[Editorial Tuesday] The History of A-1 Pictures

With so much great anime getting produced each season, it can be a bit overwhelming to know which ones deserve your time. We here at Honey’s Anime try our best each day to help you sift through the multitudes to find shows that you might love! It does become a little easier to look for potential favorites when you know which animation studios produce consistently great work. Though there are many big names out there, today we’re going to talk about one of our personal favorites – A-1 Pictures.

A-1 Pictures is a hardworking studio that only got its start about 12 years ago, but has really made a huge impact in the anime community during that time. The company strives to make excellent anime that a lot of different people can enjoy, and perhaps that is why they have been able to touch so many people’s lives in such a short amount of time! We would like to put a spotlight on A-1 Pictures for those who may not know much about this studio, telling you how they got started, the specific styles of animation that they embrace and the anime that have made them so well-loved. What brought this studio to the point they are at today? How does this studio stand out from so many others? Keep reading to find out!

The Origin Story

When compared to other animation studios, it seems as if A-1 Pictures should be relatively new to the scene. In fact, this studio first appeared in 2005, as a subsidiary of Aniplex. Their main purpose at first, was to oversee the production of a few of Aniplex’s series. However, they soon began to create their own name the following year, when the studio helped co-produce their first original project, Zenmai Zamurai.

Not long after that, A-1 Pictures started to become established as their own studio, although they were still under Aniplex’s ownership. The first original series that the studio fully produced on their own was Ookiku Furikabutte, a comedy anime about a boy who is struggling to redeem himself on the baseball field. If you’re ever in Tokyo, be sure to stop by one of the two buildings that A-1 Pictures works out of now – the company has one in Asagaya and one in Koenji!

Ever since Ookiku Furikabutte, A-1 Pictures has been bringing us a wide variety of beautiful anime, and has become a popular animation studio around the world for their various works. They have covered almost every genre in anime that is possible, and delved into the works of many different mangaka, even producing a few original works from time to time. Since their anime has been so varied and popular, everyone is sure to have seen something that A-1 Pictures has produced!

The Trends in Animation

Before we talk more about the many anime that put A-1 Pictures in such a prestigious place, let us first discuss more about the style of animation that this studio is reputable for. Each anime varies in how it is drawn and how the motion is captured, as most of them are based off of how the characters/scenes are drawn in their respective manga. However, if you watch enough anime produced by A-1 Pictures, you will begin to notice a pattern – a favored style, if you will, that intersects with many different shows. This can be noticed especially in the original works that this studio has brought about, such as Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai (commonly known as Anohana) and Aldnoah.Zero. Although these two examples are vastly different in genre and content, the characters are presented in similar styles, drawn with lighter lines and colors. A-1 Pictures seems to favor this style above all else, bringing a little bit of light lines and coloring to each anime that they produce. This attention to detail is given to every aspect of the works they endorse.

A-1 Pictures is a studio that cares about the quality of its work, and that is seen in every aspect of the anime, including the backgrounds! Even the simplest of scenes can stand out to an audience if it is visually detailed enough. Just based on the two original shows we have mentioned above, you can see the effort that this studio puts into making sure that every scene has a gorgeously detailed background. Whether it is on a battlefield or in the lull of a summer creek, A-1 Pictures shows its dedication to the anime it produces by giving such attention to simple things.

When you watch the fight scenes during A-1 Pictures’ anime, that level of highly detailed quality comes into play once again. Each scene is meticulously put together to create the most fluid motion possible. And witnessing the epic battle scenes is simply one of the easiest places to appreciate the comprehensive animation in most anime – the studio works in their attention to detail regarding animation to every work, even in slice of life shows. Despite the lack of time they have been around, this studio shows time and again that they have the attention to detail which can produce brilliantly beautiful anime!

High Quality Is Recognized – Over and Over Again

Although we have already talked about a few anime that A-1 Pictures has produced in their time, we haven’t touched on hardly any of the works which brought them into the spotlight of the anime community. Just like with most popular animation studios, A-1 Pictures has a few anime that brought them to international fame. However, there is a difference in the case of A-1 Pictures – their list of popular anime is rather long! As we’ve noted earlier in this article, A-1 Pictures has embraced a wide variety of genres and given their intense attention to detail to each show. Combine this unbiased passion with an already-great story from a popular manga, and the studio was sure to be successful with a number of their works!

