15 Interesting Things To Know About Kyoto Animation

Kyoto Animation – A reliable name to bet your time on. 

If the name of the anime studio sounds elite and elegant to you, then you have experienced the wonders of KyoAni works. 

Be it the dramatic Clannad, hilarious Lucky Star, musical Sound Euphonium, tails of Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, or the under-appreciated archery anime Tsurune, Kyoto Animation has showered us with meaningful stories that remain with us forever.

There are many things about Kyoto Animation that you already know, but there are things you might learn for the first time. And I am here to share those facts with you.

What Makes Kyoto Animation So Special?

Staying true to their individuality and belief makes Kyoto Animation special. Understanding the importance of nurturing young talents, creating an environment where animators can bloom into their full potential, and prioritizing health, are among many other remarkable traits that make Kyoto Animation special. 

And their quality of work throughout the years is proof of that.


#15 From Housewives to Animators

Yoko Hatta, a painter at Mushi Production, left the studio after marrying Hideaki Hatta and moved to Kyoto. There, she gathered a few neighborhood housewives with free time and painted cels for the established studios under the label of Kyoto Anime Studio. And soon, these housewives became the foundation of the studio.


#14 From Kyoto Anime Studio to Kyoto Animation

In 1985, Yoko Hatta established an actual company named Kyoto Animation. It was until a decade and a half later, in 2003, that Kyoto Animation produced their first TV anime, Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu.

Though Hideaki Hatta became the president, Yoko Hatta made sure to keep herself as head of operations. And to this day, she has the final say in anime projects.


#13 One of the Most Reliable Outsourcing Studio

The word outsourcing has garnered a ton of negative attention due to the majority of outsourced work hampering the quality in recent times.

However, in its early days, Kyoto Animation was unrivaled due to its exceptional outsourcing capabilities, both in quality and quantity.

KyoAni outsourced to several established studios during the late 90s and early 2000s. But their most notable work is the 33 outsourced episodes of Inuyasha that got entirely produced at Kyoto Animation, besides fulfilling other roles in that series. 


#12 Key is KyoAni's Key to Success

Key is a Japanese visual novel studio known for its inspiring works to date. Thanks to Tatsuya Ishihara’s love for Key visual novels, and his determination to adapt them, Kyoto Animation delivered anime like AirKanon, and Clannad.

Not only did these anime make a name for themselves, but these adaptations also helped Kyoto Animation to earn the status as one of the best studios in the industry.


#11 The Anime on Kyoto Animation’s mascot Baja

Baja no Studio (2017) and Baja no Studio: Baja no Mita Umi (2020), based on Kyoto Animation’s mascot character Baja, are two OVAs having a runtime of more than 20 minutes. 

The tickets for the fan events held by Kyoto Animation and Animation DO include these OVAs on Blu-ray Disc. These tickets included an art book, commentary book, and booklet that cost around 12,000 yen (88.91 USD). 


#10 The KyoAni School - Nurturing Young Talent

Training aspiring animators is one of Kyoto Animation’s initiatives that became so successful that other studios followed its footsteps but could not replicate the results. Some even closed down their training programs after a short period. 

Kyoto Animation gave the trainees an option to become an employee after taking a test. And many of them did stay, considering the cost of living and the studio’s work environment. The joining of these trainees resulted in the strong foundation and rise of in-house talent in Kyoto Animation. 

On average, a KyoAni employee stays at the studio for more than a decade, which is why you can enjoy the consistent style and trademark quality of Kyoto Animation throughout the decades.


#9 Quality over Quantity

The one thing Kyoto Animation made evident since its arrival is its strong belief in quality over quantity.

Most modern-day studios produce at least 6 to 8 TV series in a year, sometimes more than that, considering the rise in co-productions these days.

Kyoto Animation produces 3 TV series in a year at maximum staying true to their belief. And that is also the reason why you get to see the never-forgetting wonders on screen.


#8 Unfortunate Arson Attack

The arson attack in July 2019 scarred many of Kyoto Animation’s staff, who lost their colleagues in the attack. A scar that still pains years after the incident. Out of 70 animators working in the studio on that day in July 2019, 36 died while 33 others got severely injured.

Only one question arises, how safe are anime studios in terms of security three years after the incident? Did they learn their lesson, or are they still lax in the security department?


#7 A Scene that took 36 lives at KyoAni

The arsonist Shinji Aoba, who set fire to the Fushimi studio of Kyoto Animation, claimed that KyoAni copied a scene from his novel without compensating him. According to reports by Kyoto Shimbun, the arsonist claimed it to the officials, saying, “The thing Kyoto Animation copied from me was the scene in Tsurune where the main characters buy discounted meat.” 

The scene belonged to Episode 5 of Tsurune

Kyoto Animation later confirmed that though they had received the submission for evaluation, it was removed from the award consideration from the first round as it didn’t have the factor Kyoto Animation wanted.


#6 Resurrection of Kyoto Animation

Kyoto Animation faced many challenges following the tragic incident, and several veterans leaving the studio is one of them. 

Among them, the most noticeable one who left KyoAni is Naoko Yamada, a veteran who participated in every KyoAni work. She directed A Silent Voice, Liz and the Blue Bird, the K-On TV series & the movie Tamako Market, and Tamako Love Story while participating in other KyoAni shows in different roles. 

She later joined Science Saru to direct Heike Monogatari in 2021, which was critically acclaimed. Her upcoming work is a movie titled Garden of Remembrance, which got announced at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival in 2022. 

Naoko Yamada is directing Garden of Remembrance at Science Saru. The movie will premiere in 2023. 

Besides many aces leaving the studio, the young and upcoming talents with the remaining veterans of Kyoto Animation took the helm. They delivered the expected quality from Kyoto Animation despite the tragedy and obstacles they had to overcome.


#5 Quality of Production

During the worst of times, after being hit by an arson attack followed by the pandemic, Kyoto Animation delivered each episode of Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid S with less than 7 Key Animators and a single animation director.

In comparison, other seasonals took 33 Key Animators and 9 Animation Directors to complete each episode on average. 

This entire season of Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid S got completed with only 35 different animators. While the result might be better than its prequel but this was one of the most challenging productions for Kyoto Animation. 

Their roots are strong enough to overcome this wild storm.


#4 Stability of Production

Stability in productions is a strong forte of Kyoto Animation, and not many studios come close to them. One can go as far as saying that the worst production of Kyoto Animation might be another studio’s best production. 

And it is more than relevant in recent years, where a production failure is a daily event. 

Whether the demise of the series director Yasuhiro Takemoto in the arson attack or the loss of pre-production materials in that fire, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid S production would be a mess.

If not for the delay, and the studio veteran Tatsuya Ishihara taking the lead, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid S could have turned into a disaster. 

Thanks to properly managing the disastrous situation, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid S shines more brightly than its predecessor, and its production ended months before the airing.

To give you a clear idea, a couple of former KyoAni animators worked on SK8 the Infinity and Kemono Jihen after finishing their work on Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid S

SK8 the Infinity and Kemono Jihen were released in January 2021, while Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid S was released in July 2021. 


#3 Animation DO

In 2000, Kyoto Animation established Animation DO as an affiliate company to assist in its productions. Animation DO successfully assisted Kyoto Animation in productions. But it was absorbed by Kyoto Animation in 2020, including all rights and properties associated with the company. 

Besides being hit by the unfortunate arson attack in 2019, Kyoto Animation and Animation DO’s total loss of 28 million yen (260,000 USD) in 2020 might have resulted in this decision. 


#2 Competitive Salary

Like every other major animation studio, Kyoto Animation also pays an average salary of 200,000 yen per month to new hires. 

Then how is it different than any other studio?

While most major studios are in Tokyo, Kyoto Animation is in Kyoto. Compared to Tokyo, the affordable cost of living and 30% to 50% cheaper house rents make Kyoto a better place for budding animators to survive. 

The hourly wage at Kyoto Animation is 1000 yen (7.41 USD), and a full-time employee gets a monthly salary of 202,000 yen (1496.57 USD). 

The 202,000 yen consists of 172,000 yen (1,274.31 USD) as a basic salary, 10,000 yen (74.09 USD) as a housing subsidy allowance, and 20,000 yen (148.18 USD) as an excess allowance. 

Excess allowance includes the total overtime allowance, holiday work allowance, and late-night work allowance. If the monthly excess allowance exceeds 20,000 yen, the studio will pay the rest of the amount.


#1 Kyoto Animation's Light Novel Label

While most of the other studios hardly reward their animators post the success of a show, Kyoto Animation found a way to change that.

Kyoto Animation takes story submissions, and the best work gets awarded and published by Kyoto Animation’s Light Novel Label, KA Esuma Bunko. 

They sell these novels through KyoAni’s online store, which means they don’t have to go through the complications of going through several publishers to adopt a manga or light novel.

With this, they can reward the creators when a title becomes successful. They can make more money by merchandising goods and selling them to local and international fans through their online shop.

But this meant cutting ties with the well-renowned publishers. But Kyoto Animation’s strong belief in their idea has been successful thus far, for example, the sports anime franchise Free, which has multiple seasons and movies. 

Most of the anime in Kyoto Animation’s portfolio works in recent times are adapted from their Light Novel Label, KA Esuma Bunko.

