Anime fans and experts should be familiar with anime studios. Knowing which studio produced your favorite anime can enhance your viewing experience. Furthermore, watching other works produced by the same studio as your favorite anime is a great way to discover quality shows.
Here, I introduce the frequently mentioned studio, A-1 Pictures. Naturally, it’s a studio that any anime enthusiast would recognize. I’ve handpicked and listed the best anime series and movies produced by A-1 Pictures. By getting to know this prominent studio and its outstanding works, you can enrich your anime life.
What is A-1 Pictures?
A-1 Pictures is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Aniplex, which is under the Sony Group. Established in May 2005, by Aniplex as the central company for anime content business development within the Sony Group, with the aim of stabilizing and enhancing the quality of anime content supply. In 2006, the anime series Zenmai Zamurai (ぜんまいざむらい), co-produced with No Side, was the first project they undertook.
The company name, A-1 Pictures, originates from three words: “Aniplex,” “Animation,” and “Asagaya (where the studio is located),” combined with the aspiration to be “number one in anime.” In 2018, A-1 Pictures is also known for making its Koenji Studio an independent entity named CloverWorks.
Japanese animations have rapidly become more famous worldwide, and who has created the finest anime? There are a large n[…]
10. Your Lie in April
Your Lie in April (四月は君の嘘), produced by A-1 Pictures from 2014 to 2015, is known as one of the most moving anime series that make you cry. This melodious drama is a blend of romance and music, touching the hearts of many with its splendid animation and evocative soundtrack. The anime is based on Naoshi Arakawa’s manga of the same name, which was serialized in Monthly Shonen Magazine between 2011 and 2015. The anime series has 22 episodes and has become a must-watch for those seeking a poignant and heartfelt story.
Kosei Arima, once a child prodigy pianist, loses his ability to hear the sound of the piano after his mother’s tragic death. Living in a monochrome world, his life changes when he meets a free-spirited violinist named Kaori Miyazono. Kaori brings color back into Kosei’s life, challenging him to face music again. The series explores love, friendship, and personal growth, unfolding a touching narrative on facing trauma and rediscovering one’s passion.
▽Check Your Lie in April on Amazon below!▽
9. Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend
Produced by A-1 Pictures, Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend (冴えない彼女の育てかた) is a 2015-2017 anime series based on Fumiaki Maruto’s light novel series that was published between 2012 and 2019. This blend of romance and comedy is celebrated for its meta-humor and distinctive approach to the harem genre. After the two seasons aired in 2015 and 2017, a following anime movie Saekano the Movie: Finale, produced by the different studio CloverWorks, was released in 2019.
Tomoya Aki, an avid otaku, aspires to craft a triumphant visual novel. He assembles a team of talented girls: the artistically gifted Eriri Spencer Sawamura, the extraordinarily prolific writer Utaha Kasumigaoka, and Megumi Kato, a girl who seems ordinary but becomes his main heroine. The narrative explores their mutual challenges, individual development, and intricate relationships, providing a compelling glimpse into creativity, fervor, and the otaku culture, infused with elements of comedy and romance.
Aired: 2015 (Season 1)/2017 (Season 2)
Episodes: 13 (Season 1)/11 (Season 2)
▽Watch Saekano on Amazon Prime Video below!▽
8. Interviews with Monster Girls
Released in 2017, Interviews with Monster Girls (亜人ちゃんは語りたい) is a noteworthy anime series from A-1 Pictures, blending comedy, slice-of-life, and supernatural themes. It is adapted from the 11-volume manga serialized by Petos from 2014 to 2022. The series offers a unique exploration of the lives of Demi-humans, providing viewers with a mix of amusing and poignant moments.
The series revolves around Tetsuo Takahashi, a high school biology teacher intrigued by Demi-humans. Seeking to understand their unique abilities and how they interact with society, he conducts interviews with Demi-human students at his school, including a vampire Hikari, a dullahan Kyoko, and a snow woman Yuki. Through charming interactions and thoughtful discussions, Interviews with Monster Girls paints a refreshing and insightful picture of diversity and harmonious living.
▽Check Interviews with Monster Girls on Amazon below!▽
A-1 Pictures brought to life Oreimo (俺の妹がこんなに可愛いわけがない。), also known as “Ore no Imoto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai,” in 2013. In fact, a different studio AIC Build made the previous series consisting of 15 episodes aired and distributed online between 2010 and 2012. Afterward, the second series aired with 13 episodes and released 3 additional episodes as an original net animation. This slice-of-life and comedy anime, based on a light novel by Tsukasa Fushimi, dives into sibling relationships and otaku culture, exploring acceptance and the nuances of familial bonds and subcultures.
