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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Female TV Anime Music Composers 2011-2016

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, RewriteHeavy 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.






Female TV Anime Color Designers 2011-2016

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.

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Female TV Anime Character Designers 2011-2016

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”

A Gender History of the Young Animator Training Project

On March 11, there will be a screening in Ikebukuro of the four newest short films produced by the Young Animator Training Project, now called “Anime Tamago.” The project is was launched in 2010 and funded with support from the Agency of Cultural Affairs, part of the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. Since 2011, four short films have been produced each year by various studios, the most prominent of which is Little Witch Academia, now a full-fledged TV series. Another short, Death Billiards, also got its concept taken into a full TV series, Death Parade. However, the primary purpose of the project is to train animators. Continue reading “A Gender History of the Young Animator Training Project”

Female TV Anime Series Composers 2011-2016


Previously, Female TV Anime Directors.

The series composer works with the director to structure the story of an anime. The composer will also write a significant number of episode scripts for the series – though occasionally they will script every episode themselves. Since 2011, the number of projects with female series composers has generally increased, with the bulk coming along with the trend in anime shorts.

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Enshutsu: Kyoto Animation


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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Addendum: Female TV Director Debuts 2011-2016

As an addendum to the previous post, and to really illustrate a point of how unusual 2013 was, here is a brief list of female director debuts, excluding assistant directors.  Continue reading “Addendum: Female TV Director Debuts 2011-2016”

Female Anime Directors 2011-2016


With an ever-increasing amount of anime getting made each year, so had the number of directors. And with that increase, even more female animators have been given opportunities to direct anime. In 2011, only four series had women directing anime in a lead or series role, including two seasons of Sekai-Ichi Hatsukoi directed by Chiaki Kon. In 2013 the pool increased to 16. Since that year, at least ten series has been directed by women each year. These trends follow when you exclude anime shorts and only look at full-length episode TV series, as well as when looking at just Otaku TV series. However women did direct a sizable chunk of anime shorts.
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An Attempt to Aggregate the Annual Total Number of Anime


In the near future will be a series of posts about the number of women in certain leadership roles for TV anime productions between the years 2011 and 2016. Instead of simple raw totals, the percentage of the women comprising these roles among anime productions would be better for gauging relative opportunity for women in the anime workforce. As the production of anime has increased and continues to increase, the amount of women has also increased. But it is unclear whether women have also increased their percentage share of production leadership roles. Over the next year, I’ll be returning to the numbers discussed in this totals for current and future research projects. Continue reading “An Attempt to Aggregate the Annual Total Number of Anime”