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Sanrio has an anime production system that has to be called out-of-this-world!

Winds of Change (1979)

Amid the bustle of anime production companies harried by rigorous schedules, there is one company that, with what looks like dignified calmness in comparison, is making animation slowly and carefully. That company is Sanrio, who we all know for their Snoopy and Patty & Jimmy products; more accurately, Sanrio Films. They're an energetic company whose film Family Love won an Academy Award. More recently, their films Nutcracker Fantasy, The Northern Fox, The Fantastic Adventures of the Mouse and His Child and Ringing Bell have won great acclaim.

What kind of a company is Sanrio Films, and what are they planning to do? Sanrio Films producer Tsunemasa Hatano gave us this answer:

"Our production schedule is divided into two parts: Period 1 and period 2. Period 1 films are Little Jumbo by Takashi Yanase, Family Love, Joe and the Rose, The Northern Fox, The Fantastic Adventures of the Mouse and His Child, Song of the Sea, Ringing Bell and Winds of Change. Period 2 films are Unico, The Sea Prince and the Fire Child and A Story of Africa (tentative title) featuring Cathy." 

We won't make TV anime

While the first film, Little Jumbo, may not be familiar to audiences, it's sure to be a memorable film, staffed as it is by the likes of Takashi Yanase, Taku Izumi and the combined forces of the entire Sanrio Films animation studio. Director Toshio Hirata and animators Shigeru Yamamoto, Kazuko Nakamura and Mikiharu Akabori are likely to become the backbone of Sanrio Films.

"We have no intent to make TV anime. We'll take our time to make high-quality films. Any profit will be made in the long-run as those films are seen by many people over the years. Our philosophy is: Films are our fortune."

Producer Hatano adds this note about current trends in anime: "When you're making a film, the staff should have about a year to spend playing around. Once a creator is chosen for the film, that creator should be allowed to become the "star", so to speak, though that term may not be appropriate. To make an analogy: You have to let a battery charge up all the way, otherwise you'll just be squandering it."

In other words, he is critical of current-day Jitensha-Sôgyô-style TV animation.

HOME© Benjamin Ettinger