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A-1 Pictures Acquires Studio 3Hz's Production, Planning Business

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Jun 18, 11:35 PM
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In a significant move within the anime industry, Studio 3Hz has announced the transfer of its primary business—animation planning and production—to the major player A-1 Pictures. This transfer will include the current staff members, with A-1 Pictures inheriting the business.

3Hz, operating under the Studio 3Hz brand, has been a primary contractor for animation production since its inception, starting with Sora no Method (Celestial Method) in 2014. The animation studio has produced several hit titles, including Princess Principal, Flip Flappers, and Hataraku Maou-sama!! (The Devil is a Part-Timer! Season 2).

Studio 3Hz is currently working on the sequel to their 2018 hit Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online titled Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online II, set to premiere in October 2024. The production for this sequel will continue under the same staff but now under A-1 Pictures' name.

In recent years, there has been an increase in acquisitions of mid-sized and smaller studios by major entertainment and animation companies. Bandai Namco Filmworks established 8bit as a subsidiary in March, and TOHO announced the complete acquisition of Science SARU in May.

These trends can be attributed to rising animation production costs, difficulties in securing talent, and the increase in primary production companies, which contribute to the growing challenges for small to mid-sized studios. With larger production budgets, joining a major company's umbrella offers stability in management. Although this case involves a business transfer, it aligns with the trend of maintaining stable animation production.

A-1 Pictures, established in 2005 as a key studio subsidiary of entertainment giant Aniplex, has produced numerous hits, including Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai (Kaguya-sama: Love is War), Kuroshitsuji (Black Butler), and The iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls. Today, it is regarded as one of the industry's leading studios.

Aniplex owns several animation studios besides A-1 Pictures, including CloverWorks and Boundary. Aniplex is also involved in the planning and production of the Sword Art Online anime series. This connection has fostered a close relationship with Studio 3Hz, the producer of Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online.

Source: Animation Business Journal
VindstotJun 18, 11:57 PM

Jun 19, 12:04 AM
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aniplex just wants to make more anime hence they bought studio 3hz too
Jun 19, 12:32 AM
#3

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Is there some kind of trend towards merging production?
Jun 19, 1:58 AM
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even though they weren't necessarly the best,3hz as been trying to make some pretty creative anime original. I hope this will not disappear and that they will keep making some under A-1.
Jun 19, 4:20 AM
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Reply to justanormi
even though they weren't necessarly the best,3hz as been trying to make some pretty creative anime original. I hope this will not disappear and that they will keep making some under A-1.
@justanormi I liked Princess Principal, GGO and that ninja fox movie. And while I wasn't an ardent supporter of their decision to specialize in all-female action, then they seemed to lose their identity and I didn't even realize that they were making the new seasons of Mao or Actors.
Jun 19, 5:01 AM
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Damn, if only it happend two or three years ago before Hataraku Maou Sama sequel came out...

Jun 19, 10:36 AM
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Will this end up affecting the Princess Principal movies? I sure hope not, I prefer the way 3HZ does movies tbh.
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Jun 19, 11:26 AM
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Reply to RobertBobert
Is there some kind of trend towards merging production?
@RobertBobert the news literally answer your question
Jun 19, 11:36 AM
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Reply to SukiAni27
@RobertBobert the news literally answer your question
@SukiAni27 No, because this news was the reason for my question in the first place.

@Tropisch I could be wrong, but the films were either assigned to another studio, or to another partially different staff from the very beginning.
Jun 19, 1:01 PM
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Reply to Tropisch
Will this end up affecting the Princess Principal movies? I sure hope not, I prefer the way 3HZ does movies tbh.
@Tropisch 3Hz only worked on the TV series, Actas is the studio working on the movies so I don't think anything will change with that anime.
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Jun 19, 2:32 PM

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Reply to RobertBobert
Is there some kind of trend towards merging production?
@RobertBobert Yes
Jun 19, 9:42 PM

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Reply to kanarazukarasu
@kanarazukarasu So, in the anime industry there is now something like a Hollywood unification around major studios/publishers?
Jun 19, 10:46 PM

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Can't say this trend is anything good to be honest. Smaller studios getting gobbled up by larger ones will eventually lead to a situation where a relatively few studios effectively have a stranglehold on the entire industry.
Jun 19, 10:53 PM

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Reply to TitanInsane
Can't say this trend is anything good to be honest. Smaller studios getting gobbled up by larger ones will eventually lead to a situation where a relatively few studios effectively have a stranglehold on the entire industry.
@TitanInsane it could get worse, Disney could just step in and buy the big companies, then anime would genuinely be screwed.





