Anime Studio – Genre Demographics

When collecting the anime information over the last decade, I have also gotten around to collecting what genre(s) each anime belongs to. This vary quite a bit from the basic genre (action, adventure, comedy, drama) but also sub-genre like (school, sports, music, mecha). When possible, I also try to differentiate whether the anime is shonen, shojo, seinen or josei. With this information, I am able to assign each major studios the most repeated genre of its anime releases to see whether any cool trend can be gleaned or certain beliefs justified (that studio XXX only does action, Studio YYY does more fanservice than others).

In this first post on this topic however, I will first look at the look at the demographic genre, since it is a little easier to segment and discuss.  This can be divided as either Shonen (boy), Shojo (girl), seinen (grown male), josei (grown female) and Kodomo (young children). I hope that this will give some perspective to what studios are the major player in each category. At least I certainly learn something myself from it! Criteria and assumptions I use to come up with this analysis is presented right at the end of the post.

– Top anime studio listed for each demographic is based on:

i). the percentage of the anime categorized explicitly as that genre over total anime produced (highest share of animes in that demographic)

ii). total absolute number of anime series from that genre produced (highest number of animes in that demographic)

SHONEN

i).  Artland – 54% (average across all samples is 32%)

ii).  J.C. Staff – 22 series (average =7.8)

(Note that the brackets above refer to the average across all studios. This should give a point of comparison to how the top studios compare with the mean)

This is unsurprisingly the biggest demographic, with nearly as many animes produced as the other four demographics combined.

Artland coming top in category one is a little surprising. Further examination on the seven shonen series produced (Tytania, Kenkou Zenrakei Suieibu Umishou, Reborn!, Masuda Kousuke Threater Gag Manga Biyori 1, 2 & 3, Gunslinger Girl II Tetrino)shows that it got this title probably just because of that one adaptation (Masuda) bumping its number up.

Second in the list is Studio Pierrot at 52%. Based on the profiel of the # 12 shonen (Naruto, Naruto Shippuden, Saiyuki + GL & RL, Midori Days, Hikaru no Go, Bleach, Detective School) we should probably crown them more as the shounen champion, since it seems to be the go-to studio for anime adaptation of some of the most famous shonen series around (Naruto and Bleach alone are probably enough). Gonzo and Madhouse also produce pretty high volumes of shonen works as well, with 19 and 16 productions respectively.

SHOJO

i). Studio DEEN – 27% (average = 11%)

ii). Studio DEEN – 15 series (average = 2.7)

Studio DEEN tops this list quite conclusively in term of sheer volume and share of its production. Its output accounts for about 20% of the shojo offerings in the last decade. It  also have some very recognizable shojo titles including Fruits Basket, Full Moon o Sagashite, Maria-sama ga Miteru series  and Hell Girl series. The nearest rival to this is probably Studio Pierrot with 26% own production share and 6 series (7% of industry). Out of all the demographic category, Studio DEEN’s dominance in shojo anime is by far the strongest. It just seems that when there is a shojo-themed series that need to be made, DEEN probably would be the first that get approached!

SEINEN

i). Artland – 31% (average = 18%)

ii). Madhouse Studios – 20 series (average = 4.9)

Similar to the shonen category, Artland takes first place in the first category simply due to its low total production (4 out of 13 are seinens). Apart from Mushi-Shi however, the other series are not exactly memorable. The real king of seinen is arguably Madhouse. Its list is probably one of the most prolific around, with the likes of MONSTER, Black Lagoon, Kaiji and Chobits. Perhaps, being such a big studio really allows it to explore and does more grown-up animes…

JOSEI

i). J.C. Staff – 8% (average = 1%)

ii). J.C. Staff – 4 series (average = 0.4)

Only 4 studios have done series that is classified as Josei (Madhouse, DEEN, J.C. Staff and Studio Pierrot). J.C. accounts nearly than half of this outputs (4 out of 9).

PS: The series I have listed are Nodame Cantabile (1 & Paris-Hen), Honey and Clover (I and II), Himitsu – Top Secret, Paradise Kiss, Mirage of Blaze, Junjo Romatica, Twelve Kingdoms

KODOMO

i). Xebec – 27% (average = 3%)

ii). Xebec – 7 series (average = 0.7)

Note: Xebec takes first position here on the strength of its MegaMan (5 seasons) and Rockman series. Other notable Kodomo series are Beyblad and Stitch! Not a lot of samples in this category so I do not think the results here tell a lot. Besides, who actually watches any of these show:)

Some other random observations that most likely interest only me

i). Out of all my samples, Radix is the only studio that does not produce any shonen or seinen series that I have recorded. Admittedly, it only produced 10 series overall with only one categorized. This may be more the product of it producing non-manga related anime than anything else. Besides, its only one anime of note is Haibane Renmei (an almightily impressive one to say the least)

ii). Out of all the major studios in the sample, Sunrise has the highest (by far) percentage of animes that I cannot categorize into any demographic. This may point to its less reliance on external manga sources for its anime production

Here it is for now. Interestingly, it really seems like each category is dominated by one or two prominent studios (Shonen – J.C. Staff/Pierrot; Shojo – DEEN; Seinen – Madhouse; Josei – J.C Staff), something I never ever realized until now. The next post, I plan to explore the same concept but this time for different genre (sci fi, mecha, comedy etc.). I will at some point also do the same exercise for directors if there are actually some interesting trend to be discovered:)

PS. What would you classify shows like Clannad? A few mangas that were released classified them as either shonen or seinen. However, the tone, visual and story really feel so shojo to me. I have left it blank so far

Criteria and assumptions:

– Studios must have at least 10 series in the record I have compiled

– based on criteria above, studios covered are Madhouse, Studio DEEN, Gonzo, J.C. Staff, Toei Animation, Sunrise, TMS, Xebec, Production I.G, Studio Pierrot, Satelight, AIC, BONES, Studio Comet, Shaft, Studio Hibari, Hal FIlm Maker, ZEXCS, Artland, Group TAC, OLM, Nippon Animation, Bee Train, Radix, Kyoto Animation and Brains Base (this excludes companies like GAINAX, Nomad or Studio Gallop, which have 9,9, and 8 entries respectively)

– It was not possible to collect all genre data (most data is gathered from anime that is made from manga so I can identify the genre (using wikipedia mostly). A lot of anime does not fall into this category so I leave their genre blank). Despite this, 65% of the total anime series (610) are categorizable so this should give an adequate population size for the analysis (see pie chart below for the breakdown)


3 Comments on “Anime Studio – Genre Demographics”

  1. Canne says:

    Another informative and laborous post that I could never do. The ambiguity of certain titles’ demographics is clearly problematic here. I believe these anime can be easier to classify in to genre but then again, there will be many anime that cross multiple genre.

    • Very true. It’s to be expected anyway if you are going to categorize such wide ranges of materials into merely 5 categories! In this case, a lot of trust is placed into wikipedia to determine which genre certain work is for me. To add to the possible ambiguity is the fact that it is very likely that for example some of the titles are released as a shonen in manga form but when it got adapted into an anime, it becomes more seinen. I took a leap of faith here and assume this is not the case.

      I will be doing the same kind of post for genre next. Stay tuned!


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