Founded in October 1972, it has over 360 entries on MAL and roughly 180 main series and movies. Madhouse reminds me a lot like Bones: both one of the most popular and varied studios. They mix a lot of genres in the studio such as popular shounen and seinen shows: Death Note, Hunter X Hunter, One Punch Man and some fairly well known shoujos and joseis: CardCaptor Sakura, Nana. Madhouse has come out with some amazing movies such as Summer Wars and Wolf Children as well. They are one of those companies that managed to keep pumping out a lot of anime, while still keeping them varied in themes and genres, for years and years without much burnout. In the last two years, Madhouse is producing a lot of sequels and remakes, and only a few new anime. One of them is A Place Further Than The Universe, a newly adapted anime which did really well. I’m looking forward to watching it myself in the future.
Another popular studio, it was founded in October 1998 and known for dozens of their very popular shows such as My Hero Academia, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brother and Soul Eater just to name a few. It’s a somewhat newer studio compared to Madhouse, but has just as many successful series. It doesn’t have many original movies, but the TV anime series we’ll keep you busy enough with how many good shows there are. They also have more shoujo and josei-esque options like Ouran Highschool Host Club, Snow White with the Red Hair, and Gosick. They also have popular shows such as Noragami, Mob Psycho 100 and Literature Stray Dogs. Overall, a popular studio with popular anime and one of my favorites.
A newer company, it started in 2011! They currently have 45 entries on MAL and known for anime such as Zankyou no Terror, Banana Fish, Yuri on Ice, and Kakegurui. They’re also creating a new anime or two each season, which is includes Zombieland Saga and Dororo from the last few seasons. The company has made a few movies, including Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni, and have more planned for the future. MAPPA is pretty new, but I have high hopes to see where they’ll end up and adapt. I also appreciate the fact they are releasing BLs, and maybe they’ll even do a yuri in the future, who knows? Amazing work.
Kyoto Animation Studio
Kyoto Animation started in 1981 and is also a light novel publisher. It’s known for its older series such as Clannad, Air, Inuyasha, Lucky Star and Kanoon. They stick to a particular artstyle, both in their older work and newer work as well. It’s easy to tell if an anime is made by Kyoto by it’s style. Some of their newer works include Free!, K-On!, Violet Evergarden and Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon. Although not all their works are my favorite, I can appreciate their design choices and storylines. They also produced the popular movie A Silent Voice, which did extremely well both in Japan and America.
Another semi-new studio is A-1 Pictures, which was founded in 2005 and regularly started to produce a good amount of anime by 2009. It’s known for its popular shounen shows such as Blue Exorcist, Sword Art Online, Fairy Tail and so on. Some of my personal favorites from A-1 includes Black Butler, Life is Hard for an Otaku and a beautiful movie called Doukyuusei. They have a pretty good variety so whether you’re looking for some cute moe, fantasy adventure or a drama that’ll make you cry, A-1 probably has at least one for you.
Founded in 1986, J.C Staff is known for its popular series such as Toradora, Food Wars, Little Busters and Kaichou wa Maid-sama!. They have a variety of genres, even including a few shounen ai- Loveless and Love Stage- as well as shoujo ai like Aoi Hana. J.C Staff has over 350 entries on MAL, a handful of movies as well as some video games under the studio’s belt. They are big company like Bones and Madhouse, and have a ton of different shows to choose from. My own favorites include Toradora, Maid-sama!, Angels of Death and Love Stage.
Along with A-1 Pictures, i’d like to mention Cloverworks, which was rebranded them and established their own company. They were founded as recently as October 2018 and already, they have several big hits such as The Promised Neverland, Rascal Doesn’t Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai and Darling in the Franxx just to name a few. They have also worked on Persona 5 and helped with the final season of Fairy Tail. The company is very new and has limited options so far, but I have high hopes for CloverWorks and I’m excited to see what they have in store.
Studio Deen was established in 1975 and makes it one of the oldest studios on this list. They have a few popular, somewhat mainstream shows, but for the most part they have a lot of variety and more niche shows. In the past, they have made anime such as When They Cry, Fruits Basket, Konosuba, Vampire Knight and Sakura Trick. Although they don’t have as many big hits like Bones and Madhouse, they still have great variety of genres and have been around for a while, so they mostly know what they’re doing. Studio Deen also has a lot of shounen ai anime such as Gravitation, Sekaiichi Hatsukoi, Junjou Romantica, Super Lovers and shoujo ai like Sakura Trick. I didn’t even know how much I loved the studio until I saw how many animes I’ve completed by Studio Deen.
- Production I.G (Haikyuu, Psycho Pass, Attack on Titan, Usagi Drop)
- P.A Works (Angel Beats, Charlotte, Another, Sakura Quest)
- Brains Base/ Shuka (Durarara, My Little Monster, Natsume’s Book of Friends, Servamp)
- Studio Ghibli (My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, Ponyo, Princess Mononoke)