I Felt Like Ranking Studios, So I Did

Having come through a rather extensive completed series marathon, thanks to the seasonal transition anime lull, I totally had the feel that anime studios are not equal. So here’s a quick rating of the top five, ranked according to the Riuva studo point system - +5 for an awesome anime,  +3 for a good one, +1 for an watchable one and -5 for something that has wasted my time. So it actually grades how I SHOULD, on an individual level, like a studio based on their works that I have watched and liked. But turns out this isn’t the case. What you watch doesn’t equate to which studio you will actually like.

The following studios are ranked in descending order of preference.

Gonzo tends to do a lot of mecha and sci-fi, which is really to my tastes. They have an immense number of average and watchable series, with the occasional gem. They cleverly populate all their bad shows with hot chicks so I still watch, such as Melty Lancer, Burst Angel. On top of that, they pick awesome raw material to work on, such as Sunabouzu, Gantz, FMP and Black Cat, though most of the time Gonzo fucks the ending up. Finally, for their original works, Gonzo are probably top in both quantity and quality with Last Exile, Gatekeepers, Gankutsuou (erm original?) and Speed Grapher. In fact the only unbearable show I have seen from GONZO is Real Bout High School, but I do intend to finish it someday. Meanwhile, Kaleido Star and the upcoming ones like Red Garden and Pumpkin Scissors are awaiting.

GONZO used to be elite for digital animation, now they are pretty rubbish in terms of animation quality and CG. But they make up for that by hiring godly key staff members like Range Murata and Yamaguchi Hiroshi.

Basilisk (TV) +5
Black Cat (TV) +2
Blue Submarine No.6 (OAV) +5
Burst Angel (TV) +5
Chrono Crusade (TV) +1
Desert Punk (TV) +5
Full Metal Panic! (TV) +5
Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo (TV) +5
Gantz (TV) +5
Gate Keepers (TV) +5
Gate Keepers 21 (OAV) +5
Glass Fleet (TV) -5 (but I really should complete this)
Gravion (TV) +5
Gravion Zwei (TV) +5
Hellsing (TV) +2
Kiddy Grade (TV) +2
Last Exile (TV) +5
Melty Lancer (OAV) +1
NHK ni Youkoso! (TV) +2
Peacemaker (TV) +2
Samurai 7 (TV) +2
Samurai Girl Real Bout High School (TV) -5
Solty Rei (TV) +2
Speed Grapher (TV) +5
Trinity Blood (TV) +1
Vandread (TV) +5
Vandread: The Second Stage (TV) +5
Witchblade (TV) +1
Yukikaze (OAV) +2


But they win, thanks to me being part of their target audience, the youthful mecha loving horny guy with burning passion crowd.


Production I.G.
I actually haven’t seen that much of Production IG’s works. They did have a hand in a lot of stuff and are at the forefront of digital animation, pioneering the use of many digital animation techniques. They seem to work rather closely with Gainax too. Unlike GONZO, Production IG produces a small quantity but with superb quality, at least animation-wise. They have a couple of flops but these are cancelled off by the best scifi I’ve ever watched - Ghost in the Shell, especially Stand Alone Complex. A foray into action drama 50 parter yielded the attractive Blood+, which everyone deep down knows isn’t that good but still loves it. I think Production IG should stick to mecha. See how IGPX turned out? Totally amazing. This genre is where their expertise at digital animation can be flaunted best. Flops like Otogi Zoushi and to a smaller extent, Blood+ share the common link of being non-mecha-centric. I’m giving IG FLCL, although most of the leadership was GAINAX, they did do the animation. Let’s not forget Chevalier though, which is breathtakingly exciting and beautiful.

Blood+ (TV) +5
Blood: The Last Vampire (movie) +2
Ghost in the Shell (movie) +5
Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence (movie) +2
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (TV)  +5
Immortal Grand Prix +5
Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade (movie) +5
Le Chevalier D’Eon (TV) +5
Martian Successor Nadesico: The Motion Picture - Prince of Darkness +5
Otogi Zoshi (TV) +2 for first arc, -5 for 2nd arc
Sakura Wars: The Movie +5

Grand Total: 46

Production IG is second place because of GitS, Chevalier and IGPX.

