Anime Studio Proficiency – Series

I have recently finished inputting the data from 2000 to 2009 (pending some quality check but that will have to come later) so now I can start doing some more anime of the animes from the last decade. The first analysis I want to do is to look closely at animes produced by each studio and how many are recognized as great. For example, Madhouse studios have by far the most anime series listed in the top 100 (18). However, it is possible that it produces so many that if you look from the ratio perspective (how many series produced to how many listed), its record may not be so prolific.

Some note before the list:
– The list is ranked on the number of anime series that appear in thetop 100 anime series of the decade list (see my previous post here for the list itself and the methodology behind it) over the total anime series production released by the studio [quality percentage] – The logic is that the higher this number, the more likely the studio is to release great series as opposed to forgettable duds (the more accurate measure should be taking an average of the anime score that it produces, from say ANN rating. I currently do not have the data to do that at this point so I am sticking with this methodology for now).

– Studios need to have a minimum of 10 series produced in the decade. This excludes the possibility of a studio being a one-hit wonder and top the list with 100%, having only done one good anime.

– The list only includes anime series. I will have a different list with movies +OAVs

– Bear in mind that I am working with an anime series sample of 974. So when I am comparing it with the top 100 anime series, on average, the quality percentage of a studio should be 10.2% or there should be 9.7 series for every one good series produced. Any studio with higher ratio than this should be considered above average.

1). KYOTO ANIMATION

Proficiency percentage: 60% (6/10) – 1 listed for every 1.6 produced

Listed anime: Clannad, FMP: Fumoffu!, Clannad -After Story-, Kanon 2006, Lucky Star, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

Other anime: K-ON!, Sora o Miageru Shoujo no Hitomi ni Utsuru Sekai, FMP: Second Raid, Air TV

Comment: Very low number of series produced compared to other major studios (ranked 26th in total anime series produced) but dominate the list in term of sheer quality of the outputs. The studio have released FMA Fumoffu as their first series this decade and have been releasing about 1-2 series per year since. It is also definitely riding the moe wave of K-ON! and Haruhi at the moment!



2). BONES

Proficiency percentage: 40% (8/20)- 1 listed for every 2.5 produced

Listed anime: FMA, RahXephon, Eureka Seven, Ouran High School Host Club, Soul Eater, Wolf’s Rain, Darker Than Black, Xam’d: Lost Memories

Other anime: Tokyo Magnitude 8.0, Nijuu Mensou no Musume, Skull Man, Darker Than Black, DTB: Gemini of the Meteor, Jyu-Oh-Sei, Ghost Slayers Ayashi, Scrapped Princess. Kurau: Phantom Memory, Mars Daybreak, Hiwou War Chrinocles, FMA: Brotherhood, Angelic Layer

Comment: Ranked 13th, with 20 series released over all, the studio really started producing a lot of anime in the later half of the decade (11 series from 2006-9, comparing to 9 in the previous 6 years). FMA is obviously the pick of the bunch (if not in terms of popularity) and Ouran is the quirky, non-action choice.

3). BRAINS BASE


Proficiency percentage: 30% (3/10) – 1 listed for every 3.3 produced

Listed anime: Baccano!, Natsume Yuujinchou, Kure-nai

Other anime: Akikan!, Spice and Wolf II, Zoku Natsume Yuujinchoi, Kishin Taisen Gigantic Formula, Innocent Venus, Kamichu!, Daigunder

Comment: Again, this is a studio that did not hit top gear until 2007 when it produced Baccano! [7 of 10 titles it released were completed in the last 3 years (2007-9)]. The sample size may be a little small but this is one studio to keep a close eye on going forward!

4). PRODUCTION I.G

Proficiency percentage: 28% (7/25)- 1 listed for every 3.6 produced

Listed anime: GITS: SAC, GITS: SAC 2nd Gig, Kemono no Sou-ja Erin, Eden of the East, Cromatie High School, Library War, Seirei no Moribito

Other anime:

Comment: Famous (to me anyway) for its GITS series, Production I.G has also produced just over 2 series per year. Sad to say but apart from the SAC series, I have not actually seen any other series from this studio so I cannot comment too much on them!

5). HAL FILM MAKER


Proficiency percentage: 27% (4/15)- 1 listed for every 3.8 produced

Listed anime: ARIA The Origination, ARIA The Animation, Princess Tutu, ARIA The Natural

Other anime: Boys Be…, Strange Dawn, Pretear, Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-Chan 1 & 2, The Good Witch of the West, Night Wizard!, Sketchbook -full color’s-, Kemeko Deluxe!, Skip Beat!, Skip-Beat!

Comment: Huge output in 2008 (4 series). Now that the ARIA series has come to an end (I believe), it will be interesting to see that what other good series will come out from this studio, considering that ARIA really is the crown in Hal’s production in term of quality over the last few years.

