Founded in 1972, Sunrise Inc. is one of Japan’s most famous anime studios. The studio’s corporate name will be no more starting this spring.
IT Media reports that Sunrise will become Bandai Namco Filmworks as of April 1st 2022. Bandai Namco Arts and Bandai Namco Marketing will merge with Sunrise to form the new entity. Sunrise president Makoto Asanuma will assume the role as president and CEO of Bandai Namco Filmworks.
This is no April Fools’ Day joke, as that’s the day the Japanese financial year begins. When companies make changes, such as rebranding or mergers, then the new name will go into effect on the first. What’s more, Sunrise Music, the studio’s music subsidiary, will also join forces with Bandai Namco Live Creative to create Bandai Namco Music Live.
In an official release, Bandai Namco explains that this restructuring will better leverage expertise.
Sunrise has been in the company’s portfolio for decades. Bandai acquired the anime studio in 1993 years before it later merged with Namco in 2006, establishing Bandai Namco.
Sunrise was established by former staff of Mushi Production, which was originally an anime studio headed up by Osamu Tezuka. Sunrise has created some of the most iconic anime ever, including Gundam and its spin-offs, Sgt. Frog, Cowboy Bebop, Gin Tama, City Hunter, Inuyasha, Tiger and Bunny, and Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion, among many others.
This isn’t the first name change for Sunrise. The studio was founded as Sunrise Studio, but the corporate moniker was changed to Nippon Sunrise Inc. in 1976. Then, in 1987, the studio’s name became Sunrise Inc., dropping the “Nippon.” Throughout its entire history, however, the word “sunrise” has remained. Its removal does feel like a turning point—a loss, even.
According to Bandai Namco’s official release, it does seem that Sunrise could remain as a brand. But as a corporate entity, starting this April, the sun has set.