Ode to Anime Studios – PA Works

Appare-Ranman knocked my socks off and this studio is busy with Kamisama ni Natta Hi this season anyway, so it’s a good time for a look-see…

PA Works was started on November 10th 2000 by Kenji Horikawa (PA Works 2019)…heck that would make it about 20 years old as I put this post out! Geesh, this studio is old enough to do most adult things… Normally studios do multiple things like create original IPs, but it seems PA Works only produces “film”.

PA Works has a reputation for delivering tearjerker dramas (PA Works 2019), courtesy of Key and director Jun Maeda. This was basically cemented with Angel Beats, although they’ve tried again with Charlotte and now The Day I Became a God. (I have a bit of a problem with melodrama myself – as in, too much bores me so it usually has to be counteracted with something else – but my preference is neither here nor there in a post about the studio.) Aside from dramas, PA Works also delivers slice of life works on the regular (PA Works 2019), including the “working series” Shirobako, Hanasaku Iroha and Sakura Quest plus the singing anime Tari Tari (Anime News Network 2020), although they are not limited to such niches when you see works like Eccentric Family among their oeuvre.

Generally, PA Works has rather restrained anime which are almost workmanlike in their style, which you’d expect from these types of down-to-earth anime, but Appare-Ranman‘s extra-ness and an almost incapability to hold back on it is part of what brought me to it. (Much like Pierrot’s Akudama Drive this season, I generally like the over-the-top anime.) They also don’t tend to deliver on sakuga, but they don’t really need to with those types of anime.

According to the credits for Appare-Ranman and their website, PA Works stands for “Progressive Animation Works”. If you’re interested in making anime and know enough Japanese to understand some things, you might want to peruse their “PA School” videos.

I was quite invested with Appare-Ranman when it aired, but since it just sort of came and went without much fanfare, I had to piece together a post using my old notes and the scant other reviews that I know exist as reference. (If you’re arriving from the future, you can read the post here.)

So what’s your favourite PA Works anime?


Anime News Network 2020. Appare-Ranman! Director Masakazu Hashimoto. Available from: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/interview/2020-04-15/appare-ranman-director-masakazu-hashimoto/.158359

PA Works 2019. Company. Available from: https://www.pa-works.jp/en/company/

PA Works 2019. Works. Available from: https://www.pa-works.jp/works_en/

3 thoughts on “Ode to Anime Studios – PA Works

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  1. Next to KyoAni, PA Works is on my “check the anime out if it seems even the least bit interesting” list… They do good, solid, work. They rarely reach the heights of KyoAni, but there’s nothing at all wrong with a good solid upper-mid-tier.

    My highest ranked by them is Angel Beats… But my hands down favorite is Shirobako.

    Liked by 1 person

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