Ode to Anime Studios – Ufotable

With Kimetsu no Yaiba airing right now, it seems like a good time to write about ufotable.

The interesting thing is that I’ve always pronounced the studio’s name “u-fot-able”, but it should be (according to the katakana) pronounced “yu-fo-table”…not that it makes much of a difference from pronouncing each of the letters in “UFO” separately, but…*the more you know*!

To the real nitty-gritty now. Ufotable was founded in 2000 (Anime News Network n.d.) and specialises in a lot of stuff, strangely. Not just animation and 3D CGI like they’re known to do, but also (song) artist management, PV animation, website stuff and claymation (ufotable 2012). Like most studios that have been featured so far, they are unsurprisingly based in Suginami (ufotable 2012).

Aside from that, they’re probably most infamous for their head Hikaru Kondo being suspected of tax evasion…but I think this link explains the scenario better than I ever could. Following the fallout of this, it seems Kondo stepped down from his executive position running the Machi Asobi event in Tokushima…but then again, what do we know? We’re not studio insiders…we can only imagine what happened to cause such a ruckus.

Arguably, their biggest works – according to Astral, Ply and Anime News Network (2019) – are the Fate/ works, but they’ve done all manner of strange shows in between, from Katsugeki! Touken Ranbu to that one show that inspired the infamous Manabi Line, Gakuen Utopia Manabi Straight! (…don’t google it, it’s about young girls, not to mention ufotable is somehow partially credited with the manga as well (Santos, 2007)…

…that must have piqued your interest, but still don’t google it!)

I’m still quite fond of Katsugeki!, despite its narrative failings, and Demon Slayer is coming along as nicely as a hyped Weekly Shonen Jump adaption can, so don’t be afraid to look into ufotable’s archives.

Bonus material: If you’re interested in the 3D side of things, you can check out some videos from their 3D team at this website. (The digital team seems to have stopped updating after the Fate/ movie Lost Butterfly, though, which is a bit of a mystery…) I also managed to dig up this image from Anime News Network (2018, Figure 1) of the ufotable office at Suginami in 2016, so go ahead and take a look at it!

Figure 1: ufotable’s Suginami studio as of 2016.

So, what’s your favourite ufotable work? By the way…what the heck is an “ufotable” meant to be???


References

Anime News Network 2018. Interview: Yuichi Terao, Chief of Ufotable’s Digital Team. https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/feature/2018-01-10/interview-yuichi-terao-chief-of-ufotable-digital-team/.125658

Anime News Network 2019. ufotable President Hikaru Kondo Steps Down as Machi Asobi Committee Head. Available from: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2019-05-14/ufotable-president-hikaru-kondo-steps-down-as-machi-asobi-committee-head/.146693

Anime News Network n.d. ufotable. Available from: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/company.php?id=4362

Santos, Carlo 2007. Right Turn Only!: Read or Don’t. Available from: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/right-turn-only/2007-04-03

ufotable 2012. Corporate Profile. Available from: http://www.ufotable.com/profile/index.html

 

 

 

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