Ode to Anime Studios – Geno Studio

Geno Studio has been in charge of Golden Kamuy this past season, so I figured they’d be worth looking into.

After the “death” of Manglobe, Geno Studio sure has a lot to live up to…and live up they did. Even if Kokkoku and Golden Kamuy have been panned for certain parts of their visuals, their work isn’t as bad as My Sister, My Writer, which is already something worth celebrating. The final works in their oeuvre as of this post are Pet – which hasn’t come out yet and it’s coming out on Amazon in 2019 nonetheless – and Genocidal Organ. This last work is notable in that the studio was explicitly named for it and the creation date of the studio – November 19th 2015 – also reflects the fact it was built out of Manglobe’s ashes (Anime News Network 2015, Geno Studio 2017). While we’re on the technical side of things, like a lot of other studios, Geno Studio’s base of operations is in Suginami (Geno Studio 2017).

Another notable name when talking about Geno Studio is the production company Twin Engine. Founded by Koji Yamamoto, former executive editor of Noitamina, it has some new big names such as Wit Studio – they of Attack on Titan fame, among other shows – and (of course) Kabushikigaisha Geno Studio on its side when it comes to “creative partners” (Sakuga Blog 2017, Geno Studio 2017). The aim of Twin Engine is to protect animators in order to get high quality work without any risk (Sakuga Blog 2017).

Furthermore, aside from the reliance of CGI noted in Kokkoku/Golden Kamuy and their unnaturally realistic fire effects, Geno Studio doesn’t have any style they stick to. However, they have only ever done adaptions for works aimed at seinen audiences, so if they ever announce an original project, that might pave the way to finding a style to point to.

Well, the only thing I ever talk about in Kokkoku is the OP, so naturally my focus lands on Golden Kamuy as my favourite. Apparently a lot of magic in that case is from Satoru Noda’s original work, but rumour has it some parts of said manga were too much for TV (Golden Kamuy Central 2018), so exactly how much one should praise the anime is really a case of whether you want the anime to be an animated version of the manga or not. That goes for other adaptions out there, but for a work such as Golden Kamuy or Genocidal Organ, where sensitive topics are intertwined with art, it becomes a minefield for directors and other staff to navigate.  

So, have you seen any of Geno Studio’s works (Genocidal Organ, Kokkoku or Golden Kamuy)? Do you think studios attached to production companies like Twin Engine are a good sign for the future, or are they just a repeat of the past?


References

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