Ooh, this’ll be interesting…
With MAPPA being known as something of a “studio to watch” in the anime community and with them handling Banana Fish this summer season, now’s the time to get some info on them.
Let’s get something out of the way first, since this combo of kanji has been vaguely annoying me ever since I started this post series: sometimes MAPPA’s name is listed as “Kabushikigaisha MAPPA” (Anime News Network n.d.), but a kabushikigaisha (株式会社) is just a type (shiki) of company (kaisha) which you can trade stocks (kabu) for, so it’s basically the equivalent of “Co. Ltd.” in English. This technicality also applies to some of the other studios I’ve discussed in the past, such as Sunrise, and it’ll probably apply to studios I’ll be discussing in the future.
Now, “MAPPA” does actually stand for something – Maruyama Animation Produce Project Association (Honey’s Anime 2015). If that name “Maruyama” sounds familiar, you’d be right – it’s Masao Maruyama again. However, its current president isn’t Maruyama, but rather Manabu Otsuka (MAPPA n.d., Sakuga Blog 2017).
MAPPA only came on to the scene on the 14th of June 2011 (MAPPA n.d.), so they really are newcomers in comparison to everyone else – the studio only just turned 7 not too long ago! Their work becomes all the more impressive when you see they only have 80 people employed under them (MAPPA n.d.), although the number of actual animators is a much tinier 11 (Sakuga Blog 2017). They’re based in Suginami, like most other studios, but they have a regional studio in Sendai as of spring 2018 (Anime News Network 2017) which is one of their several sub-studios (Sakuga Blog 2017).
MAPPA doesn’t have any real thread connecting its works, but it does have a lot of original works – Yuri!!! on Ice, Terror in Resonance and Punch Line fit that bill, as will the upcoming Sarazanmai. That’s not to say there’s any adaptions in there (notably the Bahamut series and Inuyashiki, among others, are adapted), there’s just more original stuff than not. Interestingly, a sizeable amount of MAPPA works focus on pretty boys or subtext for same-sex relationships…
…which leads me to my favourite MAPPA work, which I named earlier: Yuri!!! on Ice, which pretty much needs no introduction at this point in time for both of those things…Well, that’s not surprising, considering Yuri!!! on Ice is the only MAPPA work I’ve finished at the moment. Actually, most of that show’s appeal would be attributable to Sayo Yamamoto and Mitsuro Kubo rather than the studio, since a big argument against the show is how off-model it can get. The opposite of that argument is, of course, how much the people at the studio must’ve worked to get all those skating sequences done. Even still, we can thank MAPPA for bringing this hit to life and just sit tight for more information regarding Ice Adolescence.
So, what’s your favourite MAPPA work? Also, if you’ve seen it, do you agree with the idea that Yuri!!! on Ice is off-model?
Anime News Network 2017. MAPPA Opens New Studio in Sendai in Spring 2018. Available from: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2017-06-04/mappa-opens-new-studio-in-sendai-in-spring-2018/.117001
Anime News Network n.d. MAPPA. Available from: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/company.php?id=10189
Honey’s Anime 2015. Top 10 Anime Made By MAPPA [Updated Best Recommendations]. Available from: https://honeysanime.com/top-10-anime-made-by-mappa-recommendations/
MAPPA n.d. About. Available from: http://www.mappa.co.jp/mappa_e/index.html
MAPPA n.d. Works. Available from: http://www.mappa.co.jp/mappa_e/works.html
Sakuga Blog 2017. What’s up with MAPPA? Available from: https://blog.sakugabooru.com/2017/09/19/whats-up-with-mappa/