20 CommentsRandom / By Scamp /

Analysing my own top 30 by Animation Studios

Analysing your own favourite anime is an amusing passtime, however many people start to take it a bit too personally. Their favourite anime are up there because they connected with them or felt relevance with them in some form or another. That certainly isn’t the case with this post. I do not love Death Note because I am an emo prick who couldn’t hold a conversation to save his life and wishes everyone would go away. Neither do I love Evangelion because…well, for the same reasons. I love them because they are fine entertainment. So let me take an objective view of my top 30 anime. Ah, glorious self-indulgence~

Top Anime Studios:

5 Titles: Gonzo (Gankutsuou, Last Exile, Seto no Hanayome, Full Metal Panic, Hellsing)

Anyone who cheered for the death of Gonzo, I curse you. Yes, it was inevitable. When they started bringing out titles like Strike Witches, Rosario to Vampire and Saki it was clear that they were no longer catering for fans like me. And yet they were capable of so much. If I ever needed to give them a more ringing endorsement then the fact that they dominate my top 30 should be enough. I’m a newfag so I only popped in around the time of their demise but looking back at what they created, I couldn’t help but shed a silent tear as I deleted Alive from my ‘upcoming anime’ page. I miss you Gonzo. Please come back, but maybe not until you’ve sacked half of your staff.

4 titles: Madhouse (Death Note, Chobits, Kaiba, Black Lagoon)

While Gonzo have more titles, I generally rank Madhouse as my favourite studio, especially seeing as they made 2 of my top 3. Plus, a lot of those anime ranked 30-50 are Madhouse gems like Claymore, Casshern Sins and One Outs. Not only that but if this Hellsing Ultimate is really as good as everyone says it is then that instantly swaps round these rankings around.

3 titles: Production IG (Cromartie High School, Eden of the East, Ghost in the Shell:Stand Alone Complex)

Mainly thanks to that man Kamiyama…wait, isn’t the main character in Cromartie called Kamiyama? How cool is that! Granted, outside of this there isn’t much Production IG amongst my favourites but if they can create these three then it’s all cool!

2 titles: Gainax (Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Neon Genesis Evangelion) Sunrise (Code Geass, Cowboy Bebop)

So about half of the anime in my list are ‘one-hit wonders’, although if Durarara keeps up its form then it will almost certainly take a spot in there and double the Brains Base count. Do I prefer if a studio brings out a lot of good titles or only the occasional epic title? Probably the latter so hurrah for Gainax.

As for the other one-hit wonder studios, some of them are one-hit wonders in pretty much everyone’s minds. Artland have made an awful lot of anime but none of them ever come even remotely close to Mushishi and they are generally considered a terrible studio. Studio Comet just got lucky animating School Rumble. I’ve yet to watch Ergo Proxy but that’s pretty much the only other Manglobe title worth remembering (no, Michiko to Hatching is not worth remembering). However looking at only one Bones title is a bit of a surprise until I remember that pretty much every Bones title fails to quite live up to its potential (bloody Xam’d). Shaft, in my eyes, are a one-hit wonder with only Bakemonogatari really worth remembering and JC Staff usually only animate high school girls anime, with their only title being one of the few that doesn’t focus on that.

Conspicuous by their absense: Kyoto Animation, Ghibli, Pierrot, Deen, A-1 Pictures

Anyone who was surprised by the lack of KyoAni in my list clearly doesn’t read my blog enough. Let me repeat this: I do not like moe. Their one chance to get in was with the FMP sequels but personally, I prefer to the first season by far because that accursed TSR destroyed the fun of that series. Ghibli movies I do like but I am no way near as enamoured by them as most people seem to be. For Pierrot, I’m not a fan of long-running shounens, although that’s only based off Bleach and the truth is I haven’t given their titles enough of a chance. This is pretty much the same reason why there’s no Deen on the list, although I’d like to stay as far away from their shojo titles as is humanly possible. A-1 are still a relatively new studio and have yet to quite take off to the extent that Brains Base or Shaft managed so I’m still waiting for them to take off. Their best chance comes from this Anime no Chikara project of theirs. Come on Senko no Night Raid!

