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Creator / Sunrise

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"Gee, that Hajime Yatate guy's made a lot of stuff."

Sunrise, later known as Bandai Namco Filmworks, is one of the biggest anime makers in all of Japan. If you are thinking "Real Robot", you probably mean Sunrise's productions. Between the long-running Gundam franchise and one-shot gems like The Vision of Escaflowne and Code Geass, Sunrise has long since cemented its reputation of one of the Humongous Mecha market trend makers. Also, being a subsidiary of Bandai Namco Entertainment (since 1994), many of its works (the ones involving Humongous Mecha, of course) end up in Super Robot Wars sooner or later.

Founded in 1972 by former Mushi Productions animators Yoshinori Kishimoto, Masanori Ito, Eiji Yamaura, Masami Iwasaki, Kiyomi Numamoto and Yasuhiko Yoneyama, the studio was first known as Sunrise Studio YK and then as Nippon Sunrise before becoming simply Sunrise in 1987. The studio had a long relationship with the TV Asahi network, with TV Asahi itself or affiliated stations like Nagoya TV producing many of its shows.


Several of Sunrise's original series credit "Hajime Yatate" as their original creator; that's a collective pseudonym for Sunrise and its animation staff. Yatate is depicted as an actual person in Gundam Sousei, a comedy loosely depicting the making of the original Mobile Suit Gundam. Apparently he's a loudmouth who wears a cowboy hat everywhere. Who knew?

Studio DEEN, Studio BONES, EMUAI, Studio Dub, Studio Takuranke, Manglobe and Bridge were formed by former Sunrise staff members.

They also animated eight episodes of Batman: The Animated SeriesList  to mixed results. Eventually they become one of the two animation studios, along with AKOM, to be taken off the series. Nevertheless, Sunrise later created The Big O, a Batman-influenced project with a considerably more positive reception in the West.


Sunrise were also responsible for an aborted attempt to create an Americanized Gundam series, known as Doozy Bots, long before dubbing any of the actual anime. Though nothing was made beyond a rather hilariously misguided pilot.

At Anime Boston 2013, Sunrise announced that they were negotiating with various distributors (Funimation, Viz Media, Sentai Filmworks, Nozomi Entertainment, etc.) to give their shows formerly licensed by Bandai Entertainment "new homes", after Bandai decided to cease DVD production. So far, Nozomi has announced their distribution of Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn. This, along with Discotek Media's acquisition of Blue Submarine No. 6 (which was actually a Gonzo title, but was still licensed by Bandai), is a good sign for fans of Mobile Suit Gundam, The Big O, The Vision of Escaflowne, Cowboy Bebop, and various other Bandai-owned shows, as well as for newcomers who want to get into said series without spending an arm and a leg on Bandai's previous releases.

At Sunrise's panel at Otakon 2013, these potential license rescues were realized. Sentai Filmworks had picked up The Big O and S Cryed note  among many others. Funimation picked up many of the other big-name series like Code Geass, The Vision of Escaflowne, Outlaw Star (and its spiritual successor Angel Links) and Cowboy Bebop, and more.

For the Academy Award-winning, classic 1927 silent film, see Sunrise.

List of studios:

Since 2019, Sunrise has a total of 15 studios.

Responsible for the following original series:

Sunrise also adapted the following into anime versions:

Aside from Batman, Sunrise also worked on the following American cartoons:

  • Centurions [Studio 7]
  • Exosquad (early development, through pitch reel (parts of which can be glimpsed in the season 1 intro); replaced by AKOM for the series)
  • G.I. Joe: The Movie (Key Animation, through Nobuyoshi Sasakado)
  • Inspector Gadget (Ink & Paint for season one)
  • Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors
  • Legend of Sarmoti: Siegfried & Roy, The
  • Street Fighter [Studio 1] (18 episodes)List  (Madhouse did the rest)
  • Transformers: The Movie (Key & In-Between Animation, through Nobuyoshi Sasakado, Yasuyoshi Uwai [Keys], and Tadashi Yahata [In-Betweens])

Other Anime Sunrise has worked on include:

More credits from the company can be found on their ANN page.

