Mappa’s hold over the anime community

The esteemed animation studio animators deserve all the praise for their flawless execution of our favorite mangas — but their success is not without controversy


Photo courtesy of Wiki commons

MAPPA anime is becoming one of the most popular studios internationally

Kathleen DeJesus, Arts & Culture Writer

Founded on June 14, 2011 in Tokyo, Japan, the animation studio Mappa has come a long way from its roots. While the company has worked on big shows in the past, it has become a staple in the anime community since 2020 with its release of “Jujutsu Kaisen” and both parts of “Attack on Titan” season four. 

Released in 2020, “Jujutsu Kaisen” left viewers in awe with the detailed imagery and true to manga renditions of beloved characters. Despite being released during the peak of the pandemic, when anime studios couldn’t produce as much, “Jujutsu Kaisen” was received with an overwhelming response. The show became an instant hit and the community surrounding it flourished.

Mappa managed to capture and emphasize each character’s distinctive design and enhance upon it. The animators’ hard work paid off with “Jujutsu Kaisen” winning four awards for Best Action, Best Girl being Nobara Kugisaki, Best Fight Scene and Best Character Design. Fans anxiously await the arrival of season two coming in 2023, thrilled to see what Mappa animators bring to the table.

Avid anime fan junior Keyony Hawkins-Hill is hooked.

“I’m interested in seeing how the main characters, namely Itadori, are going to tackle the pressing issue of self control and supernatural beings,” he said. “I’m excited for this new season and can’t wait to see how they incorporate the characters’ struggles.” I

t was this show’s popularity that placed Mappa on the map, and only marked the beginning of their impressive lineup.

However, the show to solidify Mappas legitimacy as a top animation studio was “Attack on Titan.” Before being transferred to Mappa seasons one through three were animated by Wit Studio but because “Attack on Titan” needed the manpower for its high quality animations that Wit Studio couldn’t provide it was passed onto Mappa by recommendation. When longtime fans of the franchise heard of the switch many were skeptical, myself included, but when the time came, season four blew all expectations out of the water.

Characters that the community had grown fond of were brought back in a rugged and refined style that superbly reflected the tense storyline. The animated fight scenes and overall appearance was fluid and cohesive with previous seasons, which was something many fans worried over. By far Mappa’s most impressive feat with this series is its representation of the manga, many scenes in the show mirroring said manga panels. The storylines already stellar plot combined with appealing visuals has garnered a wave of new support for the series, toppling its heavy presence in 2014.

Unfortunately these impressive feats come with a somber shadow being the working conditions for animators. With all the recognition Mappa was receiving, their sketchy business practices have come under heavy scrutiny. The accusations range from unlivable wages to horrible working conditions.

From voice actors to animators in other companies, many have rallied in support of Mappas animators. As of now Mappa’s stance is that they haven’t forced their animators into these conditions and that instead the remarks were misleading. Not much has come out since then so it’s not certain how the work conditions are now.  These animators are the backbone of not only Mappa but the entire anime industry and it’s high time that they receive fair compensation and recognition.