Studio Satelight is bringing sukeban (delinquent girls) back in its newest series, Rokudo’s Bad Girls. This isn’t the first series created by Satelight to feature badass women, the studio has a long history of creating innovative original series. Besides that, they have also done a few adaptations. But who are the creators behind their hits? How many classics have they made that you’ve forgotten?
Satelight started as a division of Vice, an affiliate of software company, B.U.G. Their first project was the CG series, Bit the Cupid in April 1995. This would be Japan’s first fully digital series. In December, Satelight officially formed. The studio’s name is a combination of the initials for Sapporo, Animation, Technology, and Entertainment. Michiaki Sato, a former accountant for B.U.G., became the studio’s representative director at this time. 2001 would see the release of two flagship series, Earth Girl Arjuna and Geneshaft. After their success, Satelight separated from B.U.G. and started producing more original series plus sequels to classic franchises.
Most of Satelight’s original work are sci-fi shows, but they’ve adapted manga as well. Heat Guy J, a series MTV made popular, was their first series after going independent. In 2005, the Aquarion series started and would become one of Satelight’s signature series. Symphogear became their second. This year would also see the creation of the ambitious Noein: To Your Other Self. If you watched Syfy’s Ani-Monday, you might remember this one. Speaking of remembering, Satelight took over the Macross franchise, creating the Zero, Frontier, and Delta series. Another classic series, Star Blazers, received movies for its Star Blazers 2205 anime. Other notable works include the first four episodes of Hellsing Ultimate, Bodacious Space Pirates, AKB0048, Guin Saga, Log Horizon, and The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan. The studio’s current works are the thigh admiring Rokudo’s Bad Girls along with the upcoming Helck and Genesis of Aquarion Myth of Emotions.
Satelight has worked with and employs some of the best veterans in the anime industry. Their main creative staff comprises scenario writer Mariko Mochizuki (Somali and the Forest Spirit), visual director Hidekazu Sato (Aquarion Logos), editor Ryoko Kaneshige, director Yoshimasa Hiraike (AKB0048), CG director Hiroyuki Goto, and special advisor and vision creator Shoji Kawamori (Macross, Aquarion, etc.). Other notable directors include Tomokazu Tokoro, Kazuki Akane, and Junichi Wada.
Shoji Kawamori is the backbone of Satelight. His creations gave the studio both direction and originality in its early years. His first studio work was Earth Girl Arjuna, which he both wrote and directed. In 2002, Kawamori breathed new life into the Macross franchise with its spinoffs. His second original series for Satelight was Aquarion. Throughout the years, Kawamori would create stories, direct, and do mecha designs for many of Satelight’s shows like AKB0048. Kawamori’s work at the studio has earned him the title of “vision creator”.
Not to be outdone by Kawamori, Kazuki Akane has also contributed a lot to Satelight. Akane and Kawamori were behind Vision of Escaflowne. Two of my favorite series, Heat Guy J and Noein, are by Akane. Heat Guy J is about special services officer Daisuke Aurora and his relationship with his new android partner, J. They fight against organized crime and corruption in their city. Noein centers on a girl named Haruka whose existence puts her in the middle of a war between two alternate futures. I like Heat Guy J because of its found family theme that comes together nicely at the end. Noein is one of those shows that I rewatch to appreciate its complex story.
Studio Satelight is a top player in the sci-fi genre and their manga adaptations are of high quality, too. The studio started with veterans Shoji Kawamori and Kazuki Akane’s original stories laying the groundwork. Now adaptations are becoming more prevalent, but experienced hands are still behind them. That’s why I’m enjoying Rokudo’s Bad Girls. Satelight’s pedigree gives it the potential to expand beyond its sci-fi heritage.
With so many offerings, is Studio Satelight an otaku’s best friend? Speaking of best friends (see that clever move?!), how could you not like this crouch-crushing plushy of best friend Bond from Spy X Family? He might not actually guard your living room, but we love him.