is a Japanese animation
studio founded by ex-Tatsunoko Production
employee Koichi Mashimo
in 1997 as a subsidiary of Production I.G
. The studio is probably best known for producing Noir
and their subsequent contributions to the Girls with Guns
genre, as well as the .hack
anime adaptations, most notably .hack//SIGN
. They're also infamous for taking a... "creative" approach to adapting manga titles (read: Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle
), causing much discontent amongst the original fandom. They previously had an animation sub-division known as C-Station
, whom assists Silver Link
and others on their productions, and another called D-Station which appears to have gone defunct. They also have a animation farming studio known as Studio Road
, which has done work for companies like the aforementioned Production I.G, P. A. Works
and, to a lesser extent, A-1 Pictures
Then, you can also mention that for at least one
of their anime, the director decided to get drunk to figure out how the plot would work in the end. It worked.
- Xenogears (1998). Animation cut scenes were provided by the studio and directed, storyboarded and produced by founder Mashimo.
- Noir (2001). The first original series and the big breakthrough for the studio, lifting it to international fame effectively overnight. Licenced and aired in many countries outside Japan (including prime-time airing on French and Austrian network television, whereas TV Tokyo originally aired it at Otaku O'Clock) and spawning the studio's Girls with Guns trilogy. Your best chances to be introduced to Bee Train are through Noir.
- .hack//Liminality (2002). The very first .hack adaptation, a four-episode OVA that came with the original game tetralogy. Mostly forgotten nowadays, solidified an alliance between Bandai and Bee Train that lasted until 2008.
- .hack//SIGN (2002). The prequel to the original game tetralogy and the other most probable introduction to Bee Train you are likely to receive. The second and likely most famous .hack anime adaptation to date, SIGN is revered by many a fan.
- .hack//Intermezzo (2002). A midquel of SIGN, not relevant to the main plot.
- .hack//Unison (2002). A Distant Finale to both SIGN and the original games.
- .hack//GIFT (2002). A Stylistic Self-Parody of the entire franchise, decisively non-canon.
- Wild ARMs 3 (2002). Like Xenogears, featured animated cut scenes directed and storyboard by animator Kazuya Tsurumaki with director Mashimo. Also produced with P.A. Works.
- Avenger (2003). The second original series, which failed to reach any considerable fame and is only remembered by die-hard fans today.
- .hack//Legend of the Twilight (2003). A "creative" adaptation of the eponymous manga sequel to the original .hack games, which considerably altered the original ending. Different continuity.
- Immortal Grand Prix (2003). Experimental original micro-series, mostly forgotten today but spawning some sequels by other studios.
- Madlax (2004). The second girls-with-guns entry, remaining largely overshadowed by Noir despite its virtues and good critical reception. Remembered by many an Entry Pimp as one of the high points in Bee Train history.
- Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle (two seasons, 2005-2006). Likely the most controversial of Bee Train adaptations. The adaptation rights have since been transferred to Production I.G who produced Tsubasa Tokyo Revelations.
- .hack//Roots (2006). A Spiritual Successor to SIGN and a prequel to .hack//G.U. trilogy. Failed to meet expectations and may well be the last .hack adaptation by Bee Train: .hack//G.U. Trilogy movie has since been produced by Bandai CyberConnect2.
- .hack//G.U. Returner: An OVA follow up to the G.U. Games, similar to Unison.
- Spider Riders (2006). An adaptation of children novels, went largely unnoticed by the fandom despite being one of the few Bee Train long-runners.
- Murder Princess (2007). A minor manga adaptation. Probably intended as an effort to improve Bee Train's reputation in this field, the OVA remained thoroughly faithful to the original. Going mostly unnoticed, it's still remembered by some fans.
- El Cazador de la Bruja (2007). The final installment of the girls-with-guns trilogy, suffering from the same lack of attention as Madlax, despite being even closer to Noir thematically. Met with mixed reactions because of its cheesy tone in contrast to its dark, moody predecessors, the fandom since learned to accept "Cazzy" for what it is.
- Spider Riders: Yomigaeru Taiyou (2007). A sequel to Spider Riders, attracted even less attention.
Additional Sub-Contracted work:
In early 2008 (before the announcement of BotI
), word of mouth was that Bee Train was to animate Mirai Nikki
, yet this rumor has since been debunked (instead, asread
is doing an OVA).