Masao Maruyama, who was a protégé of Osamu “God of Manga” Tezuka, has co-founded Madhouse and founded both MAPPA and Studio M2, and has helped launch the careers of Mamoru Hosoda, Satoshi Kon and others. To say he knows a bit about the anime business would be an understatement. But he sees a serious threat to anime in the future: commercialism.
“In Japan, people are no longer trained in animation,” he remarked. “The only reason China hasn’t quite caught up with Japan yet is because of a bunch of restrictions imposed on free expression there. If more freedom is unleashed, Japan will be overtaken in no time.”
The current Chinese government has been clamping down more and more on free speech and this has affected its TV and movie programs — as well as whether out not overseas TV and movies programmed are allowed in China. At the same time, China is putting a lot of money into its animators.
Japan has more freedom, but that doesn’t mean the studios are up for using it. Maruyama doesn’t like how anime studios are rushing out commercialized formulas that are meant to just be money makers. Sometimes these anime will do well, but it prevents Japan from nurturing real talent.
He also commented, “But creating works is all about challenging yourself to do something new, regardless of what you said in the past. That makes you selfish in a way, and it’s a trait I’ve inherited in its pure form.”
He additionally made it clear he doesn’t want to get in the way of anyone’s creativity: “I don’t steer the directors but I just follow them and their talent.”
Maruyama acknowledged that the arts can be difficult. “The more challenging, painful and excruciating the project is, the more motivated I become.”
While sticking to behind-the-scenes work, Maruyama has been involved in the creation of hundreds of anime.
Source: AFP News (Via Barrons)
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, plus its sequel, Manga Art for Everyone, and the first-of-its-kind manga chalk book Chalk Art Manga, both illustrated by professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.