Noriaki Ikeda (ed.), Anime daisuki! Yamato kara gandamu he (We Love Anime! From Yamato to Gundam), Tokuma Shoten, 1982
Book written for fans immediately after the anime boom hit its peak. The writings by authors well versed in anime convey the excitement of that era. This book is important for discussing Gainax’s work, the arrival of “moe” characters, and further developments in anime history.
Animage Henshubu (Animage Editorial Department), TV Anime 25 nenshi (25 Years of TV Anime History), Tokuma Shoten, 1988
This book was paired with “Gekijou Anime 70 Nenshi” (70 Years of Feature Film Anime), and covers ten years beyond the standard reference “Nihon Animation Eigashi (The History of Japanese Animation Film)" (1977). It is formatted like a dictionary of works, which makes it useful even today. In contrast, the recent edition of “Nihon TV Animation Taizen (Compete Japanese TV Animation)" (2014) is difficult to use.
Eiichi Yamamoto, Mushi puro koubouki – ANI MEITA no seishun (The Rise and Fall of Mushi Productions: The Youth of ‘Ani Metor’), Shinchosha, 1989
The author documents his experiences, which were almost entirely at Mushi Productions. It’s written like a novel, but the author says he faithfully recorded what actually happened. You can get a good grasp of the history of Mushi Productions with this book alongside “Tezuka Osamu Gekijou” (Osamu Tezuka Theater, Tezuka Productions editors, 1991).
Toei Doga (ed.), Majokko taizenshuu Toei Doga hen (Compendium of Magical Girls, Toei Doga edition), Bandai, 1993
Mook featuring magical girl anime, one of the types of series that symbolize Japanese anime, from “Mahotsukai Sarii” (Sally the Witch) to “Sailor Moon”. You can’t talk about magical girl anime without this reference, which has valuable data on the anime works.
B-CLUB (138-go) (B-Club No. 138), Bandai, 1997
Mook featuring magical girl anime, one of the types of series that symbolize Anime in Japan, from “Mahotsukai Sarii” (Sally the Witch) to “Sailor Moon”. You can’t talk about magical girl anime without this reference, which has valuable data on the anime works.
Yoshiyuki Tomino, Tomino Yoshiyuki zenshigoto – 1964-1999 (Yoshiyuki Tomino’s Complete Works – 1964-1999), Kinema Junposha, 1999
Yoshiyuki Tomino’s work after “Kidou Senshi Gandamu” (Mobile Suit Gundam) carries directly over into the history of Japanese anime. You’ll want to thoroughly read Tomino’s lengthy talk that revisits his upbringing, entry into Mushi Production, and “Turn A Gundam”.
Masahiro Haraguchi, Kenji Nagao, Masaoka Akahoshi, Tatsunoko puro insaidaazu (Tatsunoko Production Insiders), Kodansha, 2002
Interviews of 40 people involved in planning, direction, design, storyboarding and production design, including Tatsunoko Production founder Tatsuo Yoshida who produced TV anime including “Taimu Bokan” (Time Bokan). Basic reference for Tatsunoko Production research.
Sogetsu aato sentaa no kiroku jikko iinkai (Organizing Committee for the Sogetsu Art Center Record), Kagayake 60 nendai sogetsu aato sentaa no zenkiroku (Shine 1960s Complete Record of the Sogetsu Art Center), Film Art Sha, 2002
You might be surprised to see this book on this list, but you want to get a grasp on Sogetsu, which was the departure point for recent movements in the world of short animation. This work gives detailed coverage of Sogetsu’s activities at the time, and the organization even today questions what it means to “create.”
Satoshi Kusanagi, Amerika de nihon no anime ha, dou miraretekitano ka? (How has Japanese Anime Been Viewed in America?), Tokuma Shoten, 2003
This title might also come as a surprise, but this book proposes an alternative post-Atom Boy history through objectively assessing the ways that anime from “Astro Boy” to “Pokemon” has been received and critiqued in America.
Sunrise Kikakushitsu (Sunrise Planning Room), Kisousha, Sanraizu zen sakuhin shuusei I, II (Complete Sunrise Works I and II), Sunrise, 2007
Although not offered for sale, the highly useful content bringing together Sunrise’s complete works from 1977 to 2007 in a dictionary format. Many anime production companies have put together company histories, but this is a decisive volume about the history of Sunrise, which has been a leader in anime history.