Toshihide Yamada, Director, General Manager
of Production Division SHIN-EI ANIMATION co., Ltd.
SHIN-EI ANIMATION co., Ltd. (Nishi-Tokyo City)
Anime should be one of Japan’s quality contents should boast to the world. Introduced here is SHIN-EI ANIMATION株式会社, one of the representative animation planning and production companies in Japan. We interviewed Toshihide Yamada, General Manager of Production Division, about its history and current and future aspects of production sites.
The predecessor of SHIN-EI was A Production Ltd., founded by the late Daikichiro Kusube, who founded the company later. Animes A Production was promoting include Obake no Q-Taro (Q-Taro, the ghost), Kyojin-no-Hoshi (Star of the Giants), Lupin the 3rd, Dokonjo Gaeru (The frog with fighting spirits) and Tensai Bakabon (Bakabon, the genius) created by then Tokyo Movie (current TMS Entertainment), all of which are masterpieces still very popular even now. By the way, among the members at that time were those eventually leading Japan’s Anime industry such as Isao Takahata and Hayao Miyazaki.
“SHIN-EI ANIMTIOM was founded in 1976. A Production was reorganized and developed into a company which launched in then Tanashi City (current Nishi-Tokyo City). Its name also implies “renewed (shin in Japanese) A Production” as well as “new and advanced (shin and ei in Japanese).”
Company’s staffs, freelances and animators from other productions are concentrating on works in its office.
The entrance of SHIN-EI head office. Latest news of Doraemon and Crayon Shin-chan welcomes visitors.
The biggest factor for SHINEI to establish such a strong presence in the Anime industry was its producing Doraemon, a masterpiece with lots of fans not only in Japan but all over the world.
“In fact, Doraemon was animated and aired once in 1973 by Nippon Television (NTV) but recessed in half an year due to its poor viewer rates. However, Kusube, impressed by its excellence and feeling great potentials, asked author Fujiko for approval and realized to re-animate Doraemon.”
Once failing, NTV was reluctant to air the Anime program again. Kusube then decided to produce its pilot version with his own expenses. Finally, despite having financial difficulties, this was realized joined by many talented staffs and, in addition, Nobuyo Oyama and Noriko Ohara, both of whom were eventually involved in the Anime for more than 20 years.
The pilot version was highly appreciated for its excellence by author Fujiko of course and many others in charge of Anime programs. TV Asahi Corporation started to air in 1979 and this has continued to the present.
“Our other representative products include Hattori-kun, the Ninja (Ninja Hattori) aired during 1981-87, Crayon Shin-chan (a boy named Shin) started to be aired in 1992 and Atashi’n-chi (my home) which have been centered on so-called Family Animes, a genre targeting wider generations. However, there are some animators who want to draw robot- or SF-type stories. Thus, we keep many animators, mostly freelances and those from partner firms, and they commonly work in line with production schedules and volumes. Such a way of doing works are seen in the whole industry.
Head office of SHIN-EI ANIMATION 5-minute walk from Tanashi Station. Walls are covered by custom-made blue tiles to make it look like Doraemon’s body, which represents our respect to Doraemon, a drivi
The reason why SHIN-EI was founded in then Tanashi City (current Nishi-Tokyo City) relates to the history of Japanese Anime industry. The first long-story theatrical animated film was Hakuja-Den (legend of white snake) released in 1958. This was produced by then Toei Movie (current Toei Animation) and this was an origination of Japan’s animation industry to penetrate its presence. This is the reason why there are many animation producers concentrated in the west of Tokyo where SHIN-EI also is located.
“Such environment where many Anime producers are around are favorable for a firm like us always working on productions in very tight schedules. We can easily cope with any problems and mingle within the industry.
“Advantages of doing businesses in Tokyo for such a creative industry of planning and producing Animes are also significant,” says Yamada, General Manager of Production Division.
“Animators would not better off if they take care of only Animes. Ability to access many genres including a variety of arts, theater shows, dances, movies in and out of Japan, and Japan’s traditional performances such as Kabuki potentially stimulates and is helpful for us in creating anime pictures/videos and drawings. The meaning for anime producers to reside in Tokyo should be significant in this sense. We have powerful contents such as Doraemon and Crayon Shin-chan welcomed by many audiences as TV and theater movie contents but this situation may change any time. While we need to work with a sense of tension all the time, I think Tokyo offers ideal environments as there are many competitors and as we get various stimuli here.”