Sunrise Inc. (株式会社サンライズ Kabushiki gaisha Sanraizu) is a Japanese animation studio and production company which is a subsidiary of Bandai Namco Holdings. Its former name was Nippon Sunrise and, before that, Sunrise Studios. Its headquarters is in Suginami, Tokyo.
One of Japan’s largest and best-known studios, Sunrise is renowned for critically praised and popular original anime series such as Gundam, Cowboy Bebop, Space Runaway Ideon, Armored Trooper Votoms, Yoroiden Samurai Troopers, Future GPX Cyber Formula, Crush Gear Turbo, The Vision of Escaflowne, Love Live School Idol Project, Witch Hunter Robin, My-HiME, My-Otome, Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion, Tiger & Bunny, Cross Ange: Rondo of Angel and Dragon, as well as its numerous adaptations of acclaimed light novels including Dirty Pair, Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere and Accel World, and manga such as City Hunter, InuYasha, Outlaw Star, Yakitate!! Japan, Planetes, Keroro Gunso, Gin Tama, and Kekkaishi. Many of Sunrise’s original anime have similar themes, including mecha and masked identities, accompanied by fluid animation. Many fans refer to the quality of their work as “Sunrise Smooth”.
Most of their work are original titles created in-house by their creative staff under a collective pseudonym, Hajime Yatate. They also operated a defunct video-game studio, Sunrise Interactive. Sunrise launched a light-novel publisher, Yatate Bunko Imprint, on September 30, 2016 to publish original titles and supplement their existing franchises with new materials. Anime created by Sunrise which have won the Animage Anime Grand Prix are Mobile Suit Gundam in 1979 and the first half of 1980, Space Runaway Ideon in the second half of 1980, Crusher Joe (a co-production with Studio Nue) in 1983, Dirty Pair in 1985, Future GPX Cyber Formula in 1991, Gundam SEED in 2002, Gundam SEED Destiny in 2004 and 2005, Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion in 2006 and 2007 and Code Geass R2 in 2008, making Sunrise the studio which won the largest number of Animage Awards.
According to an interview with Sunrise members, the studio was founded by former members of Mushi Production in 1972 as Sunrise Studio, Limited (有限会社サンライズスタジオ Yugen-kaisha Sanraizu Sutajio). Rather than having anime production revolve around a single creator (like Mushi, headed by Osamu Tezuka), Sunrise decided that production should focus on the producers. The market for mainstream anime (such as manga adaptations, sports shows, and adaptations of popular children’s stories) was dominated by an existing company. Sunrise decided to focus on robot anime, known to be more difficult to animate but which could be used to sell toys.
Sunrise has been involved in many popular and acclaimed anime television series, including Mobile Suit Gundam (and its spin-offs and sequels since 1979), the Mashin Eiyūden Wataru series (1988–1997), the Yūsha series (1990–1997), the Eldran series (1991–1993) which has now become part of the Yūsha series since the Takara Tomy merger, and the Crest of the Stars series (1999–2001). They produced the apocalyptic Space Runaway Ideon in 1980.
The company have co-produced a number of series with Toei Company, including Majokko Tickle (from episode 16), the Robot Romance Trilogy; Chōdenji Robo Combattler V (1976), Chōdenji Machine Voltes V (1977), Tōshō Daimos (1978), and Cyborg 009 (a 1979 co-production with Toei Animation). Sunrise is well known for their mecha anime series (including Gundam), such as Invincible Steel Man Daitarn 3 (1978), Fang of the Sun Dougram (1981), the Armored Trooper Votoms and Aura Battler Dunbine series (1983), Blue Comet SPT Layzner (1985), Patlabor (1989), The Vision of Escaflowne (1996), The Big O (1999/2003), Overman King Gainer (2002), Zegapain (2007), Code Geass (2006/2008), Tiger & Bunny (2011), and Valvrave the Liberator (2013), and worked with Tsuburaya Productions to animate The Ultraman (1979).