The series “Yasuke”, now available on Netflix, was hosted by the Japanese studio also responsible for the adaptation of the manga “Jujutsu Kaisen” and the final season of the anime “Attack on Titan”.
In barely a decade of existence, the company MAPPA has already entered the courts of the biggest Japanese animation studios. After the recent triumphs encountered by the adaptation of the manga Jujutsu Kaisen and the final season of Attack on Titan, the Japanese company is once again making the news with Yasuke, a Netflix mini-series devoted to the first black samurai.
It all started in 2011. At the head of the Madhouse studio, the experienced producer Masao Maruyama decided to slam the door of the company to found his own company and bring more personal projects to fruition, without financial constraints. Thus begins the adventure of the MAPPA studio, named after its creator: Maruyama Animation Produce Project Association.
In association with the famous studio Tezuka Production, MAPPA produces the musical series Kids on the Slope directed by Shin’ichirô Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo). The success of the anime when it aired allowed the company to embark on bold new projects.
Because Masao Maruyama’s ambition is to develop original and innovative works. To do so, MAPPA therefore decided to surround itself with young talents, responsible for injecting innovative ideas into ambitious projects, a policy which very quickly became the trademark of the Japanese company.
During this period, MAPPA continues the successes with the series Ippo, the Challenger (season 3), Yuri !!! on Ice, or Terror in Resonance, also conceived by Shin’ichirô Watanabe.
A new start for the studio
2016 marks the beginning of a new era for MAPPA with the departure of Masao Maruyama, who went to found Studio M2. Without its founder, the company will nevertheless continue its growth, while operating a change of policy: it is no longer the original works that are privileged but the adaptations of already established works.
Series inspired by cult manga Dororo, Dorohedoro and Banana Fish are thus emerging. But the consecration finally comes in 2020 with no less than eight series produced, including the adaptation of the webtoon The God of High School and Jujutsu kaisen, taken from the new shonen manga phenomenon of the Weekly Shonen Jump.
The launch of Jujutsu kaisen is a triumph, however less success than that encountered by the final season of The attack of the Titans. Originally hosted by Wit Studios, the series was picked up by MAPPA not without some pressure.
Hosting the final season of the program in just a few months is indeed an impossible challenge; the end result is nonetheless satisfactory, although many fans have complained about the use of sometimes rough CGIs and the change in character character design.
Despite a divisive result, the fourth season of The attack of the Titans has not only enabled MAPPA to take a step forward by tackling a highly anticipated project head-on, but also to gain growing notoriety among the public. From now on, for a good number of spectators, a production labeled MAPPA will be a guarantee of quality.
If 2020 was the year of triumph, 2021 promises to be the year of confirmation for MAPPA. While a Jujutsu Kaisen movie has already been announced, and the second part of the final season of The attack of the Titans will be released early next year, the studio is unveiling its brand new Netflix mini-series this week, Yasuke.
Among the studio’s upcoming projects, the eagerly awaited adaptation of a best-selling manga: Chainsaw Man, the story of a demon hunter chainsaw! A new success almost already guaranteed which should consolidate MAPPA as a new major studio in the Japanese animation industry.
The trailer for the animated miniseries Yasuke, to discover on Netflix: