If you consider yourself a mecha fan, then you’ve probably seen a Gundam series or two. Even when there are other mecha series out there like Gurren Lagann or Neon Genesis Evangelion, you’ll often hear people mention they watched a Gundam anime before any of these series due to Gundam’s insane popularity. Gundam’s fame though comes from its studio which has become legendary in the world of anime known as Sunrise. Today, we thought it would be fun to discuss The History of Sunrise by revealing its origins, discussing the growth of the studio, mention its more popular series and discuss what we think is in store for Sunrise’s future. Let’s now enter a history lesson many of you readers will probably want to stay awake for!
The rising of Sunrise
Nearly half a century ago, a company rose up called Sunrise Studio, Limited and ironically didn’t begin as an anime focused studio. The main goal of Sunrise initially was to assist other producers. This didn’t mean Sunrise wasn’t in the anime world at all though as they did help with older series like Cyborg 009. Though it wouldn’t be for another decade almost before Sunrise began creating a series that truly popularized the mecha genre in not only Japan but in America as well. Yes folks, we mean Mobile Suit Gundam which first aired in 1979. This is when Sunrise truly rose up and began to realize their greatest strength in the anime world would be robots and all things mecha.
Mobile Suit Gundam
Mobile Suit Gundam is a series that even if you don’t know much about the world of anime probably know of this series in some way or form. Originally, Sunrise created a studio dubbed Studio 1 which would be the main team behind the first Mobile Suit Gundam series and several other anime across the years such as Inuyasha and various other version of the Gundam franchise like Unicorn and G Gundam. Over the course of Sunrise’s life span, several other studios—all numbered for some reason—would continue to grow from Sunrise and unleash upon the world numerous other titles like Cowboy Bebop, The Vision of Escaflowne and the list goes on. Even with the popularity of the other series we mentioned though, many fans of studio Sunrise would always recognize the Mobile Suit Gundam series as being their best franchise that hasn’t died yet despite most franchises barely lasting a few years if not a year at best.
How does the sun continue to shine
Many of those who know how the inner workings of anime work are quite aware that anime is both expensive to create and even harder to make profitable/lucrative. Despite the love we have of the medium, anime still has a tough time in both the East and West. Sunrise however has been fortunate to make a brand—in this case Gundam—profitable thanks to the huge love of the franchise as well as the various other merchandise Gundam has like Gunpla or video games. Gunpla primarily is a huge market in Japan—America, it’s still a bit more niche—where there are thousands upon thousands of fans who dedicate their hard-earned money to buying these cool model kits and building them to display proudly in their homes. Add to this the fact that many of Sunrise’s biggest anime series have hit the big screen at one point or another—case in point the Code Geass series and Mobile Suit Gundam: Thunderbolt—and it’s not hard to then realize how Sunrise continues to thrive.
The future of this bright shining studio
We aren’t able to predict the future here at Honey’s Anime—though sometimes we wish we could just to know when to avoid a recap episode before it happens—but we can say this, studio Sunrise will be sure to continue far into the future. We already know that there are plans for a live action Gundam film—which sounds incredible honestly—as well as a City Hunter film that should be releasing soon. Sunrise is a studio capable of creating almost all types of anime outside just the typical mecha focused genre. That being said, Sunrise will never fail to create anime series we will love as fans of the medium and we’re pretty sure you readers out there will agree. For now, we will wait by the horizon and stare into the distance hoping the next work from Sunrise begins sooner than later as waiting really hurts us anime viewers. We don’t need instant gratification but having a new work from Sunrise come out soon would make us incredibly happy.
As a bit of a bonus for you readers out there, we here at Honey’s Anime decided to list some of Sunrise’s great series for you and why you should watch them. Below are just a few titles we think truly show off Sunrise’s excellent skills with animation and storytelling but are often not really talked about or overshadowed by their other anime works. These two series of anime will make you fans of Sunrise—if you aren’t already—and will also give you some solid shows to watch if you’ve been longing for some older titles that you might have skimmed over. Now let’s get to some extra content in the form of recommendations you need to check out!
1. Kakumeki Valvrave (Valvrave the Liberator)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Apr, 2013- Jun, 2013
Kakumeki Valvrave focuses on telling a story about a neutral colony in space that is attacked suddenly for reasons unknown. A young man named Haruto Tokishima ends up angered when he believes his friend/crush Shouko Sashinami is killed by the enemies and ends up piloting a strange mech called a Valvrave. Kakumeki Valvrave keeps the traditional style of Sunrise works by making beautiful animation and awesome robot action to keep the series from ever growing stale. With not one but two seasons to enjoy, we think mecha fans will love Kakumeki Valvrave and how it changes up a lot of the traditional elements of mecha anime but without removing what makes mecha so amazing. Plus, it has an amazing opening and closing that we’re sure you won’t skip when you hear it for the first time.
Valvrave: The Liberator-Hanabee Official Trailer (Official Trailer)
2. Tiger and Bunny
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Apr, 2011- Sept, 2011
Tiger and Bunny steps away from the mecha by introducing super heroes…that are wearing mecha-like armor. The series of Tiger and Bunny focuses on heroes and villains going at it together with the heroes earning points based on their actions and popularity. Tiger and Bunny straddles the line between serious and comedic quite often but never falters from being entertaining. Tiger and Bunny also continues to show it doesn’t want to be forgotten in the anime landscape having several seasons and multiple movies to its name. There are even Tiger and Bunny action figures showing that Sunrise knows this series can find success for them. We hope you’ll check out Tiger and Bunny as this is a really underrated show sometimes and can offer a nice break if you don’t want to just watch another mecha focused anime series from Sunrise.
Sunrise might not be a studio that pumps out new series left and right like some other teams do but they create works that cater to fans of all things mecha and robots. Sunrise will mirror the actual name its based off of and continue to appear to us anime fans in some form or another now and into the future. We talked about Sunrise quite enough though and wish to open the floor to you readers out there. What are some of your favorite Sunrise productions and why? Feel free to comment lengthy responses in the comments below as we always love hearing from our wonderful readers out there on the net. If you also loved this article as much as we enjoyed writing it, be sure to keep coming back to our hive for even more like this one curtsey of us here at Honey’s Anime.