A rundown of the studios at Production IG

Welcome to another post looking at the inner workings of an anime studio and how they operate. This time I’m going to be talking about Production IG. They are a fairly popular studio having worked on several popular anime works over the years the most iconic probably being the Ghost in the Shell franchise. Follow through for more info.


Originally founded as IG Tatsunoko back in 1987. That name should give you a little clue about their origin, as they were originally an off shoot of Tatsunoko Pro. They began as a branch of Tatsunoko Pro working on an anime known as Zillion. Mitsuhisa Ishikawa was the producer for this show and wanted to keep the staff together after the show ended, so he teamed up with Zillion’s character designer Takayuki Goto and founded IG Tatsunoko. They ran with this name until 1993, shortly before the release of the 2nd Patlabor movie, when they changed name to Production IG.

They have made a name for themselves for doing high quality movie work and that has also lead them to gaining a name in the west. Similar to Sunrise and Bones, Production IG also have several sub-studios meaning they can work on several projects at any given time. Each sub studio is named ‘IG Section #’ a naming convention adopted from the Ghost in the Shell series which features the adventures of Public Security Section 9.

In 2007 Production IG merged with a manga publishing house called Mag Garden to form IG Port. Under this company Production IG, Xebec and Mag Garden were made to be subsidiaries.

  • IG Sections 1, 2 and 3

The way production IG organises itself is thus: Sections 1, 2 and 3 don’t actually create any anime, no planning or designing tends to happen in these studios. Instead these studios manly work as animation houses where they focus on doing animation; inbetweens and digital paint. These studios are organised into two main departments. Studio 1 oversees Sections 3, 4, 6 and 10 while Studio 2 manages Sections 5, 7, 8 and 9. The other studios are categorised as “production lines” where other aspects of anime production take place, such as the directing, scripting, editing, designing – well as key animation I believe.

Note that Section 3 is included as part of 1, the reason for this is that I have seen two different sources. One claims 3 is an animation house like 1 and 2 while another claims that Section 3 is a production line like many of the studios below. For the latter, I have seen no mention of works they have overseen. However I have noticed they are credited alongside 1 and 2 for doing inbetween work for the anime segment on Kill Bill Vol 1. Which leads me to believe they are probably an animation house, albeit one which does not oversee any of the other sections but works along side Section 1 to create animation for the other studios in their department.

Section 1 is headed mostly by founder Takayuki Goto. While Section 2 is lead by animator Kazuchika Kise. This has been the way since the company’s founding. Goto’s Section 1 is quite formal and business like with regular hours while Kise’s section 2 tends to be more informal and open with a casual atmosphere, mostly reflective of Kise’s own laid back and charming personality. Production IG only had a 2 studio setup with Xebec as support for most of the 90s, it wasn’t until the early the early 00s when other sections were formed. For this reason it’s hard to say which studio worked on Patlabor, GitS or End of Evangelion, other than to say it was probably combination of sections 1 and 2.

  • IG Section 4

- IG Section 4 is overseen by two producers, Hidekazu Terakawa and Keiko Matsushita.
– They are a curious studio as they have done all sorts of productions. They have done cutscenes for games, created promotions videos, movies and TV shows as well as shorts to help promote young animators.
– Section 4 have worked on TV shows such as 2005’s Immortal Grand Prix(IGPX) or 2011’s Bunny Drop.
– In terms of games this studio has been in charge of all the footage for the “Tales” series of games until 2011’s Tales of Xillia, where the cutscenes were handled by studio Ufotable instead.
– On the movie side this studio has housed the production of Hiroyuki Okiura’s A Letter to Momo and Pokemon Black & White: The Movie as well as movie adaptations of various Tales games.
– This studio has also created shorts like Shouka, as well as titles for the Young Animator Training Project such as Tansu Warashi and Wasurenagumo.
– Most recent work is Ace of Diamond.

  • IG Section 5

- IG Section 5 is also overseen by 2 producers. Toru Kawaguchi and Kazunori Shibata.
– This is one of IG’s more important studios. They create several of the TV shows that go on air each year.
– Past works include the various xxxHolic shows and movie, Ghost Hound, Sky Crawlers, Yondemasu yo, Azazel-san, Blood-C Movie.
– Many of the shows directed by Tsutomu Mizushima are done at Section 5.
– Their latest works are anime original Psycho-Pass and the sequel Azazel-san Z.

