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Creator / Toei Animation

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Called Toei Douga before 1998, Toei Animation is an anime company affiliated with the Toei Companynote  and one of the oldest (it can trace its roots back to 1948) and largest animation companies. Toei is responsible for producing a large number of popular and Essential Anime, including Mazinger Z, Devilman, Fist of the North Star, Dragon Ball, Sailor Moon, Digimon, Pretty Cure and One Piece. In other words, it was responsible for defining the Humongous Mecha, Space Opera, Battle Shonen, and Magical Girl genres as we know them today, codifying many reoccuring tropes from often disparate source materials.


When the studio started in 1956, the studio did mostly Disney-like art films, but based around native Japanese artwork and some stuff for Rankin/Bass. Some people like Isao Takahata (the director of Grave of the Fireflies), Yoichi Kotabe (mostly known for doing most of Nintendo's 2D artwork), Yasuo Otsuka and Hayao Miyazaki (Co-Founder of Studio Ghibli) worked at Toei at this time. However due to the staff members wanting more money and how the studio was going, many staff members left for other studios like TMS Entertainment (Namely A-Productions then later Telecom), Nippon Animation, and Topcraft (then later Studio Ghibli).

They've also done a bit of work on American cartoons, but those are few and far between after the 1980s ended. They, along with TMS Entertainment, Sunrise and Sony also had a hand behind Anime channel Animax, as well as the website Daisuki (the second venture also in partnership with Nihon Ad Systems, Dentsu, Asatsu-DK).


Toei Animation also has a subsidiary studio, Toei Animation Philippines (or TAP for short), which has worked on most of Toei's shows and non-Toei series as well.

See also: Sei Young and Dai Won, two Korean studios that worked with Toei between the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s.

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    Studios Founded by Ex-Toei Animation Staff Members 

  • A-Productions: Founded in 1965, the company served as TMS's animation unit. In 1976, A-Pro split off from TMS and got 98% of their stocks; 90% was sold to TV Asahi, 8% of it became Shin-Ei Animation. The remaining 2% that TMS did not give out went into their Telecom unit (founded in 1975). Notable staff in A-Pro include Osamu Kobayashi, Yoshifumi Kondo, Daikichirō Kusube, and Tsutomu Shibayama.

  • Knack: Founded in 1967 by former employees of both Toei and Mushi Production. Knack gained a dubious reputation for producing shows featuring poor animation and premises that ripped off other, more popular shows. Probably best known for Chargeman Ken!

  • Kobayashi Production: A background studio founded in 1968 by artist Shichirō Kobayashi who began his career at Toei. The studio has worked on many productions until its closure in 2011 after Kobayashi's passing.

  • Neo Media: Founded in 1969.

  • Studio Junio: Founded in 1970, the company has worked on shows mainly for Toei and TMS among other studios, as well as eight episodes of Batman: The Animated Series. They have since become FAI International.

    • Synergy SP: Originally known as Synergy Japan, it was founded in 1998 as a spin-off from Studio Junio, itself founded by ex-Toei staff. They are best known for their work on the first season of Hayate the Combat Butler.

  • Topcraft: Founded in 1972 by animator Toru Hara at a time when it was thought that Toei was jumping the shark, the studio did much of Rankin/Bass's non-stop-motion work, as well as Hayao Miyazaki's Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. In 1984, Miyazaki took 70% of its staff (alongside Toru Hara) and co-founded Studio Ghibli after Nausicaä was released. Another 10%, including Hideaki Anno, left shortly after to form Studio Gainax. Topcraft closed down in 1985 and the remaining 20% of their staff went to work for Pacific Animation Corporation.

  • Dogakobo: Founded in 1973 by Hideo Furusawa and Megumu Ishigoro. It is primarily an animation subcontractor, but has since started to work on their own projects, especially in the Schoolgirl Series genre following the success of YuruYuri.

  • Nakamura Productions: Indirectly, while officially considered a spin-off of Mushi Productions, itself a spin off of Toei through Osamu Tezuka. Its founders, Kazuo and Akira Nakamura, would work with the studio (under animator Shingo Araki) on a few shows before establishing their company in 1974 as a moderately successful animation subcontractor with Toei as one of their first clients.

