A rundown of the studios at BONES

After writing the A rundown of the studios at Sunrise, I thought about writing a similar post for Studio BONES, but one thing that kept me back, was that there wasn’t as much information available for Studio Bones as there was for Sunrise. However I think I’ve found enough information to be able to write something that’ll be of interest. More after the jump.

As it was mentioned in the Sunrise article, Studio BONES was founded in 1998 when a few members of Sunrise decided to leave and form their own studio. Specifically Masahiko Minami, Hiroshi Ōsaka and Toshihiro Kawamoto. Masahiko Minami was a producer at Sunrise Studio 2 and he co-produced shows like G Gundam, The Vision of Escaflowne and Cowboy Bebop. Hiroshi Ōsaka & Toshihiro Kawamoto were the talented animators who came along with Minami. The majority of the staff that left Sunrise originated from Sunrise Studio 2 especially those that worked on Cowboy Bebop.

Bones Studio A
-Studio A is currently lead by producer Naoki Amano.
-Their works include: Hiwou War Chronicles(00-01)*, Angelic Layer(01)*, Wolf’s Rain(03), Kurau Phantom Memory(04), Jyu-Oh-Sei(06)*, Ghost Slayers Ayashi(06-07), Heroman(10) and Gosick(11).
-Their current work is the sequel to Eureka Seven named Eureka AO(12).
-This studio is known for keeping to their schedules very well when dealing with original works. This is the sub-studio that is often called upon when some outsourcing is needed by other animation studios.
-I’m not sure why there was a seemingly long break between the end of Ayashi in ’07 and Heroman’s start in ’10. It is possible the failure of Ayashi had something to do with this. Ayashi began airing in a very popular Saturday afternoon time slot, one that shows like Gundam SEED and Fullmetal Alchemist once held. Going into this slot with an original show was always a risky plan, however the show was meant to run for an entire year, but the ratings were very low and soon the show was given the axe.
-Regarding Heroman however, the show was first announced in March of 2008. There were reports that show was being animated over 2008 and 2009 so that when the show began airing in 2010, the majority of the animation work had already been completed.
Edit: Thank you to Duckroll in the comments for filling in the blanks in my knowledge, as he mentions, Heroman was in production for 2 whole years and was completed entirely before it went on air, so that is the reason for the big gap between Ayashi and Heroman.
-He also mentions Chiko, Heiress of the Phantom Thief was in fact a production shared between Bones Studio A and Telecom Animation Film.

The intro to Ghost Slayers Ayashi

Bones Studio B
-Studio B is lead by producer Watanabe Makoto
-Their works include: Escaflowne the Movie(00), Cowboy Bebop Movie: Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door(01), RahXephon(02), RahXephon Movie: Pluralitas Concentio(03), Scrapped Princess(03)*, Mars Daybreak(04)*, Eureka Seven(05-06), Skullman(07)*, Sword of Stranger(Movie)(07), Xam’d Lost Memories(08), Halo Legends episode 4(OVA)(10) and their most recent work being Towa no Quon(Movie series)(11).
-Many of their productions have sci-fi themes and often include mecha. This studio is where some of BONES’s best animators work and the shows they produce are known to have some of the best production values.
-With regard to Sword of the Stranger, the first clips of it showed up around 2003 at various trade fairs, it was unknown if it would be a TV show or a movie for a few years, however around the middle of 2006, the go ahead was given and full movie production for it began.

The intro to Xam’d Lost Memories

Bones Studio C
-Studio C is lead by producer Ooyabu Yoshihiro
-Works include: Fullmetal Alchemist(03-04), Fullmetal Alchemist the Movie: Conqueror of Shamballa(05), Ouran High School Host Club(06), Darker than Black(07), Soul Eater(08-09), Darker than Black: Gemini of the Meteor(09), Darker than Black Gaiden(OVA)(10), Star Driver(10-11) and UN-GO(11).
-This studio works on a variety of different genres.
-While the first two studios were founded roughly as the main studio was born, this one came to life before Fullmetal Alchemist went on air in 2003.

