, Inc.
OLM Corporations, better known as Oriental Light and Magic, is a Japanese animation studio founded in June 1994 in Setagayaku, Tokyo. The studio specializes in anime, its most famous anime are Pokémon and Inazuma Eleven that had a great worldwide impact. OLM has produced many Japanese anime, among many with highlights are Deltora Quest andUtawarerumono.
Founded on October 3, 1990, by Toshiaki Okuno, Shūkichi Kanda, Shōji Ōta, Kunihiko Yuyama, Naohito Takahashi, Yuriko Chiba, Nobuyuki Wasaki, Tsukasa Koitabashi and Takaya Mizutani, OLM worked on various anime series. As of 2018, the animation studio consists of eleven teams, led by Tsukasa Koitabashi, Nobuyuki Wasaki, Yasuteru Kamei, Hiroyuki Katō, Takashi Inoue, Isamu Abe, Daisuke Yoshioka, Ryōsuke Sakurai, Manabu Kawakita, Go Sawada, and Misako Saka.
In 1995, OLM Representative Director Toshiaki Okuno founded OLM Digital, which became the main CG work company behind most of OLM’s works. Toshiaki Okuno is the representative director of both companies. In 2007, members of Team Iwasa, including team leader Gaku Iwasa, renamed their studio White Fox. OLM has expanded its business into the field of TV drama and live-action films, producing titles such as Shield of Straw.
XEBEC Inc. was a Japanese anime series production studio established on May 1, 1995 by Yukinao Shimoji, Toru Sato, and Nobuyoshi Habara. A subsidiary of IG Port, Xebec produced its first series, Sorcerer Hunters, in 1995 which was followed by many others such as Martian Successor Nadesico in 1996, Love Hina in 2000, Sōkyū no Fafner in 2004 and Heroic Age.
The company logo is unique in this sense as it includes the International Phonetic Alphabet transcription of the company name: zíːbek. The studio ceased to exist in June 2019.
20. Tezuka Productions
Tezuka Productions Co., Ltd. is a Japanese animation studio founded by Osamu Tezuka in 1968. It is a full member of The Association of Japanese Animations. The company is known for being the official producer of the Astro Boy anime and manga since 1968, since its foundation it has been the representative image of the company until today.
It is headquartered in Takadanobaba, Shinjuku, Tokyo. There is an animation production studio in Nobidome, Niiza, Saitama Prefecture, and an office in Takarazuka City, Hyōgo Prefecture, where Tezuka spent his childhood. In addition, there is Beijing Sharaku Art Co., Ltd. as an affiliated company for animation production in China.
asread Co., Ltd. is a Japanese animation studio founded in November 2003 by former members of Xebec. It was in November 2003 that Kiyonori Hiramatsu, former animator at Sunshine Corporation of Japan, decided to found his own animation studio after having worked at Xebec.
When it was created, its main activity was subcontracting animation for other companies including XEBEC, or CoMix Wave Films for their 2004 animated film, The Tower Beyond the Clouds. Their first production request was the 2005 animated series, Shuffle!, based on the eponymous visual novel produced by Navel.
Gonzo K.K. is a Japanese animation film and series studio founded on September 11, 1992 by Shōji Murahama, Mahiro Maeda, Hiroshi Yamaguchi and Shinji Higuchi. The studio’s first animated production was Blue Submarine #6, an OVA series released in 1998 noted for its use of CG. Gonzo has also produced a number of TV series such as Full Metal Panic!, Last Exile and Gankutsuō. Since 2006, Gonzo has started producing animated films, the first of which was Origin.
17. Triangle Staff
Triangle Staff corp. is a Japanese animation studio created in January 1987 and closed in 2002, which notably worked on Serial Experiments Lain and NieA_7. Yoshimi Asari, former producer at Madhouse, founded the studio in January 1987, which was established in the Suginami district of Tokyo. The studio then concentrated initially on the production of OAVs (format then fashionable) then on films and TV series in the second half of the 1990s.