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Jun 20, 2:39 AM

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@TitanInsane it could get worse, Disney could just step in and buy the big companies, then anime would genuinely be screwed.
@VivavideoUser2x I'm pretty sure we'd never get to the point of a monopoly. Disney being an American company means that there would be a lot of resistance towards any plans for anime industry domination.
Jun 20, 2:51 AM

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Reply to TitanInsane
@VivavideoUser2x I'm pretty sure we'd never get to the point of a monopoly. Disney being an American company means that there would be a lot of resistance towards any plans for anime industry domination.
@TitanInsane True (though that doesn't absolve us from the risk of getting Japanese own Disney equivalent, which doesn't look impossible), but the dominance of large companies and the availability of anime creation only to those who have great opportunities will clearly not end well and will essentially lead to a situation similar to Hollywood or the modern gaming industry, when a number of majors completely controls the industry, completely dependent on the “most profitable trends” and avoid any risks or creative experiments for fear of losing huge investments. We already face this more and more every year, when 1-2 successful shows in a certain genre leads to an immediate overload of trying to repeat it instead off trying to create new trends.
RobertBobertJun 20, 2:55 AM
Jun 20, 5:35 PM

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Reply to RobertBobert
@TitanInsane True (though that doesn't absolve us from the risk of getting Japanese own Disney equivalent, which doesn't look impossible), but the dominance of large companies and the availability of anime creation only to those who have great opportunities will clearly not end well and will essentially lead to a situation similar to Hollywood or the modern gaming industry, when a number of majors completely controls the industry, completely dependent on the “most profitable trends” and avoid any risks or creative experiments for fear of losing huge investments. We already face this more and more every year, when 1-2 successful shows in a certain genre leads to an immediate overload of trying to repeat it instead off trying to create new trends.
@RobertBobert Honestly, I don't really see that happening. Not that I can't, but even looking at recent developments. Kadokawa seems to be testing waters with Redo of Healer, and now a Nukitashi adaptation. Aniplex invested in VNs (pretty heavily imo too) with development of Atri and Adabana Itan. Atri now getting an anime.

Yeah anime-originals went off a cliff, but considering the costs and risks, it just makes more sense to adapt a top selling light novel or manga, than to come up with something new.

And 'source material publishers' have really been 'a few major' players since forever so, I don't think creativity will be stifled from the top-down even if it happened.
Jun 20, 10:33 PM

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Reply to Inorichi
@RobertBobert Honestly, I don't really see that happening. Not that I can't, but even looking at recent developments. Kadokawa seems to be testing waters with Redo of Healer, and now a Nukitashi adaptation. Aniplex invested in VNs (pretty heavily imo too) with development of Atri and Adabana Itan. Atri now getting an anime.

Yeah anime-originals went off a cliff, but considering the costs and risks, it just makes more sense to adapt a top selling light novel or manga, than to come up with something new.

And 'source material publishers' have really been 'a few major' players since forever so, I don't think creativity will be stifled from the top-down even if it happened.
@Inorichi I don't know, big producers trying to convince the Japanese that self-censorship for the sake of the international market is a "smart move", scares me.
Jun 21, 6:01 PM
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Binged all of their shows back-to-back during the pandemic, and I've been intending to get to everything that they released since at some point
Guess I'll have to end that next marathon with The Marginal Service (or Part-Timer S2 if I've seen the first season by then), since I ain't got time to watch every A-1 anime, lol


IMO, 3Hz have been a pretty mixed-bag. PriPri would be my favorite spy anime if R.O.D didn't exist, and FLIP FLAPPERS was my favorite magical-girl anime until I watched Raising Project earlier this year. PriPri is one of the few anime I've rewatched, and I had almost as much fun with it the second time around (granted, IDK how much involvement 3Hz had with PriPri to begin with, considering it was made in collaboration with Actas, who have been solely responsible for the movies, from what I can tell)

Oh the flipside, BLACKFOX is probably the single most "mid" anime I have ever seen, and Chidori RSC was the kinda anime that I would've dropped if not for watching it as part of a marathon of a studio's entire output, LMAO

With the exception of Chidori and the chibi Dimension W shorts, I found their animation was always top-notch no matter what the project was, for what that's worth
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Jun 21, 10:29 PM

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Reply to RobertBobert
@Inorichi I don't know, big producers trying to convince the Japanese that self-censorship for the sake of the international market is a "smart move", scares me.
@RobertBobert Ah, yeah I could see that happening. Especially with what happened to pixiv...

Honestly, I don't even think mergers are necessary for that given how streaming rights have changed things up.

Welp, all I can say is, hopefully not. lol
Jun 21, 11:09 PM

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Reply to Inorichi
@RobertBobert Ah, yeah I could see that happening. Especially with what happened to pixiv...

Honestly, I don't even think mergers are necessary for that given how streaming rights have changed things up.

Welp, all I can say is, hopefully not. lol
@Inorichi This is why there is now a trend of saying that "if you are not forced, it is not censorship" among Western anime fans, because otherwise you will have a very hard time justifying it.
Jun 23, 7:07 PM
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This is it guys! Toho previously bought out Science SARU last month, now A-1 buying 3Hz... The merger boom in gaming industries years prior, that pretty much "destroys" AAA gaming (i.e. EA buying and then only to closing everyone!!!), is now reaching anime industries as well. I really hope this won't end up with the IPs from the merged studios being cut off, like they did with AAA gaming industries.
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