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Old 2011-04-14, 03:40   Link #1
Pocari_Sweat
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P.A. Works: Studio discussion, speculation, and whatnot

Well since Gonzo, J.C. Staff, Kyoto Animation and Deen got their own threads, why not add some more . Would also prevent the Kyoto Animation studio discussion from being derailed any further than it already is.

Progressive Animation Works, more commonly known as P.A. Works is an upcomer studio that has gained attention in the community due to their high quality animation. Despite mixed opinions when it actually comes to plot and narrative direction, they recently sprung up in the spotlight with their commercially succesfully Angel Beats series.

The studio had the primary responsibility in producing the following series:

True Tears (TV) - 2008
Canaan (TV) - 2009
Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva (Movie) - 2009
Angel Beats (TV) - 2010

They have also produced two one-shots - Family targeted Mai no Mahou to Katei no Hi' and Young Animator Project piece Bannou Yasai Ninninman. This season they are currently airing Hanasaku Iroha which will be their first 2-cour (2 season) length anime.

Prior to becoming an independent, they mainly worked in co-operation with Production I.G. and Bee Train.

So what does fellow Animesuki posters think about the studio?
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Old 2011-04-14, 03:59   Link #2
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They haven't been around for long, but they usually put out good animation, nothing they've put out has been really awful. I say they're going places.
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Old 2011-04-14, 05:28   Link #3
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I've liked pretty much everything I've seen them produce. They sure as hell know how to produce great animation and masterful dialogue.

True Tears, Canaan and Angel Beats got mixed responses but it looks like most people love Hanasaku Iroha.
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Old 2011-04-14, 07:43   Link #4
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Well PA Works have four shows with their name on it:
true tears: I personally wasn't as hooked to this series as others but it's a highly acclaimed series. It's animation is very beautiful too.

CAANAN: Average action series for me and it didn't get nearly that much critical acclaim as true tears. Animation proved PA Works to be one of the best in the industry.

Angel Beats:I personally liked it but it has glaring faults here and there. It has critical responses ranging from horrible to awesome. Animation is exceptional but not nearly as clean as PA Works 2 previous series.

Hansaku Iroha: For now it looks very promising. It's receiving lots of praises already with its two episodes aired. Animation is also above exceptional, one of the best this season. In my opinion, so far the two series that are competing for the most stunning animation this season is this and Nichijou(KyoAni lol).
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Old 2011-04-14, 07:43   Link #5
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top animation studio as of today, but their stories can't keep up with the animation.

True Tears is a masterpiece. people just don't like it because of the lack of comedy they expect in a show like that. plus they did such a good job at developing the characters that when one lost, it caused explosions and angst among the viewers. I'm just going to plug my "one destination, several detours" theory on the plot here.

Canaan, as an action anime, was amazing. as a storytelling vessel, not so much. but watching this for the story is like watching Iron Man or Battlefield LA for the plot.. you can do it, but its not exactly the best way to watch it.

Angel Beats had a ton of wasted potential. if they had 26 eps to develop everything and flesh everything out, i'm completely convinced that it would have been one of the best shows ever made. unfortunately, that wasn't the case and we got a case of WTF with the last few eps, before the last ep actually wrapped up things quite well.

Hanasaku Iroha has been the best show so far this season. if they can keep the level of the show up, i have no doubt it'll be just as good as True Tears.
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Old 2011-04-14, 08:41   Link #6
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What I like about PA Works is that they have an animation/art style quality to their work that's roughly on par with Kyoto Animation's, but unlike Kyoto Animation, PA Works has shown that it can make very successful and well-received anime originals.

True Tears, for all intents and purposes, is an anime original. Yes, it shares the same name of a certain Visual Novel, but the anime True Tears has a story entirely separate from that of the Visual Novel of the same name, involving an entirely different character cast too.

Angel Beats! was anime original, and so is Hanasaku Iroha.

