A few weeks ago, animators from the Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 production team publicly voiced their grievances on social media regarding the grueling schedule at the studio.
This issue has escalated significantly, raising concerns that we might witness the end of Jujutsu Kaisen anime if animators continue to resist returning to work under the current strenuous conditions.
“Jujutsu Kaisen,” a highly acclaimed Shounen anime, is produced by studio MAPPA. Following the resounding success of the first season, season 2 premiered on July 6, 2023.
Subsequent to the sequel’s debut, the animation team began to openly challenge the demanding schedule required for producing Jujutsu Kaisen, often finishing episodes mere hours before they were scheduled to air.
The situation recently took a dramatic turn when anime industry expert Shinjiro Egawa posted a provocative tweet, encouraging MAPPA studio animators to symbolically discard their duty cards as they exit the studio.
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Further amplifying the issue, Arai Kazuto, director of JJK Season 2, publicly shared his frustration with working conditions at MAPPA.
Ookubo Shunsuke, another director for JJK Season 2, posted a distressing image from the anime “Shirobako,” depicting an animator in a life-threatening situation.
Shirobako itself is an anime about the anime industry, highlighting the intense schedules that animators endure.
Tsuchigami Itsuki, a prominent animator for Jujutsu Kaisen, echoed these sentiments in his tweets, citing his previous posts to underscore the ongoing issues animators have faced since the Jujutsu kaisen anime season 2 started airing.
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The removal of certain tweets from the platform implies the seriousness of these claims, suggesting a potential crisis at Studio MAPPA.
Studio MAPPA: The Origin
Before we go any further into the current situation, it’s important that we discuss how Mappa was created. Studio MAPPA was founded by Masao Murayama, one of the co-founders of Studio Madhouse.
Murayama left Studio Madhouse to build a new studio named MAPPA because he faced financial restrictions and felt that animators weren’t free to do what they wanted in Madhouse.
Upon its inception, MAPPA quickly set new standards in the animation industry, delivering a succession of exceptional shows.
Maruyama’s vision for animator freedom was realized, but it came at the cost of terrible working conditions for Mappa Staff, culminating in today’s predicament.
The Impact on Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2
The future of Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 hangs in the balance amidst recent developments. It’s well-known that anime production often operates on stringent schedules, a norm in the industry.
Animators frequently work up to the final week before an episode’s release, a practice that can sometimes compromise episode quality. In extreme cases, studios may even postpone episodes indefinitely, waiting until they meet a satisfactory standard of quality.
However, the episodes of Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 released thus far have maintained exceptional quality, suggesting that any potential delays are unlikely at this juncture.
This assumes, of course, that the animators will sustain their current workload for the remaining month and a half until the season’s finale.
A recent tweet from an animator on the Season 2 team hinted at possible disruptions within the production team.
MAPPA has faced previous criticism for its demanding work environment, a challenge not unique in the anime sector.
Yet, the situation at MAPPA seems more severe than at other studios, given the public outcry from its animators over the working conditions.
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What do you think about this situation? Is this a turning point for MAPPA, now faced with a workforce unwilling to continue under the existing terms? Share your thoughts in the comments below.