Photo by Dannychoo Now this is IGPX.

Sunrise is a cheating big company. Somehow they have tonnes and tonnes of awesome stuff but you just cannot give them much credit because of their sheer scale of operations. The company’s rich history also means a lot of older classics were done by them. It’s funny how they do a lot of my favourite shows yet I don’t really recognise a distinct style and thus cannot bring myself to look forward to their future works.

After War Gundam X (TV) +2
Angel Links (TV) -5
Banner of the Stars (TV) +5
Cowboy Bebop (TV) +5
Cowboy Bebop: The Movie +5
Crest of the Stars (TV) +5
Cyborg 009 (TV) +5
Escaflowne: The Movie +2
Future GPX Cyber Formula (TV) +2
Future GPX Cyber Formula 11 (OAV) +2
Gintama (TV)  +2
Gundam Evolve (OAV) -5
Inu Yasha (TV) +5
Inuyasha the Movie 2: The Castle Beyond the Looking Glass +2
InuYasha the Movie 3: Swords of an Honorable Ruler +2
Inuyasha the Movie: Affections Touching Across Time +2
Keroro Gunso (TV) +5
Keroro Gunso (movie) +5
Mai-Otome (TV) +2
Mobile Suit Gundam (TV) +5
Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket (OAV) +5
Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory (OAV) +5
Mobile Suit Gundam F91 (movie) +5
Mobile Suit Gundam MS IGLOO: Apocalypse 0079 (OAV) +5
Mobile Suit Gundam MS IGLOO: The Hidden One Year War (movies) +5
Mobile Suit Gundam Seed (TV) +5
Mobile Suit Gundam Seed C.E.73: Stargazer (ONA)  +5
Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny (TV) +5
Mobile Suit Gundam Wing (TV) +5
Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz (OAV) +5
Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ (TV) +2
Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team (OAV) +5
Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam (TV) +5
My-HiME (TV) +5
Outlaw Star (TV) +5
Overman King Gainer (TV) +5
Steamboy (movie) +2
Turn A Gundam (TV) +5
Vision of Escaflowne (TV) +5
Witch Hunter Robin (TV) +2
Yakitate!! Japan (TV) +5
Zegapain (TV)  +5
Zettai Muteki Raijin-Oh (TV) +5

Grand Total: A lot. They cheat. With big money.

Sunrise is third because they do so many good shows but also comes with a shit load of fanboys and hateboys. So it’s not cool to be associated with this juggernaught.

Monica of Yakitate!! Japan

Madhouse Studios
I was expecting myself to like Madhouse a lot but somehow, lkie with Sunrise, the variety of shows it makes and the varying quality levels somehow just do not let me associate them with anything beyond the few, like Trigun. Madhouse is certainly an awesome studio though, having made some of my most beloved shows like Beck, Galaxy Angel, Gunslinger Girl, Sakura Wars and Wicked City. They suck at CG though and love skimping on animation.

Battle Angel (OAV) +2
BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad (TV) +5
Black Lagoon (TV) +5
Galaxy Angel (TV) +5
Galaxy Angel A (TV) +5
Galaxy Angel X (TV) +5
Galaxy Angel Z (TV) +5
Gungrave (TV) +5
Gunslinger Girl (TV) +5
Kiba (TV) +2
Last Order Final Fantasy VII (OAV) +5
Monster (TV) +5
Nasu: Summer in Andalusia (movie) +5
Ninja Scroll (movie) +5
Ninja Scroll (TV)  +2
Oku-sama wa Joshi Kousei (TV) -5 million
Otogi-Jushi Akazukin (OAV) +2
Paradise Kiss (TV) -5
Saiunkoku Monogatari (TV) +2
Sakura Taisen: Sumire (OAV) +5
Sakura Wars (TV) +5
Sakura Wars (OAV) +5
Sakura Wars 2 (OAV) +5
Sekushi Commando Gaiden: Sugoiyo! Masaru-san (TV) +5
Space Pirate Captain Herlock The Endless Odyssey (OAV) +5
Tenjho Tenge (TV) -5
The Gokusen (TV) +5
Trigun (TV) +5
Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (movie) +5
Wicked City (movie) +5

Grand Total: Negative millions thanks to Okusama wa Joushikousei. Otherwise, 110.

