Sunrise (company)

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Sunrise Inc.
Type Kabushiki kaisha
Industry Animation studio and production enterprise
Founded September 1972
Headquarters Suginami, Tokyo, Japan
Key people Takayuki Yoshii
(Chairman and CEO)
Kenji Uchida
Employees 224
Parent Namco Bandai Holdings
Subsidiaries Sunrise Music Publishing
Sunrise Interactive
References: [1][2]

Sunrise, Inc. (株式会社サンライズ Kabushiki-gaisha Sanraizu?) is a Japanese animation studio and production enterprise. It is a subsidiary of Namco Bandai Holdings. Its former name was Nippon Sunrise, and prior to that, Sunrise Studios.[3] Its headquarters is located in Suginami, Tokyo.[4]

Among Japan's largest and most famous studios, Sunrise is renowned for several critically lauded and popular original anime series, such as Gundam, Armored Trooper Votoms, Yoroiden Samurai Troopers, Crush Gear Turbo, The Vision of Escaflowne, Cowboy Bebop, Witch Hunter Robin, My-HiME, My-Otome, Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion, Tiger & Bunny, Valvrave the Liberator, as well as its numerous adaptations of acclaimed light novels including Dirty Pair, Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere and Accel World, and manga such as City Hunter, InuYasha, Outlaw Star, Yakitate!! Japan, Planetes, Keroro Gunso, Gin Tama and several others. Because of the fluidity of much of their work, some fans refer to some of their animation as "Sunrise Smooth."

Anime created by Sunrise that have won the Animage Anime Grand Prix prize are Mobile Suit Gundam in 1979 and the first half of 1980, Space Runaway Ideon in the second half of 1980, Crusher Joe (co-production with Studio Nue) in 1983, Dirty Pair in 1985, Future GPX Cyber Formula in 1991, Gundam SEED in 2002, Gundam SEED Destiny in 2004 and 2005, Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion in 2006 and 2007 and Code Geass R2 in 2008.


According to an interview with members of Sunrise the studio was founded by former members of Mushi Production in 1972, under the name Sunrise Studio, Limited (有限会社サンライズスタジオ Yugen-kaisha Sanraizu Sutajio?). Rather than having production of anime revolve around a single creator, as was the case for Mushi, which was headed by Osamu Tezuka, Sunrise decided that production should focus around the producers, a strategy that continues to this date. The market for mainstream anime, such as manga adaptations, sports shows, and adaptations of popular children's stories, was dominated by existing company, and as such, Sunrise decided to focus on robot anime, which were known to be more difficult to animate, but could be used as promotion to sell toys. Sunrise's specialization on robot anime continues to this date.[5]

Sunrise has been involved in many popular and acclaimed anime television series, including Mobile Suit Gundam (and all its various spinoffs and sequels since 1979), the Mashin Eiyūden Wataru series (1988–1997), the Yūsha series (1990–1997), the Eldran series (1991–1993) which has now become part of the Yūsha series since the Takara Tomy merger, and the Crest of the Stars series (1999–2001). They produced the apocalyptic Space Runaway Ideon in 1980.

They have co-produced a number of series with Toei Company, including Majokko Tickle (from episode 16 onwards, episodes 1-15 were produced by Neo Media Production) and the Robot Romance Trilogy which Toei Company had Sunrise animate for them on their behalf; Chōdenji Robo Combattler V (1976), Chōdenji Machine Voltes V (1977), Tōshō Daimos (1978), and Cyborg 009 (1979) that was a co-production with Toei's animation division Toei Animation. Sunrise is especially known for their mecha anime series (including Gundam) such as Invincible Steel Man Daitarn 3 (1978), Fang of the Sun Dougram (1981), the Armored Trooper Votoms and Aura Battler Dunbine series (1983), Blue Comet SPT Layzner (1985), Patlabor (1989), The Vision of Escaflowne (1996), The Big O (1999/2003), Overman King Gainer (2002), Zegapain (2007), Code Geass (2006/2008), Tiger & Bunny (2011), and Valvrave the Liberator (2013). They even worked alongside Tsuburaya Productions to animate the anime The Ultraman (1979).

They also have did some co-production and cooperative works for other anime titles for other anime studios like Space Battleship Yamato 1 (Academy Productions) (1974), Gaiking (Toei Animation) and Gowappa 5 Gōdam (Tatsunoko Productions) (all in 1976), Urusei Yatsura (Studio Pierrot, Studio Deen and Kitty Films) (1981), Urusei Yatsura 3: Remember My Love (Studio Deen and Kitty Films) (1985), Robot Carnival (Studio APPP) (1987), Assemble Insert (Tohokushinsha Film) (1989), Steam Detectives and Super Sonic Spinners (Xebec) (all in 1998), Space Pirate Mito (Triangle Staff) (1999), Love Hina (Xebec) (2000), Wolf's Rain (Bones) (2003), Kiddy Girl-and (Satelight) and Fairy Tail (A-1 Pictures and Satelight) (all in 2009), Sound of the Sky (A-1 Pictures), Mitsudomoe (Studio Bridge) and Mayoi Neko Overrun! (AIC) (all in 2010), Wandering Son (AIC) (2011), Hayate the Combat Butler: Can't Take My Eyes Off You (Manglobe) (2012), and Space Battleship Yamato 2199 (AIC and Xebec) (2013).

