Animators from studio MAPPA shared their experiences with the Animation Dormitory Channel in a new video from the channel, confirming many of the stories that emerged during the broadcast of Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2.
The Animation Dorm Channel posted a new video titled “Ask the MAPPA Animators About the Recent Jujutsu Kaisen Scandal [sic],” highlights the core issues that led to the downfall of Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2. As Ryoko, the channel’s avatar, explains, Jujutsu Kaisen’s production committee (or key investors/stakeholders) ) has set a release date for the second season of Jujutsu Kaisen even though there hasn’t been enough time for a healthy production to take place. While this means MAPPA isn’t entirely at fault, the people working on freedom for the studio to feel that they are still not adequately compensated for their overwork.
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This happens because MAPPA’s freelancing fees are higher than average, which, as Ryoko highlights, demonstrates how systemic the problem is. To meet tight deadlines, MAPPA “prioritized efficiency and quick turnaround,” which resulted in completing episodes with many unfinished scenes. MAPPA’s reliance on freelancers to the detriment of the larger in-house team means that, while they save money, this contributes to a skills gap across the industry and therefore creates a greater burden for senior animators.
Animator Dormitory Channel is a famous group with more than 100k followers. It provides support to animators through crowdfunding support, art workshops, networking events and opening a hostel where animators can live with a salary of less than $250 per month. They previously supported BURN THE WITCH director Tatsuro Kawano and accommodated Attack on Titan Season 3 animation director Masaaki Tanaka, on their official website.
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One of Ryoko’s solutions to the current animation problem calls for crowdfunding for shorter anime series. A similar view is echoed by Shigeo Akahori, former key animator at Studio Ghibli, who offers a similar solution but aimed at overcoming the possible creative decline in the anime industry. He highlighted filmmakers like Makoto Shinkai, who made his name with short films before turning to feature films. More drastic measures include The Apothecary Diaries publisher Imagica Foss’ new ‘light anime’ deal, which will create anime series that include moving manga panels. This is a cost that is only a small fraction of the cost of a regular animated series.
The allegations made in Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 show the enormous burden the animators had to bear to complete the season. From allegations of MAPPA delaying payment negotiations and animators being given just four days to complete their shoots to worrying posts hinting at a crisis mental health, many in the industry are calling for systemic change to ensure animators can continue to do what they love. Despite this, MAPPA remains among the top companies in terms of salaries, in-house animation and insurance policies. Ryoko hopes that growing foreign scrutiny can push Japan to make changes. However, the video also suggests that questions need to be asked of the production team; a Japanese research organization recently suggested that government intervention may also be necessary.
A boy swallows a cursed talisman – a demon’s finger – and is cursed. He entered a magician’s school so he could locate the demon’s other body parts and thereby exorcise himself.
Release date October 2, 2020
Creator Gege Akutami
Cast Junya Enoki, Yuichi Nakamura, Yuma Uchida, Asami Seto
Seasons 2 Seasons
Production company Mappa Animation, TOHO
Episodes 47 episodes
Source: Dormitory Animation Channel, Morikai via X (formerly Twitter)