Anime Studio – Further Genre Analysis

This post will be similar to the last one (have drafted this a few months back but only got time to finish this recently…). It looks at each major genre and single out an animation studios that have excelled in each in term of animes produced of that genre. In one of the posts in Anime Yume, there was an interesting discussion about how a given anime can be categorized. From that, I intend to go with the simple category (shonen, shojo etc.), main genre (action, adventure) and sub-genre (moe, school). The genres I will talk about are:

Main: Action, Adventure, Drama, Romance, Comedy, Fantasy, Sci-fi, Slice-of-life, Mystery

Sub-genre: Mecha, Real robot, Sports, School, Magical girl, Harem, Fanservice, Moe, Yuri, Music

I have already talked about demographic in the previous post so that will be left out of the discussion here.

Criteria for inclusion

– An animation studio has to produce at least 10 series to be included in the analysis. 26 studios qualify

– Average used for comparison is from all studios qualified in the analysis

– All genre categories are according to wikipedia with information from Anime News Network added when I need a second opinion

1). Absolute number – studio that tops this list shows a tendency to produce a high number of the show in absolute term

2).  Greatest percentage of total anime produced by that studio (studio produced 10, 7 of which is action, the percentage is 70%) – studio that tops this list shows tendency to favour producing shows of certain genre over other genres it can produce

Note that I will list the more interesting results at the beginning and the more ambiguous ones towards the end.

1. ACTION

i). Gonzo – 23 (average = 6.0)

ii). Gonzo – 44% (average = 20%)

Relatively conclusive position. Notable action series are Tower of Druaga, Afro Samurai, Hellsing and Burst Angel


2. ADVENTURE

i).  Gonzo – 19 (avg = 6.0)

ii). Xebec – 42% (avg = 18%; median = 17%)

With the categorization normally grouping action with adventure, it is not hard to believe Gonzo to come out on top in this category as well.

3. COMEDY

i). J.C. Staff – 28 (avg = 10.3)

ii). Shaft – 78% (avg = 22%)

Shaft really excels in producing series in this one particular genre. It definitely knows where its strength lies! Over half of JC Staff’s series are also comedy, the most among the top ten series-producing studios

4. FANSERVICE

i). GONZO – 6 (avg = 2.4)

ii). Radix – 20% (avg = 6%)

Listening to many podcasts or reading through blogs and reviews, I always seem to come up with an impression that Gonzo produced a lot of fanservice shows. This statistics at least proves that in pure number alone, Gonzo indeed has more shows categorized as fanservice than any other studio.

5. MOE

i). Kyoto Animation – 6 (avg = 2.2)

ii). Kyoto Animation – 60% (avg = 5%; median = 0%)

Is there any wonder that Kyoto Animation wins this category by quite a long way? It really seem to capitalize on the moe-niche corner of the anime market with titles such as K-On!, Lucky Star Clannad (original and After Story), Kanon and Air. This is even when Haruhi is not counted as a moe anime, according to ANN, and K-On!! is not counted (because it is released in 2010). Interestingly, its only other significant non-moe series are the FMPs (well, if you do not count Tessa and brand it also a moe show based on that one character).

6. MECHA

i). Sunrise – 17 (avg = 4.4)

ii). Sunrise – 41% (avg = 9%; median = 3%)

Sunrise conclusively owns this category. It produces by far the biggest number of Mecha series as well as the biggest share as % of its own production. Gundam series along accounts for about a third of its total Mecha production so that really partly explains its dominance.

7. REAL ROBOT

i). Sunrise – 7 (avg – 2.6)

ii). Sunrise – 17% (avg 2%; median = 0%)

This is a sub-section of the Mecha genre. The definition is from ANN. Unsurprisingly, Sunrise also comes top on this, with its Gundam series leading the way.

8. DRAMA

i). Studio DEEN – 14 (avg = 5.8)

ii). Radix – 60% (avg = 25%)

Studio DEEN is the drama queen here. For a genre this important, I actually have pretty little to comment…

9. ROMANCE

i). J.C. Staff – 22 (avg =  7.2)

ii). ZEXCS – 57% (avg 29%)

In the list I compile, whenever the genre is given as ‘romantic comedy’, I broke those two into romance and comedy. This may help to explain why J.C. Staff, which also has a healthy margin lead in comedy genre, also wins this category by quite a margin. In term of company production, Madhouse, DEEN, Gonzo and J.C. supply about 25% of total romantic anime output

10. FANTASY

i). Gonzo – 15 (avg =5.4)

ii). Bee Train – 42% (avg = 22%)

Fantasy is also another pretty vague genre. What do you really consider a Fantasy anime, one set in a fantasy land (Twelve Kingdoms and Fushiki Yuugi come to mind) or merely one that has some sort of fantasy elements that set it apart from actual reality ( Tentai Senshi Sunred and Elfen Lied). From the definition I use, it seems to suggest both and more… Nothing too revolutionary with regards to the result here. All top studios (Madhouse, DEEN, Gonzo, J.C., Toei) all produce about 10-15 fantasy series a decade. The next 10 produce about 5 on average.

