Tatsunoko Production

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Tatsunoko Production
Kabushiki gaisha
Industry Animation studio, planning and production
Founded October 19, 1962; 53 years ago (1962-10-19)[1]
Founder Tatsuo Yoshida
Kenji Yoshida
Ippei Kuri
Headquarters Musashino, Tokyo, Japan
Products Anime
Owner Nippon Television (54.3%)
Takara Tomy (20.0%)
Horipro (13.5%)
Production I.G (11.2%)
Number of employees
59 (April 1, 2015)
Divisions I.G Tatsunoko 1987–1993
Website tatsunoko.co.jp

Tatsunoko Production Co., Ltd. (株式会社タツノコプロ Kabushiki gaisha Tatsunoko Puro?), previously known as Kabushiki gaisha Tatsunoko Purodakushon (株式会社竜の子プロダクション?), often shortened to Tatsunoko Pro (竜の子プロ or タツノコプロ Tatsunoko Puro?), is a Japanese animation company. It was founded in October 1962 by anime pioneer Tatsuo Yoshida along with his brothers Kenji and Toyoharu (or by the pen name "Ippei Kuri").[2] The studio's name has a double meaning in Japanese of "Tatsu's child" (Tatsu being a nickname for Tatsuo) and "sea dragon", which was the inspiration for its seahorse corporate logo.[2][3]


Since the studio's inception, Tatsunoko has specialized in television production; by contrast, rival studio Toei Animation focused chiefly on feature films and was just beginning to move into TV production when Tatsunoko was formed.[citation needed] The studio debuted in 1965 with the TV series Space Ace. Since then, many legendary figures in the anime industry have worked with Tatsunoko, including Mizuho Nishikubo, Hiroshi Sasagawa, Koichi Mashimo, Katsuhisa Yamada, Hideaki Anno (Tatsunoko provided animation work on the Neon Genesis Evangelion TV series), and Kazuo Yamazaki. Sasagawa is notable for bringing his fondness for comedy animation to the forefront in Tatsunoko series such as the Time Bokan (1975) franchise.[4]

The translated and edited versions of the studio's more successful animated series, such as Hiroshi Sasagawa's Speed Racer (1967), Gatchaman (1972), and Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995) are credited with bringing international attention to Japanese animation.[citation needed] Although it carries a strong roster of action and science fiction anime titles, Tatsunoko became known for several widely acclaimed fairy tale and fantasy-based series for younger children such as Minashigo Hutch (1970), The Adventures of Pinocchio (1972), Temple the Balloonist (1977), The Littl' Bits (1980), and the Bible-based Superbook (1981).[citation needed]

The company provided some financial assistance on the Macross TV show (1982, adapted as part of 1985's Robotech) some time during its run, in exchange for various rights.[citation needed] They later licensed Macross to Harmony Gold, who then produced Robotech.

In October 2000, Tatsunoko, Electronics Application (Eleca) and Japanese toy company Takara Co., Ltd. produced and released a Japan-only PlayStation exclusive fighting game Tatsunoko Fight, featuring characters from four established Tatsunoko franchises, as well an original series created exclusively for the game, Denkou Senka Volter (電光石火ヴォルター lit. "Lightning Warrior Volter"?).[citation needed]

Takara acquired Tatsunoko on June 3 2005 after purchasing a 88% stake and made the company a subsidiary.[5]

Several Japanese animation studios have their roots in Tatsunoko.[citation needed] Studio Pierrot was founded in 1979 by former Tatsunoko employees.[citation needed] J.C.Staff was founded in January 1986 by Tomoyuki Miyata, who previously worked at Tatsunoko.[citation needed] Production I.G was established in 1987 as I.G. Tatsunoko, which was a branch for the production of Zillion led by Mitsuhisa Ishikawa.[6][7][8] Studio XEBEC also traces its history to Tatsunoko, as it is an offshoot of Production I.G.[citation needed] Koichi Mashimo, who previously worked at Tatsunoko, founded Bee Train,[citation needed] which existed as a subsidiary of Production I.G until 2006. Radix was founded in December 1995 by former Tastunoko staff.[citation needed] TNK was founded in 1999 by Teru Kato, who previously worked at Tatsunoko.[citation needed]