Sunrise has produced a variety of non-mecha works as well, including Crusher Joe (1983), Dirty Pair (1985), Mister Ajikko (1987), Yoroiden Samurai Troopers (1988), Obatarian (1990), Cowboy Bebop (1998), Infinite Ryvius (1999), Seraphim Call (1999), InuYasha (2000), s-CRY-ed (2001), Crush Gear Turbo (2001-2003), Yakitate!! Japan (2004), Kekkaishi (2006), Freedom Project (2006), Daily Lives of High School Boys (2012) and Aikatsu (2012). On January 16, 2013, they received an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Short Film for Possessions, making their studio, Studio Ghibli and Robot Communications the only major anime studios nominated for an Academy Award.


As the company kept growing several sub-divisions (called studios themselves) were created. Some of them housed key members which left Sunrise to found their own animation companies.[6]

Studio 1[edit]

The original studio created with Sunrise's foundation in 1972. Notable works include Mobile Suit Gundam, Space Runaway Ideon, Armored Trooper Votoms, Patlabor, and InuYasha. It was also the studio responsible for various later Gundam installments: Wing, X, Turn A, Unicorn, and most recently, Reconguista in G.

Studio 2[edit]

Created circa 1974-75. Some of its key members left the company to found studio Bones in 1998. Notable works include Aura Battler Dunbine, Planetes and some installments of Gundam: including Zeta, ZZ, Char's Counterattack, F91, and G. It also worked in The Vision of Escaflowne and Cowboy Bebop, each having a film adaptation in co-production with Bones. The studio is currently inactive, with the last production being The Wings of Rean in 2004.

Studio 3[edit]

Created in 1975. Early works include Blue Comet SPT Layzner and City Hunter. It is also responsible for many Gundam installments, including 0083, Victory, 08th MS Team, and many recent TV series of the franchise: SEED Destiny, 00, AGE, Build Fighters and Build Fighters Try.

Studio 4[edit]

Formerly known as "Studio Iogi" (named after the pseudonym of longtime Sunrise director Yoshiyuki Tomino). It was created in 1979. Notable works include Dirty Pair, s-CRY-ed, Overman King Gainer, Planetes and Code Geass.

Studio 5[edit]

Also created in 1979. One of its producers was Mikihiro Iwata, one the founders of A-1 Pictures. Notable works include Crest of the Stars, the InuYasha movies, Daily Lives of High School Boys, Good Luck Girl!, Gin Tama, SD Gundam, and the Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket OVA.

Studio 6[edit]

Created in 1983. Notable works include The Big O, Sgt. Frog, and Tiger & Bunny. Some of its members had left to found Studio Bridge in the 2000s.

Studio 7[edit]

Created in 1985. Its first work was in the American cartoon series The Centurions. Also noted for Sacred Seven, s-CRY-ed and the Brave series. Some members of it left to form the studio Manglobe in 2002.

Studio 8[edit]

Established around 1995, it is also known as the "Moe branch" for producing several anime series with cute girls as protagonists. Notable works include My-HiME, My-Otome, Buddy Complex, Idolmaster: Xenoglossia, The Girl Who Leapt Through Space, Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere, Accel World and Love Live!.

Studio 9[edit]

Created from a secession of Studio 7 in 1996. Notable works include Gasaraki, Infinite Ryvius, Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, Argento Soma and Battle Spirits.

Studio 10[edit]

Established around 1996. Notable works include Outlaw Star, Dinosaur King and Phi Brain: Puzzle of God.

Studio 11[edit]

The most recent studio established in 2009. Worked in Kurokami and the recent SD Gundam Sengoku series.

Sunrise D.I.D[edit]

This is Sunrise’s in-house CGI production studio. They often lend their hand creating CGI assets for many of Sunrise’s shows, most notably, Tiger & Bunny and Gundam MS Igloo.

Nerima Studio[edit]

Formerly known as Ogikubo Studio or Sunrise Emotion, it is best known for the Freedom Project, Valvrave the Liberator and the King of Thorn anime film.

International distribution[edit]

In the past, any anime that was originally produced by Sunrise, Inc. and Bandai and licensed by Bandai Visual in Japan was licensed and distributed in the United States by Bandai Entertainment and in Europe by Beez Entertainment. However, as of 2012, both companies have shut down. In the North American regions, distributors such as Funimation, Viz Media, Sentai Filmworks and NIS America have licensed Sunrise properties, as well as some Sunrise/Aniplex properties by Aniplex of America. In Europe, companies such as Anime Limited and Manga Entertainment in the UK and Kazé in France have begun to rescue former titles once distributed by Beez as well as other Sunrise titles. In Australia, like most anime that is released there, Sunrise productions are released by Madman Entertainment. At Anime Boston 2013, Sunrise confirmed that they themselves will begin licensing anime in North America, and are in talks with companies like Sentai, Funimation, and Viz to distribute their titles onto DVD and Blu-ray.[7] In addition, Right Stuf has signed a deal to distribute and re-release Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn on DVD in North America.[8]


  1. ^ "Sunrise Official Site" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2006-02-06. 
  2. ^ "SUNRISE INTERNATIONAL Information". Retrieved 2006-02-06. 
  3. ^ Animage Editorial Staff (August 1987). "The main office searches for a fresh original robot anime (新たな道を模索するオリジナルロボットアニメの総本山 Arata na michi o mosakusuru orijinaru robotto anime no sōhonzan?)". Animage (in Japanese) 110: pp.60–65. 
  4. ^ "Company Outline." Sunrise. Retrieved on February 26, 2010.
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Funimation, Sentai in Talks Over Former Bandai Titles". Anime News Network. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  8. ^ "Right Stuf to Release Gundam UC on DVD". Anime News Network. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 

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