From Naruto to Gundam, a Historic Anime Archive Is Closing Soon

Tokyo Laboratory, a historic anime archive and editing house, is shutting down this fall.

Technology changes everything, and that is very true in the world of entertainment. Over the decades, we have seen film and television shift into the digital age. The anime industry has taken that same path which led to one company's recent dissolution. In November, a major anime archive is shutting down, and it helped bring anime to the mainstream for nearly 70 years.

The report comes from Tokyo Laboratory as the company confirmed it will be shutting down this fall. The company said it is shutting its editing and processing work due to aa change in business environment. The company, which is owned by TOHO, admitted anime's shift to digital cinema packages and storage has made much of its work obsolete. So now, Tokyo Laboratories is trying to send the anime originals in its vault home before they get destroyed.

According to the company's latest announcement, it plans to dispose of any film originals in its possession at the end of October. Of course, Tokyo Laboratories is reaching out to creators about their stored footage, but some clients have not been reached. At this point, there is no public list available of what originals are left at Tokyo Laboratories, but animation historians are hopeful all the footage will be saved.

If you are curious about this archive's history, Tokyo Laboratory began in 1955 under TOHO. It has worked in editing and archiving since day one while also performing film development. In its heyday, Tokyo Laboratories was the premiere place to store anime originals for film and television due to their storage capacity. Franchises such as Naruto, Mobile Suit Gundam, Astro Boy, Detective Conan, and more used the company's services. So hopefully, Tokyo Laboratory will be able to send all of its archival footage home before its disposal deadline comes around.

What do you make of this latest anime industry announcement? Do you think the industry's shift to digital distribution has been for the best? Let us know what you think in the comments below as well as on Twitter and Instagram. You can also hit me up @MeganPetersCB to share your take!