…yeah, this was going to cover other things other than studios but that took up an awful lot of time. I think I shall stop my self-indulgence now and write some proper posts tomorrow.

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  1. Posted February 18, 2010 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    Interesting, I’ve never thought of my anime preferences in terms of the studios that produced them. Maybe that’s because I don’t pay much attention to the studios in general. I’ve always picked up series based on the subject material or a recommendation. I recognize all the names, but there are few I can actually place with the series. Pretty much the only ones I can place are Gainax, KyoAni, and Ghibli.

    You’ve certainly given me something to think about. I think I’ll do a little research, maybe then I’d better understand why some bloggers say, “Series X will suck/rock because Studio Y is producing it.”

  2. Posted February 18, 2010 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    I’m a hopeless KyoAni fan but I can appreciate the fact that their moe style isn’t your taste. Other than that, I’m not really sure what my other favorites would be – perhaps BONES, Production I.G., and J.C. Staff. Maybe I should look at my top favorites via animation studio too =)

  3. luffyluffy
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    I dont really look for Studio to Studio, but hot damn, Studio GAINAX can have my children.

  4. Posted February 18, 2010 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    Just for fun, the studios behind my top 30 without actually revealing the shows themselves (because I’m such a tease~ even though anyone who knows me on MAL can view ’em :p):

    J.C. Staff and Sunrise – 4
    Madhouse, BONES, Gonzo and Gainax – 3
    Kyoto Animation and Studio DEEN – 2
    Bunch of random studios (most notable being SHAFT) – 1

    I always thought Gonzo got a bad rap, too. Yeah, they put out some shit series, but it’s not as if they really heaped on the shit more than any other studio — and they clearly made some damn good shows. I’m kind of surprised there’s no Production I.G in my top 30 considering it’s usually a solid studio.

  5. Scamp
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 10:14 pm | Permalink


    Definately something you should do, although it’s more useful for season previews. If your favourite manga has been picked up by Madhouse then you rejoice. If it’s been picked up by Xebec then you can wallow in a pit of despair. If it’s Sunrise then it will look pretty and colourful. If it’s JC Staff it will almost certainly involve high school girls. I like researching anime studios. If I had any artistic skills I would make a webcomic with personifications of the anime studios, Hetalia styled.


    I know I love Madhouse but beyond that it’s hard, especially when you remember the many howlers that Gonzo have produced over the years. I do generally keep an eye on Produtction IG, Sunrise, Brains Base and Gainax


    I will admit that JC Staff do solid work but on stuff that generally isn’t my thing so I have no ill feelings towards them. Bones though I feel rarely live up to their potential and hit so many snags. I should love them but they just mess up so frequently.

    The thing about Gonzo is they fell apart so drastically in the latter years and the shows they put out had potential written all over them. Stuff like Dragonaut and Shangri-la

  6. Posted February 19, 2010 at 1:02 am | Permalink

    Gonzo use to be the greatest. I miss it so much…

  7. Posted February 19, 2010 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    I like some KyoAni stuff (like Lucky Star and Haruhi [except I hate Mikuru]), but evey single other show I hate. Especially K-On. What a piece of shit. And they’re making a second season. I won’t make the same mistake I did of watching the first season though.

  8. wina1
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 5:22 pm | Permalink


    I think your evaluation of xebec might be a bit harsh, they did a decent job on Pandora Hearts.

  9. Posted February 19, 2010 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    Interesting. I always hold Production IG with such high esteem.

    I think Ghibli films are either so good in general that they are usually taken for granted or so unique in their own term that we feel like they do not belong in the same group as other anime.

  10. Scamp
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 9:05 pm | Permalink


    Lucky Star sucks balls. Prefferably not mine


    Pandora Hearts was a rare sucess by Xebec but you can’t help but shake the feeling that it would’ve been better if animated by, say, Madhouse.


    V.true about Ghibli. I’m just inherantly harsh when rating movies

  11. Posted February 23, 2010 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    Can’t help but feel all of these sudden anime studio lists came out in response to that hysterically awful one by Jason Miao who tried to yet again BS Kyoto Animation to the top and shafted (no pun intended) everything else to the bottom based on horrid criteria.

    This is far better of course (not hard when you aren’t Jason) and yeah I agree that unless you are Jason Miao it’s kind of tough to justify Kyoani as a real top pick unless you are a die hard moe fan. I think you might need to take another look at the Ghibli movies though. Pay attention to the way the images are conveyed through the animation, the consistent smoothness of said animation, Hisaishi Joe’s music (usually it’s him) and be sure to suspend your disbelief and allow yourself to be taken into whatever world and tale they are trying to spin. They use a lot of symbolism too so try to pick up on that as well and you could very well find yourself having a great time. As for A-1 I agree that there newness is a fair reason to exclude them from any favouritism yet. Same reason I had for Kyoto Animation after Haruhi.

  12. Scamp
    Posted February 23, 2010 at 10:17 pm | Permalink


    Take a look at my blogroll. Yup, listed down there is blogsuki. Jason did nothing more that look at his favourite anime, see who made them and rate accordingly. This post was not in any way a copy of his (in fact I think I wrote this before he did his) but that’s all I’ve done as well. You’d have noticed that all I did was look at my favourite anime and see what studio made them, if you had read the post properly that is. Heck, it’s in the bloody title in case you didn’t notice. If you were to base them from an objective perspective than the list would be totally different and most certainly not have Gonzo rated number 1.

    Read a post properly before you rant. Jason is a moefag and I have totally different tastes from his but I also enjoy reading his blog more than 95% of the other anime blogs out there. Yup, these are my readers

  13. Posted February 23, 2010 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

    @Scamp: Take er’ easy there now. What I did was what I like to call a coincidental musing, not an implication that it was the case. I’m aware of the total difference in style and preference between you and…him. Didn’t mean to cause any confusion there.

    As for Jason….there is no love lost between me and his blogging style. I’ve always had a rule and that is that whatever I see him doing I take note to either do the opposite or simply not do it at all. His blog is hilarious to read on account of how predictable it is with all of his self-coined memes that he uses over and over and over again and how he often stumbles over a near total lack of accurate information and reasoning to apparently nobody else’s awareness but my own. All of this is the source of much hilarity for me, but yeah IMO it’s really just awful reading when I get right down to it.

    So no comment on my suggestions for watching Ghibli with a different viewpoint then? Not saying that you ought to, just that it might be worth considering.

  14. Scamp
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 12:12 am | Permalink

    @Kaioshin Sama

    Ghibli have many problems too though, such as convinient Deux ex Machina endings and insufferably perfect lead characters, a sense that the director never really thought the story through and sometimes tossing things in just because he liked the look of them. Most annoyingly is that none of the dialogue ever feels real, which is why Howls is my favourite because of its more fairy-tale nature it never needed realistic dialogue.

    The Jason Miao thing is that I’ve only recently noticed that many of the older ‘bloggers’ (as if most of them have written anything worthwhile in years) are butthurt because of some fuss he kicked up years ago over his aniblog aggregator. I tend to like bloggers who are seeminly unfazed by outside opinion, expressing their own totally biased views. Difference in taste I guess

  15. Posted February 24, 2010 at 1:48 am | Permalink

    @Scamp: Hmmm…I usually find Ghibli leads to be highly flawed and/or portrayed as having behaviour, mannerisms and beliefs that are fairly realistic for their age. Take Chihiro from Spirited Away for example who is a whiny little child stuck in the egocentric phase of development and who is resistant to anything not going her way. When asked to work she whines, when forced to grow up she is initially reluctant, but eventually does so out of a need for survival. There’s a fair bit of nature vs. nurture going on in that one, but that’s just one example.

    Now take Seita from Grave of The Fireflies. Raised as the elder son of a showa era family living during the twilight of the Bushido he is a stuck between two different viewpoints and with no way out of the changing era but for death. On the one hand he finds himself acting on pride and the need to protect his brother and sister, but seeing that the war effort is futile refuses to throw himself and her into it directly and thus is tossed out of society and forced to fend for himself and his sister. His acts of sensibility and pride combined with the folly of youthful discretion ultimately leads to his own sister’s demise in what can be described as a classical tragedy and finds himself in the Grave of The Fireflies he had no way of avoiding.

    There’s a certain maturity and sense of purpose to Ghibli’s collective writing and presentation that is masked in a childish and whimsical exterior that reminds me of how Tezuka Osamu constructed his much celebrated manga. This is among the reasons I enjoy their works greatly. Anyway which Deus Ex Machina endings are you referring to? The only one that I can think of right off the top of my head is Nausicaa of The Valley of The Wind.

    About the other topic….the reason I and many others dislike Jason Miao is that he’s still doing the same things he did when he ran Blogsuki (which used to be an aggretator of blogs) wherein he tried to enforce his views upon it by delisting and blacklisting anybody that dared to post anything about anime that he disagreed with. It was incredibly petty and carries on to today where he will blacklist and i.p blocking anybody that dares to challenge anything he writes on the new blogsuki rather than owning up to it by responding to or defending it.

    To you and “his readers” he may come across as some sort of hero for not caring about what other people say (I think it’s reasonable to ignore some of the things other people say, but not to the full extent nor in the way that he does), and that’s your view of him to have in all fairness, but too me and many others he comes across as a legendary coward and hack of the highest order who lives in his own fantasy world of made up facts and ideas about anime, it’s producers, and a whole bunch of other concepts he seems obsessed with enforcing. It’s all funny in my eyes but in a pathetic way that has me comparing him to Big Brother from the book 1984.

    It’s his loss to have though as all it’s going to lead to is him never learning or experiencing anything about what the blogosphere, anime and the whole picture has to offer in it’s true reality. I might call it a tragedy at some point, but his final story isn’t written yet so I’ll hold off on committing to that conclusion for a while.

  16. Posted May 18, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    In a way, your result is somewhat unsurprising. Madhouse and Gonzo are the studios which continuously put out the most amount of shows (series + OAV + movie) in the industry (6-7 per year) so it is a little expected for them to actually top your list. Project I.G is frankly not that far behind in term of total production either. Saying that, the studios have to produce quality stuff too otherwise Deen and Pierrot would also be on your list too:)

    Also, there definitely seem to be a lack of movies in your top 30 list (only Akira makes it) so perhaps the lack of any Ghibli films run a lot deeper than just that studio…

    I guess the thing about Gonzo is that it is such a hit-and-miss that just frustrate people. They can produce quality tItles like Gankutsuou and Last Exile which are pretty well-received and I also love Bokurano to death though it seems to be so under-recognized. However, there are also so much garbages or series that start with a lot of promise that does not live up to it.

    • Posted May 18, 2010 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      Also, have you looked at your top 30 by anime directors? Other than Kamiyama, the only other directors that have directed more than one films in your list are Watanabe Shinichiro (Cowboy Bebopp and Samurai Champloo), Nagahama Hiroshi (Detroit metal City and Mushi-Shi) and Chigira Koichi (FMP and last exile).

      Chigira seems to be Gonzo’s ace and I never realized the difference in style Nagahama can produce!

  17. Scamp
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 4:16 pm | Permalink


    I never really looked at the directors in detail before. I knew Kamiyama and obviously knew Watanabe. I did know that Nagahama directed Mushishi but I had no idea he also did DMC, that’s an absolute shocker! I honestly should pay more attention to directors when they make more than one hit

    The lack of movies is a personal preference thing. I just don’t get into movies the same way I do with tv series. Some people seem to rate things starting from 10 and knock off points for every failure. I start from 1 and work my way up.

    • Posted May 19, 2010 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, I did have to go and check in ANN again just to make sure Nagahama really directed DMC!

      I guess that’s why an anime movie deserves its own ranking. Going by your method, a series definitely have much more time and chance to make an impression on you:) Besides, people would probably call out on you if you decide to rate Animerican movie and TV series in the same ranking (choosing whether Sopranos or Godfather is better) so same logic could be applied to anime too…

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