In a recent article published by Toyo Keizai, MAPPA CEO Manabu Otsuka said that the Chainsaw Man anime project was a complete financial success, although he didn’t think the impact it had was as good as another anime they worked on previously, JUJUTSU KAISEN.
The article mentions how studios are often said to be in the “unprofitable” position. This is because under the “production committee” that is usually formed for an anime production, the TV stations and advertising agencies act as investors, while the studios act as subcontractors who are paid by the production committee to create a show. MAPPA took a different route with Chainsaw Man, with an unprecedented move of 100% funding the anime adaptation and consequently being the only producer.
When asked about the results, Manabu Otsuka said that it had been a new level of pressure and attention they received as a relatively young studio, but they did their best to handle it and give their best while acquiring the important experience with the copyrights procedures, licensing, planning and similar. When it came to the financial side (income/expenditures), the MAPPA CEO said that Chainsaw Man anime project was a complete success. However, he was not completely sure if it had the same impact as the other popular anime adaptation they had, JUJUTSU KAISEN. He also mentioned that he wished it reached more of the audience who purchases Blu-ray/DVD versions (the Chainsaw Man Blu-ray/DVD sales were not very impressive).
He said that it takes two to three years to produce even a single cour (3-month) anime, and that it’s not a very viable business if the company only animates the work. MAPPA doesn’t want to 100% fund every future project, but it’s important to have productions on an equal footing with other investors through their own investment.
With the number of animated works being produced increasing every year, Manabu Otsuka says it’s also an important thing to be able to generate sufficient supply to meet the demand, and the most important factor is money. Without money, it is impossible to nurture and develop the production environment.
He says that MAPPA has adopted a format where they first have a training period before going into production, and they’ve been following it for a while. They upgrade the content of the training each year, but it has not yet reached a satisfactory level. He says that instead of the current way the industry competes by waiting for the best applicants to apply, companies should approach the younger generation and create the needed talent themselves, using scouting in baseball and soccer as an example.
Another interesting topic was about the selection of works to animate. The MAPPA CEO says that being aware of the time is important. What is acceptable now? If an anime fits with the current trends, it will more likely do well and attract people. He also says that there is a preference to animate already well-known series. This helps avoid risks, so there is no need to break the trend. However, he believes original anime is not necessarily inferior. He mentions Lycoris Recoil as an original anime that left a strong impact, and that they should challenge themselves to create their own characters and works to gain more experience in original animation.
It was interesting to see all the answers from Manabu Otsuka as the CEO of MAPPA, and the part about Chainsaw Man being a financial success is not surprising considering all the attention the anime received. We can remember that the first season ended with a tease of Ryze and her voice actress, which was kind of already a hint that it might not be the end.
Source: Toyo Keizai
©Tatsuki Fujimoto / Shueisha, MAPPA