Founded in 1972 by Toru Hara after he left Toei Animation, Topcraft was Rankin Bass's non–stop-motion unit in Japan, after many staff members of Toei were thinking that the studio was jumping the shark. The studio mostly did TV specials, series and a few movies for Rankin-Bass, including The Last Unicorn, The Flight of Dragons and The Hobbit, as well as Hayao Miyazaki's Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind and several episodes of the second Lupin III series, Time Bokan and Mazinger Z. Many people got their start with Topcraft, like Neon Genesis Evangelion creator Hideaki Anno.
The studio went under in 1984 (after which for 2 years Topcraft did some outsourcing for other Japanese studios and Adventures Of The Little Koala, after that the studio went out of business in 1986) when Hayao Miyazaki took 70% of its staff (alongside Toru Hara) and co-founded Studio Ghibli after Nausicaa came out. After that, 10% left Topcraft when causing the studio to get worse. They included Hideaki Anno, when he and others founded Gainax. The remaining 20% went to work for Pacific Animation Corp. to produce Rankin Bass's Thundercats and Silverhawks until Disney bought that studio in 1988. And later became Motoyoshi Tokunaga's Walt Disney Animation Japan. In any event, Topcraft will forever be remembered as a footnote in the history of animation and for Hayao Miyazaki's Nausicaa.