Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Studio Profile: BONES

Founded: 1998

Facts & Characteristics:
Grew out of Sunrise studio 2, the team behind Cowboy Bebop
First project is a collaboration with Sunrise for the Cowboy Bebop movie
Specialize in action and hand-drawn mecha, consistent animation quality 

[Notable Works] 
Complete list: Wiki, ANN
Angelic Layer (2001)
RahXephon (2002)
Wolf’s Rain (2003)
Fullmetal Alchemist (2003)
Eureka Seven (2005)
Ouran High School Host Club (2006)
Darker than Black (2007)
Soul Eater (2008)
Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood (2009)
Star Driver (2010)
Gosick (2011)
Zetsuen no Tempest (2012)

[Studio Stats]
Total: 27
Timeline: 2000 ~ 2012

Sci-Fi: 62% (16)
Action: 52% (14)
Adventure: 46% (12)
Supernatural/Fantasy: 41% (11)
Mystery: 37% (10)
Romance: 33% (9)
Drama: 27% (7)
Comedy: 27% (7)
Historical: 23% (6)

[Studio Structure]
Staff number: 50~
Split into 4 sub-sections to tackle different projects

Studio A
Works: Wolf's Rain, Kurau Phantom Memory, Jyu-Oh-Sei, Heroman, Ghost Slayers Ayashi, Gosick, Eureka Seven Ao

Producer: Naoki Amano
Animation Director: Koichi Horkawa, Takeshi Matsuda
Animator: Kazuhiro Miwa 
Freelance Animator: Hiro Kanzaki, Shingo Abe, Nobuaki Nagano
Director/Ep Director: Hitoshi Nanba

Studio B
Works: Cowboy Bebop the movie, RahXephon, Eureka Seven, Sword of the Stranger, Bounen no Xam'd, Towa no Quon, Eureka Seven Ao 

Producer: Makoto Watanabe 
Animation Director: Kenji Mizuhata 
Freelance Animator: Kenichi Yoshida, Hidetsugu Ito, Masahiro Satou

Studio C
Works: Fullmetal Alchemist, Ouran High School Host Club, Darker than Black, Soul Eater, Darker than Black 2, Star Driver, Un-Go, Star Driver movie

Producer: Yoshihiro Oyabu
Animation Director: Atsushi Hasebe, Yishiyuki Kodaira, Kouji Murai, Eiko Saito, Taaki Izumo, Shosuke Ishibashi 
Animator: Yutaka Nakamura, Yasuyuki Kai, Saishi Suzuki, Jun mori小田岛瞳
Freelance Animator: Yoshiyuki Ito, Kazumi Inadome, Kumiko Takahashi, Jun Shibata, Norimitsu Suzuki
Director/Ep Director: Takuya Igarashi, Tensai Okamura

Studio D
Works: Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood, Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood Movie, No.6, Zetsuen no Tempest

Producer: Norimoto Yonai
Animation Director: Hiroki Kanno, Souichirou Sako, Masaru Oshiro, Chiyomi Tsukamoto
Freelance Animator: Yoshimichi Kameda, Hidenori Fukuoka
Director/Ep Director: Yasuhiro Irie, Hisatoshi Shimizu 

Animation Department
Episode Director: Ikuro Sato
Animation Director: Tsunenori Saito (character design), Nekomataya, Ayumi Kurashima
Animator: Akira Takeuchi, Takashi Tomioka, Iori Kudou, Erika Okada, Yuuki Nagano, Keiko Tamaki, Miki Sakaibara
In-Between Check: Koichi Iwanaga, Ikuri Kameyama, Yumiko Totsu

Photography Department 
Photography Director: Yoshiyuki Takei, Hikaru Fukuda, Kota Sasaki, Tsuyoshi Kanbayashi, Mayuko Furumoto
Photography: Satomi Ryukaku, Yuriko Hino笹岡晃子
3DCG: Yoshimasa Komine, Koki OtaYota Ando大山俊輔 

Other Freelance Staff
Animator: Hiroshi Tomioka, Yasushi Muraki, Hideki Kakita, Takashi Kawaguchi, Satoshi Ishino, Hironori Tanaka
Director/Ep Director: Katsumi Tarahigashi, Kenji Nagasaki, Hiroko Kazui, Satoshi Nakamura, Soichi Masui, Masayuki Miyaji, Masahiro AndoYo Miura 
Colour Design/Setting: Shihoko Nakayama, Nokuko Mizuta