The 2nd intro to Darker than Black

Bones Studio D
-Studio D is lead by producer Norai Yorimoto
-Works include: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood(09-10), Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos(Movie)(11) and No. 6(11).
-A seemingly young studio, I had read this studio was created to handle the animation for the various FMA games, but I can no longer find the same text to back this up.
Edit: This studio was formed to handle the task of producing FMA Brotherhood. The production of the new FMA would last a long period of time and other studios were busy with their own works so a new Studio was formed instead.
-I have a feeling Chiko, Heiress of the Phantom Thief from 2008 was one of the first shows produced by this studio, or at least partially as this show was a joint production between studio Bones and Telecom Animation Film. The producer for Chiko on the BONES end was Norai Yorimoto and there are other staff that are shared between Chiko and FMA Bortherhood. I have little else to go on so this may just be a wild guess.
Chiko was in fact a Studio A production, thanks to Duckroll for the correction.

The intro to FMA Brotherhood

Related studio: Kinema Citrus
This studio is not directly under BONES, however it was formed when one of their producers, Ogasawara Munenori left with individuals from Production IG and Beetrain to form their own studio. Their initial productions were joints with BONES.
Joint works include: Tokyo Magnitude 8.0(09) and Eureka Seven – good night, sleep tight, young lovers(Movie)(09).

The intro to Tokyo Magnitude 8.0

Notes: Titles marked with ‘*’ were hard to pin to a studio given I couldn’t initially find much information regarding which sub-studio produced them. A little bit of searching netted me BONES’s own webpages that told me which studios worked for Mars Daybreak, Jyu-Oh-Sei and Skullman, however I had no luck in finding something similar for Angelic Layer and Scrapped Princess. I ended up having to draw out a chart in photoshop that plotted the airing dates of the various shows and movies in chronological order and make an educated guess where a show could have fitted in to their early schedule. If anyone actually knows or spots any mistakes please drop a line in the comments.

Finally, here’s a great picture including every character animated by Studio BONES drawn by Toshihiro Kawamoto for the 10th Anniversary special that featured in an issue of Newtype a couple of years ago. Thanks for reading!

10th Anniversary Special

Stop the dogs from stealing the 'bone'!

Sources: [1], [2]

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36 Responses to A rundown of the studios at BONES

  1. paeses says:

    Great Report
    I have thank you for this a lot of information
    I always wanted to know what’s Studio A and so on
    and your article explained it all for me

    Thanks

  2. Tabris says:

    Really nice read. My favorites Bones’ shows come from studios B and C, even if I really liked FMA:B. I have less experience with studio A’s works, except Gosick which was kind of unbalanced. Now I’m not surprised with the close similarities between E7, Xam’d and Towa no Quon styles, each one coming from the same studio 🙂

  3. duckroll says:

    Good write-up, and it’s always nice to see someone put effort into explaining studio structures. One slight correction though. Chiko is definitely not a D Studio production. D Studio did not exist until they needed another studio to produce Brotherhood. I have the May 2008 Newtype which had a major BONES feature with studio breakdowns and interviews, and it is clearly stated there that Chiko was an A Studio production at the time, while they were also working on Heroman.

    The reason why there is a huge gap between Ayakashi Ayashi and Heroman is because A Studio spent 2 full years on the production of Heroman before it ever went on air. The production partners behind Heroman involved American companies, so that might have influenced the production process as most western produced animation series tend to be completed before they air.

    Hope that helps! 🙂

    • duckroll says:

      P.S. You are definitely correct on the studios for the earlier shows. A Studio indeed worked on Angelic Layer and Jyu Ou Sei, while B Studio worked on Scrapped Princess, Mars Daybreak, and Skull Man. Good job.

    • Kraker2k says:

      Hey! When I was researching this post, I did read your posts on the AnimeSuki forums in the Heroman thread about the NewType special on BONES and I thought to myself “That HAS to have had a goldmine worth of information!”- I then tried looking for anyone on the internet that might have posted about it but had no luck…

      Really glad you dropped by, thanks for the additional information!

  4. Pingback: A rundown of the studios at Sunrise | The Vanishing Trooper Incident

  5. reanimator says:

    Your research on Bones studio is pretty good. Studio breakdown is not bad, but you can’t just do guess works. Don’t just rely on Newtype magazine for printed reference. Animage has better articles and interviews. Animage featured an article called “Young person’s guide to Bones” in July 2006 and it covers studio culture and their motivations.

    • Kraker2k says:

      It’s not guess work. Well – a little bit was guessed at the time of writing, but I took an educated guess which I explained in the article. The user duckroll in the comments corrected some of my mistakes and confirmed the areas that I wasn’t sure of.

