You can hardly find an anime fan who has never watched, liked or admired Bones anime at least once in his life. Today, when the studio recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, we can enjoy such films as: "Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood", "Space Dandy" or "My Hero Academy". But this is only a small part of all 50+ anime released by the studio over 20 years of existence. Polygon talks about the studio and its best works.
Bones CEO Masahiko Minami, current president Toshihiro Kawamoto, the late Hiroshi Osaka and several former Sunrise employees founded the studio in October 1998. All three worked on Cowboy Bebop, but when it came to making a feature film, all three wanted to expand the scope.
“I wanted to try something new in the next movie with the Sunrise animators I was working with at the time,” Minami told Tokyo Otaku Mode in 2018. “Obviously we could do the project on Sunrise itself, but I wanted a place where we could work more freely and on a larger scale.”
After discussions with co-workers, Minami, Kawamoto, and Osaka ultimately decided to leave Sunrise in order to work at Bonse. The current CEO described this as a “go with the flow.”
Although the studio is known for its original titles and love of sci-fi setting, as was the case with "Escaflowne" and "Cowboy Bebop", they soon moved on to completely new works and adaptations.
“We started out with the realization that there was no reason to stick to certain genres,” Minami told Tokyo Otaku Mode. “We are often told that we are good at action films, but this is why we believe in the enormous scale of free visual expression that animation allows.”
Creative freedom is what defines Bones more than any genre or style. The studio's catalog deserves a study, given its genre diversity and the number of massively popular TV series. While this is not an exhaustive list, let's take a look at the last 20 years of Bones Studios, recalling their most impressive titles and their creation stories.
Hiwou war chronicles (2000)
The studio's first original anime rooted in their original science fiction bias. The action is set in Japan during the Meiji era, which lasted from the late 1800s to the early 1900s. The plot tells the story of a boy named Hivou, who lives in the city who makes "karakuri", or clockwork dolls, for the holidays. After his hometown was attacked and taken over by the Gang of Winds, Khivou and his friends set out to reclaim their home with Khomura, a giant clockwork doll that is essentially a mech.
The series ran from October 2000 to May 2001; the late Hiroshi Osaka hosted the animation for the series. Studio A, Bones' first sub-studio, was responsible for its production.
Fullmetal alchemist (2003)
The first anime of the sub-studio C "Fullmetal alchemist" is a classic with a thoughtful lore on par with "Avatar: The Legend of Aang" or "Game of Thrones", where alchemy was a practical science. The brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric try to use alchemy to revive their deceased mother, but instead sacrifice parts of their body [or the entire body as was Alphonse's] as an equal exchange. In the future, Edward joins the military in search of the Philosopher's Stone that could theoretically restore his limbs and Alphonse's body.
Based on Hirovu Arakama's manga, the series is based on Minami's personal connections with Square Enix, Mainichi Broadcasting, and Aniplex. It can be called a project that emerged from personal connections, not corporate ones.
During production, the series caught up with the storyline in the manga and was forced to part ways with canon. Bones eventually re-released the series with Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood in 2009, which stuck strictly to the manga's plot and is considered the best adaptation. Brotherhood became the first Bones anime created by Studio D
Eureka seven (2006)
"Eureka seven" was the studio's longest running anime ever, with 50 episodes aired from 2005 to 2006. It has a reputation for being the coolest anime fur on par with the Hiwou war chronicles. The plot focuses on a boy named Renton, who spends most of his day in the skies on his longboard, surfing in the air. When a giant robot piloted by a girl named Eureka crashes into his room, he decides to join Gekkostate, the military organization she works for.
Minami told Anime News Network that this anime is very close to him, because it would never have come out if he had stayed in Sunrise. While the original Eureka Seven was created in Studio B, the franchise was the impetus for the creation of Studio E, which was founded in 2017 exclusively to produce a new film series based on Eureka Seven.
Ouran high school host club (2006)
Ouran High School Host Club seems like an odd name for Bones, especially considering that the title was developed by Studio C, who originally worked on Fullmetal Alchemist. It's a lighthearted picture of a girl mistaken for a boy, breaking a vase, and forced to work as maintenance staff for wealthy female students at an elite academy to pay off a debt. And it's pretty unusual to see such a concept from a studio that has anime furs in their portfolio. However, anime is still a fresh take on school drama with a bunch of subplots centered on the relationship between the characters.
“Among the entire Bones lineup, Ouran is a really weird title,” Minami told Ani-Gamers in 2010. "Our producers are good at acting ... Reading the original manga, they found it had many attractive elements: a unique story of life in high school, where a team of friends are supportive of each other."
Space dandy (2014)
“Space Dandy” is best described by Minami's quote in a 2013 interview: “We've taken great responsibility to ensure this is the stupidest anime in the world.” The series follows the adventures of a group of space travelers, including a hunter cool-haired heads named Dandy, the cat-like alien Meow and their assistant the QT robot. They are hunted by Dr. Gel, a gorilla-like scientist obsessed with catching Dandy.
Bungou Stray Dogs (2016)
"Bungou Stray Dogs" follows a boy named Atsushi who joins a supernatural detective agency on matters too special or dangerous for the regular police.
Minami cites this anime as an example of the different creative vision of each of his sub-studio: “Studio D is currently headed by Mari Suzuki, a female producer, and they were working on Bungou Stray Dogs. This is an anime that definitely has some femininity in it, ”he said. “If Bungo Stray Dogs had been created by Studio A, it probably would have been completely different.”
My Hero Academia (2016)
Probably one of the main shonen of our time. The anime, based on the manga of the same name by Kohei Horikoshi, presents a fresh take on the superhero genre. In the world of My Hero Academy, people are born with so-called "quirks", super powers that range from the ability to manipulate the muscles of your elbow joints to truly incredible strength. While most of the population has some degree of power, only a few continue to become superheroes.
A new season of this anime will be released soon, and we just wrote about it in our material. The creators still have a lot of source material to work with, and the manga continues to come out.
Studio C is currently working on "My Hero Academia" given the size of the project itself. “We would like to keep this project as our core and improve its quality,” Minami said in an interview with Anime News Network. “Don't just keep the status quo, but take something good and make it even better.”
Mob Psycho 100 (2016)
One of the latest new titles from Studio B, "Mob Psycho 100" is a story of friendship, power and emotion. The series takes place in a world where psychics do exist, no matter how much the world thinks they are cheaters or not. Reigen, an attractive young con man, wants to make quick money by pretending to be psychic and takes Mob, a high school student with incredibly powerful psychic abilities, as a young Padawan.
In Mob Psycho 100, the story tries to avoid physical conflict, preferring to reflect on humanity and friendship. However, there are fights in the anime, and they are visually stunning. While working on the series, Minami gave director Yuzuru Tachikawa and character designer Yoshimichi Kameda, on the condition that they add luxury to the animation. As a result, psychic powers are shown in the show as flashes of blazing light.
Carole & Tuesday (2019)
The latest anime to come out this spring from Cowboy Bebop director Shinichiro Watanabe. The series is set in the not too distant future, when humanity colonized Mars, and AI is used for almost everything, including the production and writing of music. Today, the escaped daughter of a politician, confronts Carol, an orphan trying to make ends meet, playing music on the streets of Alba City. They begin to compose songs together. The series describes their ascent as a singer / songwriter duo. Considering that Studio Bonce was created by the people behind Cowboy Bebop, it is very symbolic that when Bones Studios passed 20 years, this anime marked that date .
The Topic of Article: 20 Years of Bones: Studio Evolution with 9 Animes.