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The Studio Files: BONES

There are only a few studios whose name goes above the title, but BONES is definitely one of them. They're one of the powerhouses of the industry, and for good reason.

by GuardianEnzo
Sep 25, 2015 3:53 AM | 30,727 views

Eureka Seven AOThe list of studios that can "open" a series the way a few actors can open a movie is a short one indeed. But for many anime fans all over the world, just seeing Bones' name attached to a series is enough to get them to give it a watch - and there aren't many studios that can make that claim. On any list of the most influential and quality-driven studios in the industry, Bones' name is going to be prominently displayed.

RahXephonHistory: Bones arose in the late 1990's as an offshoot of Sunrise, another legendary studio still thriving to this day. Like Sunrise, Bones' name quickly became synonymous with science-fiction - especially mecha - and to a certain extent that's still the case. But both Sunrise and Bones have branched out, Bones, even more adventurously (and I would argue successfully). There's nary a genre into which Bones' hasn't ventured, including this season's excellent shoujo Akagami no Shirayukihime - the studio's first true shoujo since 2006's Ouran High School Host Club. Bones has also been a pioneer in marketing their series internationally, even broadcasting Space Dandy in English on U.S. television before airing it Japan.

Eureka SevenWhat Defines Bones: That's not an easy thing to pin down for a studio as versatile and creative as this one. What defines Bones more than any theme or genre is quality - their series invariably offer some of the best production values in anime. They work with top-flight directors, writers and animators and usually overperform in terms of music as well.

That said, there is a "vibe" one can get from many Bones shows, especially their mecha/sci-fi efforts. The studio's breakthrough series was their third, RahXephon, often seen as Bones' response to Gainax' Neon Genesis Evangelion. Evangelion may be the most influential anime of all-time, even now, and just after the turn of the century many studios were trying to capture something of its magic. But RahXephon is a more idealistic, innocent series than Eva - and indeed, that sense of innocence is a recurring theme in many Bones sci-fi efforts over the years. It contrasts with Sunrise mecha and sci-fi series, which (driven by the franchise it's synonymous with, Gundam) tend to be more cerebral and aloof (though that's started to change in recent years).

Fullmertal Alchemist BrotherhoodSignature Series: Where does one even begin with a catalogue as rich and varies as this one? Some might be tempted to say Cowboy Bebop but of course the TV show was produced by Sunrise - it was only the movie that Bones produced (in partnership with their parent studio).

For me, the series that most defines Bones is Eureka Seven - and I include the criminally under-appreciated sequel Astral Ocean in that. E7 may not be Bones' finest show, but it's the most true to their aesthetic. A flawed masterpiece, E7 for me captures the limitless possibility, youthful frustration and exuberance, and offbeat humor of anime as a medium and Bones as a studio better than any other show. As much as I adore series like Space Dandy, Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood and Zetsuen no Tempest, Eureka Seven and AO are the shows I think of first when I think of Bones.

Notable Works:
Escaflowne (2000)

Cowboy Bebop: The Movie (2001)
Cowboy Bebop Movie

Rahxephon (2002)

Wolf's Rain (2003)
Wolf's Rain

Psalms of Planets Eureka Seven (2005)
Eureka Seven

Ouran High School Host Club (2006)
Ouran High School Host Club

Darker Than Black (2007)
Darker Than Black

Sword of the Stranger (2007)
Sword of the Stranger

Xam'd: Lost Memories (2008)
Xam'd: Lost Memories

Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood (2009)
Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood

UN-GO (2011)

Eureka Seven: Astral Ocean (2012)
Eureka Seven: Astral Ocean

Zetsuen no Tempest (2012)
Zetsuen no Tempest

Space Dandy (2014)
Space Dandy

Kekkai Sensen (2015)
Kekkai Sensen

Akagami no Shirayukihime (2015)
Akagami no Shirayukihime

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