It’s time, readers, to take a trip to the distant past. To the far-off year of 1986.
In 1986, forer Tatsunoko Production member Tomoyuki Miyata took a small step forward, founding a small studio known as J.C. Staff (Japan Creative Staff). They were a group of unknowns, facing a cutthroat industry that could have easily led to ruin.
But, against all odds, the studio persevered. In 1987, the studio made its production début with action-comedy OVA Elf 17. What put the studio on the map, though, came later in the year. In May 21, the first episode of the Yotoden1 OVA hit retailers across Japan. The title won fans over with a tale of feudal times, holy weapons, and the mighty Oda Nobunaga.
The crew would continue to cut their teeth on OVAs, releasing numerous direct-to-video features, including:
- Kosuke and Rikimaru: Dragon of Konpei Island (9/23/1988)
- Cleopatra DC (4/28/1989 – 5/24/1991)
- Blood Reign: Curse of the Undead Yoma (5/1/1989 – 6/1/1989)
- Earthian (7/26/1989 – 12/21/1996)
- Takegami: Guardian of Darkness (3/23/1990 – 1/24/1992)
In June 23, 1990, J.C. Staff had much to celebrate, with their first feature film project. Gude Crest – The Emblem of Gude, which adapted Reiko Hikawa’s manga of the same name, proved to be the studio’s foot in the door, so to speak.
Suddenly, the projects started to grow bigger, both in size and prestige. In 1991, J.C. Staff kicked off their OVA adaptation of The Heroic Legend of Arslan. In Summer 1994, they made their TV début with Metal Fighter Miku, an early work by uber director Akiyuki Shinbo.
Then came The Slayers. In 1995, J.C. Staff became the steward of sorceress Lina Inverse’s journeys through the anime world, and introducing anime fans across the globe to her universe. The charismatic cast of heroes and villains alike, from the adorkable Gourry, to snarky sorcerer Xelloss, continues to enchant folks two decades later.
From here, the parade of hits seems to spring eternal. Revolutionary Girl Utena, Excel Saga, Azumanga Daioh, Food Wars!, A Certain Magical Index, and countless others fall under the company’s banner. This season, the studio’s working on psychological card game series Lostorage incited WIXOSS.
To celebrate their 30th anniversary, J.C. Staff released a short video, which offers a fond glimpse back at the company’s history.
1: Yotoden would be compiled into a feature-length title in 1989. The movie was released in the west as Wrath of the Ninja.