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The Echo

The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

Studio MAPPA Overworking Its Animators

Studio+MAPPA+Overworking+Its+Animators

Anime, Japanese-styled animations, has been one of the most popular forms of entertainment ever since the early twentieth century, peaking not only in the number of streams but also in its worldwide fanbase. One of the powerhouses in the modern anime industry is undeniably Studio MAPPA (Maruyama Animation Produce Project Association), which has been producing top hits like Jujitsu Kaisen, Chainsaw Man, and Attack on Titan. However, this acclaimed studio has recently been accused of overworking and underpaying its animators.

 

Main issues: 

Jujitsu Kaisen Season 2

Animators always have it rough more than other jobs in the artistic field due to the countless drawings they have to create to produce long animations. However, MAPPA is putting more than enough strain on its employees. According to Game Rant, MAPPA’s workers claim to work up to six and seven days a week with around 12 hours of work per day. To put this into perspective, people with average office jobs work 8.8 hours daily and 5 days a week. This could be accounted for by the amount of projects MAPPA is working on, as there are over six different animations being produced at the same time. Continuing from the incident in 2021, the animators are still not being paid enough for the work that they are putting in. According to Screen Rant, of the share that was given to the workers when some shows were put on Netflix, the animators were given the bare minimum amount for their cut of the show. Mushiyo, a freelance animator who left studio MAPPA, expressed his experience of having to work until daybreak to finish the episode that was supposed to air on that same day. He compares the life of working at the company as being more of a “factory” where the joy of animation is squeezed out of him and his fellow workers. On top of all this chaos, animators are not being properly trained to animate their pieces. Animation companies like Kyoani dedicate part of their studio to training their workers before getting started on complicated projects. Studio MAPPA, however, sets unrealistic standards for its animators, which causes them to make mistakes in the production process without even realizing. MAPPA’s CEO, Manabu Otsuka, has so far done nothing to resolve these issues. Instead, he continued to make them worse. By taking on competition with over-growing companies like Studio Ghibli and Kyoto Animation, Manabu Otsuka increased the amount of animations being produced by them. Currently, MAPPA animators are using social media to rant about the unfair conditions and treatment in the company. 

 

How is this affecting current production in Anime?

The ending of Attack On Titan, a show that aired from 2013 to 2023, left viewers astounded by the amount of effort put into the show. Therefore, people

expected MAPPA animators to take a break from their work. However, it turned out that they were sent straight into the project of creating Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2. According to Screen Rant, episode #14 in Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 was a huge drop off from the usual high-end quality of the previous anime.  Some panels were taken straight from the original manga and there were multiple scenes where the animation wasn’t even completed. Sunghoo Park, the director of this show, apologized for the rush and the bad quality of the animation. Fans and critics do not blame the director and animators. Rather, they blame MAPPA as a whole due to its toxic work environment. However, the problems didn’t stop there—in early November, episode 17 was aired with only 30% completed. The show continues to be aired, but how long can the show maintain itself with its low quality? Signs of rushed production were also evident in Jujutsu Kaisen 0, a movie released on March 18, 2022, in the United States and Canada. Animated movies usually take at least a year to create in order to perfect the animations to meet the heightened expectations of the audience. However, according to CBR, the film was completed in four months at MAPPA. “To put this in perspective, a standard 30-minute anime episode generally takes at least a month to finalize for broadcast,” said Hone, a staff animator of Jujutsu Kaisen. 

 

The current situation at Studio MAPPA is shedding light on the harsh reality faced by animators within the anime industry. While generating immense success with animes such as Jujitsu Kaisen and Attack on Titan, MAPPA’s inhumane treatment of its workers has surfaced through the reports of overworked staff, insufficient pay, and a lack of proper training to prepare the animators for high-quality production. The pressure to meet deadlines and tackle multiple projects takes a toll on the animators. However, the higher-ups at MAPPA continue to do nothing about the stressful situations they have imposed upon its workers. Addressing these issues, ensuring fair treatment, and giving adequate compensation are crucial steps that Studio MAPPA needs to take in order to sustain the quality of its production while also maintaining the health of its animators.  

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About the Contributor
David Shin, Senior Staff Writer
David Shin ('25) is a Senior Staff Writer for The Echo. He is looking forward to covering stories of any genre that might pique the interest of students at Tenafly High School.