(I myself haven't seen Canaan, or Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva, so I can't comment on those)


So far, what I've seen of PA Works looks great on the whole, and I certainly look forward to seeing what else they can do in the future.
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Old 2011-04-14, 13:36   Link #7
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Not that excited over them, but True Tears was a subtle anime in places, something anime horrifically lacks.

They haven't truly moved me with anything, but I think they could go in that direction. Clearly, they have excellent music/animation that helps give you atmosphere. They really should have done Yosuga no Sora. Now that's a show that needed subtlety

But I can trust them to not produce effortless garbage-- I can't say the same about well... other studios.

They will either make or break with Hana Saku Iroha, though it does seem like make is more likely.
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Old 2011-04-14, 23:32   Link #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archon_Wing View Post
Not that excited over them, but True Tears was a subtle anime in places, something anime horrifically lacks.

They haven't truly moved me with anything, but I think they could go in that direction. Clearly, they have excellent music/animation that helps give you atmosphere. They really should have done Yosuga no Sora. Now that's a show that needed subtlety

But I can trust them to not produce effortless garbage-- I can't say the same about well... other studios.

They will either make or break with Hana Saku Iroha, though it does seem like make is more likely.
Wait, P.A. works did YnS? I wasn't aware of that...

Personally I've seen Canaan which was a great series for actions with decent plot, and Angel beats was well it did a lot of things right, but had some obvious mistakes too . Though they're great animation that's for sure and don't seem to really cut corners in their shows for animation or music.
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Old 2011-04-14, 23:38   Link #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Konakaga View Post
Wait, P.A. works did YnS? I wasn't aware of that...

Personally I've seen Canaan which was a great series for actions with decent plot, and Angel beats was well it did a lot of things right, but had some obvious mistakes too . Though they're great animation that's for sure and don't seem to really cut corners in their shows for animation or music.
They didn't. I just thought they should, as I think they could make it better.
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Old 2011-04-14, 23:49   Link #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archon_Wing View Post
They didn't. I just thought they should, as I think they could make it better.
Oh, that makes more sense .
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Old 2011-04-15, 00:01   Link #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
True Tears, for all intents and purposes, is an anime original. Yes, it shares the same name of a certain Visual Novel, but the anime True Tears has a story entirely separate from that of the Visual Novel of the same name, involving an entirely different character cast too.

Angel Beats! was anime original, and so is Hanasaku Iroha.
Just wanting to add that Canaan is also for all intents and purposes,an anime original.
It shares characters from the game "428" but the story is different.

So this is a studio that has yet to do a straightforward adaptation.

Of interest:has this ever been translated?

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Old 2011-04-15, 00:05   Link #12
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It's great too see a studio stick to doing original anime shows in this day and age.
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Old 2011-04-16, 23:01   Link #13
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Well, it looks like notaminA's AnoHana is taking the spotlight away from Hanasaku Iroha. I'll admit, I enjoyed AnoHana more, but HanaIro has still been excellent. As this season has been absolutely superb and there's fierce competition, if this aired even 2 seasons ago, HanaIro would have easily been the season's favourite.

Meanwhiles, Mari Okada probably has the widest grin right now.
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Old 2011-04-17, 00:13   Link #14
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About Hanasaku Iroha,are P.A works the only ones producing?Normally you see a "production commitee" or at least more than one company,but here all I see is PA works.

For exemple True Tears had Bandai behind it , angel beats had aniplex.

Also,there's still to me this contraction of PA works biggest seller being Angel Beats and yet that show is the one that feels the least like it comes from them.

Now there's the fact that Angel Beats is the only (major) P.A works anime without Okada Mari involved in the script,but also animation wise,the Chief animation director and character desiner has been the same for all shows except Angel Beats!: Sekiguchi Kanami (though she still worked on Angel Beats! in a lesser position).
Hirata Katsuzo , who replaced her,and that's Hirata 's only involvment with P.A works.

