14 Studios You Never Realized Worked on Your Favorite Anime

Not all heroes wear capes. Not all animation studios headline projects. The point is, anime is a large, expensive, and time-consuming project that involves multiple anime studios playing a role.

Sadly, we tend to forget the smaller studios who contribute to the anime we love. We all know Shaft and their work on Monogatari, but what about Ryubido, which is a studio who also works on the same series?

Here are some of the unsung heroes of anime.

Note: Sometimes multiple studios provide background art to the same series.

 

1Telecom Animation Film

Princess Mononoke

Telecom has worked on a few Studio Ghibli films, providing in-between animation (frames between two key art that help create the illusion of motion). They also provided background art for a number of high-profile works, which is not surprising since they are owned by the large TMS Entertainment.

Notable works: 

  • Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day – background art.
  • Eden of the East – background art.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – background art and in-between animation.
  • Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo – digital art.
  • Guilty Crown – background art.
  • Kuroko no Basket – digital art.
  • Porco Rosso – in-between animation
  • Princess Mononoke – in-between animation, key animation, and inking.
  • Spirited Away – key animation

Guilty Crown

Guilty Crown © Production I.G.

 

2Anime Workshop Basara

K-On!

The studio would contribute background art for Kyoto Animation’s early works, like K-On! While they still take on background duties, you are more likely to find the workshop providing cleanup (bringing key animation to a consistent look).

Notable works:

  • Angel Beats! – background art.
  • Clannad – background art.
  • The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya – background art.
  • The Girl Who Leapt Through Time – background art.
  • Golden Time – cleanup.
  • K-On! – background art.
  • Kill la Kill – cleanup and key animation.
  • Love Live! Season Two – cleanup.
  • Nichijou – background art.

K-On!

K-On! © Kakifly / Houbunsha / Kyoto Animation

 

3Beijing Golden Pinasters Animation Company

Charlotte

They are one of the premier background art studios in the industry. Odds are if you have a favorite anime from the past decade, these people helped create it.

Notable works:

  • Angel Beats! – background art.
  • Charlotte – background art.
  • Code Geass Second Season – background art.
  • Deadman Wonderland – background art.
  • Death Note – background art.
  • Eureka Seven AO – background art.
  • Gatchaman Crowds – background art.
  • My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Too! – background art.
  • Persona 4: The Animation – background art.
  • To Love-Ru Darkness – background art.
  • The World God Only Knows – background art.

Charlotte

Charlotte © P.A. Works / Key Visual

 

4Green

Code Geass

Green is perhaps the most storied anime studios you haven’t heard about. They specialize in background art, and their extensive catalog shows that they are one of the most trusted in the industry.

Notable works:

  • Angel Beats! – background art.
  • Charlotte – background art.
  • Code Geass Season One and Two – background art.
  • Cowboy Bebop The Movie – background art.
  • Darker than Black – background art.
  • Ergo Proxy – background art.
  • Eureka Seven – background art.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist – background art.
  • Gantz – background art.
  • Haibane Renmei – background art.
  • Hellsing – background art.
  • Mushisi – background art.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion – background art.
  • Planetes – background art.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica – background art.
  • Soul Eater – background art.
  • Sword of the Stranger – background art.
  • Yona of the Dawn – background art.

Ergo Proxy

Ergo Proxy © Manglobe

 

5Kusanagi

Blue Exorcist

Kusanagi is just as talented as Green when it comes to background art with gorgeous landscapes or grimy cityscapes. If you love anime, you love Kusanagi.

Notable works:

  • Accel World – background art.
  • Another – background art.
  • Beelzebub – background art.
  • Blood+ – background art.
  • Blue Exorcist – background art.
  • Cowboy Bebop – background art.
  • Cross Ange – background art.
  • Date A Live – background art.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – background art.
  • Gintama – background art.
  • Golden Time – art direction.
  • Hellsing Ultimate – background art.
  • Highschool of the Dead – art direction and background art.
  • Magi: The Labyrinth / Kingdom of Magic – background art.
  • Monster Musume – background art.
  • Noien – To Know Your Other Self – background art.
  • Noragami – background art.
  • The Seven Deadly Sins – background art.
  • Sword Art Online – layout.
  • Tokyo Ghoul – background art.
  • Uta no Prince-sama – background art.

Noragami

Noragami © Adachitoka / Kodansha / Bones

 

6Ryubido

Monogatari

Do you love the Monogatari series, especially those wallpaper-esque backgrounds that the characters prance and head tilt on? Then you love Ryubido. This relatively new studio is a constant collaborator with Shaft when they produce anything related to Monogatari.

Notable works:

  • Bakemonogatari – background art.
  • Hanamonogatari – background art.
  • Hidamari Sketch x Honeycomb – background art.
  • Maria Holic – background art.
  • Monogatari Second Season – background art.
  • Nekomonogatari Black – background art.
  • Nisemonogatari – background art.
  • Tsukimonogatari – background art.

Monogatari

Hanamonogatari © Nisio Isin / Kodansha / Shaft

 

7J.C. Staff Art Department

Angel Beats!

They are a segment of J.C. Staff that provide background artwork for non-J.C. Staff projects. It’s another revenue stream for one of Japan’s top studios.

Non-J.C. Staff produced notable works:

  • Accel World – background art.
  • Angel Beats! – background art.
  • Girls und Panzer – background art.
  • Tari Tari – background art.

