Enshutsu: A-1 Pictures

がんばって!Previously, we looked at the Fall 2013 season of anime and the history of Kyoto Animation.

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.

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Enshutsu: Kyoto Animation

tamakocount

Special thanks to ultimatemegax for reviewing and adding to my data for this subject.

Back in October, we took a look at the Fall 2013 season of anime to get a general idea of the gender inequality among enshutsu, or episode director, roles across the industry. In that season, across all companies, just 10 percent of episodes were directed by women. As one of many follow-ups to that project, we’re focusing on Kyoto Animation. Known for its earlier success with many popular series like Clannad and K-On!, and its modern business practice of being the primary financier of its many series, Kyoto Animation has also developed a reputation of having many women on its staff. At the series director level, Naoko Yamada has become a mainstay of the company. Hiroko Utsumi was tagged to direct the very popular Free! TV series. After leaving the company, Noriko Takao also became a series and movie director with her years of experience at the company. However, this project focuses on enshutsu, a level down from the series director role, but also a likely step for the many who could become a series director. If Kyoto animation is among the better animation companies for hiring women, then that should translate at the enshutsu level as well.

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A Test Case on Enshutsu: Fall 2013

The Director’s Guild of America puts out annual reports aggregating the proportion of episodes directed by women and people of color among TV shows. Naturally, it would be interesting to see this practice applied to anime as well. (Thus far, I’ve only collected data regarding directing overall anime projects, rather than episodes). Continue reading “A Test Case on Enshutsu: Fall 2013”