A Look Back at Studio Bones: Panel Live Blog

Crunchyroll Expo 2022 is back in full swing, and all eyes are on the main stage right thanks to Studio Bones. The convention has brought the studio's co-founder and president to speak with fans, so Masahiko Minami has brought a full house. The crowd is hyped to hear about Bungo Stray Dogs, Mob Psycho 100, My Hero Academia, and more. 

Chris Han is moderating the panel, and everyone is excited to see the president. He says the photo shown on the Crunchyroll website shows him when work was going on with Space Dandy, so it is a bit out of date. He needs to take a new picture next year for the panel. 

First up, Minami is asked what it is like being the president of Studio Bones and what it looks like on a daily basis. He feels more like a producer because he works with the rest of them at Bones. He collaborates on all the projects from design to script. In a single day, he checks his many emails before moving to meetings in the afternoon. At night, he dabbles with alcohol to wind down. It is usually with other coworkers whether at Bones or elsewhere. They discuss what is going on at work, so Minami considers it work. 

As for how he got into anime, Minami goes back and says he really loved anime as a child. His favorite at the time was Moonbeam from Finland. He also grew up with other anime like Space Battleship Yamato and Gundam. He had a deep interest in media and studied it in college. So as he began working, he moved to animation. Actually, Minami says he wanted to be a director. He was a big fan of Tomino Yoshiyuki of Gundam, so he worked first at Sunrise but Minami learned he appreciated direct production more than directing overall. 

Minami is asked which of the studio's anime got the company recognized the most, and he says Fullmetal Alchemist. It brought everyone to Bones and helped them become aware of its offerings. During that era, Bones was working on Wolf's Reign and Ouran with FMA. These were the projects that put Bones on the worldwide stage, so Bones looks to them as their global foundation. 

Eureka 7: Hi-Evolution is brought to the table. Minami is asked why the three films were ordered after Bones did the original anime. Minami says they worked on the original show 16-17 years ago. The thought here was to watch the first anime before checking out the rest of the franchise. After making the Eureka movie, the team went on to discuss the idea of reimagining the original anime as a film trilogy. With these movies, Minami's team wanted to make these films to set a new tone that would set up the franchise's next projects. So, of course, Minami wants us to look forward to more to come. 

Minami is then asked about Josse and the Tiger Fish as the romance anime was met with wild praise. Minami is asked what led Bones to option the story, and he says it was unlike other stuff Bones did. There were no robots, no explosions, and no fights. The director, who also worked on Noragami, wanted to try out something new with a movie. Josse became that challenge because it was a new type of work. The team insisted it move forward, and Minami asked if there was going to be any action, but they said no. However, the team was so passionate that Minami agreed to green light the show. 

As for SK8: The Infinity, the president is asked how the unusual story came to life. Minami says the producer of Josse also oversaw this skateboarding series, and again, when he asked about action or robots being involved – there was nothing. However, Minami says he was interested in skateboarding because he likes sports in general. They had never found an opportunity to do a sports series before, and since the producer was insistent, SK8 was broadcast for a season. However, he can see the show was very popular with fans domestically and abroad, so Minami sees the show as a success. 

When it comes to titles for this year, The Case Study of Vanitas is brought up, and Minami said he was excited to work on this show because of its action. The original publisher Square Enix was familiar to Bones because of FMA. When they pitched this latest series, Minami found it was great and had excellent art. However, the art was so delicate that it would be hard to capture in animation easily. Vanitas was only for two cours, and there is a lot left that Bones could not explore, so Minami hopes they can still explore the series further. 

When asked what the most challenging aspect there is to animating Mob Psycho 100, Minami says the webcomic's creator has amazing world-building skills. However, in animation, that can be tricky as you deal with environments. Minami wanted to treat it well and accurately. In most anime series, even at Bones, there is a hybrid structure when it comes to adding CGI and hand-drawn work. However, MP100 is entirely done by hand. However, Minami says it is incredibly hard to do all hand-drawn work because it is such a struggle. It is in its own work when it comes to effort. 

Now, Bungo Stray Dogs season four is brought to the center stage. Minami is asked how pacing is handled with the anime given its complex story, and he says that with the original source material, the creator helps so much with the script. Every cour has the director work with the creator to make sure the story flows without any hiccups. This is unusual, but they do it to make sure the anime's core story is not lost in translation. For season four, the director worked with every exec overseeing Bungo Stray Dogs. He is working on it every single day from storyboarding to individual frames and beyond. So if fans can continue to appreciate and watch, Minami says he'd be grateful. 

My Hero Academia is brought up, and Bones is working on season six. Minami is asked how the company can put out content yearly and keep up quality. The president says everyone does their best to start. With MHA, the source content is coming out weekly, so the anime is almost annual in its handling. Studio C is constantly working on the anime all year with no asides to make sure the cours are ready each year for release. One good thing about keeping MHA in one studio allows those animators to grow their skills each season. However, that means their visions clash and time and lead to bickering. But in the end, it has given Bones very talented animators. Horikoshi, the MHA creator, is said to be way too amazing. The team at Bones is chasing the artist at his pace, so if the studio does not do its best, they would be betraying the creator. Season six will have lots of fights and there will be lots of fights in season six, he promises. 


Are you excited to check out Bones' next big projects? Which of its series is your favorite? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB.