Studio Sunrise renamed to Bandai Namco Films: Why Gundam creator changed their name

Sunrise, known for being the top dog in the mecha genre, changed their name to Bandai Namco Filmworks.
Sunrise, known for being the top dog in the mecha genre, changed their name to Bandai Namco Filmworks. Pic credit: Bandai Namco

On February 9th, Studio Sunrise announced that they would officially be changing their name to Bandai Namco Filmworks starting April 1st, 2022.

Sunrise has operated as a subsidiary of Bandai since 1993, and stayed as a subsidiary even following Bandai’s merger with Namco back in 2009. This name change comes with some degree of surprise, as they’d been allowed to stay mostly independent for the past thirty years or so in terms of anime production.

The official stated reason for the name change from Studio Sunrise to Bandai Namco Filmworks is a corporate restructuring for Bandai Namco, which began last year with the logo redesign they did and apparently culminated in a total rebrand of all subsidiaries in both logos and naming conventions. It’s claimed that Sunrise and Emotion will be merging to create that singular Bandai Namco Filmworks studio in an attempt to simplify their portfolio.

What will happen to Studio Sunrise now?

Effective April 1st, Sunrise, Bandai Namco Arts, Bandai Namco Marketing, and Emotion will be merging into the singular company Bandai Namco Filmworks. The current president of Studio Sunrise, Makoto Asanuma, will become the president and CEO of Bandai Namco Filmworks.

Sunrise’s music division, which handles the music distribution for its various anime including LoveLive!, will be merging with Bandai Namco’s Live Creative division to become Bandai Namco Music Live on April 1st, too.

Their name, though — Sunrise? That will apparently be kept as a title for branding purposes, but the official corporate entity behind the company will be renamed to Bandai Namco Filmworks.

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What shows has Sunrise worked on before?

Studio Sunrise is one of the most accomplished studios around, having worked on Gundam, LoveLive!, Cross Ange, Code Geass, Gintama, Cowboy Bebop, and so many more. It’s also one of the oldest operating studios, having been in operation for over fifty years at this point.

It’s clear that, having worked on so many legendary shows in the past, the legacy of Sunrise is one that isn’t to be underestimated.

This name change, to some, reflects a changing of the guard and the fall of a titan — Sunrise’s legacy has been so cemented that it’s difficult to think that it could ever change.

However, Bandai Namco had the following to say regarding the name change:

“The individuality of Sunrise is something that we have built over the past 40 years, and we will attempt to continue to grow it as our most important brand.”

Only time will tell if their words ring true.

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