Cowboy Bebop, Gundam Studio Gets Renamed, Restructured

Sunrise, the animation studio behind Mobile Suit Gundam, Cowboy Bebop and countless other iconic anime series, will now be known as Bandai Namco Filmworks.

As reported by Japanese business site IT Media, the celebrated anime production company is undergoing some changes as part of parent company Bandai Namco's larger corporate restructuring. Sunrise will be merged with Bandai Namco Rights Marketing, a division of the conglomerate that is dedicated to the toy and gaming giant's video releases, to form the corporation's new "IP Production Unit." All of Sunrise's various sub-studios, such as Sunrise Origin, which assists in the production of the My Hero Academia anime, and Sunrise Beyond, which worked on the Gundam Build Divers franchise, will be consolidated into Bandai Namco Filmwork's new office building, which has been nicknamed "White Base," a reference to the ship that was used as a home base by the heroes of the original Mobile Suit Gundam anime.

Bandai Namco says it may continue to use the "Sunrise" branding on the studio's anime projects moving forward, but the studio itself, and the various other divisions being folded into it, will now officially be known as Bandai Namco Filmworks. A spokesperson for the company formerly known as Sunrise said "The individuality of Sunrise, which we have refined over the past 40 years, shall continue to grow as one of our key brands. However, we also want to create a new distinctive identity with a different shade."

Sunrise was founded in 1972 by former members of Mushi Production, the animation studio created by legendary manga artist Osamu Tezuka to produce animated adaptations of his works, such as Astro Boy and Kimba the White Lion. The new studio quickly became known for its mecha anime, the biggest of which was creator Yoshiyuki Tomino's genre-defining 1979 classic Mobile Suit Gundam. In addition to Gundam, the studio is also known for producing a number of other highly influential and critically acclaimed series, including 1998's Cowboy Bebop and 2006's Code Geass.

At the time of the restructuring, Sunrise was working on a number of new Gundam releases, including the next film in the franchise, Mobile Suit Gundam: Cucuruz Doan's Island, which is a feature-length remake of an episode from the original anime series. The studio is also in the middle of production on a sequel to 2021's Mobile Suit Gundam Hathaway, though the film's producer previously stated that the sequel may be years away from release due to delays created by the on-going COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing quarantine. Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury, the franchise's first entirely original TV series since 2015's Iron-Blooded Orphans, is scheduled to premiere sometime this year.

Source: IT Media via Crunchyroll

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