An anime production company (アニメ制作会社) is a company engaged in the actual production of commercial animation (animated TV shows, animated movies, etc.). The Japan Animation Association has been established as a general incorporated association of which many production companies are members. Most of the companies in Japan are based in Tokyo (mainly in Suginami Ward), but some are located in regional areas. (e.g. Kyoto/Kyoto Animation, Toyama/P.A.WORKS, Osaka/GoHands)
Even the largest companies have only a few hundred employees, a very small number. In particular, today's animators need to be highly skilled, and it is so advertised that it is difficult to hire even contract employees, let alone full-time employees.
Now that the digitization of drawing has progressed, it is said that there is almost no difference in visual quality between different studios. There are rumors about high and low quality studios, but in most cases, the difference is merely a matter of budget and production time (Hayao Miyazaki's insistence on hand drawn animation for Ponyo is said to be one of the reasons). However, it is not a mistake that each company is good at battle scenes, long-running series, parodies, and so on, and that the style differs from company to company depending on the staff members belonging to each company.
Although often confused, production and sales companies (companies that release and sell BD/DVD packages, such as Aniplex, Bandai Visual, and Pony Canyon) are completely different.
Anime production companies are only in charge of production work ordered by the production company or production committee, and do not suffer much direct disadvantage even if the anime does not sell well. However, this is an important issue for companies that are also involved in production (e.g., Studio Ghibli).
List of Animation Production Companies