Anime production house Tatsunoko Productions was originally founded in 1962 as a rival studio to Toei, with the intent of producing high quality TV animation. Having produced franchises such as Speed Racer, Samurai Pizza Cats and Macross, Tatsunoko are often regarded as one of the reasons behind the early popularity of anime in the west.
Following in the wake of their success, numerous other animation studios began to crop up, several with their origins connected to Tatsunoko in some manner. For example, Studio Pierrot was founded in 1979 by former Tatsunoko employees, and in 1987, Mitsuhisa Ishikawa and character designer Takayuki Goto (Hunter x Hunter) founded an animation studio named IG Tatsunoko Ltd., as an off-shoot branch of the studio. At the time, Tatsunoko owned stake in IG Tatsunoko, along with fellow shareholder Hideaki Hatta of Kyoto Animation, who would later oversee the Haruhi animated efforts as producer.
How the times have changed. Now, Production I.G. are part of an independent company and widely recognized in both the games and anime space for their work across numerous prolific projects such as Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Fire Emblem and The Sky Crawlers. In recent years, they’ve also been responsible for nurturing talent in the form of their own off-shoot studios such as Bee Train, and earlier this week, the firm announced that they were looking to acquire a whopping 11.2% stake in Tatsunoko Productions.
As part of the deal, Ishikawa will serve as part-time director for Tatsunoko. More interestingly, his wife, Michiru Ishikawa — producer on several I.G. projects — is the daughter of Tatsuo Yoshida, founder of Tatsunoko. Even beyond their origins, the two studios are practically family.