Kyoto Animation is the anime studio responsible for Munto, Full Metal Panic! (Fumoffu and The Second Raid), Haruhi Suzumiya, Lucky Star, K-On! and adaptations of three Key/Visual Arts visual novels: AIR, Kanon, and CLANNAD (although they were also separately adapted by Toei Animation). Held to high regard for their usually good animation quality (the animation tends to be more fluid, on-par with Western-made cartoons, not to mention mouth flaps often being more articulate rather than being stuck in one position), as well as almost disturbingly realistic backgrounds and the generous use of little touches to spice up the character animation, as a result it has a fondness for using the bloom and flare effects for its visuals.
In the wake of K-On!, the studio also became known for the distinctness of character designs it used across different series (the latter of which is called derisively by critics of the studio as the "KyoAni Homogenizer"). Indeed, you can put Yui (from K-On!), Chitanda (from Hyouka), Tamako (from Tamako Market), and Mirai (from Beyond the Boundary) in one place, and you wouldn't know they were from different shows. The only exceptions from this were Nichijou and Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid, which instead used the original mangas' more simplistic styles.
In 2007, the firing of Yutaka Yamamoto led to lots of people resigning after Lucky Star's original run and creating another studio called Ordet. But that's another story.
From 2010 until 2014, the studio shifted focus from adapting works from outside sources (not completely — they still did Hyouka within this time period), to producing works from their own in-house publishing house. They have an annual writer's competition to see which author gets their work published, but rarely giving grand prizes in any categories, with Violet Evergarden being the sole exception thus far — indeed the ones usually getting adapted into anime (see Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions, Beyond the Boundary, and Myriad Colors Phantom World) are actually the honorable mentions. The shows from this period onward tend to be hit-and-miss as a result, as far as sales success go.
After nearly five years of in-house work, KyoAni returned to adapting outside series, with Shouji Gato's Amagi Brilliant Park, and Sound! Euphonium by Ayano Takeda, the latter of which got a second season airing at the end of 2016.
Despite what their name might suggest, they aren't based in Kyoto, but in Uji, a different town in Kyoto Prefecture. They also have units in Osaka (Animation Do, responsible for the smash hit Free!) & in South Korea (Studio Blue, formally known as AniVillage).
On July 18, 2019, in the worst post-World War II mass murder incident in Japan and single greatest tragedy within its animating industry's history, a 41-year-old recluse named Shinji Aoba set fire to Kyoto Animation Studio 1, murdering 35 people and injuring 33 others; the perpetrator was apprehended fleeing and bragged he did it, screaming of Kyoto Animation plagiarizing a novel he submitted to their contest. Not only does this (or anything for that matter) obviously never come close to rationalizing mass murder of such magnitude, the novel never passed the first-stage assessment and its contents were confirmed to have no similarities to any of their published works. The arsonist has also proven to be a dangerously insane psychopath with a criminal history according to neighbors and key eyewitnesses, thus Rule of Cautious Editing Judgment very much applies.
While only ten victims were initially named due to respect toward the victim's families, a heated dispute with law enforcement over the social impact of the attack resulted in the names of all the victims being abruptly disclosed on August 27, 2019.
In addition to an outpour of ongoing condolences and messages of support from the world and national leaders, fans and businesses have raised over US$21.5 million to help the studio and its victims recover. Sentai Filmworks, who distributes much of KyoAni's output in North America, set up a GoFundMe page to help victims and their families. The drive cracked $1 million in under a day and $2 million in under a week.