Arguably, this studio’s most popular anime has been Sword Art Online, the tale of a young man named Kirito who gets trapped in a video game. Although this show has a number of flaws and has become somewhat controversial among the anime community, the original anime was extremely well-done, captivating many people as Kirito struggled to defeat the most dangerous video game. A-1 Pictures has been working on new content for the series ever since, with a second season and a movie already released, and one more season on its way.

Another popular anime brought about by A-1 Pictures is Ao no Exorcist, which is about Rin, the son of Satan, and his friends trying to become exorcists, and fighting the demons that are threatening the rest of humanity. Despite the series having some rather typical tropes of fantasy-shounen anime, it has become increasingly popular as audiences everywhere continue to identify with the struggles that Rin and his friends face. Although many of the characters are rather stereotypical, as is the problem with many shounen series, Ao no Exorcist still manages to come away as an enjoyable anime. And much of the reason for its popularity stems from the work that A-1 Pictures has done in putting attention to detail, especially in the fight scenes (of which there are many).

Of course, these two shows are not even the half of what A-1 Pictures has to offer! This studio has also produced popular anime like Fairy Tail, Kuroshitsuji, Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic, Eromanga-sensei, Nanatsu no Taizai, Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso, Boku dake ga Inai Machi, Demi-chan wa Kataritai, Fate/Apocrypha, Granblue Fantasy The Animation and Blend S! That’s not even including a number of other anime, movie productions and even some video games that A-1 Pictures has worked on (anyone else intrigued by Layton’s Mystery Journey?). They have even done a collaboration with DJ Porter Robinson recently, to create a beautiful short story called Shelter, combining animation and music video into one. With all the various anime that this studio has in its repertoire, it’s no wonder that A-1 Pictures has become such a well-known studio!

Current Shows To Watch Out For

If you’re caught up on most of A-1 Pictures’ works, we have some good news for you – they are always releasing more! During the winter 2018 season alone, this studio is producing four separate anime, to meet the needs of their vast fan base. Grancrest Senki is an action/fantasy anime about the adventure of a young lord named Theo and a rambunctious mage named Shiruuka, as they set out to change the tides of chaos that sweep over their continent. Slow Start is a slice of life/comedy series about Hana Ichinose, a girl who enrolled in high school a year late, and so has to work to catch up with her fellow classmates. Darling in the FranXX is a sci-fi/mecha anime in a world where children are raised to fight in robots called Franxx, against the mysterious creatures known as Kyouryuu.

In addition, the studio is also producing the second season of Nanatsu no Taizai, which delves more into Meliodas’ past as the Seven Deadly Sins struggle to face a much darker enemy. A-1 Pictures is also currently working on the production of Persona 5 The Animation, which is reported to come out later this year. With so much anime to be produced, it is honestly amazing that the studio has time to be as detailed as they are with each series! Yet they always strive to make their anime the best, and to reach people who are interested in all different genres.


Final Thoughts

It is wonderful that there are studios like A-1 Pictures out there, desiring to reach as many people as possible with high-quality anime! Nobody can deny that the studio has made a great deal of beautiful anime, and though many of their works have been successful due to the manga beforehand, the work that this studio has put into their products makes their series just that much greater. And perhaps these different anime have had a hand in helping people appreciate anime, bringing them into the community. That is all thanks to this relatively new studio and their efforts! Though A-1 Pictures started out as a subsidiary of Aniplex, the studio has certainly earned their place among the great animation studios in the world. We can’t wait to see what beautiful anime they bring us next!

When you watch an anime produced by A-1 Pictures, you know that you’re watching a high-quality product made with love and hard work. Which anime by A-1 Pictures is your favorite? Let us know in the comments section below! And stay tuned to Honey’s Anime for more looks into the wonderful animation studios that bring us the series we love!

Meghan May Dellinger

Writer

Author: Meghan May Dellinger

Konnichiwa! I'm a writer/daydreamer who gets a little lost along the path of life from time to time. I love watching anime and playing all kinds of video games - everything from RPGs to first-person shooters. I hope to be an author someday, but until then, I'll share my words with the world any way I can! I love making new friends, so don't be afraid to leave a comment!

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