Mabe that's why I feel that the look of the anime isn't quite the same as the others

So when 3 out of 4 shows share the same scriptwriter
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Old 2011-04-17, 01:13   Link #15
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Well Angel Beats was something they worked with together on with Key so of course Mari was out and Key's writer in Maeda Jun was in. Maeda is Key so you had to have in that position... As for why it sold and the rest of their works didn't? It clearly appeals to the current trends a lot more than their other productions.

Maybe Iroha would've have been 2 cours long without Angel beats.. if doing an Angel Beats every now and than gets us some 2 cour long original animations than I'm all for it.

Also looks like Iroha's already been animated upto the 10th episode.

http://animapple.blogspot.com/2011/0...completed.html
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Old 2011-04-17, 01:31   Link #16
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As Westlo said, the reason why Angel Beats felt out of place was because the script writer was Jun Maeda. Jun Maeda's writing definitely appeals more to the otaku base, whilst Mari Okada writing (her slice of based works) seems to be more of a style out of an Asian Drama. Jun Maeda has quite a lot of slapstick comedy and anime humour followed by intense moments of drama (often over-the-top), whilst Mari Okada style is more transitional but its drama moments aren't as intensive or over the top.

And as this is anime, where the primary audience are otaku males, Jun Maeda's style is much more popular. It's too bad that teenage girls/young adult women, whom Mari Okada's style is most suited for (as it seems Asian drama like) don't tend to watch anime. I can already see sparks and similarities of True Tears in Hanasaku Iroha, but I hardly see any Angel Beats like writing. And we already know how True Tears bombed in sales, despite getting generally positive reviews.

Unfortunately, I predict the same for Hanasaku Iroha. P.A. Works is almost falling into the same trap that the notaminA timeslot has lately been facing (this slot was originally aimed at young adult women, but viewership amongst this demography has been falling with each passing season), although AnoHana for some bizzare reason has a lot of pre-order Bluray/DVD already. It's a good thing they did a otaku-centric show to keep their business functioning online or else I'm pretty sure Hanasaku Iroha wouldn't have existed.

Like Westlo, I'll be more than happy if P.A. Works does a "cash cow" series once in a while to stay afloat if they need the funds to do quality series in the future. This approach is vastly different from say Kyoto Animation who have been a purely an otaku-centric "fluff" studio in recent years.

Personally, if I was part of the P.A. Works management team, I would expect Hanasaku Iroha to not do well sales-wise (rating wise it would be pretty high) and prepare the next otaku-centric show in advance. This might even possibly be say Little Busters, which has been dying for an adaptation and I'm pretty sure that P.A. Works will be able to handle it, as long as they get 2-cour worth of slots. Assuming that does well, they go for another "quality but not popular" series, possibly something entirely out of the slice of life genre altogether - something like an sci-fi or fantasy/adventure story. This of course is all just my personal speculation, and is more than likely not going to turn out this way.
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Old 2011-04-17, 05:07   Link #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by totoum View Post
About Hanasaku Iroha,are P.A works the only ones producing?Normally you see a "production commitee" or at least more than one company,but here all I see is PA works.
There's a production committee, although the members aren't listed. Pony Canyon sells the DVDs/BDs, so they're possibly on board.

P.A. Works itself is credited as the original creator and animation studio.

Quote:
Unfortunately, I predict the same for Hanasaku Iroha. P.A. Works is almost falling into the same trap that the notaminA timeslot has lately been facing (this slot was originally aimed at young adult women, but viewership amongst this demography has been falling with each passing season), although AnoHana for some bizzare reason has a lot of pre-order Bluray/DVD already.
Hanasaku Iroha runs the risk of hitting an uncomfortable middle ground - not otaku-oriented enough to be a must-have for its target audience, but too otaku-oriented to interest other people (although attempting the latter is almost doomed to fail anyway). Nevertheless, it's showing a little sales potential, so we'll have to wait and see how consumers respond to the next episodes.