Note: For terminology definition, refer to my other post Production Process

[Sales Number]
Series From 2006 ~ 2012
6,302 - Ouran Koukou Host-bu (06 Spring)
6,752 - Darker than Black -Kuro no Keiyakusha (07 Spring)
650 - Skull Man (07 Spring)
4,102 - Soul Eater (08 Spring)
12,327 - Hagane no Renkinjutsushi (09 Spring)
12,151 - Darker than Black -Ryuusei no Gemini- (09 Fall)
9,075 - Star Driver Kagayaki no Takuto (10 Fall) 
361 - Heroman (10 Spring)
3,478 - NO.6 (11 Summer) 
2,446 - Gosick (11 Winter)
1,901 - UN-GO (11 Fall) 
4,351 - Eureka Seven AO (12 Spring) 

[Sakuga MAD]
Kazuhiro Miwa (三輪和宏): 1, 2
Shingo Abe (阿部慎吾): 1
Kenichi Yoshida (吉田健一): 1
Hidetsugu Ito (伊藤秀次): 1, 2, 3
Masahiro Satou (佐藤雅弘): 1
Yutaka Nakamura (中村 豊): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Yoshiyuki Ito (伊藤嘉之): 1
Norimitsu Suzuki (鈴木典光): 1, 2
Yoshimichi Kameda (亀田祥倫): 1, 2, 3
Hiroshi Tomioka (冨岡寛): 1, 2
Yasushi Muraki (村木靖): 1
Hironori Tanaka (田中宏紀): 1, 23
Hideki Kakita (柿田英樹): 1

Visit BlueSakuga for more videos =^^=

SakugaWiki: Bones
Anime Sales in Japan

Yikes, Bones really hit some low there in 2011, and looking at the numbers, ZnT is yet another commercial flop. 
Well, reality is cruel, these sales numbers can really induce depression if you take them too seriously. I'm not even kidding, when Amnesia – the epitome of how story shouldn't be told – is selling better than half of the shows on this list, I can't help but feel a little gutted. But I guess story is not really the point here is it.....The only thing reaffirmed is my belief that numbers don't reflect quality.

On the bright side, Bones has some seriously talented animators under its roof! Not that it's news or anything, but as I was pulling data and romanizing the names, it finally hit me just how overpowered they are in that line of work. My version is slightly different from the original source, I relocated some names and added a few more. I honestly don't know why Ando's name wasn't on the original profile. I'll link some sakuga videos later for illustration. One more thing, keep in mind that most staff members have more than one role to play. For instance, episode director is usually responsible for storyboard as well, so it's not a one-to-one relationship where each member of the team only handles one thing like the profile suggests. Even if an animator is listed under a specific sub-studio, it doesn't mean they only work on projects produced by that section, it's much more likely that they just go wherever they are requested. From what I know from speaking to some animators, the work flow in Japanese studios tend to be relatively liberal, episode directors don't need to follow the script and they can change things as they see fit, and key animators also have a lot of control over their work. 


  1. So knowledgeable! :)

    1. nahhhh, lol...I'm just compiling info that's already there. I'm going to do one for Production I.G too, but it's so hard to find information on the list of animators they are associated with. It doesn't help that most animators freelance so their work is very diverse.

      Sakuga videos links updated!

    2. Yeah well, finding information is not my favorite thing to do, haha. Great job. ;p

  2. This makes me realize that Bones is one of my favorite studios because I read that list you have and have enjoyed all of those animes! Crazy how many people it takes to make one show. :O

    And it's truly sad that some crap animes out there are such great commercial succeses due to fanservice and pandering to specific audiences when other shows that have some good storytelling but just can't get sales :(

    1. Yeah, Bones is a pretty great studio. xD I can usually find something to like in their shows.

      Mmmhmm, it's quite daunting how many people they need to whip out a single project! The production time is actually very short, 6 - 9 month for a 1 - 2 cour series, that's insane amount of work in an insanely short amount of time. Apparently the first two episodes of E7 took 10,000+ drawings.

      Yeah...the incentive to pander will likely never die down, there is always demand from those enjoy it for the superficial appeal. It's a secure marketing strategy for studio to pander, no, it won't bring them reputation, but it will bring them money, which in many cases is more crucial to survival than the former.