Masao Maruyama, a veteran of the anime industry and the founder of Madhouse and MAPPA studios, expressed his concern in an interview with AFP News that Japan may lose its position as the leader in the anime industry to its neighboring competitor, China.
Maruyama claimed that the reason for the decline in Japan’s anime industry was due to its focus on commercialization.
He stated that the industry is overly reliant on profit-driven genres, and as a result, it falls short in terms of innovation compared to its American and French counterparts.
China’s current administration has increasingly restricted freedom of expression, impacting its domestic TV and film industry and its decision to permit foreign programming.
Despite this, China is investing heavily in its animation industry.
On the other hand, Japan enjoys greater artistic freedom, but its animation studios often opt for commercialized formulas that prioritize profit over creativity, as per Maruyama’s view.
While such anime may achieve success, it hinders the development of genuine talent in the country.
Maruyama fears that the situation would change in no time if the animators and creators in China were to get more leeway in their works.
“In Japan, people are no longer trained in animation,” Maruyama said. “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.”
“But creating works 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.”