Sunrise (company)

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Sunrise Inc.
Kabushiki kaisha
Industry Animation studio and production enterprise
Founded September 1972; 45 years ago (1972-09)
Headquarters Suginami, Tokyo, Japan
Key people
Takayuki Yoshii
(Chairman and CEO)
Kenji Uchida
Number of employees
Parent Bandai Namco Holdings
Subsidiaries Sunrise Music Publishing
Bandai Namco Pictures
Footnotes / references

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 Bandai Namco 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, Cowboy Bebop, Space Runaway Ideon, Armored Trooper Votoms, Yoroiden Samurai Troopers, Future GPX Cyber Formula, Crush Gear Turbo, The Vision of Escaflowne, Love Live School Idol Project, Witch Hunter Robin, My-HiME, My-Otome, Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion, Tiger & Bunny, Cross Ange: Rondo of Angel and Dragon, 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, Kekkaishi and several others.

Many of Sunrise's original anime include similar themes, including mecha and masked identities accompanied with fluid animation. Because of the fluidity and high degree of details on much of their works, fans refer to their animation works as "Sunrise Smooth".[original research?]

Most of their works are mostly original titles created in-house by their creative staffs that went into a collective pseudonym called Hajime Yatate. They also previously operated a now defunct video game studio of their own named Sunrise Interactive. Sunrise also launched their own light novel publication titled Yatate Bunko Imprint on September 30, 2016 aimed to publish new original titles and also to supplemment their already existing franchises with new materials.[5]

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, thus making Sunrise as the studio that won the most number of Animage Awards.


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.[6]

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).

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, 2014, 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.[citation needed]


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.[7]

Studio 1

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: G, Wing, X, Turn A, Unicorn, Reconguista in G, and Thunderbolt.

Studio 2

Created circa 1974-75. First started creativity in 1975. Some of its key members left the company to found studio Bones in 1998. Notable works include Aura Battler Dunbine, Soul Eater and some installments of Gundam: including Zeta, ZZ, Victory, Char's Counterattack and F91, . 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 involved in Tribe Cool Crew production.

Studio 3

Created in 1975. First started creativity in 1976. Early works include Blue Comet SPT Layzner and City Hunter. It is also responsible for many Gundam installments, including 0083, 08th MS Team, and many recent TV series of the franchise: 00, AGE, Build Fighters, Build Fighters Try, and Iron-Blooded Orphans.

Studio 4

The original Studio 4 was created in 1979. It's notable works include The Ultraman anime. The studio fell inactive after 1987. The current Studio 4 started as support for Studio 2, and was formerly known as "Studio Iogi" (井荻スタジオ) (named after the pseudonym of longtime Sunrise director Yoshiyuki Tomino), the studio worked on its first major work in 1985 with Dirty Pair. Its other notable works include Planetes, s-CRY-ed and Code Geass.

Studio 5

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

Studio 6

Created in 1983. First started creativity in 1997. 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

Created in 1985. First started creativity in 1987. Its first work was in the American cartoon series The Centurions. Also noted for Sacred Seven, s-CRY-ed and the Yūsha series. Some members of it left to form the studio Manglobe in 2002.

Studio 8

Established around 1995, it is notable for works including My-HiME, Buddy Complex, Idolmaster: Xenoglossia, The Girl Who Leapt Through Space, Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere, Accel World and Love Live!.

Studio 9

The Sister Studio of Studio 7. Established in 1996, First started creativity in 1997. Notable works include Gasaraki, Infinite Ryvius, Mobile Suit Gundam SEED and SEED Destiny, Argento Soma and Battle Spirits.

Studio 10

The Sister Studio of Studio 5. Established around 1996. Notable works include Outlaw Star, Dinosaur King and Phi Brain: Puzzle of God.

Studio 11

The Sister Studio of Studio 8. The most recent studio established in 2009. Worked in Kurokami and the recent SD Gundam Sangokuden Brave Battle Warriors series.


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, Zegapain, Cross Ange, Valvrave the Liberator, Gundam MS Igloo and Gundam The Origin. They also produce CG works for other animation studios, most notably studio XEBEC's Space Battleship Yamato 2199 among others.

Nerima Studio

Formerly known as Ogikubo Studio (荻窪スタジオ) or Sunrise Emotion, it is best known for the Freedom Project, Valvrave the Liberator, the King of Thorn anime film and Cross Ange.[8]

