The Best Anime Studios to Watch in 2022

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The Best Anime Studios to Watch in 2022

Studios with a small army of producers, animators, scriptwriters, composers and directors go into creating the anime we love, giving each series its unique appeal. Some have carved their niche in the anime landscape, so we’ve looked at the best anime studios to watch in 2022.

We’ve included a combination of big-hitting major studios and up-and coming new faces to keep an eye on, so there’s something for everyone!

Note that this list is primarily based on each studio’s anime output. There are significant problems at many Japanese studios around work culture, overwork and other issues. While these should never be overlooked, some situations at certain studios may have been missed.

  1. MAPPA

    Arguably the most well-known anime studio right now is MAPPA. Formed in 2011 by people from the legendary Madhouse (also in this list), the studio is now one of the most recognisable names in the business.

    MAPPA has grown at an incredible rate in a short time and is renowned for some stunning action visuals. It is also one of the most commonly criticised studios when it comes to working practices.

    Notable MAPPA Anime

    1. Attack on Titan: The Final Season
    2. Jujutsu Kaisen
    3. Banana Fish
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  2. Trigger

    While their output in recent years has slowed, studio Trigger will always have a place amongst the major names of Japanese animation.

    Trigger was formed in 2011 by employees from studio Gainax, the creators of Evangelion and Gurren Lagann.

    Trigger is known for taking a slightly retro and childish approach to its own animation style. As a result, their series are often really fluid, with a blend of contemporary and nostalgic themes.

    Notable Trigger Anime

    1. Kill La Kill
    2. Kiznaiver
    3. Cyberpunk: Edgerunners
  3. Bones

    Studio Bones can slip under the radar. However, when it comes to longevity at the top, few can match it.

    The studio was founded in 1998 by people working at Sunrise and collaborated with them on the Cowboy Bebop movie in 2001. It has then gone on to deliver an incredible repertoire, including long-running classics and smaller seasonal favourites.

    Part of Bones’ lack of recognition might be due to it having no distinct style. The studio itself is split into five smaller studios that produce certain series.

    Notable Bones Anime

    1. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (Studio D)
    2. Noragami (Studio A)
    3. My Hero Academia (Studio C)
  4. Science SARU

    Science SARU is arguably one of the most forward-looking animation studios in Japan.

    A relatively new studio, having been founded in 2013, they have consistently collaborated on American projects including episodes of Adventure Time and Star Wars: Visions.

    The studio is most known for its lucid, psychedelic style of animation, led by acclaimed director Masaaki Yuasa.

    Science SARU Has a small but impressive catalogue of anime, combining multiple genres, TV series and movies.

    Notable Science SARU Anime

    1. Devilman Crybaby
    2. Ping Pong the Animation
    3. Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!
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  5. OLM

    Formally known as Oriental Light and Magic, OLM (pronounced oh-el-em) was founded in 1990.

    OLM is rarely considered one of anime’s big hitters, having had much of its success animating kids' TV, including many of the Pokemon series.

    However, OLM has had a recent string of successes, which makes it a studio worth keeping an eye on right now.

    Notable OLM Anime

    1. Berserk (1997)
    2. Komi Can’t Communicate
    3. Odd Taxi
  6. P.A. Works

    Another of anime’s most recognisable names, P.A. Works was founded in 2000 by a veteran of Japan’s animation industry and has a wide portfolio of anime and video game work.

    P.A. Works (short for Progressive Animation Works) had a lot of success producing school drama anime during the 2010s. As a result, their classic style is reminiscent of many contemporary anime tropes, particularly the use of big, expressive eyes.

    Notable P.A. Works Anime

    1. Angel Beats!
    2. Shirobako
    3. The Aquatope on White Sand
  7. Ufotable

    While Ufotable (pronounced yu-fo-table) might not have the presence and production line of some other names on this list, they’re probably one of the most effective studios in Japan.

    Founded in 2000, Ufotable has positioned itself as one of the best studios when it comes to action anime. Many of anime’s great fight scenes have been animated by Ufotable, who are known for their fantastic use of light and flow.

    Notable Ufotable Anime

    1. Demon Slayer
    2. Fate/Stay Night
    3. The Garden of Sinners
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  8. CloverWorks

    CloverWorks is perhaps one of the best examples of the modern business of animation. However, that shouldn’t detract from its very good work.

    The studio was formed in 2018, however, it is not completely independent. CloverWorks is a rebrand of one arm of A-1 Pictures, which is owned by Aniplex, itself part of Sony. While operating separate from A-1 Pictures, it is part of the same umbrella group.

    Regardless, CloverWorks has a fantastic repertoire, having produced some of the biggest anime of recent years. Their best series are notable for their lively use of colour and incredibly detailed animation.

    Notable CloverWorks Anime

    1. Darling in the FranXX
    2. Wonder Egg Priority
    3. My Dress-Up Darling
  9. Madhouse

    Another one of animation’s most recognisable names, thanks in no small part to some absolute classic anime.

    Madhouse was founded in 1972, making them one of the oldest studios on this list. They’ve consistently been at the forefront of anime over the last few decades.

    Madhouse was one of the top studios in the 2000s, having produced some of the best series of the decade. As a result, even their modern titles have something of a retro look and feel reminiscent of the era.

    While their output over recent years is slower than other studios in this list, they appear to have turned their eye to more stylish projects that allow for more creative freedom. As a result, they continue to produce the occasional gem.

    Notable Madhouse Anime

    1. Death Note
    2. No Game, No Life
    3. Sonny Boy
  10. Wit Studio

    Despite the notable loss of Attack on Titan’s final season, Wit Studio remains a leading light in the contemporary anime scene.

    The anime studio was founded in 2012 by former members of Production I.G. and got its big break animating the first season of Attack on Titan less than a year later.

    Since then, it has only been up for Wit Studio. They are now regularly working on some of anime’s biggest titles.

    If there is anything to define Wit Studio’s style, it would be movement. There’s a dreamy, weightless quality to many of their character animations.

    Notable Wit Studio Anime

    1. Attack on Titan
    2. Ranking of Kings
    3. Bubble
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