Photos of MAPPA‘s new “Studio Annex” building were publicly released on architecture media site Architecture Photo on Monday. According to the architects, the desk materials and the open space of the lounge were designed with “the intention to improve the workplace environment.”
“The lack of skilled animators has been worsening lately,” the notes explain. “One of the various causes is because skilled people in the anime and games industries have instead been going to China, which is in a good economic position. In order to secure the skilled talent, the workplace environment has to improve. To that end, we focused on using wood with warmth for the desks, and creating an open-space lounge where people can refresh themselves. In the future, we are thinking of gathering all the annex studios for this production company into one big site along the Chuo line. We will create an ‘animators village’ brimming with nature, and establish it alongside a shop and café that fans can also visit.”
The building was designed by Key Operation Inc. (KOP) and its CEO Akira Koyama.
Ryū Nakayama, who is directing the Chainsaw Man anime at MAPPA, tweeted: “We are making Chainsaw Man here! It’s close to the station and convenience stores, and its interior is nice as well. If you’re a young and motivated digital animator, I encourage you to work with us if you’ve got the interest! Depending on whether we’re able to prepare things for them, I’m thinking of proactively reaching out to students, newcomers, and people without experience yet in the future. So if you’re interested, by all means reach out.”
The news has come amid recent concerns of poor working conditions at MAPPA. Last week, animator Ippei Ichii claimed that animators were being offered bottom rates on the production of a Netflix anime made at MAPPA, saying that a producer on the project suggested to pay 3,800 yen (US$34) per cut. He encouraged animators to negotiate for 15,000 yen (US$134) or more.
Another animator claimed to have been paid 250 yen (US$2) for in-between animation at a subcontracting studio for a film project made by “the company that recently made a viral PV.” They commented that the work was extra demanding because it was for a film project that required a high degree of polish.
In May, a freelance animator tweeted that they left MAPPA due to the “factory-like” conditions. They criticized MAPPA‘s decision to work on four shows at the same time instead of properly training its team, and said, “As far as I can tell, about 80% of the employees had similar complaints at the time.”