The Beautiful and Vibrant Worlds Of Studio Bones Anime

Studio Bones

Fullmetal Alchemist, Mob Psycho 100, My Hero Academia, these are three titles just about every single anime fan out there has seen, often more than once. We can’t think of another studio that so consistently brings out the highest quality animation straight to our TV screen, often bordering on what you might see in a big budget animated theatrical feature. 

Of course get animation isn’t the only thing Studio Bones has for it. They have great taste in the creators they work with, whether that means being smart in what manga they end up adapting or with the animators, screenwriters, and composers they allow to create at their studio. Shinichiro Watanabe, Kohei Horikoshi, ONE, Dai Sato, these are only a few of the names that have helped make Bones the powerhouse that it is. One of the younger studios too, relatively, we’re always excited to see what the make next.

From The Second You See The Studio Bones Logo, You Know You’re In For a Treat.

Pretty much since their first couple years working on the likes of Cowboy Bebop: Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door and Wolf’s Rain, Studio Bones has consistently had one of the strongest reputations in anime. Show after show, year after year, they’ve put out quality work with some of the most visually distinctive animation to ever hit the silver screen. If you’re flipping through random shows on Crunchyroll or Netflix and you see the Bones logo pop up, chances are you’ve landed in a good place.

Truly the level of visual polish Bones has been able to bring to the television might be second to none. Works like Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and Mob Psycho 100 have a quality of life to them that almost rivals what you might see in a Studio Ghibli animation. Not only can they create incredible competent and fluid animation, but the studio knows when to let the direction get experimental with their works making each show a dynamic visual undertaking.

Studio Bones Forays Into Movies

Studio Bones actually spun out of Sunrise, the studio behind Mobile Suit Gundam and Cowboy Bebop, and their first ever production was doing the brunt of the work on the Escaflowne film which was originally a Sunrise title. 

Most of the movies the company has made since have been for their shows, like both Fullmetal Alchemist movies, the Eureka 7 Hi-Evolution film series, and even Star Driver the movie. However back in 2007 they released their first completely original film, the excellent traditional throwback Sword of The Samurai, and are currently working on their second called Josee, The Tiger and The Fish.

Our Recommended Studio Bones Anime List

Bones has been around since 1998 and has been regularly producing anime for TV since 2001. They’ve racked up a bunch of shows over the past two decades and have had a batting average higher than most of their competition regarding how many winners are in the filmography. If you’re looking to see the best of what bones has to offer, which is some of the best anime out there, here’s what we recommend.

Wolf’s Rain

Wolf’s Rain Studio’s Bones fourth TV anime ever, made within the five years of the studio’s existence, and yet despite its age it is universally beloved by everyone who’s seen the anime. One of the best remnants of the digi-paint era of anime, Wolf’s Run was the creation of Keiko Nobumoto who is one of Shinichiro Watanabe’s right hand writers. 

The story follows a small group of wolves, who can freely shape-shift between dog and human forum, as they make their way through a world god’s seemingly abandoned to find paradise.

Plus, the anime contains another stellar soundtrack by fellow Cowboy Bebop alum Yoko Kanno. 

Fullmetal Alchemist

Wolf’s Rain may have been Studio Bones’ first classic but Fullmetal Alchemist was the show that cemented the studio’s reputation in fan’s hearts for years to come. It’s hard summarize just how big of a phenomenon the show was, with untold millions of people around the world still carrying Ed and Alphone’s journey within their hearts. A tale of personal growth and political intrigue, with a genuine philosophical edge to boot,  FMA proved to audiences that grew up with Dragonball Z and Naruto that shonen anime could be more.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

 The anime so good that they made it twice! Remakes in the world of anime certainly aren’t unheard of, especially in the realm of long running shonen series. However Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood coming out just 5 years after the original series ended, 4 counting it’s sequel him, has to be in the running for some kind of anime remake record.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is the 2009, 100 percent true to the original, adaptation of Hiromu Arakawa’s comic. Many fans prefer this iteration as it tells the story the author intended to tell, with a level of visual polish that often rivaled theatrical animation. We guess Bones knew that FMA was a surefire hit so they spared no expense making Brotherhood look the best it possibly could.

Eureka 7

After Studio Bones’ first attempt at an esoteric mecha anime with some obvious influences was met with some success, the now often forgotten Rahxephon by the way, the production company eventually saw fit to return to similar territory. Eureka 7 is nothing short of one of Bones’ greatest creative achievements, telling the story of young Renton Thursday and Eureka who along with a mech called Nirvash and a crew of outlaws named the Gekkostate set off on a literal world changing adventure.

Eureka 7 has since become an entire franchise with it’s first sequel film, it’s sequel show, and now a trilogy of films that are retelling the original story with some twists.

The Skull Man

Easily the most overlooked title on our recommended list of Bones anime, The Skull Man tells the story of a series of murders committed by someone wearing, you guessed, a  skull shaped mask. Based off an old Shotaro Ishinomori manga, It unfolds through the lens of journalist Hayato Mikagami who’s trying to get the scoop to boost his career. As these things go in anime though he gets drawn further and further in to the web of violence and intrigue, all resulting in a few ending twists you won’t see coming.

Star Driver

Equal parts Tengan Toppa Gurren Lagann and Revolutionary Girl Utena, Star Driver is a unique entry in the world of mecha animation. It pairs the kind of over the top ‘manliness’ that Guren does with a kind of artistic, almost theatre like approach. While the show was never as big of a hit as a Fullmetal even a Eureka 7, there’s something in its confidence and madness you won’t find anywhere else.

Space Dandy

Space Dandy was an interesting animated experient by beloved Cowboy Bebop creator Shinichiro Watanabe. He came up with the concept for the show and developed the characters, but for the most part he let a whole swath of individual animators and writers go buck wild with the promise. With a soft continuity at best, within each episode of Space Dandy viewers can find unexpected comedic adventures through the frontier of outer space the sometimes even result in Dandy and his comrades biting the bullet, only the be miraculously fine in the next episode.

Blood Blockade Battlefront

Blood Blockade Battlefront definitely has a cult following, but in our opinion it’s a show way more people should go and watch. Originally created Trigun’s Yasuhiro Nightow, the show revolves around an alternate New York City that has, more or less, collided with a demon dimension resulting in a particularly diverse city filled with characters that are literally all shapes and sizes. 

Centering around the awkward Leonardo Watch and a bunch of superpowered freaks at the Libra organization, the mostly episodic show tells an assortment of memorable urban sci-fi stories with some very impressive direction that makes the whole show hit hard.

My Hero Academia

There’s probably not too much we have to say about My Hero Academia at this point. Bones did a stellar job of bringing Kohei Horikoshi’s absurdly charming superhero high school manga to life, thus propelling it to international fame. It might even be one of those rare cases where the anime ends up stronger than the original manga, due to all the lavish fight scene animation Bones throws at the viewer in heaping amounts.

Mob Psycho 100

Another title that most readers are probably familiar with, but in case you haven’t you need to remedy that immediately. Mob Psycho 100, from the creator of One Punch Man, is genuinely Bones doing some of their best work as they marry an endearing yet subversive story with extremely high quality and genuinely inventive animation. 

Where My Hero Academia plays is battle visuals straight, in Mob Psycho 100’s weird world of psychic battles and rogue spirits there’s so much unconventional, breath-taking animation that you can’t look away even for a second.

Studio Bones
Join Our Discussions on Discord