Sunrise, Inc. (株式会社サンライズ Kabushiki-gaisha Sanraizu?) is a Japanese animation studio and production enterprise. It is a subsidiary of Namco Bandai Holdings. Its former name was Nippon Sunrise, and prior to that, Sunrise Studios. Its headquarters is located in Suginami, Tokyo. Among Japan's largest and most famous studios, Sunrise is renowned for several critically lauded and popular original anime series, such as Gundam, Armored Trooper Votoms, Vision of Escaflowne, Cowboy Bebop, Witch Hunter Robin, Mai-HiME, Mai-Otome, Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion, as well as its numerous adaptations of acclaimed manga and light novels such as Dirty Pair, City Hunter, InuYasha, Outlaw Star, Yakitate!! Japan, Planetes, Keroro Gunso, Gin Tama and several others. Because of the fluidity of much of their work, some fans refer to some of their animation as "Sunrise Smooth." Anime created by Sunrise that have won the Animage Anime Grand Prix prize are Mobile Suit Gundam in 1979 and the first half of 1980, Space Runaway Ideon in the second half of 1980, Crusher Joe (co-production) in 1983, Dirty Pair in 1985, Future GPX Cyber Formula in 1991, Gundam SEED in 2002, Gundam SEED Destiny in 2004 and 2005, Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion in 2006 and 2007 and Code Geass R2 in 2008.
According to an interview with members of Sunrise the studio was founded by former members of Mushi Production in 1972, under the name Sunrise Studio, Ltd. (有限会社サンライズスタジオ Yugen-kaisha Sanraizu Sutajio?). Rather than having production of anime revolve around a single creator, as was the case for Mushi, which was headed by Osamu Tezuka, Sunrise decided that production should focus around the producers, a strategy that continues to this date. The market for mainstream anime, such as manga adaptations, sports shows, and adaptations of popular children's stories, was dominated by existing company, and as such, Sunrise decided to focus on robot anime, which were known to be more difficult to animate, but could be used as promotion to sell toys. Sunrise's specialization on robot anime continues to this date. There are numerous sub-divisions (including Sunrise No. 1 Studio, No. 2 Studio, Sunrise Iogi Studio (previously featuring the works of Yoshiyuki Tomino and currently those of Gorō Taniguchi), and Sunrise Emotion Studio (featuring Katsuhiro Otomo), which are headed by Sunrise producers and directors assigned to the production of particular series. Sunrise has been involved in many popular and acclaimed anime television series, including Mobile Suit Gundam (and all its various spinoffs and sequels since 1979), the Mashin Eiyūden Wataru series (1988–1997), the Yūsha series (1990–1997), the Eldran series (1991–1993) which has now become part of the Yūsha series since the Takara Tomy merger, and the Crest of the Stars series (1999–2001). They produced the apocalyptic Space Runaway Ideon in 1980. They have co-produced a number of series with Toei Animation, including Chōdenji Robo Combattler V (1976), Chōdenji Machine Voltes V (1977), Tōshō Daimos (1978), and Cyborg 009 (1979). Sunrise is especially known for their mecha anime series (including Gundam) such as Invincible Steel Man Daitarn 3 (1978), Fang of the Sun Dougram (1981), the Armored Trooper Votoms and Aura Battler Dunbine series (1983), Blue Comet SPT Layzner (1985), Patlabor (1989), The Vision of Escaflowne (1996), The Big O (1997), Overman King Gainer (2002), Zegapain (2007), and Code Geass (2006/2008). They even worked alongside Tsuburaya Productions to animated the anime The Ultraman (1979). Sunrise has produced a variety of non-mecha works as well, including Crusher Joe (1983), Dirty Pair (1985), Mister Ajikko (1987), Obatarian (1990), Cowboy Bebop (1998), Infinite Ryvius (1999), Seraphim Call (1999), InuYasha (2000), s-CRY-ed (2001), Yakitate!! Japan (2004), Kekkaishi (2006) and Freedom Project (2006). A number of staff from Sunrise have gone on to form independent animation companies which have become well known in their own rights: Studio Deen was founded by Hiroshi Hasegawa and Takeshi Mochida, Bones was founded by Masahiko Minami, and Manglobe was produced by Shinichirō Kobayashi and Takashi Kochiyama.
Usually any anime originally produced by Sunrise, Inc and Bandai and licensed by Bandai Visual in Japan is licensed and distributed in the United States by Bandai Entertainment and licensed and distributed in Europe by Beez Entertainment.