Attack on Titan, Chainsaw Man, Jujutsu Kaisen and more: Is studio MAPPA taking on too much?

Jigokuraku, Chainsaw Man and Jujutsu Kaisen manga official cover art (Image via Sportskeeda)
Jigokuraku, Chainsaw Man and Jujutsu Kaisen manga official cover art (Image via Sportskeeda)

Studio MAPPA has been churning out high-quality projects since its foundation, beginning with Shinichirō Watanabe’s Sakamichi no Apollon, and moving on to popular anime like Terror in Resonance, Yuri!!! on Ice, Kakegurui, Banana Fish and Dororo, among many others.

But since the studio has been expanding and attempting to break out of the influence and shadow of Studio Madhouse, MAPPA has developed a mixed reputation.

While the studio’s animation quality has improved dramatically, rumors of the studio’s animators being pushed to work grueling hours has also spread.

The latest announcement regarding Jujutsu Kaisen season 2 has once more fanned the flames, causing many viewers to question if MAPPA would be able to handle the four new projects it has taken on. Especially since fans have high hopes from all of them.

Studio MAPPA's recent projects, allegations and predictions

Recent projects

It was in May 2020 that MAPPA announced that they were taking up Attack on Titan's final season over from Wit Studio, while an anime adaptation of Chainsaw Man was announced in December 2020. The studio also confirmed that they are working on Hell’s Paradise: Jigokuraku during Jump Festa 2022.

The studio is also confirmed to be working on Alice and Therese's Illusion Factory, Dance Dance Danseur, Kakegurui Twin, Yuri!!! on Ice: Ice Adolescence and Zombie Land Saga the movie.

They released the Jujutsu Kaisen 0 movie in December 2021 and on February 12, 2022, announced the return of the popular anime with a second season. It was announced during the same event that the studio will animate the second season of Vinland Saga.

MAPPA's work conditions

Considering the studio’s previous works and Attack on Titan’s animation under Wit Studio, fans were in for quite a rude shock when final season 4 part 1 aired. The animation seemed rushed and the quality seemed subpar, but that might be attributed to the unbelievably-short deadline they were given to animate and air 16 episodes.

Attack on Titan final season part 2 seems to have redeemed itself with the fluidity and quality of animation, but it probably came at the cost of the several animators’ well-being.

Animation studios are infamous for their long work hours, but MAPPA may have gone a step further, overworking animators to the point where they quit the company.

One such animator compared the work environment there to being akin to working at a factory and pulling all-nighters for weeks on end. The studio also faced accusations regarding not providing the required basic training to in-between animators, and for grossly underpaying animators as well.

While the final product is indeed some breathtaking animation, as in Jujutsu Kaisen 0, the verdict is divided based on whether the ethical implications should be considered or not. While many fans are strongly against the studio’s work culture, others believe that only results count.

Can MAPPA do justice to these anime adaptations?

The studio might be able to deliver the same consistent level of animation for all of its new projects, but even that possibility is being stretched thin with the studio taking up more and more series.

Chainsaw Man was confirmed to be in production in 2020, but no release date has been announced yet. Similar is the case with the Yuri on Ice!! prequel movie, Ice Adolescence, which was first announced in 2019.

MAPPA is currently dealing with four major anime series in production and one ongoing. The studio is walking a very thin line right now, since overworking their employees will lead to either sloppy animation, or the animators themselves quitting.

While the studio does a truly-brilliant job in terms of animation, it might be better to harbor the tiniest bit of skepticism regarding their performance in the upcoming anime productions.

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Edited by Abu Amjad Khan
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