When it comes to discovering great new recommendations for what to add to your watch list, Honey’s Anime frequently publishes content to send you in the right direction. Yet beyond bouncing from one anime to the other based on a common theme, genre, or plot, we believe growing a larger understanding for the hands behind the art will help in creating a more informed and lively anime community.
One pair of hands we wish to highlight are those of Japanese Creative Staff Co. Ltd. a.k.a. J.C. Staff who have been in the industry for just over 30 years. In this article, we will look at the beginnings of J.C. Staff, its staff makeup, and highlight some of the key projects and success that have pushed them to become a staple in the anime industry as we take a brief walk through the company’s history.
Before we dive right into the history of J.C. Staff, let us look at the principles or philosophy that drive them. J.C. Staff, like countless other companies, have maintained their own mission or expectations that help to define the operations of its business and staff. J.C. Staff holds two foundational key points to they’re mission.
The first is to forge a stable business and managerial foundation that can recruit and secure in-house talent to work on their projects. As opposed to simply hiring a large amount of freelance and part-time workers, instead they ensure secure employment for industry professionals which in turn ensures consistent evolution and longevity for the quality of the works they produce.
This ties into the rest of their mission which is to see the continued production of exciting and entertaining works across a variety of genre.
Getting Started (1986-1988)
In 1986, Tomoyuki Miyata, left the great anime production company Tatsunoko Productions to establish his own company in Mitaka City called J.C. Staff, a specialist company in Original Video Animation (OVA). Their first popular production came in 1987 with Sengoku Kitan Youtouden/Yōtōden, a historical fiction set in 1580 Japan. Yōtōden would later be compiled into a film that is known amongst American audiences as Wrath of the Ninja. Both the OVA and the movie were directed by Osamu Yamasaki (Hakuouki Movie 1: Kyoto Ranbu, Mushishi)
In the late 80’s to early 90’s, J.C. Staff was focused on the production of OVA such as Cleopatra DC (1989-1991) and Takegami: Guardian of Darkness (1990-1992). It wasn’t until a few years later that they had their first television productions Metal Fighter Miku (1994) and the incredibly popular Slayers (1995) based on the light novel series by Hajime Kanzake. J.C. Staff did not truly focus on productions for television until 1997 when the volume of their worked began to increase.
When it comes to evaluating the early indicators of J.C. Staff’s potential as a company, Slayers, directed by Takahashi Watanabe, stood out as one of the popular anime amidst the 1990s era. Slayers had multiple seasons, movies, and OVAs which can be argued made it the first big breakthrough for the studio when it came to making works for television.
In 2000, Tomoyuki Miyata retired from his work on the front lines of the creative process and took up the top managing office at J.C. Staff to have more control over the managerial elements that provide the foundation for J.C. Staff operations. In 2002, J.C. Staff would move their offices from the City of Mitaka to the City of Musashino. In 2004, J.C. Staff would expand the breadth of the methods they utilize to create outstanding anime with the launch their 3DCG design department to help in the modeling of characters, objects, and scenery.
Beginning in 2005, most of J.C. Staff’s anime productions would be directed by Takashi Watanabe, Ken'ichi Kasai, and Yoshiaki Iwasaki. During this period, J.C. Staff created numerous high-quality anime. Some of J.C. Staff’s most impressive work from this period include:
- Honey and Clover (2005)
- Nodame Cantabile (2007)
- Zero no Tsukaima (2006)
- A Certain Magical Index (2006)
- Toradora! (2008)
- Bakuman. (2010)
The above anime have all gone on to have at least a second season. Both Toradora and Bakuman brought to J.C. Staff, critical success amongst fans in the anime community ultimately etting themselves up for success in the next decade.
2011 started on a dark note as parts of the J.C. Staff’s office were negatively affected by the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. They were able to recover from the damage caused and continue to carry on the works of some of their most prominent anime by bringing them into the new decade as well as bringing on new titles that further develop the legacy of the studio.
As the digital age progresses and new markets are uncovered to spread anime to a wider audience that were previously unavailable, J.C. Staff has taken full advantage of the opportunity by featuring some of their top anime from the past and new works on popular streaming services. New works from this decade include:
- Is It Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?
- Food Wars! (Shokugeki no Souma)
- Prison School
- Saiki Kusuo no Ψ-nan
- The Pet Girl of Sakurasou
- Golden Time
Most recently, J.C. Staff adapted the manga, Satsuriku no Tenshi, by Makoto Sanada for the Summer 2018 season. They also adapted the manga, Hiigh Score Girl, by Rensuke Oshikiri for the same season.
Yet beyond the regular anime streaming service such as Funimation or Crunchyroll, they have also joined Netflix in 2017 for the distribution of Children of the Whales, an anime directed by Kyohei Ishiguro and adapted from the original manga series written and illustrated by Abi Umeda. Children of the Whales best quality is perhaps its stunning visuals which have been lauded by reviewers and anime fans alike.
According to the official J.C. Staff website. The animation company, on top of creating anime television shows and movies, is also equipped for creating commercials as well as animating video games, and music videos. The most recent example of this can be found in the new music video created by JC Staff to promote the new rhythm arcade game from Sega titled Ongeki.
What’s Next for J.C. Staff?
Looking into the near future for J.C. Staff, a few big projects are coming under the company’s belt. One such piece of news which was uncovered months back is the new involvement of J.C. Staff taking over the One Punch Man series with Director Chikara Sakura at the helm of the upcoming second season. The first season was produced by the talent at Studio Madhouse who do not typically stay with a project into its second season despite the wide acclaim the first season of One Punch Man received.
Other upcoming projects include a new movie addition to the Konosuba anime franchise based on the light novel by Natsume Akatsuki. While the first two seasons were animated by Studio Deen, Takaomi Kanasaki the director of the show as well as other staff on the show will continue to helm the creative process but under J.C. Staff this time around.
J.C. Staff is also set to turn Square Enix's MMORPG: Operation Han-Gyaku-Sei Million Arthur (Han-Gyaku-Sei Million Arthur), into an anime with around 26 episodes.
While there is always room to grow and adapt for any anime company, J.C. Staff has managed to display versatility over the years in a way that keeps there work interesting. Their In-house staff and few freelancers of more than 150 artists, producers, animators, etc. allow J.C. Staff to continue to take on more impressive projects as the standards set for the company and the expectations of anime fans keep growing.
While we only highlighted some of their more popular works, chances are that if you haven’t seen those, you have watched at least one anime from J.C. Staff. If you are looking to find recommendations from the studio, we encourage you to check out our Top 10 J.C. Staff anime list as linked below. Thank you for joining us in learning more about the history behind J.C. Staff. We do our best to give succinct and accurate information, if there was something we missed or if there was an anime we should have mentioned, please let us know in the comments below.