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.