Who doesn’t know a JUMP’s big gun? One Piece, Dragon Ball and Yu-Gi-Oh!, are only a small part which includes in the long history of Toei Animation. They are the oldest studio in Japan. Who are they? What anime did they produce so far? Are there any controversies surrounding them? Let’s check it out!
Who is Toei Animation?
Toei Animation is a Japanese studio primarily controlled by a company with the same name Toei Company. The studio was founded by animators Kenzo Masaoka and Zenjiro Yamamoto in 1948. This studio was named Japan Animated Films when first founded. Then, in 1956, Toei purchased this studio and renamed it Toei Doga Co., Ltd. (Doga means Animation in Japan). Further, in 1998, the studio was renamed again to Toei Animation as we know it today.
Although they have many studios, they are headquartered in Ohizumi Studio in Nerima Tokyo.
As the oldest studio in Japan, this company has many subsidiaries. They have studio companies in five different counties. They are from the USA, France, the Philippines, Hong Kong, and China. Each of them works with the Japanese HQ as the head. As of March 2020, they already have a whopping 1266 total employees working on them. As we know, at that time we got a pandemic spreading throughout the world. So, we don’t; know the exact number of employees in 2022. They also have an operating capital of up to 29.911 million US dollars in March 2014. Now we know they do just fine seeing the amount of money they have.
What Anime did they create?
As a 90’s kid, what anime came into your mind, the one who possibly created them was Toei Animation. Even though they were founded in 1948, the first TV series debuted on 11 November 1963 with the title Ookami Shonen Ken. In the span of 7 years (1963-1970), they already had created 16 animated TV series. This is a reasonable number considering MAPPA who already had created 25 TV series since they were founded. According to MAL, the total Toei Animation anime that has aired comes to 867 including TV series, ONA, OVA, Movie, and others.
Seeing that number, maybe you are thinking that they will animate as many sources as possible. But you’re wrong. They mostly animated a series from mangas. Let’s look at the big guy first. GeGeGe no Kitaro which aired in 1968 was adapted from the manga of the same name by Shigeru Mizuki, Dr. Slump, the manga from Akira Toriyama who later created another big series Dragon Ball, the last is our favorite pirate journey One Piece who recently got a movie One Piece Red. They are already a king for making long-ass episodes of anime. Take for Yu-Gi-Oh!, Saint Seiya, Butt Detective, and the current one of the longest anime series which exceeds 1000+ episodes, One Piece.
This studio also helped propel the popularity of the Magical Girl and Super Robot genres of anime in the early days. They created Mazinger Z, Cyborg 009, Getter Robo, and so on. Maybe they are pale in comparison with Sunrise’s Gundam series. But there is no doubt that they started the fire of the mecha world in anime. For Magical girl? Let’s not talk about this. They created two magical girls’ anime that you won’t doubt that it is the reason they are the father of Magical Girl. The first one is the anime about a group of girls who have planets as their name. Yup, it’s Sailor Moon. The second one is less impactful but you will hear it regardless, the Pretty Cure series, or Precure for short. Maybe they have ended milking the Sailor Moon franchise, but they just don’t stop creating a new series of Precure. By 2022, they already aired the newest procure series, Delicious Party Pretty Cure.
Are there controversies going around them?
Luckily for them, they only have a little problems surrounding them. Maybe it is because they have a great job doing their work or they are good at shutting the lip of their employees. Let’s hope for the former. But being as big as this, they of course have one or two controversies leaked to the public. The most frequent thing they do is just about fair use disputes. Between 2008 and 2018, Toei Animation claimed the copyright of Dragon Ball Z Abridged by TeamFourStar. The latest news about the fair use dispute occurred on 7 December 2021. Toei Animation claimed the copyright of 150 worth of videos by the YouTuber Mark Fitzpatrick. The issues got huge that PewDiePie and The Anime Man spoke out on the issue as well. At the end of the day, Fitzpatrick successfully reinstated his videos after negotiations with YouTube.
Not only the copyright claim, the case of employee treatment that is not that rare in Japanese studios was shared last year. On 20 January 2021, two employees accused Toei Animation of overworking their employees and discriminating against sexual minorities. The company inappropriately referred to employees who identify as X-gender (a non-binary identity in Japan).