Works produced by Kyoto Animation:
- Kiddy Grade (2002, with GONZO)
- Nurse Witch Komugi (2002-2004, with Tatsunoko Production)
- Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu (2003)
- AIR (2005)
- Full Metal Panic!: The Second Raid (2005)
- The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (2006) (2009)
- Kanon (2006-2007)
- Lucky Star (2007)
- CLANNAD (2007-2008)
- CLANNAD ~After Story~ (2008-2009)
- Munto: Sora o Miageru Shoujo no Hitomi ni Utsuru Sekai (2009)
- K-On! (2009)
- K-On!! (2010)
- Nichijou (2011)
- Hyouka (2012)
- Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions (2012)
- Tamako Market (2013)
- Free! (2013)
- Beyond the Boundary (2013)
- Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions -Heartthrob- (2014)
- Free! Eternal Summer (2014)
- Amagi Brilliant Park (2014)
- Sound! Euphonium (2015)
- Myriad Colors Phantom World (2016)
- Sound! Euphonium 2 (2016)
- Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid (2017)
- Violet Evergarden (2018)
- Free! Dive to the Future (2018)
- Tsurune (2018-2019)
- 20 Seiki Denki Mokuroku (TBA)
- Munto: Tenjoubito to Akutobito Saigo no Tatakai (April 18, 2009)
- The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya (February 6, 2010)
- K-On! (December 3, 2011)
- Takanashi Rikka ・ Kai: ~Gekijouban Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions~ (September 14, 2013)
- Tamako Love Story (April 26, 2014)
- Beyond the Boundary I'll be Here
- Beyond the Boundary I'll be Here - Kako-hen (March 14, 2015)
- Beyond the Boundary I'll be Here - Mirai-hen (April 25, 2015)
- High★Speed! - Free! Starting Days (December 5, 2015)
- Gekijouban Hibike! Euphonium (April 23, 2016)
- A Silent Voice (September 17, 2016)
- Free! Timeless Medley
- Free! Timeless Medley - Kizuna (April 22, 2017)
- Free! Timeless Medley - Yakusoku (July 1, 2017)
- Gekijō-ban Hibike! Euphonium: Todoketai Melody (September 30, 2017)
- Free! Take your Marks (October 2017)
- Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!: Take On Me (January 6, 2018)
- Liz and the Blue Bird (April 21, 2018)
- Hibike! Euphonium: Chikai no Finale (April 2019)
- Free! Road to the World - the Dream (July 2019)
- Violet Evergarden Gaiden: Eien to Jidō Shuki Ningyō (September 2019)
- Violet Evergarden the Movie (Indefinitely Postponed)
- Untitled Free! film (2020)
- ∀ Gundam (In-Between Animation; Backgrounds)
- AKIRA (Animation Cooperation)
- Animaniacs (Animation Cooperation with TMS, uncredited)List
- Brain Powerd (In-Between Animation)
- Code Geass (In-Between Animation, R2 season)
- Crayon Shin-chan (Key, Finish & In-Between Animation and color design for the series and seven movies. Also one of the few series they still do sub-contract work for)
- Detective Conan (Finish & In-Between Animation)
- Dirty Pair (Finish Animation for the series. Key, Finish & In-Between Animation and Color Check for the OVAs)
- Fairy Princess Minky Momo: La ronde in my dream (Production Assistance)
- Future Police Urashiman (Finish Animation)
- Gate Keepers (Key & In-Between Animation; Production Cooperation)
- Genesis Climber MOSPEADA (Finish Animation)
- Ghost Stories (Finish & In-Between Animation)
- Hamtaro Adventures in Ham Ham Land (Key Animation)
- InuYasha (Key & Finish Animation; Animation; Backgrounds; Production, with Sunrise)
- Kaitou Saint Tail (Animation; Ink & Paint)
- Magic Knight Rayearth (Animation)
- Magical Stage Fancy Lala (Key & In-Between Animation; Backgrounds; Animation Co-Production, six episodesList )
- Magical Star Magical Emi (Finish Animation)
- Metal Armor Dragonar (Finish Animation)
- Neon Genesis Evangelion (Backgrounds)
- Only Yesterday (finish animation)
- Patlabor (Key & In-Between Animation and Paint for the series; Finish Animation for the OVA)
- Persia, the Magic Fairy (Finish Animation)
- Pokémon (Finish & In-Between Animation)
- Pooh's Grand Adventure (Additional services for Walt Disney Animation Japan)
- Saber Marionette R (In-Between Animation)
- Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross (Finish Animation)
- Super Dimension Fortress Macross (Finish Animation)
- Macross: Do You Remember Love? (Finish & Clean-Up Animation)
- Tales of the Abyss (In-Between Animation for the series)
- Tenchi Universe (Animation Co-Production, five episodes)List
- Tiny Toon Adventures (Cooperation with TMS, uncredited)List
- To Heart (Finish Animation)
- Urusei Yatsura (Cel Painting, series)
- The Wuzzles (Cooperation with TMS, uncredited)List
- Zillion (Finish & In-Between Animation; Production Cooperation)
- Artwork for a small handful of video games, including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters and Jikkyo Oshaberi Parodius.