  • IG Section 6

- Lead by producer Wataru Kurosawa.
– Seeing as the former Studio 6 turned into Wit, IG filled in the gap with a new team.
– Their most recent works are Usagi Drop, Genshiken Nidaime, Robotic;Notes and Haikyuu!

  • Wit Studio (Former IG Section 6)

- This used to be the old Section 6 until 2012 when it was decided by IG’s parent company, IG Port, that they would form a studio under their name rather than under Production IG. I am guessing this was done so that IG Port would have a bigger say in this studio than it does over Production IG itself. Since this studio is not directly under Production IG, it also has a bit more freedom and will work independently of IG’s own interests, much like how BeeTrain did when it first began.
– Mainly overseen by Production IG producer Tetsuya Nakatake. Though while the studio was under IG, it had two producers in charge like the other sections.
– Past works as Section 6 include Le Chevalier D’Eon, Real Drive, Sengoku Basara and Kimi ni Todoke. Guilty Crown was their final work before breaking away to become Wit Studio.
– Recent works include Attack on Titan, Hal (movie) and Houzuki no Reitetsu

  • IG Section 7

- Section 7 used to be a clean up studio that would add colour to animation. But it is believed that it is now a production line like the others. However there is little to no information regarding which producers run the studio so not much is known about which shows they have produced.
– Current producer in charge is Yuuma Oogami.
– Works include Moshidora, Blood-C TV Series, Azazel-san OVA and their most recent work being the Suisei no Gargantia.

  • IG Section 8

- Producer Tomohiko Ishii is in charge of section 8.
– This is the studio that produced Blood +, but after completing it they dropped off the map. It was until IG had a reshuffle of it’s structure that Section 8 came back to life.
– Nowadays it is home to the various projects directed by Kenji Kamiyama.
– Works include the new GitS:SAC 3D opening, Xi Avant and the 2012 remake movie of 009 Cyborg.

  • Public Security Section 9

- Lead by producer Tomoyasu Nishimura.
– Past works include Ghost in the Shell: SAC, Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit, Library Wars and Eden of the East.
– This studio was established for the purpose of creating GitS:SAC. It used to be the main studio where Kamiyama Kenji produced many of his shows, however he has moved to Section 8 in recent times.
– This studio pioneered the use of 3D to help the animation process, which resulted in much more accurate and detailed animation. This has lead them to be highly regarded among animation fans.
– This studio in particular has strong connections with anime studio P.A. Works
– As expected, Sextion 9 is in charge of the recent Ghost in the Shell: ARISE spin off.

  • IG Section X

- Section 10 is lead by producer Rui Kuroki.
– 10 lean towards producing shows that tend not to be too flashy. They have worked on Reideen, World Destruction/Sands of Destruction, Tsubasa Chronicles OVA, Bungaku Shoujo, various Prince of Tennis productions, Vassalord, Pokemon The Origin and Kuroko’s Basketball as their most recent project.
Shunsuke Tada directs several shows at Section 10. However he is also a closely tied to a studio called MSC, which means they tend to appear assist in the various works he directs.

  • IG Niigata

- This studio was established in 1991 when animator called Kouji Komurakata was ready to leave IG as he was forced to return home and leave Tokyo. On the advice of Mitsuhisa Ishikawa, IG’s founder, he set up a studio in his home town of Niigata instead and carried on working for IG there. At first he worked alone, but soon hired several animators and grew into a studio in it’s own right.
– IG Niigata is mostly an animation house and they have contributed to the animation of Aria The Origination, Real Drive, The Beast Player Erin, Croisée in a Foreign Labyrinth and Kuroko’s Basketball.
– They also work on outsourced episodes on rare occasions.

–Related studios

  • Xebec

- Xebec was formed in 1995, during a time where Production IG were busying themselves working on various theatrical movies, they decided they needed an outlet for their younger animators to work on. For this reason Xebec was formed to tackle the production of TV anime.
– It was formed with the gathering of some former Ashi Pro (now Production Reed) members. They were producer Yukinao Shimji who leads the studio while Nobuyoshi Habara and Toru Sato serve as the studio’s board members.
– Today, rather than working under IG itself, they are owned by IG Port as one of their subsidiaries.
– They have worked on many TV shows since the mid 90s, producing popular titles such as Martian Successor Nadesico, Love Hina and Shaman King.