6). MADHOUSE STUDIOS

Proficiency percentage: 25% (18/71)- 1 listed for every 3.9 produced

Listed anime: MONSTER, Paranoia Agent, Gunslinger Girl, Black Lagoon, Dennou Coil, Texhnolyze, Kaiba, Gungrave, BECK, Death Note, Shigurui, Kaiji, Chobits, Hajime no Ippo, Boogiepop Phantom, Claymore, Nan, Harlock: Endless Odyssey

Other notable anime: Beyblade, Ichigo 100%, Jubei-chan, Chi’s Sweet Home, DearS, Mouryou no Hako, One Outs, Rideback, Pita Ten

Comment: Despite topping the top 100 list of good anime series with 18, madhouse is all the way down when we rank it based on the quality percentage.This is due solely to its amazing output each year (7 series released on average; 12 releases in 2008 alone. That’s more than some studio’s total output over the last decade!). Taking this into account, we see that the studio only ‘hits’ in about a quarter of its production. Given the massive production, it is not surprising that Madhouse can cover such vast genre from the serious drama like MONSTER, to all-out action in Black Lagoon and even moe romantic comedy like Chobits. All things considered though, I will take one-in-four ratio from Madhouse any day of the week! That works out to just under 2 amazing series a year at this rate.

7). SHAFT

Proficiency percentage: 22% (4/18)- 1 listed for every 4.5 produced

Listed anime: Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, Ef- Tale of Memories, Bakemonogatari, Pani Poni Dash

Other anime: Dotto! Koni-chan, Arcade Gamer Fubuki, G-On Riders, Popotanm Tsukuyomi: Moonphase, negima, Rec, Ef- Tale of Melodies, Hidamari Sketch & x365, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei (Original, Zoku, Zan), Maria Holic, Natsu no Arashi (& Akinai chuu)

Comment: I am also less familiar with the animes produced by this studio. Most of its outputs are either drama or comedy. It seems very similar to Kyoto Animation also.

8). SUNRISE

Proficiency percentage: 17% (7/41)- 1 listed for every 5.9 produced

Listed anime: Planetes, Banner of the Stars, Gintama, Code Geass, My-HiME, Gundam SEED, Yakitate!! Japan

Other notable anime: Gundam 00, Dinosaur King, The Big O, S-CRY-ed, Witch Hunter Robin, Gundam SEED Destiny, InuYasha, Brigadoon

Comment:Another high-profile animation studio with lots of productions. Not much to say also about this one.


9). ARTLAND

Proficiency percentage: 15% (2/13)- 1 listed for every 6.5 produced

Listed anime: Bokura ga Ita, Mushi-Shi

Other notable anime: Tutania, Hakushaku to Yo-sei, Kenkou Zenrakei Suieibu Umishou, We Were There, Reborn!, Happiness!, Yugo the Negotiator, Masuda Kousuke Theatre Gag Manga Biyori (1,2,3), Gunslinger Girl II

Comment: Is Mushi-Shi a one-off for this studio? I did not realize it also did the Gunslinger Girl Sequel

10). Gonzo

Proficiency percentage: 14% (7/52)- 1 listed for every 6.5 produced

Listed anime: Gankutsuou, Last Exile, FMP, Saikano, Welcome to the NHK, Seto no hanayome, Kaleido Star

Other notable anime: Bokurano, Shangrila, The Tower of Druaga, Strike Witches, Witch Blade, Afro Samurai, Witchblade, Vandread, Trinity Blood, Speed Grapher, Gravion, Burst Angel, Chrono Crusade

Comment: Gonzo’s low position is a direct result of it producing just over 5 series per year, not all of them that good. This is likely to be its problem since it seems to churn lesser works like Withcblade, Burst Angel, Speed Grapher or Strike Witches despite it being capable of producing good series like Gankutsuou or Bokurano (really like this a lot though it does not seem to be that well-known at all sadly). Hopefully it will get to the point where it will streamline its production a little bit and up that proficiency %.

Additional notes:

a). The list obviously proves the point that it is more difficult for big studio to sustain excellence when it is releasing 5+ series per year.  Medium-size studios like Kyoto Animation or Brains Base have it much easier to sustain the ratio. Still, it does at least separate these studios from others like AIC, J.C. Staff and Bee Train who produced similar outputs in term of quantity, but with distinctly inferior quality

b). Despite producing the second highest number of anime series the last decade (55), Studio DEEN only come in ranking 18th with 7% proficiency percentage (1 listed for every 14 series produced). For every Fruits Basket or Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, it also animates lesser works like Rave Master, Yumeria and Samurai Deeper Kyo

c). Toei Animation also suffers similar fate, having only Mononoke ranked among its 47 released titles (2%). Saying that, it does release a lot of franchise series like Digimon, Pretty Cure and Ojamajo Doremi (accounting for over a quarter of its outputs) that defnitely have less traction in the west

d). If we raise the critical mass to 20 released titles, BONEs would come first, followed by Production I.G, Madhouse, Gonzo and J.C. Staff in that order.

Do you think that some studios should make the list? Do you not agree with any of the rankings? Let me know!


12 Comments on “Anime Studio Proficiency – Series”

  1. deathnote says:

    Wow it must have a lot of time to complie this post.Thank you for this.