I'm also surprised by the success of Anohana, but I feel that the otaku hooks are stronger there (brooding teenaged male perspective, Menma's role as a moe character + the expressiveness of the animation in terms of presenting emotion. It's done in a way that's popular with otaku, and there's significantly less subtlety when compared to Hanasaku Iroha), and Nagai's knack with directing melodrama seems to have left a strong impression. At its root, Anohana draws on the strengths that made Toradora! a big hit (and Nagai a popular director) even if the content panders to otaku as little as possible.

As for noitaminA, the choice of programming was its undoing, although the producers arguably had no choice given the pressure to achieve financial success. If you're targeting a specific demographic, you've got to keep providing the kind of content they demand or viewers will lose interest.
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Old 2011-04-17, 08:57   Link #18
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There's a production committee, although the members aren't listed. Pony Canyon sells the DVDs/BDs, so they're possibly on board.
Thanks,that reassures me.

I know Angel Beats! was a Jun Maeda/Key creation but Maeda had never written for anime before and I've seen manga and VN writers who go all out into anime writing but with help of someone who's already experienced,they didn't handle the whole script themselves on their first ever anime project.
Didn't have to be Okada Mari but I feel Maeda shouldn't have been alone even if it was his concept.

Of course Angel Beats was a commercial success so it's not like my opinion really matters in the end
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Old 2011-04-17, 10:09   Link #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TJR View Post



Hanasaku Iroha runs the risk of hitting an uncomfortable middle ground - not otaku-oriented enough to be a must-have for its target audience, but too otaku-oriented to interest other people (although attempting the latter is almost doomed to fail anyway). Nevertheless, it's showing a little sales potential, so we'll have to wait and see how consumers respond to the next episodes.

I'm also surprised by the success of Anohana, but I feel that the otaku hooks are stronger there (brooding teenaged male perspective, Menma's role as a moe character + the expressiveness of the animation in terms of presenting emotion. It's done in a way that's popular with otaku, and there's significantly less subtlety when compared to Hanasaku Iroha), and Nagai's knack with directing melodrama seems to have left a strong impression. At its root, Anohana draws on the strengths that made Toradora! a big hit (and Nagai a popular director) even if the content panders to otaku as little as possible.
Very astute analysis. I largely if not entirely agree with you here.

In addition to what you wrote, I think that nostalgia is a big selling point for otakus. In other words, I think that otakus are drawn to animes that idealize youth, and the days of one's youth.

Hana-Saku Iroha is a straight-up no-looking-back coming of age story. It affords little, if anything, in the way of nostalgia (i.e. idealizing a youthful existence). At least this is the case so far.

Anohana has its male lead in a very angst-ridden situation, but it nonetheless has a real streak of nostalgia to it, merely harkening back even further to an idealized pre-teen/kid existence.


This is not to comment on the relative quality of either show, mind you, merely to point out where one can have a more natural appeal to otakus than the other.

I think that a lot of K-On's success, for example, is due to how it idealizes teenage life. That resonates very strongly with otakus, as I see it in a wide swath of animes (if not the majority of them).


Quote:
As for noitaminA, the choice of programming was its undoing, although the producers arguably had no choice given the pressure to achieve financial success. If you're targeting a specific demographic, you've got to keep providing the kind of content they demand or viewers will lose interest.
Agreed.

I think that some noitaminA's more recent choices of programming fell into precisely that sort of uncomfortable middle ground that you were describing.
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Old 2011-04-18, 10:47   Link #20
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I haven't got around to watching Episode 3 of Hanasaku (or two for that matter) since I've been trying to watch as many opening episodes of this season.... But whatever happened in Episode 3 set off a lot of preorders... Vol 1 is now currently @ #25 when it was only appearing in the 90-100 range every now and than before that. There's another 7 volumes in the 50-68 range for preorders.

4th best performing show of the season (not counting KyoAni's which hasn't listed) so it might do alright. Don't think it will catch AnoHana, Tiger & Bunny + Steins;Gate but who knows... Steins;Gate is losing momentum.
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