      • reanimator says:

        Yeah I was bit harsh. I shouldn’t call your post guess work. I was looking for something juicy; something fascinating…

        I have to say that it’s good introduction about the Bones studio for people who normally don’t visit Japanese site.

        • Kraker2k says:

          It’s okay, that was my main objective, just to give a bit of insight to English fans of anime. A lot of this information is not readily available in English, so when I first discovered it I thought I’d keep as reference for myself, but then I decided I’d also post it on the blog so that other people could also learn about Bones (and Sunrise).

  6. GlassShadow says:

    I have been a Bones fan for a while, and I honestly had no idea the studio was split this way to focus on individual project. Thanks for the very informative post! By the way, do you know which branch is doing Zetsuen no Tempest, the new Bones production for the fall lineup?

    • Kraker2k says:

      They are one of my favourite studios, I believe Tempest is going to be a Studio D production. Studio A (and parts of B) are currently working on Eureka AO and Studio C might be working on a potential Star Driver movie.

      • GlassShadow says:

        Hmm, apparently Bones is producing a new version of a “familiar” title. The timing seem to also coincide with Bones 15th year anniversary and according to Bones director Minami, they are planning an anniversary project, so maybe it’s one and the same? I’m super curious as to what this future production might be.

        • Kraker2k says:

          They’ve also been hinting at a possible sequel to Sword of the Stranger. There was an event for it recently so something might get announced, keep your eyes peeled!

  7. Pingback: A rundown of the studios at Production IG | The Vanishing Trooper Incident

  8. MeE says:

    Hi Kraker2k.

    Thank you so much for this article, quite interesting!
    COuld you please indicate what do the numbers between brackets in the list of works of each BONES’ sub-studio mean?

    Thanks!

  9. Jackass says:

    What studios has working Space Dandy and Noragami?

    • Kraker2k says:

      For 2014 Bones have several up and coming shows.
      Studio A: Noragami
      Studio B: Space Dandy
      Studio C: Captain Earth
      Studio D: Chiaka (possibly)

      Unknown: Soul Eater Not

      • Jackass says:

        Probably Studio C will be working at that series.
        And can you make a rundown other studios like Pierrot, Madhouse, A-1 Pictures or Shaft?

        • Kraker2k says:

          As far as I know, most of those companies don’t have similar sub-studio structures. Rather some of them have teams based around certain producers, but there is little information about them. IIRC Shaft and A-1 Pictures have a lot of outsourced work, ie they use a lot of freelancers in their work.

          So when someone says “This is an A1 show” you can’t really infer much from it because they don’t really have any kind of fixed staff or team, like Bones, Sunrise or IG do.

  10. Pingback: Studio BONES, qui es-tu ? | NHK Conspiracy

  11. SA10-kun says:

    Hi Kraker,

    Thanks for linking my article on Twitter.
    This post is really interesting about how works Bones ! 🙂
    B studio definitively the best for me.

    I also keep an eye on Lay-duce founded by Noritomo Yonai. Classroom Crisis & Adventure of Sinbad OAV was really good (and lovely Granblue Fantasy trailer : https://youtu.be/snyYJw_pXH0).

  12. Omari says:

    Which sub-studio is working on My Hero Academia?

  13. HFC says:

    Hey, thanks for spending the time to write out this article! I’m planning to use this and your 1st source as some my own source for a reddit comment in a /r/anime thread for My Hero Academia’s 3rd PV. After talking about how Bones will be producing 4 different different shows, I’m going to link your blog post and I’ll try my best to write out all the recent notable shows that each studio has produced since 2012. So far it’s going great (I manually copy and pasted to Google Translate to make things easier) and I’ll finish my comment soon. However, do you think it’s possible that for each studio helps each other sometimes when they aren’t busy doing outsourced work for other studios? I mean, I know it lists that it has for Kekkai Sensen but I wonder if it’s possible for other anime that were produced before when they weren’t producing so many shows during one season. If it is, how likely is it? I ask because I plan to say this at the end of my comment and I’d like your input/knowledge on this. Thanks!

  14. Kraker2k says:

    I asked @liborek3 who knows about Bones in detail and he said:

    “Yes, they do help each other. The most recent example was D Studio doing episodes for Akagami (ep 10), ConRevo (4) and Noragami S2 (7)”

    Hope that helps.

  15. rickgrimes says:

    what about studio studio shaft, brains base and JC staff?

  16. What about Studio AIC? Don’t they have a gazillion subsidiary’s?

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