For a more extensive overview of their work see their entry on ANN.
Tropes usually associated with Kyoto Animation productions:
- Bait-and-Switch Lesbians: Kyoto Animation has become rather infamous for introducing massive amounts of subtext between female characters, only to let it go unanswered and open-ended. While there is debate whether this mere negligence or a conscious choice to not dissuade male shipping, this practice still garnered the studio a bad reputation among the yuri fandom.
- False Camera Effects: Kyoto Animation's recent offerings have utilized heavy use of blur, focus, chromatic aberration and bokeh. This is particularly noticeable in Sound! Euphonium, especially its pilot episode.
- High School: With two exceptions, every single one of their works either takes place in a high school or stars a high school student.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Leans heavily towards idealism. So much so that Gigguk's video "If Anime Studios Were People" makes fun of how idealistic they are.
- During their pre-inhouse period, the studio was notable for their tendency to do Shout Outs and casting gags to their own series. This tendency died off after K-On's adaptation.
- Haruhi Suzumiya has a couple of shout outs to Full Metal Panic! and AIR.
- Lucky Star has innumerable Shout Outs to Haruhi, being the favorite show of the Otaku Surrogate Konata... who is voiced by Aya Hirano, Haruhi's voice actress (as well as in the English dub, where Konata and Haruhi are both voiced by Wendee Lee. Konata uses a Hare Hare Yukai and later Koi no Mikuru Densetsu ringtone, has a big collection of Haruhi merchandise, cosplays as Haruhi at the cafe where she works, and much, much more. After all, "This is advertisement for us, so it's better!"◊ These inside references are anime-only, and are not found anywhere in the manga on which it is based.Similarly, Kagami's favourite series happens to be Full Metal Panic!, leading to Shout Outs in that direction as well. (Oddly enough, Tsukasa's favourite series is Sgt. Frog, which also has its fair share of Shout Outs, despite being a Sunrise show. In the same vein, Konata is a fan of Code Geass, also produced by Sunrise, and they manage a few Shout Outs for it too.) Not surprising at all, since Kyoani is affiliated with Sunrise, so it's a Shout-Out to their parent company. And of course, as pictured, when the girls go on a field trip to Kyoto... well, where does Konata want to visit?
- An interesting example: in AIR: Nayuki, Ayu, and Makoto from Kanon show up with the original voice actors, much like Kyon and Yuki do in Lucky Star... only this was before Kyoani ever animated Kanon. This makes it more of a shout out to the fact that they were both created by Key/Visual Art's.
- CLANNAD had at least two in the first episode - a desaturated opening, à la Haruhi, and a subverted version of a Dating Sim Shot like the ones Kanon was filled with. Mai's sword and Sayuri's magical wand (along with their ribbons) make a brief appearance as theater props, and Sayuri's giant purple anteater makes a star appearance in a crane game. The second season has what could only be Akiko's infamous "special jam". Sanae's bread simply tastes bad and is hard to eat. Akiko's ultimate jam blurs your senses. Put them together, and you get knocked out Miyazawa gang members. A WMD indeed, even in the hands of Nagisa. Sayuri's anteater can be seen in the Furukawa household after Ushio lives with Sanae and Akio.
- Kyoto Animation has a tendency to animate shows with snarky male leads, like Yukito, Kyon, Yuuichi, Tomoya, Houtarou, to an extent, Haruka, and Akihito.