List of works


  • Hazedon (ハゼドン) (October 1972–March 1973) (TV animation) (Broadcaster: Fuji TV) (Studio 1)
  • Zero Tester (ゼロテスター) (October 1973–December 1974) (TV animation) (Broadcaster: Fuji TV) (Studio 1)
  • La Seine no Hoshi (ラ・セーヌの星) (April 1975–December 1975) (TV animation) (Broadcaster: Fuji TV) (Studio 2)
  • Brave Raideen (勇者ライディーン) (April 1975–March 1976) (TV animation) (in association with Tohokushinsha and Asahi News Agency) (Broadcaster: TV Asahi) (Studio 1)
  • Kum-Kum (わんぱく大昔クムクム) (October 1975–March 1976) (TV animation) (Broadcaster: TBS) (Studio 1)
  • Chōdenji Robo Combattler V (超電磁ロボ コン・バトラーV) (April 1976–May 1977) (In association with Toei Company) (TV animation) (Broadcaster: TV Asahi) (Studio 1)
  • Gowappa 5 Gōdam (ゴワッパー5ゴーダム) (April 1976–December 1976) (In association with Tatsunoko Productions) (TV animation) (Broadcaster: TV Asahi) (Studio 1)
  • Dinosaur Expedition Born Free (恐竜探険隊ボーンフリー) (October 1976–March 1977) (In association with Tsuburaya Productions) (TV animation) (Broadcaster: TV Asahi) (Studio 1)
  • Robot Child Beeton (ろぼっ子ビートン) (October 1976–September 1977) (TV animation) (Broadcaster: TBS) (Studio 3)
  • Chōdenji Machine Voltes V (超電磁マシーン ボルテスV) (June 1977–March 1978) (In association with Toei Company) (TV animation) (Broadcaster: TV Asahi) (Studio 2)
  • Invincible Super Man Zambot 3 (無敵超人ザンボット3) (October 1977–March 1978) (TV animation) (Broadcaster: TV Asahi) (Studio 3)
  • Majokko Tickle (魔女っ子チックル) (March 1978–January 1979) (In association with Toei Company, Neomedia and Kaze Pro) (TV animation) (Broadcaster: TV Asahi) (Studio 2)
  • Tōshō Daimos (闘将ダイモス) (April 1978–January 1979) (In association with Toei Company) (TV animation) (Broadcaster: TV Asahi) (Studio 2)
  • Invincible Steel Man Daitarn 3 (無敵鋼人ダイターン3) (June 1978–March 1979) (TV animation) (Broadcaster: TV Asahi) (Studio 1)
  • Cyborg 009 (サイボーグ009) (March 1979–March 1980) (In association with Toei Company) (TV animation) (Broadcaster: TV Asahi) (Studio 3)
  • Mobile Suit Gundam (機動戦士ガンダム) (April 1979–January 1980) (TV animation) (Broadcaster: TV Asahi) (Studio 1)
  • The Ultraman (ザ☆ウルトラマン) (April 1979–March 1980) (In association with Tsuburaya Productions) (TV animation) (Broadcaster: TBS) (Studio 4)
  • Scientific Adventure Team Tansar 5 (科学冒険隊タンサー5) (July 1979–March 1980) (TV animation) (Broadcaster: TV Tokyo) (Studio 5)





Foreign productions

(These projects had Sunrise animate various different episodes and movies for each of these productions)

Video games

Animation studios started by former Sunrise animators

International distribution

In the past, most anime that was originally produced by Sunrise 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 both companies shut down in 2012, following Bandai Entertainment's restructuring. 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 productions which may not have been released in said territories previously. In Australia, Sunrise productions are licensed, and distributed 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.[10] In addition, Right Stuf has signed a deal to distribute and re-release Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn on DVD in North America.[11] In 2014, the deal expanded towards releasing all of the Gundam that had been previously licensed by Bandai Entertainment (Mobile Suit Gundam, Turn A Gundam), as well as several works that have not been released in North America (Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ), beginning in 2015.[12]


  1. ^ "Sunrise Official Site" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2006-02-06. 
  2. ^ "SUNRISE INTERNATIONAL Information". Retrieved 2006-02-06. 
  3. ^ Animage Editorial Staff (August 1987). "Arata na michi o mosakusuru orijinaru robotto anime no sōhonzan" 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 [The main office searches for a fresh original robot anime]. Animage (in Japanese). Vol. 110. pp. 60–65. 
  4. ^ "SUNRISE INTERNATIONAL Information [Company Outline]". Retrieved 2017-02-06. 
  5. ^ "Sunrise Launches "Yatate Bunko" Light Novel Imprint". Crunchyroll. 15 September 2016. Retrieved 11 February 2017. 
  6. ^ "ANNtv Inside Sunrise - Anime News Network". Retrieved 5 June 2016. 
  7. ^ Kraker2k (8 October 2011). "A rundown of the studios at Sunrise". Retrieved 5 June 2016. 
  8. ^ a b "2014年  10月 原画". Retrieved 2015-02-13. 
  9. ^ "Sunrise Reveals Classicaloid Comedy TV Anime for 2016". Anime News Network. 2015-07-03. Retrieved 2016-03-23. 
  10. ^ "Funimation, Sentai in Talks Over Former Bandai Titles". Anime News Network. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  11. ^ "Right Stuf to Release Gundam UC on DVD". Anime News Network. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  12. ^ "Sunrise Partners with Right Stuf to Release Gundam Franchise Stateside". Anime News Network. 2014-10-11. Retrieved 2014-10-12. 

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