The studio notably produced the series Serial experiments Lain, broadcast in 1998. The following year, part of the staff left to found the Palm studio and in 2000, another part left to found the A.C.G.T. The studio ceased its activities in 2002, the current project of the film WXIII: Patlabor the Movie 3 was then entrusted to the Madhouse studio.
16. Mushi Production
Mushi Production is a Japanese animation studio created in 1962 by Osamu Tezuka and disappeared following a bankruptcy in 1973. Tezuka’s other production studio, Tezuka Productions, founded in 1968 and partly run by the director’s son, Makoto Tezuka, is still in operation.
Launched by Osamu Tezuka in 1962 to compete with Toei Animation, Mushi Production was the first studio in Japan to create specifically for television. Its great success remains Astro Boy (Tetsuwan Atom), which is the first Japanese animation series.
15. Shin-Ei Animation
Shin-Ei Animation Co., Ltd. is a Japanese animation company owned by TV Asahi Corporation. Founded in Tokyo in 1976, it is the successor to A Production, a previous venture in animation by its founder, Daikichirō Kusube, who was previously an animator for Toei Animation.
Shin-Ei is known for being the studio behind the production of two of the most popular anime television series: Doraemon and Crayon Shin-chan, which are still airing on Japanese television since 1979 and 1992 respectively.
14. Bandai Namco Filmworks
Bandai Namco Filmworks, Inc. is a Japanese animation studio founded in September 1972. Its previous name was Sunrise, Inc., Nippon Sunrise, and even before that, Sunrise Studios. Its headquarters are located in Suginami, Tokyo. Sunrise is recognized for creating several successful and critically acclaimed original production animated series such as Gintama, Gundam, Armored Trooper Votoms, Crush Gear Turbo, Vision of Escaflowne, Cowboy Bebop, Witch Hunter Robin, My-HiME, My-Otome, Code Geass, InuYasha, Tiger & Bunny, and Valvrave the Liberator.
It has also made numerous adaptations of popular light novels such as Dirty Pair, Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon, and Accel World, and manga such as City Hunter, Outlaw Star, Yakitate!! Japan, Planetes, Keroro Gunso, Gintama and many others.
13. Studio Deen
Studio Deen Co., Ltd. is a Japanese animation studio specializing in anime production and founded in 1975 by members of Sunrise. Hiroshi Hasegawa, an employee at Sunrise, founded Studio Deen on March 13, 1975. Until the end of 1981, the studio did subcontracting for other studios such as Shinei Douga, particularly on Doraemon films. In 1981, he collaborated with Studio Pierrot on Lamu, a series inspired by a manga by Rumiko Takahashi.
After the departure of Mamoru Oshii from the production of the series in 1984, Studio Deen took over the reins of the series and brought it to an end in 1986. Thereafter, the studio collaborated again with Rumiko Takahashi by adapting his mangas Maison Ikkoku and Ranma ½. The studio also collaborates with director Mamoru Oshii, notably on Tenshi no tamago and Patlabor. The studio outsources part of its production thanks to its Chinese subsidiary.
12. TMS Entertainment
TMS Entertainment, formerly Tokyo Movie Shinsha and Tokyo Movie, is a Japanese animation studio. Founded in Tokyo in 1964 as Tokyo Movie, it has been a leading animation studio for decades creating and producing many series. Among these is the case to mention Lupin III, Lady Oscar, Aim for the Ace!, CAT’S♥EYE, Hamtaro, Bakugan, Sonic X and the second series of Rocky Joe.
It has also made the animations in particular for several series co-produced with houses in other countries such as DiC Entertainment, Rai in Italy, Sunbow, Marvel Entertainment and Disney in the United States, and also Warner Bros.
In 1995 it merged by incorporation with Kyokuichi, giving life to TMS Entertainment Ltd., a company of the SEGA Sammy group, which in addition to anime produces video games and builds and manages amusement parks. Among the series produced after the merger are Detective Conan, Monster Rancher, D.Gray-man, Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas, Dr. Stone, Rent a Girlfriend and Don’t Toy with Me , Miss Nagatoro.