11. SLICE-OF-LIFE

i). J.C. Staff – 19 (avg = 4.3)

ii). Kyoto Animation – 50% (18%)

J.C. Staff is single-handedly responsible for some of the most famous slice-of-life anime (in my book at least), including Nodame Cantabile, Honey Clover and Azumanga Daioh.

12. MYSTERY

i). Madhouse Studios – 8 (avg =2.4)

ii). Bee Train – 25% (avg = 5%)

Madhouse’s 8 is probably due to its sheer volume of production so it is bound to have a few titles of every genre. The list does contain some highly rated title though such as Texhnolyze, Paranoia Agent, Gungrave and Death Note. As for Bee Train, its most famous titles (Noir, Hack//Sign) are actually in this genre. Is it fair to say that they  should stick more to this genre? Also, out of the small number of entry in this genre that I have recorded (38), Madhouse and DEEN account for 30% of those titles, making it one of the most top-concentrated genre in the list.

13. SPORTS

i). Madhouse Studios – 8 (avg 2.1)

ii). Studio Comet – 17% (avg = 4%)

Our powerhouse studio takes the top sports again, responsible for the more obscure classics like Kaiji, Akagi, One Outs and Hajime no Ippo. Apart from Hajime no Ippo sequel, its other sporting shows come from completely different sports (Rideback – motorcycle; One Outs – Baseball; Akagi – Mahjong; Kaiji – Gambling in general; Hajime no Ippo – Boxing; Captain Tsubasa – Football; Beyblade – spinning tops). Some variety in that list!

14. SCHOOL

i). Studio DEEN – 3 (avg 1.5)

ii). Studio Comet – 11% (avg 3%; median = 0%)

With high shojo-themed anime, it also comes as no surprise that Studio DEEN may have its share of school-related

15. MAGICAL GIRL

i). Toei Animation – 9 (avg 2.6)

ii). Studio Comet – 33% (avg = 7%)

This is the only genre that Toei comes top in despite producing the 5th most animation series, courtesy of the Pretty Cure and Ojamajo Doremi series (which are two of the more popular magical girl franchises this decade). Studio Comet is in the ranking on the strength of Onegai My Melody. No other studios really come close with any other series (other than perhaps Satelight’s Shugo Chara!). This makes me realize how little I know of this genre, since I have no idea how good or bad any of these shows are (the last big show I watched was Sailor Moon in the mid 90s).

16. HAREM

i). AIC – 8 (avg 3.5)

ii). ZEXCS – 50% (avg = 8%; median = 4%)

ZEXCS should be crowned king here with the like of Sister Princess and Da Capo in its offering. Other than that, no other studios really pull away with great number of series in this genre.

17. YURI

i). Studio DEEN – 4 (avg = 1.4)

ii). Shaft – 11% (avg = 2%)

DEEN unsurprisingly holds the most Yuri title (unsurprising since it does the most shojo which correlates extremely well with the Yuri sub-genre)

18. SCI-FI

i). Madhouse Studios – 18 (avg = 5.6)

ii). BONES – 40% (avg 19%)

The definition of sci-fi can be pretty vague, ranging from titles such as Chobits to Burst Angel or Ghost in the Shell. There is no standout trend that I can see from a surface look at this genre unfortunately…

19. MUSIC

i). Madhouse Studios – 2 (avg = 1.5)

ii). Kyoto Animation 10% (avg = 1%)

Yumeta Company, who is not included in this list,  is the studio with the most music anime with 4 out of 7 total productions

20. PSYCHOLOGICAL

i). Studio DEEN – 8 (avg = 2.5)

ii). Production I.G – 16% (avg = 5%)

Not too much to say here…

ADDITIONAL ANALYSES

SHARE OF TITLES

Below is a bar chart to show the share of titles of each genre ranked from most to least. Note that there are some overlaps in genre as some titles have two or more specification, but this should still show the sort of number I am dealing with in this analysis. Essentially, the genre size can be divided into Large (Comedy on its own), Medium (Romance, Action, Drama, Fantasy, Adventure, Sci-fi, Slice-of life) and small (Mecha, Harem, Magical Girls, School, etc.)

