TOKYO — The founder of Robot Communications, the production house responsible for some of Japan’s biggest hits of the past decade, including the “Bayside Shakedown” franchise, is stepping down.

Shuji Abe will stay on as a consultant while Takaaki Kabuto will become prexy on April 1.

This move is somewhat unusual since Japanese toppers usually stay on until very old age or sickness forces them to drop the reins, but Abe is 60 and full of energy.

Since launching Robot in 1986, Abe has built the company into a production powerhouse that makes not only features but TV dramas, commercials and other content across a range of platforms.

Kabuto joined Robot in 1989 after a 10-year career at advertising shop Asatsu DK. He became a director at Robot in 1991 and was appointed head of the contents division in 2007.