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Creator / Toei Animation

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Called Toei Douga before 1998 (and officially known, even in Japanese, as Toei Animation since then), 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 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. Toei Animation itself was one of the first Japanese studios to outsource its own productions to Korean studios, starting in the early 1970s. 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). The animation studio also historically had a long association with TV Asahi, as the network's predecessor, NET (Nihon Educational Television), was originally part-owned by the parent Toei company.

Somewhat less flatteringly, they've picked up a reputation among Western distributors for being difficult to work with. They've been criticized in the past for providing video masters of inferior quality to distributors. Notably the UK and Australian releases of Transformers Victory and Transformers: Super-God Masterforce were missing recap episodes, and ADV's release of Sailor Moon being forced to use sub-standard prints. Additionally, they're partially to blame for the changes 4Kids Entertainment made for their dub of One Piece.

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. Its Korean subsidiary also worked on outside series, such as Honey Honey and Makyou Densetsu Acrobunch. Starting in 2023, the studio has begun incorporation of the Blender Foundation's open-source 3D software into their pipeline. With the assistance of other anime companies like MAPPA, Graphinica and Samurai Pictures, they helped form the Anime Blender Explorers group as a means to bring the software into more productions.

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

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    Noteworthy Staff 
  • Yasuo Otsuka
  • Yasuji Mori: One of the studio's original animators. He left Toei in 1973 to join Zuiyo Enterprise (now Nippon Animation).
  • Daikichirō Kusube: Founded A-Productions (then later Shin-Ei Animation) in 1965 after being forced to leave Toei because his salary was higher than the studio's president.
  • Rintaro
  • Yoichi Kotabe
  • Tsuguyuki Kubo: Joined Topcraft and later Pacific Animation Corporation. Currently working at Studio Pierrot.
  • Isao Takahata
  • Hayao Miyazaki
  • Yoshinori Kanada
  • Kazuo Komatsubara: Indirectly, as Komatsubara was stationed at Oh! Production at the time.
  • Shingo Araki
  • Takashi Abe
  • Yoshinori Kanemori: Currently working for Madhouse.
  • Reiko Okuyama: One of the first successful female animation directors in anime.
  • Satoshi Urushihara: A key animator for The Transformers, left to become a freelancer after working on Transformers: The Movie.

    Studios Founded by Ex-Toei Animation Staff Members 
  • Hetena Pro: Founded in 1964 by Takao Kozai, Fusahiro Nagaki, Kenzo Koizumi, and Hiroshi Wagatsuma as an outsourcing studio for Toei and Mushi. In 1969, the company disbanded and was split into 5 to 6 studios, including Studio Junio (see below) and Oh! Production.
  • 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). Other animators at the time of the split-off left to work for Nippon Animation, and studios like Wind Production and Studio Korumi. Notable staff in A-Pro include Osamu Kobayashi, Yoshifumi Kondo, Daikichirō Kusube (the studio's founder), and Tsutomu Shibayama (who would direct the first season of Ranma ½).
  • Knack Productions: Founded in 1967 by former employees of both Toei and Mushi Production. Knack Productions gained a dubious reputation for producing shows featuring poor animation even for their vintage, and premises that ripped off other, more popular shows. Some of their productions, notably Attacker You! and their version of The Little Prince, received worldwide popularity and acclaim, but these days they're probably best known these days for the infamous Chargeman Ken!. Now known as ICHI Corporation.
  • 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, including Berserk (1997) until its closure in 2011 after Kobayashi's passing.
  • Neo Media: Founded in 1969. Its credits include the 1979 Doraemon TV series and Majokko Tickle.
  • Araki Productions: Founded by Shingo Araki who worked with Toei often during the '60s, '70s and '80s. Best known for their work on Inspector Gadget. They also worked as an outsourcing studio for Toei Animation on shows like Hana no Ko Lunlun and Saint Seiya.
  • Studio Junio: Founded in 1970 by Takao Kozai, 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.
  • Studio Coral Reef/Sangosho: A photography studio founded in the early 70's by Masaaki Sugaya.
  • 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 and some anime of its own, including Adventures of the Little Koala. Ironically the studio was also used by Toei Animation for outsourcing work on shows like Mazinger Z, and also worked on a number of Tatsunoko Production shows. 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 its staff went to work for Pacific Animation Corporation.
  • Dogakobo: Founded in 1973 by Hideo Furusawa and Megumu Ishiguro. It started off as an animation subcontractor, but has since started to work on its 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 under Shingo Araki's unit on a few shows before establishing their company in 1974 as a successful animation subcontractor, with Toei as one of their first clients. The studio is better known for its work on Sunrise efforts such as Cowboy Bebop, the Gundam metaseries, and the Brave Series (among many other titles); as well as their work for Toei on Sailor Moon, Mazinger Z, GoLion, The Transformers and recent titles Tropical Rouge Precure and Digimon Ghost Game.
  • Shirogumi: Founded in 1974, the studio would go on to make a name for itself in the realm of CGI, contributing to titles such as Revisions, Moyashimon, and Shin Godzilla.
  • 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.
  • ACC Production: Founded in 1979 by Nobuyuki Sugaya, the company provides photography work for Toei and other studios. It went bankrupt in 2007 after the failure of Musashi Gundoh.
  • 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. The studio is best known for its work on Rurouni Kenshin (for Studio Gallop/Studio DEEN), Animation Runner Kuromi, and Tokyo Mew Mew New.
  • Hal Film Maker: Founded in 1993, the name was retired in 2009 when they merged with Yumeta Company to become TYO Animations.
  • Dangun Pictures: A subcontract studio established in 1994 by former Toei employees.
  • Funimation: Founded in 1995 by Gen Fukunaga upon moving to the US. Unlike the studios mentioned above, they're mostly a licensee of various anime titles, including several of Toei's. Only very recently, outside of Chuck E. Cheese in the Galaxy 5000, serving as a co-producer for titles including Dimension W, Fire Force, Combatants Will Be Dispatched! and Mars Red.
  • Dandelion Animation Studio: Founded in 2007.

    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. Naotoshi Shida is one of the most top-tier animators you can idolize for his beautifully fluid animation in One Piece episodes, Dragon Ball episodes including Super, Precure series episodes, or other series produced by Toei.
  • Cash-Cow Franchise: IN SPADES, but One Piece, Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball, Transformers, Digimon and Pretty Cure are the most prominent.
  • 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 over a decade until Viz Media worked out a deal. And they are very protective of their work, which resulted in not only fansub work being taken down, but also some abridged series based on their anime.
    • 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. has a entire section on their page detailing these issues link here
  • Production Posse:


Toei Animation

A Toei logo from the mid-to-late 2000s.

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