MAX-TO-AVERAGE CALCULATION

One measure to look at the studio that most dominates a genre out of the ones I have mentioned is to calculate a simple ratio of max/average. The resulting ratio shows how high above average the top studio can be compared. This shows the biggest tendency of certain studio to produce animes from certain genre in comparison to the industry as a whole

For absolute series production, J.C. Staff wins it in the Slice of Life genre with a 4.4 (11 produced compared to an average of 2.5). This means that J.C. produced over 4 times the average of a slice-of-life anime. The other notable studios that produced way-above-average anime of a particular genres (3.5 ratio or higher) are:

–          Madhouse in Sports (3.8)

–          Sunrise in Mecha (3.8)

–          Gonzo in Action (3.8)

–          Toei Animation in Magical Girl (3.5)

On the other hand, genre with the lowest multiples (the most homogenous where no studios really stand out and produce more series) are School (1.6) and music (1.3). Granted, the sample size for these genres are much smaller so that explain the low number. (among the more prominent genres, Drama has the lowest ratio at 2.4).

HERFINDAHL INDEX

For each of the genre, a herfindahl index can be created in order to determine how concentrated the ‘industry’ is (see wikipedia explanation here. The easy way to read the index is that the higher the number (typically >0.1), the more the genre is dominated by a few studios. On the other hand, the low index indicates the genre is populated by many studios (i.e. it is more competitive). Here are the results:

1). Out of the more mainstream genre, mystery is the one with the highest index score (0.086). The genre is dominated by Madhouse and DEEN who produced 30% of mystery animes

2) Real Robot has the highest index of all the genres I cover (0.135). The fact Sunrise is responsible for 30% of robot shows goes a long way to explain this phenomenon

3). Other than Real Robot, only Music (0.125), Yuri (0.107) and Moe (0.102) exceed the 0.1 barrier, thanks to the prodigious output of Yumeta (25%), DEEN (23%) and Kyoto Animation (21%) respectively

4). The most competitive genres are Comedy (0.028), Romance (0.03) and Drama (0.03). I think that this may be because these genres are so vague that they are used to categorize all sort of series, whether it is correct to do so or not.

MOST COMMON GENRE

This list shows what genre is the most common for that studio (i.e. that particular studio produces the most series with that genre as the theme)

1). Comedy – Madhouse, Studio DEEN, J.C. Staff, Toei Animation, TMS, Production I.G, AIC, Studio Comet, Shaft, Studio Hibari, ZEXCS, Group TAX, OLM, Nippon Animation,

2). Drama – Hal Film Maker, Radix, Brains Base

3=). Action – Gonzo, Zebec

3=). Fantsy – Satelight, Bee Train

5=). Adventure – Studio Pierrot

5=). Sci-fi – BONES

5=). Mecha – Sunrise

5=). Romance – Artland

5=). Kyoto animation – Moe

Something I learn from this list:

a). Comedy sure is a popular genre among all studios (as the Herfindahl Index analysis above also confirms)!

b). It really highlight sa few studios which specialize in certain genre (KyoAni, BONES, Sunrise for example)

Things that may interest only me

– Shaft has by far the highest percentage of its series in one category. 78% of its production is comedy. Kyoto Animation is 2nd with 60% of its production categorized as moe. Pretty amazing to see how far some studios specialize in certain genre.

– There are only 4 genres where a single studio takes first in both ranking. These are 1). Gonzo in action; 2). Sunrise in Mecha and Real Robot; Kyoto Animation in Moe. Gonzo and Sunrise make sense because they both produce a lot of shows during the last decade so it is much easier to top both ranking in at least one category. Kyoto Animation is the most notable amongst the list because although it only produces 10 shows, it still manages to top the list in term of quantity and share!

– Studios on average produce the highest proportion of comedy animes (40% of all studio production, the highest proportion by far). Second in the list is romance at 29%.  I guess a good laugh is always the surest way to profitability:)

So what do I learn from all of this? Nothing groundbreaking but it is still fun to see some results to prove certain anecdotes I have heard around the nets (Gonzo is Fanservice heavy [yes], Kyoto Animation only does Moe [can’t deny it]). Now I have a better idea what studio may be better at which genre:)


2 Comments on “Anime Studio – Further Genre Analysis”

  1. Yi says:

    Interesting… Never really considered studio to have a genre slant. Awesome break down and stats. ^ ^

    • Thanks for the comment and glad you enjoy the post! It was fun to see how the believes I have about certain studios plays out when I look at their production. Granted, for the smaller ones with less than 20 productions per decade, I might be reading too much into what the data:) I do want to go back into the 90s and see if there is any shift in trend of series but that’s a post for another day…


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