Madhouse is fourth because they do great stuff but piss me off with bad animation. And Kiba is nonsense but I still watch it.


As for the final slot in the top 5, it’s a battle between everyone’s favourite Kyoani and less favourite Gainax. I can’t decide between the two, simply because they both do so little shows yet have huge hits.

I like Kyoani for Fumoffu, TSR and Haruhi only.

I like Gainax for Eva, Gunbuster, Diebuster, FLCL only.

33 Responses to “I Felt Like Ranking Studios, So I Did”  

  1. 1 Waterfall

    So your favourite is Gainax? You didn’t like Abenobashi?

  2. 2 LianYL

    Tripéman Studios™.

  3. 3 Maiku

    It’s *descending* order of preference, so Gonzo is his fav studio.

  4. 4 kacpy

    Nice list, even if I wouldn’t agree with half of those 5s. xD Anyways, I thought mostly BeeTrain/Xebec were responsible for Avenger…?

  5. 5 tj_han

    Oh shit yeah. I forgot! It is the rubbish studio Xebec. I have wrongly accused Production IG lol.

  6. 6 Chicken

    hohoho nice :D

  7. 7 kacpy

    Well, I guess you could blame IG too, since Bee Train is part of IG… (from what I remember)

  8. 8 Saviour

    Who did Fullmetal Alchemist, Kenshin, and Scryed? Those, among others, will decide which studio is my favourite.

  9. 9 kacpy

    FMA was Bones, dunn about Kenshin - maybe Aniplex, sCRYed = sunrise.

  10. 10 Sewn

    No Bones?

    This list fails.

    Other than that, it is nice to see someone not completely bashing Gonzo, they have some truly awesome series even when most of their early days stuff sucks beyond words and they have made mayor improvements in characters and plot development, even when their well known ‘pretty animation and CG’ phrase has become a thing of the past. I welcome the change: characters and plot (and music) > animation.

  11. 11 IvanHoeHo

    GITS and 0080 should get 20 each.

    Also, I hate you for not liking Studio Ghibli.
    Seriously now, who doesn’t love Hayao Miyazaki?

  12. 12 Alafista

    LOL …. before i read this i had the feeling that GONZO would be first in ur list … LOLOL

    for me … i like sunrise, xebec, studio perriot and studio ghibli

  13. 13 tj_han

    OMG Sewn: OMG GONZO’s earlier works were amazingly brilliant. They actually got worse as the years went by and they became more and more commercialised, forming GDH. We don’t get stuff like Gatekeepers anymore damn it. Now we get fucking Witchblade. But yeah they are still my favourite studio.

    And seriously, Bones is hugely overrated. Sure they did Eureka and Ouran but that’s the only thing. FMA wasn’t well done at all, neither was Scrapped Princess or Wolf’s Rain. And Ivan, I am now watching 0080 haha.

  14. 14 Sasa

    Oh yeah, what about Bones, J.C. Staff and those guys who did Noir and Madlax and stuff? But putting that aside, it’s a good list *g* It’s funny to see that you are the only Gonzo fanboy I know since everybody seems to hate them.

  15. 15 omo

    I hate your listing. So faux-objective and half the show you give points to should be -100. I think you’re on crack to think little of Wolf’s Rain and Scrapped Princess while giving 5 to… Gate Keepers? Mai Otome??? I dunno, you’re just playing favorites.

    Although I think Gonzo is pretty highly ranked on my list of favorites too, I think they’re good for other reasons. After all for every Gunkutsuoh, they make a Kiddy Grade or Gravion. It’s a matter of cosmic karma or something.

  16. 16 tj_han

    Eh? Gravion was great. Kiddy Grade was bad. Gatekeepers is win. Anyway, I was never objective from the start. I don’t see why I have to choose the best that everyone likes but I don’t.

  17. 17 Tsubaki

    When I read this title, I already knew who was going to top the list.

    So where are the GONZO-BASHERS? Maybe I should hope over to AoMM to promote this link.

