Japanese Animation Is Inferior To Chinese Animation — Says MAPPA Founder Masao Maruyama

Maruyama argues that the industry has failed to cultivate the next generation of animators.

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Masao Maruyama

In an interview with AFP last week, veteran anime producer Masao Maruyama shared his concerning thoughts on the Japanese animation industry.

The founder of MAPPA and co-founder of MADHOUSE warned Japan’s animation industry that it risks losing to China due to its fixation on commercialization.

He argues that this preoccupation of the current Japanese anime studio has hindered the industry’s ability to cultivate the next generation of animators.

Maruyama further adds that China has still not caught up due to the various restrictions imposed on free expression in the country.

Masao Maruyama said:

“In Japan, people are no longer trained in animation.”

“The only reason China hasn’t quite caught up with Japan yet is because of a bunch of restrictions imposed on free expression there. If more freedom is unleashed, Japan will be overtaken in no time.”

The veteran anime producer also states that creating anime requires one to challenge themselves to do something new. Something you may have never done, regardless of whatever you said in the past.

Maruyama said:

But creating work is all about challenging yourself to do something new, regardless of what you said in the past. That makes you selfish in a way, and it’s a trait I’ve inherited in its pure form.”

Masao Maruyama started his career in this industry in 1965 at Mushi Pro, a studio led by legendary mangaka Osam Tezuka.

Later in 1972, Maruyama co-founded MADHOUSE with Osamu Dezaki and Yoshiaki Kawajiri with funding from Yutaka Fujioka.

He left MADHOUSE in 2011 to form MAPPA, and then in April 2016, he stepped down as CEO. Later in the same year, he started his new Studio M2.

He has nurtured many talents, such as Tetsuro Araki, Atsuko Ishizuka, and the late Satoshi Kon.

Source: AFP