Kyoto Animation has had quite a year. With "Free! Special Series: Take Your Marks," the Uji, Kyoto-based anime studio will have released no less than five theatrical films and two television series in the past 13 months.

That's quite a clip, but even more impressive than the quantity of Kyoto Animation's output is its quality. KyoAni, as fans refer to the studio, has been lauded for both the technical level of its animation and its consistently compelling storytelling and direction.

KyoAni, perhaps best known overseas for series such as "K-On!" and "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya," was founded by Hideaki and Yoko Hatta in 1981. Originally a subcontractor for other studios, KyoAni produced its first series, "Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu" in 2003 and since then has created a string of hits that includes "Lucky Star," "Free!" and "Sound! Euphonium." In 2016, the studio's "A Silent Voice," along with Makoto Shinkai's "Your Name." and Sunao Katabuchi's "In This Corner of the World," was part of a wave of films that helped reinvigorate interest in theatrical anime for general audiences.