  18. 18 Saviour

    Funny. I find Ouran and Eureka are “not so good,” to put it lightly. While FMA has one of the finest story around. To each, his own I guess. This list is alright, but too lenient. A lot of garbage (prime example=Burst Angel) got positive marks. Seriously, too many got undeserving positives.

  19. 19 tj_han

    The reason why I don’t like FMA anime is because I read the manga first. And there are tonnes of plotholes in the anime. Ouran is godlike, and better than its manga source. Eureka is an Ultima-class anime.

    Since the scale is rather lenient, the hot hot girls of Burst Angel add points. If a true scale was used, GitS SAC would be 100 000 while Last Exile 95 000 and Tsuyokiss 50 000. With Real Bout High School at - 102020/

  20. 20 Jeff Lawson

    So where are the GONZO-BASHERS?

    GONZO SUCKS. JC Staff all the way!

  21. 21 Steven Den Beste

    I agree: J.C.Staff should be on this list.


    Not everything they do is good (Eiken! Maburaho! R.O.D.The TV! Yuck) but they did “Sugar, a little Snow Fairy” and that gives them big points in my book.

  22. 22 tj_han

    JC Staff did do Rescue Wings, which is one of the best shows ever. Ok then let’s make JC Staff number 5! Kicking off Kyoani.

  23. 23 omo

    Much better. One more thing I’d like to add: you say Sunrise is big money, but that’s true to only some extent. My problem is that it really misimply that the others are not…when in reality Production IG and GDH are both big-money anime producers. In fact I think they may be even bigger given the kind of titles they produce. GITS:SAC was the most expensive TV anime ever, after all.

    For clarity, Bee Train and Xebec are both subsidaries of Production IG, who has a bunch of other subsidaries internationally. Sunrise, AIC, GDH…they all own other crap.

    And I maintain that Gravion is terrible, terrible crap. It’s not that I think it doesn’t deserve any love, but given what you posted one blog entry earlier it is absolutely no surprise why you think it’s so good. For me, when it came out it collided with Godannar, which obliterates Gravion from hell and back in terms of goodness.

  24. 24 Michael

    To put this study in perspective, I averaged the total scores by the number of shows done by the respective studio. This yielded some interesting results…

    Score Average
    Gonzo: 2.83
    Production IG: 3.83
    Sunrise: 3.70 (by the way, your Sunrise total was 159)
    Madhouse: 3.33 (their total was actually 100, not 110 - this includes a -5 instead of -5 million for OwaJ)

    So in actuality, Production IG is the big winner here. Sunrise may have the highest total, but even considering the number of series you have listed there (43), when compared with the score of 100 for Madhouse, which only has 30 series, it’s not actually that much better.

    So, it’s pretty funny that your favorite studio ends up being the worst by your own scoring system.

    This is, of course, assuming that all of your scores accurately reflect how good the shows actually are (which, as everyone knows, they don’t). And of course this also assumes that you’ve included a fair sampling of a company’s shows. So…what have we concluded? Nothing! :)

    As for your comments on Wolf’s Rain…the show is a personal favorite of mine so I won’t go into a thundering tirade on its merits and how I think it’s one of the most severely underrated anime of all time.

  25. 25 Waterfall

    How about other studios though? I prefer to go for the smaller companies but given a choice I much prefer to follow a director, seiyuu or anime plot/idea. I guess that’s like Metal Gear without Hideo. It may be technically still Metal Gear but it doesn’t feel the same. =P

    Just to mention some studios you missed, I like;
    * Aniplex ~ ROD, KamiChu!, Rurouni Kenshin, Full Metal Alchemist. (Yes, I know FMA was by Studio Bones but Aniplex helped too. So is it Aniplex, Bones or both? Multiple studios muddy the waters on who exactly did what… )
    * Ufotable ~ 2×2=Shinobuden, Futakoi Alternative and Coyote Ragtime Show Ep 1.
    * Studio 4C ~ Memories, 魔法少女隊アルス
    * HAL Film Maker ~ ARIA, Princess Tutu
    * JC Staff~ Azumanga Daioh
    * Artland~ Mushishi
    * Bandai Visual~ Macross Plus, Zero


  26. 26 tj_han

    Yes, the rankings are totally fake and dependant on my whims lol. But critically, one major factor for my support of GONZO would be because nobody pretty much likes them. That’s also why I don’t rate Kyoani - too many people love them already.