  • Takahashi Production (aka T2 Studio): Founded in 1977 by Hirokata Takahashi, the studio would start off working with TMS, but eventually would contribute to some modern Toei titles.

  • Studio Zaendou: Founded in 1982 by Yoshio Mukainakano. The studio closed down in 2016 (as announced on their website) and all its staff went on to form MK-ZA.

  • Yumeta Company: Founded in 1986 before retiring the name in 2009 to become TYO Animations. The name was revived in 2017 under the studio's current owner Graphinica.

  • Hal Film Maker: Founded in 1993, the name was retired in 2009 when they merged with Yumeta Company to become TYO Animations.

  • Funimation: Founded in 1995 by Gen Fukunaga upon moving to the US. Unlike the studios mentioned above, they're mostly a licenser of various anime titles, including several of Toei's. Only very recently serving as a co-producer for the adaptations of Dimension W and Fire Force.

    Major Anime Productions 

    Western Animation work 

    Outsourced works (Non-American) 
Main Studio

Toei Animation Philippines (TAP, non-Toei credits only)

More credits from the Filipino studio can be found on Anime News Network.

Toei Animation and their works provide examples of:

  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Toei has pretty much perfected this trope when it comes to works adapted from popular manga. To list a few examples, Bulma has her purple hair recolored teal, the brunette Kaiba cracks open a can of green dye, and in one rather extreme example (even by Toei's standards), the blonde, light-skinned Raoh & Kaioh suddenly become Ambiguously Brown. If one also includes western projects, Blue Rumble and Red Frenzy are a particularly notorious example. What makes this particularly interesting is that nobody knows why they keep doing it; they've never given any official statements on the matter, and there doesn't seem to be any practical benefit to it.
  • All-CGI Cartoon: A couple, Two of them handled in China (One by Imagi Animation Studios and one in Taiwan by Wang Film Productions (through CGCG)).
  • Animation Bump: Happens in any (if not all) of their movies.
  • Cash Cow Franchise: IN SPADES, but One Piece, Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball, Transformers, Digimon and Pretty Cure are the most prominent.
  • Creator Backlash: Many of their American buyers have not got along with Toei, mostly due to things such as preventing necessary edits to Digimon Tamers, or being forced to dub shows they don't want due to Blatant Lies (like 4Kids' dub of One Piece). The only western distributor that gets along with them is FUNimation due to their shared origins.
  • Doing It for the Art: The films Toei did during 1958 to 1972.
  • Filler:
    • Very often, especially in Dragon Ball. Interestingly, Dragon Ball Z receives more flack for being heavy on filler, even though its methods of keeping pace with the manga were reliant on padding and inaction sequences with comparatively few filler episodes/arcs.
    • One unique example of this in Toei's work was with Fist of the North Star. Because the source material covers nearly twice as much content per chapter as Dragon Ball and because the anime adaptation started fairly later into the former manga's run, the anime features very little filler compared to some of Toei's other works; however, this was also because season one was roughly 80% filler, to the point where the manga's writer had to step in when things got out of hand. After that, the anime's filler is noticeably few and far-between.
  • Limited Animation: Fairly common, due to producing long running series (and relatively shorter series during those long runners). The majority of their American projects have this, too.
  • Long-Runners: Most of the series mentioned either had several incarnations or were continuously going on.
  • Mascot: Pero, the titular character of the company's adaptation of Puss in Boots, serves as their official mascot.
  • No Export for You: In recent years, Toei Animation has been quite reluctant to license its work for foreign translation or re-release, with Sailor Moon having being hit particularly hard by this for quite a while.
    • A similar situation occurred with the Transformers: Scramble City OVA. With companies either having to find ways to circumvent it (Sony using a commentary track for their release, while Madman Entertainment just used a low quality version to bypass the licensing process) or being flat out denied the chance to use it in the case of Shout! Factory. It's also the reason why Transformers Zone has never been officially released in the US.
  • Off-Model: A frequent victim of this trope due to the fact that they end up producing incredibly long running series, mostly at the same time as one another, rotating each around various animation teams of wildly varying quality, with some episodes outsourced to completely different studios altogether.


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