Tropes associated with Sunrise:

  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: It's noticeable when whenever they use CG over flat animation, generally speaking — the examples include shows like Code Geass, recent Gundam series and Sgt. Frog...ESPECIALLY Sgt. Frog. This is largely due to trying to make the models look photo-realistic and cartoonish at the same time, with varying degrees of success. Nevertheless, integration has admittedly improved over the years. This ends up being extremely noticeable in Love Live!, where every single dance routine ends up using CG as much as, if not more than the normal art.
  • All-CGI Cartoon: The double feature Coicent and Five Numbers, released by Sentai Filmworks, is this. While the characters look hand-drawn, they're actually computer animated- you can tell by the way they move.
  • Animation Bump: Used oftennote .
  • Ass Kicking Pose: Recurs in Brave Series, the pose is performed by Sword Pointing a BFS diagonally upwards in extreme foreshortening. Also known as the Sunrise Stance much like the Gainax Stance, it has become referenced endlessly even in professional works.
  • Depending on the Artist: It's suspected that a different team (or different uncredited supporting studios) worked on "The Man Who Killed Batman", as it looks nothing like Sunrise's other Batman episodes.
  • Enhanced on DVD: Sunrise also has a reputation of considerably polishing and at times revising many of its shows for DVD/Bluray or subsequent releases. Case in point: Code Geass or the HD Editions of Gundam SEED.
  • Fanservice: Cross Ange was advertised as a fanservice show at first.
  • Humongous Mecha: The Kings of this trope, at least in the Real Robot genre (though Toei Animation was one of the pioneers).
  • Mascot: While not having an official one, one could argue that the RX-78 Gundam, Haro and Keroro might count.
  • Merchandise-Driven: The Entire Gundam Franchise is built around this trope (The sales of the models actually saved it). Some of their other shows also fall into this category.
    • Tiger & Bunny is both an inverted and played-straight example. The show sells incredible amounts of merchandise (It all sold out in X seconds). It's also about corporate-sponsored superheroes - real corporations, mind you - so the show is driven by the merchandise.
  • Off-Model: This occurs from time to time in several of their anime, especially in the original Gundam series and its sequels or spin-offs.
    • Some other notable series in which this happens include Votoms, Dirty Pair, The Brave Series and Cross Ange, where the animation varies between (or in some cases, within) episodes.
    • A similar issue the company has become to be noted for is the fact that some of their characters are often given fatter-than-usual fingers in certain scenes or episodes.
    • Kevin Altieri praised Sunrise's contribution to the Batman episode "The Cat and the Claw, Part One" by saying "They blew so many other simpler things, and this they pulled off!" in reference to a difficult sequencenote . Sums up their reputation for this trope quite well.
      • Also mentioned in the same article, Altieri talks about how they struggled with Poison Ivy in "Eternal Youth"note . It further mentions that one scene in "Pretty Poison"note  had to be re-animated in America.
    • Street Fighter. Their episodes were sent to their Hong Kong studio (credited as Hong Kong Tokyo Sunrise), where they clearly didn't have quality control going on.note 
      • Having to share with Madhouse didn't help matters either, as both companies did their episodes in different styles.note 
  • Production Posse: The company in particular favors Wish, Nakamura Productions and Asahi Production in the majority of their works. With other companiesnote  also being used on a semi-regular basis.
  • Spiritual Successor: The studio was originally established by many of the original staff of Mushi Productions.
  • War Is Hell: An often-repeated theme in Sunrise works, especially their real robot series. The Gundam franchise is the major offender here considering pretty much everything released is one War Arc (depending on continuity, that is), barring a few works. Other franchises, like Code Geass and some of the works of Yoshiyuki Tomino and Ryousuke Takahashi also frequently tend to rely on the concepts of sacrifice, overthrowing corrupt authority and defending ideals and loved ones from the horrors of death, destruction and decay that war brings.

Alternative Title(s): Hajime Yatate