  • Xebec Zwei (M2)

- Formed in 2003 when Studio Z5 was reshuffled. Z5’s Hideyuki Motohashi was brought in however when he resigned in 2008/09 the studio also closed.
– Following on staff moved on over to a small Xebec studio called ‘Shakujiidai Studio’ but later on they changed their name to Xebec Zwei.
– Zwei work mostly as support for Xebec, doing inbetween animation most of the time.
– Zwei have also outsourced their work over the years, usually for other studios such as Sunrise, Satelight and Bones.

  • BeeTrain

- There’s a good background for this studio up on Wikipedia, so I’ll just copy paste that here:
The studio Bee Train was founded on June 5, 1997 by Koichi Mashimo, who was previously a director at Tatsunoko Productions and the founder of Mashimo Jimusho, a small freelance staff working for other studios. Originally, Bee Train was a subsidiary of Production I.G along with XEBEC but in February 2006, it ended its relationship and became independent.
- Koichi Mashimo’s goal when he founded Bee Train was to create a “hospital for animators”, an animation studio interested in nurturing young talents and artistic quality of production rather than in corporate strategies and profit. This studio-as-hospital approach was allegedly invented by Mashimo during his prolonged stay in an intensive care unit (after a severe skiing accident) and has been Bee Train’s official strategy ever since.
– Since gaining independence, Beetrain have established several support studios. Along with the headquarters, they have 3 others that support it but also regularly work alongside other studios in an outsourced capacity.

—-

That’s all for now. I understand this might not be as detailed or accurate as previous posts, but coming across accurate data for this has been hard to come by. Do point out any glaring errors or omissions I have made in the comments!


Art of various Production IG characters by Tetsuya Nishio

Sources: [1], [2], [3]

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14 Responses to A rundown of the studios at Production IG

  1. Digibro says:

    Thanks for the post! I’ve been wondering about the structure of I.G. for a while, since their productions tend to feel all over the place in terms of quality. It’s pretty clear that sections 9 and 6 did most of the more critical acclaimed works, which is quite interesting. Section 5 seems to be all over the place. Interesting that they did The Sky Crawlers, when the rest of their stuff seems pretty unambitious. Also I like how they did a movie by Oshii and an anime by Chiaki J. Konaka, and these are the only shows those two did with I.G.

    • Kraker2k says:

      Cheers, now that you mention the thing about Section 5 I see that despite there being this kind of structure at IG, I get the feeling there’s little that makes one sub-studio stand out from another, where as with Bones you have a sub-studio that specialises in manga adaptations or original productions, and with Sunrise they have one that specialises in Gundam or toy based kids shows etc..

  2. drmecha says:

    Great note.
    I always liked the story of Production IG.
    Then I’ll read it in more detail and I’ll send you if I have any information that may interest you.
    Greetings!

  3. GlassShadow says:

    Production I.G is a hodge-podge of everything. I’m guessing having no style could be a style too. But I have noticed that I.G tend to be less flashy in general, especially when compared to studios such as Gainax or Shaft. It’s not a particularly a bad thing and it has contributed to the studio’s mainstream popularity. On top of that, I.G is strong, if not the best, in terms of production value. They are really one of the only studios that is capable of merging CG with traditional cel animation seamlessly. If we are only talking about hand drawn animation, I would say Bones probably come on top, but my vote goes to I.G as far as CG is considered.

    Thanks for this wonderful information!
    P.S I’m gonna take a wild guess and say section 9 is currently behind Psycho-Pass.

  4. korol says:

    Are you planning to do a rundown of other studios, like JC Staff, Satelite, etc?

    • Kraker2k says:

      From what I know about other studios, they don’t quite operate like Sunrise/Bones/IG – The only other one that I know of that is somewhat similar in structure is AIC.

  5. Jackass says:

    So, like a Blood-C Movie, the Blood-C series was produced in the Section 5, right?

  6. Jackass says:

    What studios was doing Sands of Destruction, Genshiken Nidaime, Gargantia, GITS Arise, Ace of Diamond (collaboration with Madhouse)?
    And Section 10 is producing now Kuroko 2 and will be produce Haikyuu.

  7. Jonas says:

    Is there a possibility of a guilty crown sequel?
    the ending of that show is not executed well..
    Looking forward for your reply..

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