JCStaff’s Best Anime That Aren’t Food Wars or Toradora

Despite the name, JCStaff (Japan Creative) might not at first seem like a hard hitter in terms of anime studios, perhaps overshadowed by better-known companies such as Toei Animation or even the much newer MAPPA. However, the studio has been around since 1986 when it was formed by former Tatsunoko Production employee Miyata Tomoyuki.

Aside from fan favorites Food wars! and Toradora!JCStaff is best known today for his many fantasy and isekai anime adaptations, including Is it wrong to try to pick up girls in a dungeon?, In another world with my smartphone, How a realistic hero rebuilt the kingdom and 2022 The strongest sage with the weakest crest. Still, new anime viewers might be surprised to know that the studio has also worked on a much wider range of titles, from surreal magical girl romances to heartfelt coming-of-age dramas. Here are some of the best JCStaff has produced to date.

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Revolutionary Girl Utena (1997)

Orphaned at a young age, Tenjou Utena was once given a signet ring engraved with a rose by a traveling prince, who swore to her that they would meet again one day. Inspired by his nobility, Utena swore to become a prince herself. Now a high school student at Ootori Academy, Utena is abruptly drawn into a series of duels in order to win the hand of Anthy Himemiya, the mysterious “Rose Bride”, as her fiancée. However, while Utena only wishes to save and protect Anthy from her apparent fate, Anthy’s submissive personality masks a much darker truth.

Now an absolute classic of magical girl titles and anime as a whole, Revolutionary Girl Utena (Shojo Kakumei Utena) is a highly allegorical and symbolic 39-episode series that has had a huge impact on the industry. Conforming to and simultaneously subverting or deconstructing a number of character and thematic conventions, Utena has been compared to a variety of other titles, including Rose of Versailles and evangelization. Nonetheless, it’s definitely its own show, with an extremely distinct style and an atmosphere that oozes trippy surrealism.

Kare Kano / His Circumstances and Circumstances (1998-99)

Fifteen-year-old Miyazawa Yukino has it all: an elegant good looks, great academic and athletic abilities, and an outgoing but suitably modest personality. However, her no-nonsense attitude hides the fact that she works tirelessly behind the scenes to maintain her looks, grades, and social status. This is why she also secretly hates Arima Souichirou, a classmate who somehow dares to achieve even higher test scores. However, when Arima inadvertently discovers her true arrogance and vanity, her initial blackmail means that Yukino, in turn, discovers the real Arima, allowing genuine romance to blossom.

A collaboration between JCStaff and Gainax, Kare Kano (Kareshi Kanojo no Jijouliterally His situation and his situation) is a romantic comedy that, at least in terms of story and themes, has stood the test of time. A romantic comedy with strong elements of psychological drama, the show is very much a work of Anno Hideaki, though nowhere near as dark as evangelizationand viewers who enjoyed the 2021 romantic comedy Horimiya may also be interested in some of the similar topics that Kare Kano explore. Regardless, it’s an eerily charming and certainly compelling series worth watching back.

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Azumanga Daoh (2002)

When 10-year-old prodigy Mihama Chiyo begins life as a high school student, she is determined to fit in and befriend her older classmates. In the end, fitting in won’t be much of a problem, as she’s probably one of the more “normal” students in the class. Thanks to Kasuga Ayumu (aka “Osaka”), hyperactive pedant Takino Tomo, and even their overly laid-back homeroom teacher (and occasional bike thief) Tanizaki Yukari, this promises to be a high school experience like no other.

High school slice-of-life titles don’t get any more absurd than Azumanga Daohalthough later Good star and Nichijou could both get closer sometimes. AzumangaThe offbeat hijinks of come with 110% energy, so it’s not exactly a silent series that fits into the iyashikei slice-of-life mold; nonetheless, the occasional quieter moments still manage to be heartwarming, keeping the show from getting too intensely frantic. Its quirky cast is also growing rapidly with its audience, making the anime a must-watch for fans of intentionally bizarre humor and silly funny sketch comedy.

ROD the TV / Read or Die TV (2003-04)

Despite suffering from a prolonged writing block, Japanese novelist Sumiregawa Nenene travels to Hong Kong for a book signing, where she comes into contact with the three “paper sisters” – Michelle, Maggie and Anita – all of whom have the ability to handle paper. However, when Nenene’s hotel is bombed by a jealous aspiring writer, the sisters become her new bodyguards, later accompanying her to Tokyo. Here, the four women begin to unravel a tangle of mysteries surrounding Nenene’s missing friend, Yomiko Readman, as well as the British Library’s devious plot to rule the world through literary terrorism.

From science-fantasy and action to mystery and drama, the JCStaff/Studio Deen collaboration ROD TV/Read or Die TV (also sometimes called Read or Dream) has something for everyone — especially since despite being nearly two decades old, the series has aged remarkably well. With its cast of goofy but lovable characters and its unique and engaging plot, ROD is a surprisingly timeless series that should appeal to those in the mood for a charming yet fun action/adventure – or anyone with an insatiable passion for books.

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Bakuman (2010-13)

Inspired by his late uncle, high school student Mashiro Moritaka always dreamed of being a manga artist, though that dream is now dormant – until one of his classmates, the enigmatic Takagi Akito, an aspiring writer, convinces him to take up the pen professionally. With Takagi providing the stories and Mashiro doing the illustrations, the pair became known as Muto Ashirogi, with the goal of becoming the top mangaka in Japan – and for Mashiro to marry longtime crush Azuki Miho once their work will reach the pinnacle of success. .

Unquestionably one of the best shows about manga creation, BakumanThe greatest strength of is that the story follows its cast over several years, going from middle school to middle school and then to adulthood. This makes character growth feel both realistic and earned, with audiences following their arduous journey and witnessing their ups and downs in a way that almost feels like first-hand experience. Deftly weaving elements of drama and comedy into a slice-of-life title, BakumanThe 75 episodes of , it’s an investment in time, but well worth it.

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