Madhouse Inc. is a Japanese animation film and series studio founded on October 17, 1972 by former Mushi Production employees including Masao Maruyama, Osamu Dezaki, Rintaro, and Yoshiaki Kawajiri. The studio’s first achievement is the anime adaptation of Ace o Nerae! in collaboration with TMS.
Since then, the studio has worked on many successful films such as Ninja Scroll, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, Perfect Blue or The Crossing of Time. He has also worked on many television series such as Cardcaptor Sakura, Trigun, X, Paranoia Agent, Death Note, Parasite and the remake of Hunter × Hunter.
10. Wit Studio
Wit Studio, Inc. is a Japanese animation studio located in Musashino, Tokyo Prefecture, Japan, founded in June 2012 by producers at Production I.G as a subsidiary of IG Port. It is best known for adapting Attack on Titan and Vinland Saga into anime. Wit Studio is a subsidiary of the IG Port group founded on June 1, 2012 by George Wada (who notably produced the Guilty Crown animation series) and Tetsuya Nakatake. Originally, WIT Studio was an internal studio of Production I.G and was responsible for several animes such as Sengoku Basara, Guilty Crown or Robotics;Notes.
MAPPA Co., Ltd. is a Japanese animation studio located in Suginami, Tokyo Prefecture, Japan, founded in June 2011 by former Madhouse studio founder Masao Maruyama. MAPPA is the acronym for “Maruyama Animation Produce Project Association”. At the age of 70, Masao Maruyama founded the MAPPA studio after retiring from Madhouse in June 2011.
In April 2016, Maruyama resigned as CEO and founded a new studio, Studio M26. Producer Manabu Otsuka thus became the company’s new CEO. The first animated feature film produced by MAPPA, without being a television series, released in 2016, In a corner of this world, won the prize for best animated film at the 40th edition of the Japan Academy Prize.
8. A-1 Pictures
A-1 Pictures Inc. is a Japanese animation studio founded by former Sunrise producer Mikihiro Iwata. It is a subsidiary company of Aniplex, Sony’s anime production company. It is known for having produced well-known titles such as Sword Art Online, Fairy Tail, Ao no Exorcist, Magi, Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso, Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata, Boku Dake ga Inai Machi, Blend S, Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai: Tensai-tachi no Ren’ai Zunōsen, Nanatsu no Taizai, among many others.
The studio was created by Sony’s anime production division known as Aniplex on May 9, 2005, to animate its anime series and productions. In 2006, they produced the original series Zenmai Zamurai and in October of the same year, established a studio in Asagaya. In the following year, 2007, the studio produced its first series, Ōkiku Furikabutte.
Initially established only to oversee the production of a few family-oriented Aniplex series, the studio has since grown and expanded as a studio that is involved in the production of a wide range of anime series. The studio has also expanded its international presence.
bones Inc. is a Japanese animation studio founded in October 1998 by former Sunrise employees Masahiko Minami, Hiroshi Ōsaka and Toshihiro Kawamoto. The studio took its first steps in 2001 by co-producing with Sunrise Cowboy Bebop: The Movie. Since then, the studio has produced numerous series such as RahXephon, Wolf’s Rain, Fullmetal Alchemist or even more recently Ouran High School Host Club and My Hero Academia.
6. Studio 4°C
Studio 4°C is a Japanese animation studio founded in 1986 by Eiko Tanaka, Kōji Morimoto and Yoshiharu Satō. The name of the studio comes from the temperature of four degrees Celsius which corresponds to the temperature at which water is densest. The studio pursues this ideal of dense works, like water.
The 4°C studio distinguishes itself from other studios by a production more focused on short films, by greater freedom granted to animators and by the influence of superflat aesthetics in certain productions.