Kyosuke Kosaka, a high school student, struggles with his seemingly perfect younger sister, Kirino. Discovering her secret otaku lifestyle focused on adult games triggers an unexpected bonding between them. Together, they explore familial expectations, societal norms, and individual passions, offering a multifaceted look at family, self-acceptance, and the world of fandom.
Aired: 2010 (Season 1)/2013 (Season 2)
Episodes: 15 (Season 1)/16 (Season 2)
6. The Anthem of the Heart
A-1 Pictures has produced not only television series but also many animated films; among them, this coming-of-age ensemble drama can be said to have been an exceptionally good work. The Anthem of the Heart (心が叫びたがってるんだ。), a poignant film by A-1 Pictures released in 2015, is lauded for its delicate exploration of emotion and communication. The movie, directed by Tatsuyuki Nagai and written by Mari Okada, blends drama and fantasy elements to illustrate the profound theme of expressing one’s feelings.
The film centers around Jun Naruse, a girl who believes her words have caused her family’s breakdown, leading to a fairy sealing her ability to speak. Assigned to the Community Outreach Committee, she, along with other members, must put up a musical. Jun’s journey is one of self-discovery and healing, as music becomes her medium to convey her unspoken feelings, offering a touching depiction of the liberating power of expression and connection amidst emotional turmoil.
Runtime: 119 min
▽Check The Anthem of the Heart on Amazon below!▽
5. Kaguya-sama: Love Is War
Kaguya-sama: Love Is War (かぐや様は告らせたい〜天才たちの恋愛頭脳戦〜) is one of the most popular series recently produced by A-1 Pictures and stands out prominently among numerous romantic comedy anime. The first season aired in 2019 with 12 episodes, followed by a second in 2020, a third in 2022, and a TV special titled Kaguya-sama: Love Is War – The First Kiss That Never Ends in 2023. A-1 Pictures produced all installments of this anime series. It is based on a manga written by Aka Akasaka, which was published from 2015 to 2022 and comprises 28 volumes. Additionally, Aka Akasaka is also known as the writer of Oshi no Ko.
Kaguya-sama: Love Is War revolves around the brilliant yet prideful Kaguya Shinomiya and Miyuki Shirogane, student council members at a prestigious academy. Both harbor feelings for each other but believe that confessing would make them inferior. Thus, begins their battle of wit and schemes to make the other confess first. The series blends clever humor and emotional depth as it explores their evolving relationship, intricate plans, and the comedic interplay with other council members, delivering a unique take on high school romance.
Aired: 2019 (Season 1)/2020 (Season 2)/2022 (Season 3)/2023 (TV Special)
Episodes: 12 (Season 1)/12 (Season 2)/13 (Season 3)/4 (TV Special)
▽Check Kaguya-sama: Love Is War on Amazon Prime Video below!▽
The popular romantic comedy anime series focuses on an indirect relationship between Kaguya and Miyuki, and the nail-bit[…]
4. 86 -Eighty Six-
86 -Eighty Six- (86-エイティシックス-) is one of the greatest anime produced by A-1 Pictures in the recent decade. Based on the same-named light novel series written by Asato Asato and illustrated by Shirabii since 2017, it was first made into an anime adaptation in 2021. It has been highly rated by both anime beginners and seasoned fans for its cool action scenes, emotional story and characters depicted in the severe situation in war.
In a world divided by a civil war between the Republic of San Magnolia and the Giadian Empire, the story follows the 86th Strike Package, a group of young soldiers branded as Eighty-Six and stripped of their humanity. They battle autonomous drones, with their struggles and resilience shedding light on the harsh realities of war, prejudice, and sacrifice, presenting a profound and heart-wrenching exploration of humanity’s resilience and the search for hope amidst despair.
The recent sci-fi anime 86 -Eighty Six- has distinguished as an astonishing newcomer since it started airing in April, 2[…]
3. Sword Art Online
Sword Art Online (ソードアート・オンライン) is one of the most renowned and beloved contemporary anime globally and can be considered a representative work of A-1 Pictures. It’s a blend of different genres like isekai, adventure, and action. Based on the light novel series by Reki Kawahara, which began in 2009, the first season aired in 2012 and quickly captivated anime fans worldwide.
