Anime Underground The 15 Greatest Anime Studios of All Time, Ranked  

Anna Lindwasser
2.7k votes 508 voters 5.9k views 15 items

List Rules Vote up the studios that have made the greatest contributions to the anime canon.

One great way to find new anime is to hone in on the animation studios producing quality content time and again, then check out the other work they've done.

Studios like A-1 Pictures and Sunrise produce a dizzying variety of series while still boasting a signature look. Others – like Wit Studio, which exploded into relevance with its runaway hit Attack on Titan – have a smaller body of work, but the series they've produced put them on the map. 

Some fans may be surprised to learn several of their favorite programs actually come from one animation studio. It's wild to think the same team was responsible for My Hero Academia, Full Metal Alchemist, and Darker than Black

If someone is drawn to a particular anime, chances are they'll be able to find other great shows in the studio's catalog.

1 271 VOTES

Madhouse is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The 15 Greatest Anime Studios of All Time, Ranked
Photo:  One Punch Man/Death Note/Card Captor Sakura

In 1972, a group of highly-skilled animators left Mushi Production (Osamu Tezuka's studio) to found Madhouse. Since then, the studio has been producing hit after hit.

The team recruited world-class directors like Satoshi Kon and worked closely with manga artists like Naoki Urasawa and CLAMP to adapt their work into thoughtful, source-compliant anime. They're responsible for everything from Card Captor Sakura to Death Note.

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#1 on The 30+ Best Animation Companies in the World

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Studio Bones

Studio Bones is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The 15 Greatest Anime Studios of All Time, Ranked
Photo:  My Hero Academia/Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood/Bungou Stray Dogs

Studio Bones has been around since 1998. They're responsible for amazing anime like both iterations of Fullmetal Alchemist, My Hero Academia, Mob Psycho 100, Ouran High School Host Club, and Wolf's Rain. The studio was founded by former members of Studio Sunrise, Masahiko Minami, Hiroshi Ōsaka and Toshihiro Kawamoto.

After Ōsaka tragically died from cancer in 2007, Makoto Watanabe and Takahiro Komori joined the board of directors. Komori's artistic sensibilities even informed some shows' character design. His previous projects includes Angelic Layer, Scrapped Princess, and Darker than Black.

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Studio Ghibli is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The 15 Greatest Anime Studios of All Time, Ranked
Photo:  The Tale Of Princess Kaguya/My Neighbor Totoro/Howl's Moving Castle

If you ask an average person on the street to name an anime studio, you'll probably hear about Studio Ghibli. Headed by the legendary Hayao Miyazaki, this studio has produced some of the most spectacular films ever created—in any medium, not just anime.

These films often combine coming-of-age stories featuring young girls with messages about the natural environment and humanity's role in its care.

The studio's most famous films are My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, and Spirited Away, but they've birthed plenty of other spectacular stories that are well worth watching. 

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#3 on The 30+ Best Animation Companies in the World

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Sunrise is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The 15 Greatest Anime Studios of All Time, Ranked
Photo:  Cowboy Bebop/Code Geass/Gintama

Sunrise is one of the largest and most renowned anime studios in history. Comprised of over 10 separate studios that all work on different projects, Sunrise is responsible for hundreds of anime in countless genres.

When ex-employees of Osamu Tezuka's Mushi Production formed the studio in 1972, the goal was to not prioritize the vision of any particular director (the way that Mushi had with Tezuka). Instead, they envisioned a group effort driven by the leadership of multiple producers.

Eager to distinguish themselves by specializing in a specific genre, Sunrise chose to focus on mecha anime and began developing the Mobile Suit Gundam franchise. Later works like Cowboy Bebop and Code Geass still focus on futuristic machinery, though Sunrise has also developed shows like Yakitake! Japan which focuses on bread-baking rather than robots.

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#6 on The 30+ Best Animation Companies in the World

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