5. Production I.G
Production I.G, Inc. is a Japanese animation studio, founded on December 15, 1987 by Mitsuhisa Ishikawa and Takayuki Goto, currently owned by IG Port. Its headquarters are in Musashino (Tokyo), Japan. Production I. G. has been involved in the creation of numerous anime television series, OVAs, motion pictures, and is involved in video game design and development, as well as music editing and management.
Its most notable works include Guilty Crown, Psycho-Pass, Eden of the East, and the Ghost in the Shell series. It is known in the video game industry for developing intros, cutscenes, and illustrations for games such as Namco Tales Studio’s title, Tales of Symphonia.
The letters I and G are derived from the names of the company’s founders, Mitsuhisa Ishikawa and popular character designer Takayuki Goto. The company is a member of the Japanese Animation Association (AJA), an association of more than 50 Japanese animation studios.
ufotable, Inc. is a Japanese animation studio located in Suginami, Tokyo Prefecture, Japan, founded in October 2000. It is best known for its “plasticine animations” (claymation) such as end credits by Futakoi Alternative, Ninja Nonsense, Coyote Ragtime Show, Gakuen Utopia Manabi Straight! and Tales of Symphonia as well as each Kara no kyōkai‘s start-of-movie disclaimers.
The Kokusai East Senba 113 Building in Tokushima where both the Tokushima studio and the ufotable Cafe are located. Ufotable, Inc. was established in 2000 by Hikaru Kondō, who was involved in advancing productions at the new Tokyo Movie company (now TMS Entertainment) and Telecom Animation Film, and was also a producer at Step Video (subsidiary of Sumitomo Corporation).
Pierrot Co., Ltd., also known as Pierrot studio, is a Japanese animation film and series studio founded in May 1979 by Yūji Nunokawa and former members of the Tatsunoko studio including Hisayuki Toriumi and Mamoru Oshii. His name, Pierrot, comes from the Japanese ピエロ (Piero) which means Clown. This word is derived from the French Pierrot, which is a type of Commedia dell’arte clown.
The Pierrot studio has long specialized in the magical girl with successful series such as Creamy Mami, the Magic Angel, Fancy Lala and more recently Tokyo Mew Mew. But since the early 2000s, the studio has turned more towards more shōnen productions like Great Teacher Onizuka, Bleach, Hikaru no go, Beelzebub or Naruto.
2. Toei Animation
Toei Animation Co.,Ltd. is a Japanese animation film and series production studio founded on January 23, 1948 under the name Nihon Doga. It has been a subsidiary of Japanese film company Toei since July 1956, trading as Toei Doga in Japan and Toei Animation internationally. Toei Animation’s first production was the film The White Serpent (1958).
Since then, the studio has produced numerous films and series including several adaptations of the works of Gō Nagai (Goldorak, Mazinger), Leiji Matsumoto (Albator, Galaxy Express 999), Masami Kurumada (Saint Seiya, Ring ni kakero), Akira Toriyama (Doctor Slump, Dragon Ball), Naoko Takeuchi (Sailor Moon), Akiyoshi Hongo (Digimon) and Eiichirō Oda (One Piece). The studio’s mascot is the cat Pero, the main character of the film Puss in Boots (1969).
1. Studio Ghibli
Studio Ghibli is a Japanese animation studio, considered by critics and many moviegoers as one of the best animation studios in the world today. The studio is known for its animated feature films and has also produced several short films, television commercials, and a television movie. It was founded on June 15, 1985 by directors Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata and producer Toshio Suzuki, after the success of the Topcraft anime film Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984).
Studio Ghibli has also collaborated with video game studios on the visual development of various video games. Six of Studio Ghibli’s films are among the top 10 highest-grossing anime films made in Japan, with Spirited Away (2001) being the second highest, grossing over $360 million worldwide. Many of his works have won the Animage Anime Grand Prix award, and four have won the Japan Academy Award for Animation of the Year. Five of Studio Ghibli’s films have received Oscar nominations.
On August 3, 2014, Studio Ghibli temporarily halted production following Miyazaki’s retirement.