The second season aired in 2014, followed by the third and fourth seasons, Sword Art Online: Alicization and Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of Underworld, from 2018 to 2020. The 2017 movie Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale is also highly acclaimed. Additionally, Sword Art Online: Progressive, a film series that began in 2021, offers a different perspective on the story. This franchise is likely to maintain its significant presence in the anime world for years to come.
Sword Art Online is set in a future where players immerse themselves in virtual realities. The drama unfolds when players of Sword Art Online discover they can’t log out, and in-game death means real death. The protagonist, Kirito, joined by the formidable and resourceful heroine, Asuna, strives to break free from this lethal game. Their journey is fraught with unique challenges, diverse worlds, and encounters with a variety of characters, each with their own stories and struggles.
Aired: 2012 (Season 1)/2014 (Season 2)/2018-2019 (Season 3)/2019-2020 (Season 4)
Episodes: 25 (Season 1)/24 (Season 2)/24 (Season 3)/23 (Season 4)
▽Check Sword Art Online on Amazon below!▽
Sword Art Online (ソードアート・オンライン), one of the most popular anime among both domestic and international fans, has become a […]
2. Lycoris Recoil
In 2022, A-1 Pictures introduced a new flagship class anime, Lycoris Recoil (リコリス・リコイル), captivating many fans with its lead female duo. Remarkably, it’s an original anime without any source material, truly showcasing A-1 Pictures’ unique flair. Shingo Adachi, known for character design in series like Sword Art Online and Working!!, served as the director. The series concluded in 13 episodes, and furthermore, the production of a new installment in the Lycoris Recoil series has been confirmed, indicating the ongoing impact and success of this innovative title.
The plot centers on a girl’s gun action set in Japan, featuring the girl assassin group Lycoris, which is the pride of the law enforcement organization DA. The protagonist is 17-year-old genius Chisato Nishikigi of Lycoris, who, while ostensibly a staff member at the cafe LycoReco, secretly completes high-difficulty missions. Takina Inoue, another protagonist with high aspirations and a talented Lycoris member, joins LycoReco where Chisato belongs. The story is packed with highlights, including the changing dynamics between the two, Chisato’s hidden personal flaw, confrontations with terrorist groups, and more. The contrast between the relaxed everyday scenes and the tense action scenes also adds to the charm.
1. Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day
Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day (あの日見た花の名前を僕達はまだ知らない。) is the best anime series made by A-1 Pictures of all time! It’s this emotionally charged, soul-stirring masterpiece from the studio that aired in 2011. It stands as a testament to A-1 Pictures’ versatility and their knack for bringing forth varied genres. This anime, it’s not just a series; it’s a journey of heartbreak, reconciliation, and self-discovery.
It spins its narrative around a group of childhood friends who drift apart after a tragic accident, only to be brought back together by a shared vision. It’s a poignant 11-episode emotional rollercoaster that successfully intertwines themes of friendship, grief, and redemption, with visuals so soothing yet haunting, they linger in your memory. And for anyone seeking more, it has a 2013 film adaptation with additional scenes to relive the emotions.
Anohana drags you into this riveting tale of enduring friendship and lingering ghosts of the past. It’s about Jinta Yadomi and his estranged friends who once were inseparable but got scattered after the untimely death of their cheerful friend, Menma. Fast-forward to their high school days, and here’s Menma appearing before a recluse Jinta with a wish she can’t remember but needs fulfilling.
Now, this is where the magic happens! Jinta and the old group Super Peace Busters, they have to reunite, but the journey is anything but smooth. It’s fraught with unresolved tensions, unspoken feelings, and unshed tears. As they struggle to help Menma and reconcile with their shared past, each character undergoes a journey of self-reflection and growth. This anime doesn’t just narrate; it makes you feel, it makes you weep, and it makes you reflect. Every episode is like a petal unfolding, revealing the raw, aching beauty of unhealed wounds and untold stories. It’s a must-watch, a poignant symphony of emotions that resonate deeply, leaving a lingering echo in the heart!
▽Check Anohana on Amazon below!▽
I believe that the anime selection above has helped you understand the excellence of the studio A-1 Pictures. It is undoubtedly a studio that will continue to produce masterpieces, so keep an eye on it moving forward.
Additionally, please view excellent anime sorted by other popular studios in the articles below.
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