  2. Canne says:

    None of my favorite series is produced by Kyoto animation…after second look, there is lack of action/dark themed series from this studio so that might be the cause.
    For the big studio which produce lots of work, I think that is good for them financially since quality does not always means money.
    Lastly, I am amazed by the dedication you put into this post. All credits go to you🙂

    • Based on that criteria, then Kyoto Animation is definitely not fo you! Afterall, it seems like its most violent/action-oriented anime series is FMP: 2nd Raid… On the basis of series available, I’m sure Brains Base (Baccano! really), Madhouse or Studio I.G (Kemono no Sou-ja Erin) probably appeals to your dark side a bit more.

      I’m just thinking if there is any way to proof quantitatively whether quality can equal money. One thing is to cross-analyse it with its rating in Japan. That’s one facet of it but of course it ignores the success a series may have in the west (handicapping shows like Afro Samurai or Samurai Champloo that I believe did better here than in Japan). Do look forward to that sometime in the future (more data to collect and process so it may not be any time soon)

      It’s great that you enjoy reading it. Thanks for the comment:)

      • Canne says:

        You nailed it, looking at Production IG, BONES and Madhouse’s list, I found many of my favorite anime. Wait…maybe the dark side is the only side I’ve got! >_<

      • Haha, it’s always good to know where your preference lies:) I find it interesting also that one can categorize studios quite clearly based on their genre and style! Hmm, that brings up another good point I might want to explore. What genre of anime actually gets the most recognition? Is it comedy, action, drama or sci-fi? It may be dependent on the common animes of its time but I think I may have enough data point to find out some interesting results…

  3. spacesheriff says:

    Wow, i can’t imagine the amount of research you did for this. I don’t usually pay much attention to the studios that produce animes. I learned many things from this article. Thanks🙂

    I’d like some clarifications about some of your data though:
    (1) is the “top 100 list” from a US sample population and (2) were these series actually shown on US TV (or somewhat readily available for viewing for the sample population used, e.g. DVDs or fansubs)?

    The reason i’m asking is because if a studio in Japan produces 20 series a decade, all 20 are fairly readily available for viewing for the Japanese. Whereas, only a handful out of all produced anime are readily available for viewing outside Japan. Thus, we may not be giving the studios a fair chance if we do not have access to all the anime they produce.

    Btw, you mentioned a cross-analysis with Japan ratings. I find that interesting🙂

    • I’m really happy you are able to find something useful from this:) While doing this, I have also picked up a few interesting things regard animation studio too. Previously, I barely paid attention to any and only know a few (Sunrise, Madhouse, Production I.G) without paying too much attention. Now I am definitely much more enlightened about this aspect of the anime industry!

      As for your question:
      (1). The ‘top 100 list’ is based on my compilation and analysis of the various ‘top animes of the 2000s decade’ polls that were posted on different blogs/forums at the turn of the century. I never noticed the nationality of the bloggers so I cannot conclusively answer your second question. I imagine the sample probably is not too US-centric as there seems to be a few bloggers from both Asia and Europe whose data I have included. That may be something I might have to look into if it’s possible to do at all:)
      (2). Based on the first answer, I would say that I am comfortable that this bias you mention does not affect the results too much, at least for the majority of the series. Most of the time, if a series is popular enough in Japan, most bloggers will find their hands on them through fansubs even if they’re not released in the US. To get the sense of the portion of people doing that, do check out the results of Anime Yume’s poll (especially in the method of watching category; http://animeyume.com/blog/2010/07/17/the-anime-preference-survey-2010-edition/). It should best represent the demographics that my results represent. Saying that, series (or movies) like Ojamajo Doremi, Detective Conan or Doraemon definitely do not benefit from much exposure in the west, hence their lack of presence in the list. I can live with it though:) The fact also that lesser known animes like Haibane Renmei, Mushi-Shi or Monster make the top three also give me confidence that the list covers the whole spectrum the anime industry has to offer.

      I’m pretty excited to see whether the cross-analysis gives any interesting result too! We will have to wait and see:)

      You can also read more about my top 100 list in the very first post of my blog. I did go into a bit more detail there.

      • spacesheriff says:

        I understand what you mean. I, too, mostly watch fansubs🙂

        I guess this analysis would only exclude the casual viewers – those who only watch what’s available on TV as opposed to those who would actually seek for good animes.

      • Fansubs are your best friends for a lot of these series:) Nowadays I try not to download a lot and buy as many licensed dvds as I can, but without fansubs, I probably would not be as big of a fan of anime as I am now so i do have to give it credits…

        Yup, and I am half-glad that series like Naruto and Bleach are not higher than where they are! I admit having only read manga and am sure the anime must be somewhat good but I just don’t think they are that good all things considered. Besides, the fact that those who I have included in the list have actually explicitly ranked their choices and in almost all cases wrote a reason why give me some confidence that the choice is at least thought out and not chosen on a whim or from a narrow sample (as casual viewers probably have not seen that many animes themselves). All lists can never capture all demographics and I am glad I could build one around the fans rather than casual viewers:)

  4. trajano says:

    hey WTF is TOEI ANIMATION??


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