Girls und Panzer

Girls und Panzer © Actas

 

8Bihou, Inc

Attack on Titan

The studio has been providing background art since 1993, and their favorite customer happens to be Studio Gainax. They have worked on everything with the Evangelion name plus feature top hits like Attack on Titan, Gurren Lagann, and Ghost in the Shell.

Notable works:

  • Ah! My Goddess – background art.
  • Akame ga Kill! – background art.
  • Attack on Titan – background art.
  • Bastard!! – background art.
  • The Big O – background art.
  • Boogiepop Phantom – background art.
  • Coppelion – background art.
  • The Devil is a Part-Timer! – background art.
  • Evangelion 1.0 / 2.0 movies – background art.
  • Fullmetal Panic – background art.
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex – background art.
  • Golden Boy – background art.
  • Aim for the Top! Diebuster – background art.
  • Gurren Lagann – background art and art direction.
  • JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure – background art.
  • Kuroko no Basket – background art.
  • Mardock Scramble – background art.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion – background art.
  • Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt – background art.
  • Rio Rainbow Gate! – background art.
  • Spice & Wolf – background art.

Neon Genesis Evangelion

Neon Genesis Evangelion © Gainax

 

9Design Office MECAMAN

Ranma 1/2

The studio has consistently been getting works since the ’70s, providing background art for timeless classics and modern productions.

Notable works:

  • Assassination Classroom – background art.
  • Banner of the Stars – background art.
  • Blue Spring Ride – background art.
  • Crest of the Stars – background art.
  • Dirty Pair – background art.
  • Fairy Tail – background art.
  • GaoGaiGar: King of the Braves – background art.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team – background art.
  • Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind – background art.
  • Patlabor the Mobile Police – background art.
  • Ranma ½ – background art.
  • Urusei Yatsura – background art.

Assassination Classroom

Assassination Classroom © Yusei Matsui / Shueisha / Lerche

 

10Golden Bell

Nisekoi

They specialize in doing in-between animation and cleanup work. It’s the gritty and thankless side of the industry, but Golden Bell is willing to do the little stuff that matters.

Notable works:

  • Arakawa Under the Bridge x Bridge – cleanup and in-between animation.
  • Black Lagoon – in-between animation and painting.
  • Bokurano – in-between animation.
  • Death Note – cleanup.
  • Naruto Shippuden – digital paint and in-between animation.
  • Nisekoi – background art.
  • Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan – Demon Capital – in-between animation and painting.
  • School Days – in-between animation and painting.

Nisekoi

Nisekoi © Naoshi Komi / Shueisha / Shaft

 

11Studio Tulip

GATE

Studio Tulip has been around since 1986. They went through the transition from cel animation to digital paint, which has kept them steadily employed.

Notable works:

  • Amagami SS – background art.
  • Arakawa Under the Bridge – background art.
  • Baka and Test – background art.
  • Dog Days” – background art.
  • ef: a tale of melodies – background art.
  • Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya – background art.
  • Gatchaman Crowds Insight – background art.
  • GATE – background art.
  • Haibane Renmei – background art.
  • Hanamonogatari – background art.
  • K: Return of Kings – background art.
  • The Legend of the Galactic Heroes – background art.
  • Nisekoi – background art.
  • No Game No Life – background art.
  • Psycho-Pass 2 – background art.
  • Tsukimonogatari – background art.
  • Vampire Knight – background art.

Baka and Test

Baka and Test © Kenji Inoue / Enterbrain / Silver Link

 

12Echo

A Certain Scientific Railgun

From in-between to key animation, Echo has done it all. They’ve helped make some of the most action-packed scenes look amazing.

Notable works:

  • Berserk (1998) – in-between animation.
  • A Certain Scientific Railgun – in-between animation and background art.
  • Fate/stay Night (2006) – key animation.
  • Fruits Basket – in-between animation.
  • God Eater – background art.
  • Hell Girl – in-between animation, key animation, and painting
  • The Legend of the Galactic Heroes – in-between animation.
  • Nisekoi – background art and in-between animation.
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena – in-between animation, inking, and painting.
  • Sankarea: Undying Love – in-between animation.
  • Tenchi Muyo! GXP – background art.

God Eater

God Eater © Ufotable / Bandai Namco Entertainment

 

13Studio Pablo

Seraph of the End

The studio has only been around since 2008, but that hasn’t stopped them from providing background art for some high profile anime.

Notable works:

  • Evangelion 3.0 – background art.
  • Flowers of Evil – background art.
  • Katanagatari – background art.
  • Kill la Kill – background art.
  • Little Witch Academia – background art.
  • Osomatsu-san – background art.
  • Penguindrum – background art.
  • Seraph of the End – background art.

Osomatsu-san

Osomatsu-san © Pierrot

 

14Studio Pinewood

Cowboy Bebop

They came around during the tail end of the ’90s – Cowboy Bebop was one of their first projects. Studio Pinewood is a consistent presence in the background art scene.

Notable works:

  • Arslan Senki – background art.
  • Berserk: The Golden Age Arc – background art.
  • Cowboy Bebop – background art.
  • Honey and Clover – background art.
  • Katanagatari – background art.
  • Penguindrum – background art.
  • Rage of Bahamut: Genesis – background art.

Rage of Bahamut: Genesis

Rage of Bahamut: Genesis © MAPPA

 

What other studios, besides the marquee headliners, need some love?

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Aaron Magulick has been a fan of anime ever since being exposed to it in the late '90s. A fan of nearly all genres, he is not afraid to explore the creepier side of the industry.
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