    Another factor would be studio name. JC Staff has the worst studio name and I always forget they exist. You seriously need catchier names. Waterfall: Every studio would’ve had at least one good show. Even the monster Toei is doing One Piece.

     LOL michael, I knew I counted wrongly somehow. I hate math. If I didn’t set a points cap for each show, the millions resulting would make it hard to count. GDH owns a tonne of other stuff, including cellphone gaming, figurine, korean animation and other diverse enterprises. Other companies probably just as much. I remember doing a blogpost on GDH once… perhaps it’s time to do more research on the other studios.

    Omo: OMFG I HATE GODANNAR WITH A MASSIVE PASSION. I saw it on tv and the deformed kyonyuu totally destroys any desire to watch the show. The only superbusty girl in Gravion is Mizuki, who is at least voiced by the ultra sexy Asakawa Yuu, (Rider, Itoko). All the tits in Gravion except her’s are hot and come in a variety of sizes, with nipples to boot.

  27. 27 Alastor

    >>But critically, one major factor for my support of GONZO would be because nobody pretty much likes them

    lol! I really dig your reasoning. It’s akin to marrying the most repugnant girl everyone knows out of compassion.

    I’m under the impression that GONZO Staff are mildly autistic. They don’t correlate well to human behaviour leaving yawning gaps in character growth and interaction. Sure their productions are mostly pretty but also soul-less.

  28. 28 AsouKai

    Production I.G pwns Gonzo.

    There ya go, personal preference.

    By the way, aren’t the catalogue of shows(within each company) done by different groups of people? Companies like Gonzo and Sunrise should be quite obvious examples. So rather than ranking the studios, I think you better start finding out the elite directors staff who did your favourite shows like Gatekeepers and the various Gundam titles.

    Oh well. FMP and GitS are still the top winners in my personal records anyway, you don’t get sequels that are equal to, or better than, the first series nowadays. *cough Mai Otome cough Seed Destiny cough* Even though I do admit that GitS is cheating on budget constraints.

    greedisgood 1000000 please.

  29. 29 Akira

    Sometimes, Gonzo has some bad quality character design. It’s rigid, and their facial expression remain unexpressive. When it does try to make things seem emotional, the animation exaggerates. Gonzo does have some good quality in their digital animation, but should use that as an advantage for innovations, and not for boring mecha-specific plots.

  30. 30 gundamfans

    Where’s BONES and JC Staff? I think they deserve a worthy mention even if they’re not in the top 5.

  31. 31 Neohybrid_kai

    What about studio DEEN? eventough I’m not a big fans of them but at least they’re the one who bring Higurashi and FSN into public. Now everyone know who Ryuugu Rena is ^^
    Gonzo is good, gankutsuou is one of the best masterpiece I’ve ever seen. And I’m surprised on how they did NHK ni youkoso! because I thought that they’re more focused with digital animation and not the storyline recently.
    I prefer kyoAni (like everyone else? but I don’t see any kyoAni fanatics here, lol) the way they make smooth movement and facial expression is enough to score a million point. Can’t say they’re great, tough. Knowing so far they only did a few title. I just hope that they wont make any mistake in the future.

  32. 32 omo

    >> The only superbusty girl in Gravion is Mizuki, who is at least voiced by the ultra sexy Asakawa Yuu, (Rider, Itoko). All the tits in Gravion except her’s are hot and come in a variety of sizes, with nipples to boot.

    I don’t know, Godannar has huge tits. It’s just that obviously Gravion’s tits are not on the robots.

    But obviously that’s not why I like Godannar and totally hate Gravion. I hate Gravion because the characters look like they’re inbred forefathers of SADER. I love Godannar because it’s a show about marriage and its way of HOT PASSION in good tradition of super robot anime.

  33. 33 RDrake

    YAY! Woohoo! I am vindicated! Someone else who is not a GONZO basher but rather a guy who puts it as personal number one studio!!!

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