Links to official and fan-run sites and youtube channels that cater well for what goes on behind-the-scenes of the anime, manga and game industry.
Before you start exploring, you may find @SeHNNG‘s translation of “Shirobako’s Glossary, with Pictures and Annotations,” and Washi’s write-up of the production process useful. Please also have a look at Thomas Romain’s breakdown of the roles and overlap between series director (監督) and episode director (演出).
For an more detailed overview of storyboarding, with particular reference to shot-types, camera angles and transitions and the effect they have on viewers, please see Brian Lemay’s excellent series of posts, starting here. You can also check out Every Frame a Painting for how this all these techniques come together in film. And if you want to know a bit more about animation in the West as a basis of comparison, this blog by a former Disney employee might help.
NB: I can verify that the word “scene” is used for “cut number” in at least some Japanese preprinted storyboards. However, the other two storyboard samples I currently have on hand do it differently: one divides it up into “scene # – shot #” and one uses just “C” (i.e. cut number)…
Finally, for any questions about why the animation for a particular episode fell apart (e.g. was it the budget?), or what happened to a particular studio that has disappeared since it made that old show you loved, make sure you checked out what Kevin et al are writing on the state of the anime industry.
often publishes articles on particular creators or shows.
Akuma de English
Anything and everything about Kuroshitsuji [Black Butler]
The Animator’s Corner
Which should eventually become the go to database on anime staffing in the English-speaking fandom.
Doesn’t seem to be updated anymore, but still has a treasure trove of older material that’s relevant for fans both old and new.
In their own words, this is “the Star Blazers / Space Battleship Yamato Fandom Archive,” full of interviews, analysis and commentary.
The Dao of Dragonball
The website run by Derek Padula, the world’s first professional Dragonball scholar.
(Eventual) home of everything Macross!
[ Empty Movement ]
The oldest, most comprehensive Revolutionary Girl Utena fansite on the WWW.
One of the best English-language blogs about Japanese pop culture, featuring translations, critical analyses and other interesting editorials.
Where long-time Macross fan Gubaba posts write-ups packed with intertextual references and behind-the-scenes tidbits. He’s currently translating the Macross Delta and Do You Remember Love? novels.
The Hayao MIYAZAKI Web
Everything Ghibli. The link takes you to a list of interviews with Ghibli staff.
Onna no Kantoku
Focused on women working on the production side of the anime industry.
Raindrops and Daydreams
A Sengoku Basara fansite where you can learn a lot about Japanese fan culture and how fans interact with creators. In particular, this post about the doujinshi culture is a MUST READ.
An in-depth look at animation highlights in your favourite anime works, and the artists behind them. All of the highlights — and more —can be found on the Sakuga Board. I also suggest checking out Kevin’s list of the animators at Kyoto Animation.
Schoolgirl Milky Crisis
Arguably the premiere blog about Japanese pop culture analysis and criticism, run by a historian, translator, scriptwriter and voice-over actor and director.
Secrets of the Slate
News and translations for K-Project — anime, mangas, novels, drama CDs and even tweets by the writing team, GoRA Project.
The most in-depth coverage of Japanese voice actors that I’ve ever come across. Mostly interview translations with the occasional review. If you’re interested in finding out about why someone got a certain role, this post on “Seiyuu castings, earnings and everything in between” is a good place to start.
Seki no Semimaru on Joker Game
Translations of some of the material from the official website and twitter accounts for the show.
Translations of staff and cast interviews and Japanese mystery and detective stories.
Focused on TYPE-MOON works, including Tsukihime and Fate/Zero.
The ultimate Kyoto Animation fanblog (pun intended): interview translations and the occasional series/BD review.
Wave Motion Cannon
Analyses, podcasts and interview translations about anime and those behind it.
Masterposts made by others
Has made some interesting videos that look into the application of various aspects of anime craft (link takes you straight to these).
The Canipa Effect
A channel “dedicated to uncovering the anime industry and the brilliant talents who make it work.”
Pause and Select
Explores the culture and context behind select anime and creators, like Rakugo Shinju and Hayao Miyazaki.
Has an “(in Anime) Series” of videos that also takes a look at elements of anime craft.
Under the Scope Reviews
Excellent analysis of visuals and other aspects of production craft. Mostly deals with current anime, but occasionally takes a dip into classics like Cowboy Bebop.
For those of you who are a bit more academically minded, here’s a site that tracks BD/DVD sales data in Japan, and here’s one that highlights news and developments in the growing field of anime and manga studies.