Whereas Kyoto Animation is known for it’s in-house production practices, A-1 Pictures is known for being the exact opposite: its productions are comprised nearly entirely of freelancers. Their website itself only lists producers, CG directors, composite directors, and color designers on its staff page. However, the nature of hiring freelancers is still dependent on relationships, and the A-1 rolodex calls on the same names regularly.
A-1 Pictures has also served as a small locus of opportunities for women to direct anime series, including Kotomi Deai, Yumi Kamakura, and former Kyoto Animation staff Noriko Takao. Miyuki Kuroki is also set to co-direct The Idolm@ster Side M anime in the fall. Women have also been hired to direct films with Takao’s Saint Young Men and Shoko Nakamura’s Doukyuusei. Additionally, a number of women have been hired to work as assistant directors on a number of TV series, theoretically preparing them to helm a series on their own (a list that includes Kuroki and Deai). While A-1 Pictures has a relatively extreme (and potentially varied) production model with its nearly pure freelance hiring, the studios has been comparatively willing to hire on more women to direct its projects.
The pool of people hired to compose music is fairly small, akin to directors and series composers. While they often will compose the pop songs for OP and ED sequences, that’s typically separate project from the regular soundtrack. For most anime, the music will fill one or two albums. Yukari Hashimoto’s eight volumes of music for Mawaru Penguindrum (in addition to rearranging ARB’s songs for the in-universe idol group Triple H), is not the norm. Many composers are part of music groups, such as Maiko Iiuchi of I’ve Sound. It’s also not uncommon to have multiple composers work on a single series. Asami Tachibana composed songs for Haikyu!! and Gundam Build Fighters Try along with Yuuki Hayashi. While second seasons will use the same themes from the first with some additions, hey a counted as their own independent entry in this data.
The percentage of women composing music for Otaku TV series has had significant variance over the five year period from 2011 to 2016, though with the increasing number of series, the proportion trends towards a decrease. The debuts in this time period include Ruka Kawada (2013, Senran Kagura), kotringo (2015, Koufuku Graffiti), Asami Tachibana (2012, Robotics;Notes), Minako Seki (2012, Kingdom), and Yui Isshiki (2011, Dog Days).
Among the most active composers are Yukari Hashimoto (Mawaru Penguindrum, Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun, Sore ga Seiyuu!) and I’ve Sound member Maiko Iiuchi (Wixoss franchise, Rewrite, Heavy Object). The next two are both composers who debuted in anime during this time period, Asami Tachibana and Ruka Kawada. The next for are generally well regarded composers have have been working on music composition for anime for a decent while longer.
Coloring and painting is a less frequently interrogated role by anime fandom, but it is also one of the fields in the industry dominated by women. While formerly largely done by hand, the process is now typically done digitally after scanning the frames. The color designer works with the director to determine the color palette for the anime.
Animation character designers are tasked with taking the original character designs – often from mangaka, light novel, or doujin artists – and making a faithful design that’s also workable to animate on a tight production schedule. Rarely are the animation character designers and the original character designers the same person, even for original series. Additionally, it’s common for the animation character designers to also serve as the sakuga kantoku (作監), or chief animation supervisor. Continue reading “Female TV Anime Character Designers 2011-2016”
The Spring 2017 season has a couple of directors returning to their respective franchises, and a few fresh faces.