Tatsunoko's developed the Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars fighting game in collaboration with video game company Capcom which features characters from both companies.[citation needed] Tatsunoko announced in 2009 that it wuold collaborate with Marvel Comics on a joint television project and other ventures.[9]

IG Port announced on June 2, 2010 that its subsidiary, Production I.G, had purchased a 11.2% stake in Tatsunoko studio. Production I.G President Mitsuhisa Ishikawa joined on as a part-time director for the studio.[10]

Tatsunoko's headquarters are in Kokubunji, Tokyo.[1]

Talent agency Horipro announced on February 23, 2013 that it had acquired a 13.5% stake in Tatsunoko.[11]

At Anime Expo 2013, the North American licensor Sentai Filmworks had announced that they signed a deal with Tatsunoko to license and release some of Tatsunoko's titles, including Gatchaman and Casshan.[12]

Nippon Television announced on January 29, 2014, that it had purchased a 54.3% stake in Tatsunoko and formally adopted the company as its subsidiary.[13][14][15]


Saban's Adventures of Pinocchio (1972)
The Flying House (1982)







Anime studios made by former animators[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Tatsunoko Pro". Tatsunoko.co.jp. Retrieved 2016-01-07. 
  2. ^ a b "GATCHAMAN! The story of Tatsuo Yoshida and his greatest creation". Comic Book Resources. 2008-05-11. 
  3. ^ "'Speed Racer': drawing on an anime legend". The Japan Times. Retrieved 2008-08-06. 
  4. ^ AWN. "Anime Reviews: Stand Alone with Bokan & The Third | AWN | Animation World Network". Mag.awn.com. Retrieved 2013-10-02. 
  5. ^ "Takara acquires animation studio". The Japan Times. 2005-07-03. Retrieved 2015-12-17. 
  6. ^ "石川社長が20年を語る 「プロダクション I.G 創立20周年記念展」開催中" (in Japanese). mycom.co.jp. 2007-12-28. Retrieved 2008-06-20. 
  7. ^ "第25回 株式会社プロダクション I.G代表取締役社長 石川光久-その2-悔しさから独立、フリーに" (in Japanese). CodeZine. 2008-02-08. Retrieved 2008-06-20. 
  8. ^ "Studio 2 Part 01: Kazuchika Kise and the birth of Studio 2". Production I.G. Retrieved 2008-06-20. 
  9. ^ "Report: Tatsunoko, Marvel Aim for Joint TV Anime in 3 Years – News". Anime News Network. 2009-02-24. Retrieved 2013-10-02. 
  10. ^ "Production I.G to Acquire 11.2% Stake in Tatsunoko". AnimeNewsNetwork. 2010-06-01. Retrieved 2010-06-04. 
  11. ^ "HoriPro Agency Acquires Stake in Anime Studio Tatsunoko – News". Anime News Network. 2013-02-12. Retrieved 2013-10-02. 
  12. ^ "Sentai Filmworks Signs Deal with Tatsunoko Production (Updated) - News". Anime News Network. 2013-07-04. Retrieved 2013-10-02. 
  13. ^ "NTV Buys 54.3% Stake in Anime Studio Tatsunoko Production". Anime News Network. 2014-01-29. Retrieved 2014-01-29. 
  14. ^ "Tomy to sell Tatsunoko Production to TV station". Nikkei. 2014-01-29. Retrieved 2015-01-09. 
  15. ^ "Nippon TV Acquires Shares of TATSUNOKO PRODUCTION Co., Ltd.". Nippon Television. 2014-01-29. Retrieved 2014-02-14. 

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