MAPPA could make history with Chainsaw Man, says production — Kudasai

The platform Crunchyroll shared an interview with Manabu Otsuka (CEO of MAPPA), Hiroshi Seko (screenwriter) and makoto kimura (executive director and director of rights management at MAPPA), who are key members of the production of the anime adaptation of the manga written and illustrated by Tatsuki Fujimoto, chainsaw man.

  • Chainsaw Man is still very popular in Japan since the first part of the manga ended. How is the Chainsaw Man fandom in Japan?
    • kimura: Right now there are about 600,000 followers on the Twitter account. It’s already a pretty big fan base. I mean, it is worldwide. But yes, many Japanese fans are on Twitter. Since you know how Twitter works, a lot of people have retweeted a lot every time we post something. So you can tell that the fans are already very excited. Not just in Japan, but all over the world.
  • Why do you think Chainsaw Man is so popular in Japan?
    • Otsuka: Within Japanese entertainment, I think Chainsaw Man really taps into the subculture, specifically the themes and issues that come up in the story. There are other very popular titles like Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba and Attack on Titan, but within the popularity scene, you see that Chainsaw Man is a bit different. He’s just so much crazier. That kind of theme is something a lot of readers are craving right now. It is perhaps the time when people are most interested in this type of subject. I think that’s why it coincided with the time the story came out and why it’s so popular now.
  • So, outside of Japan, why do you think it’s popular all over the world?
    • Otsuka: Obviously, the original manga is very popular. That is the first and the most important thing. But I think a lot of people are interested in seeing something different or getting a different perspective and different topics. They need that kind of difference right now. That’s probably why there’s so much more attention on this story. Title [Chainsaw Man] itself is very catchy. It is easy for everyone to consume, even outside of Japan. The name is really cool.
  • What are your favorite aspects of the manga you’ve read?
    • dry: I also mentioned it on the panel, but the most shocking thing I realized when I first read it was seeing Denji as a character, protagonist of a story, having this need and desire so honest and raw: he makes money to get food and women. That is something very different in titles like this. You don’t see that in a main character. You might see him in a supporting character in the past, but as a main character, you would never see anything like that. Having that kind of raw need as a driving force for the character’s attributes is very unique. I think that was definitely the most shocking thing when I read the story.
    • Otsuka: On the surface of the story, you see things like violence and action, which is definitely a charm of the series. But if you go deeper into what’s going on, it’s really about the family and the ties between those people and the relationships that they have with each other. For example, we see Denji, Aki and Power, who live together under the same roof, almost like a family, and their ties grow closer. You also see that kind of warm relationship between the characters that is portrayed in the story. There is a charm in those dualities that are seen.
    • kimura: As Otsuka and Seko have mentioned, there is definitely this collaboration feature of all the themes and motifs working together. You have the violence, the action, the comedic bits and then you have these peaceful, heartfelt moments. But they appear out of nowhere. They are sudden. There’s violence and then there’s comedy and then there’s drama too. The suddenness of all these things together makes readers always wonder, “Wow, where did that come from?” That kind of unpredictability always keeps people on their toes and very interested. And those things are shocking when you see them come out of nowhere. I think that’s another thing that readers find to be a charm of the series.
  • I wanted to ask you about Ryu Nakayama, the director. What can you say about his talents in his directorial debut in this series?
    • Otsuka: I’m a big fan of Chainsaw Man myself. When I saw Fujimoto-sensei’s expressions of raw, explosive energy, we needed someone who was able to bring that out and direct it that way. We have worked with many directors at MAPPA, but I began to think that we needed to inject new blood. We needed someone else, something new, to get that kind of raw energy that bursts into the story. There is an animation producer that I worked with, his name is [Keisuke] Seshimo. Seshimo knew Nakayama from before. These creators are probably a generation younger than all of us. And that’s how we met Nakayama-san and he came with a lot of recommendations from [Seshimo-san]. That’s why we asked him to direct this series.
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  • For Seko, what is your working relationship with Nakayama during production?
    • dry: The truth is that I don’t see him very often. Usually only during stage meetings. And that tends to happen with many of the titles, not just this one.
  • Next, could you tell me about Kiyotaka Oshiyama and his role in the demon designs? What kind of direction is he taking?
    • Otsuka: As for the details of the direction, we leave it to the director [Nakayama]. From what I know, Oshiyama-san is definitely well established, almost a veteran in his skill. He is great. Of all the people in the industry right now, everyone recognizes that. That’s why we wanted to bring him in as the devil’s designer. I think that’s the reason why [Nakayama-san] He asked [Oshiyama-san] to join the team.
  • The next person I would like to talk about is Tatsuya Yoshihara (director of the Black Clover series) and his role is that of action director. Why does he think he is effective at directing action in anime?
    • Otsuka: As I said with Oshiyama, Yoshihara is undoubtedly one of the best animators of his generation. I’ve worked with many animators in my life, but it’s rare that I see someone’s key animation, for example, and say “wow, this guy is good”. [Risas] And I’ve seen a lot of people’s art and works, but I think with Yoshihara, that’s what I felt. I was quite surprised to see that.
  • I ask all of this because, from the fans’ perspective, when the first trailer came out, it felt like the entire staff was top of the class. I found it very impressive when we saw the staff list.
    • Otsuka: Other than the three of us here, everyone is the younger generation before us. [Kimura-san, Seko-san y yo] we’re about the same age, but everyone else is probably younger.

  • I wonder then, with the generation gap, do you see anything that the younger animators do a little bit differently or interesting in their process?
    • Otsuka: The biggest difference is that everyone uses digital technology.
  • Is that a good thing?
    • Otsuka: [Lo digital] it’s logistically better to create something where you have to produce many episodes. Obviously paper has good things, but when you think about creating something that has many, many things and episodes, digital is always going to be better logistically.
  • I follow Nakayama on Twitter and he always talks about training the new generations.
    • Otsuka: Yes, there is definitely a lot more interest from young people in wanting to work in the industry now more than ever. We all believe that it is important to start training and cultivating these skills of the younger generation earlier.
  • Do you have any additional messages you would like to share with fans who are looking forward to the adaptation?
    • dry: As I said at the panel, I haven’t seen the actual footage yet, so I can’t say too much about what’s going to show up on screen, but I’m as excited as anyone. I hope everyone is looking forward to seeing what is to come. I anticipate that it will be something incredibly surprising.
    • kimura: Soon there will be some revelations about the series. So I hope the fans are looking forward to finding out more about what’s to come. Yes.
    • Otsuka: MAPPA has been in existence for eleven years. I have worked on many, many titles over the years. But I really think Chainsaw Man is going to be a new chapter for MAPPA. I want the team to do their best to make this something that reshapes the company.

Font: Crunchyroll