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MAPPA: The Anime Powerhouse (Way Too Fly Art Appreciation Series)


In a little over ten years, the Japanese animation company MAPPA has transformed into a dominant force in the mainstream anime market. It has created some of the most well-known anime series and films in recent years. As one of the most notable animation studios among anime lovers worldwide, MAPPA has established a solid international reputation.

Although the studio was formally established in June 2011, its earliest beginnings can be discovered even earlier. Renowned animator Masao Maruyama established the Maruyama Animation Produce Project Association, or MAPPA, when he was 70 years old. Maruyama had a lengthy and successful career that lasted for more than 40 years before he founded his own business. He co-founded the well-known animation studio Madhouse, where he worked from the early 1970s until he made the decision to leave and form MAPPA.

Maruyama, one of the most skilled and seasoned producers in Japan, has a gift for finding and

supporting creative directors and animators. Even though Maruyama had a fruitful career at Madhouse, the business ultimately transformed and became more corporate than Maruyama had intended. Maruyama sought an environment where they had greater room to express their creativity. This goal acted as the inspiration for him to go out on his own and found studio MAPPA.

Training Arc

In This Corner of the World, directed by Sunao Katabuch of Japan, was the first movie that Studio MAPPA was tasked with making, as Madhouse had production issues with it. Sadly, this movie wasn't released until five years after the company was founded, despite having a new studio on its side. In the interim, MAPPA started working on other initiatives.

An anime adaptation of Shinichiro Watanabe's manga Kids on the Slope by Yuki Kodoma was the first thing MAPPA ever released (better known as the creative mind behind the breakout anime series Cowboy Bebop). The focus of the series is music, specifically the impact that jazz has on a group of young people. In this slice-of-life story, Kaoru, Sentar, and Ritsuko's three years of high school are followed along with the relationships that form between and among them.

Over the next few years, the studio MAPPA rose from these modest beginnings to produce further well-known anime shows, earning a reputation as a shelter for artists. The first anime series produced by MAPPA was called Terror in Resonance. Like Kids on the Slope, Terror in Resonance separates out from many other anime movies with its new genre and distinctive artistic style. The story of this psychological suspense novel centers on two bright young people who, if their riddle cannot be solved in time, plan to destroy Tokyo. The animated backgrounds of Tokyo are one standout feature of this animation, which are intricate and virtually lifelike.

Transformation Arc

Murayama made the decision to depart MAPPA in 2016 to pursue other interests. He was 75 years old at this point, making his need for a change of pace understandable. In order to continue working on projects, he established a new business, Studio M2, and made the decision to appoint Manabu Otsuka as CEO of MAPPA and pass over management of the organization to new, up-and-coming talent. Along with a shift in leadership at this time, MAPPA also saw great success at this time with several shows.

Success Arc

The studio has been performing well up until 2016, but Yuri!!! On Ice handed it its biggest break that year. This anime series was well-liked both domestically and overseas. The show is about Japanese figure skater Yuri Katsuki and how he decided to stop skating after finishing last in a tournament. By accident, Yuri's idol and rival Victor Nikiforov sees him perform and is inspired to go to Japan to take over as Yuri's coach for the forthcoming campaign.

2016 also saw the long awaited release of In This Corner of the World. Due to problems during development, this movie's release date was around five years later than anticipated. In the end, it turned out to be worth the wait, and many people think that this film represents MAPPA at their finest. The manga written and illustrated by Fumiyo Kno served as the inspiration for the movie, which was directed and co-written by Sunao Katabuchi.

The main character of the story is a young woman named Suzu who moves from her homeland of Hiroshuma to a place called Kure after getting married. It takes place between 1930 and 1940. She is followed throughout World War II, along with the difficulties she encounters trying to provide for her family. The movie received praise for presenting the conflict from the perspective of common people, a distinctive and overlooked group. In This Corner of the World received several honors both at home and abroad after its publication.

Continued Success

It's incredible how many anime shows MAPPA has worked on. Before going on to have a prosperous career, director Sunghoo Park oversaw a number of series at MAPPA, including Garo: Vanishing Line, The God of High School, and Jujutsu Kaisen/Jujutsu Kaisen 0.

The last season of the enormously popular anime series Attack on Titan will be produced by Studio MAPPA, which earned a major victory in 2020. The first three seasons of the program were produced by Wit Studio. Attack on Titan's fourth season was positively received, and anticipation for the series' final chapters. With the well built hype for their current release of Chainsaw Man, MAPPA is bound to continue this streak with the continuation to Vinland Saga and the second season of Jujutsu Kaisen, which will premiere in 2023.


MAPPA is on fire! and they show no signs of slowing down anytime time soon. Make sure to catch their latest releases and let us know which ones below you're most excited for!

Upcoming MAPPA Productions

  • Vinland Saga Season 2

  • Attack on Titan Season 4 Part 2

  • Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2

  • Hell's Paradise: Jigokuraku

You can vote for more than one answer.

Thanks for reading!


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