The titles that got anime adaptations are Violet EvergardenBeyond the Boundary (Kyoukai no Kanata); Free!Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions!TsuruneTamako MarketTamako Love Story, and Myriad Colors Phantom World

The latest light novel to get an anime adaptation announcement by Kyoto Animation is 20th Century Electricity Catalog.

Works of Kyoto Animation

Kyoto Animation has hundreds of anime if all the specials, OVAs, are included, but it would become too long to scroll. That’s why I have created a separate table for each series. 

For your convenience, you can also follow the table as a watch order, as I have included the prequels and sequels relevant to the main storyline. The exception is Fullmetal Panic, as KyoAni has worked on a side-story and the second season for the particular series.

Name of the AnimeRelease DateType
Munto 2: Beyond the Walls of Time2005OVA
Name of the AnimeRelease DateType
Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu2003TV
Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid2005TV
Name of the AnimeRelease DateType
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya2006TV
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Season 22009TV
The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya2010Movie
Name of the AnimeRelease DateType
Clannad: After Story2008TV
Name of the AnimeRelease DateType
Name of the AnimeRelease DateType
Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions!2012TV
Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions!: Heart Throb2014TV
Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions!: Take On Me2018Movie
Name of the AnimeRelease DateType
Tamako Market2013TV
Tamako Love Story2014Movie
Name of the AnimeRelease DateType
Free! Starting Days2015Movie
Free! Iwatobi Swim Club2013TV
Free! Eternal Summer2014TV
Free! Take Your Marks2017Movie
Free! Dive to the Future2018TV
Free! Movie 4: The Final Stroke – Zenpen2021Movie
Free! Movie 5: The Final Stroke – Kouhen2022Movie
Name of the AnimeRelease DateType
Beyond the Boundary2013TV
Beyond the Boundary: I’ll Be Here – Future2015Movie
Name of the AnimeRelease DateType
Sound! Euphonium2015TV
Sound! Euphonium 22016TV
Sound! Euphonium: Oath’s Finale2019Movie
Sound! Euphonium 32024TV
Name of the AnimeRelease DateType
Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid2017TV
Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid S2021TV
Name of the AnimeRelease DateType
Baja no Studio2017OVA
Baja no Studio: Baja no Mita Umi2020OVA
Name of the AnimeRelease DateType
Violet Evergarden2018TV
Violet Evergarden the Movie2020Movie

The following table contains one-season wonders.

Name of the AnimeRelease DateType
Lucky Star2007TV
Nichijou – My Ordinary Life2011TV
Amagi Brilliant Park2014TV
Myriad Colors Phantom World2016TV
Tsurune: Kazemai High School Kyudo Club2018TV
20th Century Electricity CatalogUpcoming (no release date announced)TV

Other KyoAni works that are worth your time.

Name of the AnimeRelease DateType
Shiawasette Naani1991OVA
Lucky Star OVA2008OVA
Munto Finale2009Movie
K-On! The Movie2011Movie
A Silent Voice2016Movie
Liz and the Blue Bird2018Movie
Violet Evergarden: Eternity and the Auto Memory Doll2019Movie


Is Kyoto Animation Still Active?

Yes, Kyoto Animation is still active and has no sign of shutting down in the future. Overcoming the obstacles like the arson attack and pandemic, Kyoto Animation released several movies and a TV series sequel.

KyoAni also announced the release of the third season of Sound! Euphonium in 2024 and the release of the theatrical OVA of the franchise in 2023.

They also announced the anime adaptation of the light novel 20th Century Electricity Catalog.

How Much Does Kyoto Animation Pay Their Animators?

Kyoto Animation pays 202,000 yen (1496.57 USD) as the monthly salary to their full-time employee. The hourly wage at the studio also pays 1000 yen (7.41 USD).

Who Animated Violet Evergarden?

Kyoto Animation is the studio that animated Violet Evergarden.

Did Kyoto Animation Steal?

No, Kyoto Animation did not steal anything as claimed by the arsonist. The meat buying scene in Tsurune was stolen, as per claims of the arsonist. According to Kyoto Animation, the novel got rejected at an early stage.

If KyoAni had to steal anything, why would they steal the most generic scene in anime history? The main characters buying meat is part of any anime with the elements of slice of life.

What Is the Best Anime Studio?

Several studios can be considered the best anime studio, and Kyoto Animation is one of them. Kyoto Animation is known for its consistent quality and distinctive art style.

With that, I conclude this article on 15 things you should know about Kyoto Animation. Honestly, this article took a lot of research, and shout out to Sakugabooru for their detailed analysis of Kyoto Animation, which made it easier for me to deliver some of the amazing facts in this article.

If you have suggestions, recommendations, or feedback regarding this article, feel free to reach out on averagebeing’s Instagram handle.