What can MAPPA learn from Studio Ghibli when it comes to attitudes towards their productions?

Studio Ghibli

There are not many left in the anime fandom who have not heard about the likes of Studio Ghibli and Studio MAPPA, both of which are industry juggernauts that have not left much to desire when it comes to the impeccable quality of their different productions.

But while these 2 companies seem similar in their reception, the actual attitudes they garner from the anime fanbase towards them speak volumes regarding the differences in work philosophy that both companies practice.

Why do People Love Studio Ghibli?

Studio Ghibli has been a household name in Japan when it comes to anime studios, ever since their first big screen debut with “The Castle in the Sky”, a 1986 box office hit, that went on to become the highest-grossing movie of that year, you could say that the threads of success were already woven for Miyazaki sensei and his fellow colleagues.

Miyazaki waving
Image Courtesy: IMDb

As for the reasons behind Ghibli’s success, there are many such as:-

  • Animation – Studio Ghibli has a defining animation style that invokes feelings of childhood wonder and imagination. Their way of animating faces especially portrays many facets of emotions while still maintaining a relatively innocent aesthetic.
  • Production Names – Ghibli also hosts a list of the most revered animation directors in Japan, like the revered Hayao Miyazaki sensei who is well beloved for his style of world-building in movies that usually integrate steam-punk aesthetics with fairy tail vistas, but he is nothing but flexible when it comes to his repertoire.
  • Originality – Studio Ghibli releases wholly original screenplays that tackle a whole host of topics such as war, nostalgia, childhood, friendship, and depression. Each of their movies has its own distinct identity and each new release is thematically targeted at different audiences, which adds to the relatable aspects that they base their movies on.
Howl's moving castle
Image Courtesy: Studio Ghibli

How did Studio MAPPA become so Popular?

Studio MAPPA is currently one of the biggest names in the animation industry, not just because of their stacked repertoire of really popular IPs but also due to the quality of consistency they bring to each of their productions. Some of the major factors regarding their recent surge in popularity are: –

  • Jujutsu Kaisen – it’s no secret that MAPPA’s recent rise in the ranks of anime studios can be massively attributed to the success of their spectacular adaptation of the new generation Shonen juggernaut “Jujutsu Kaisen” and the massive fanbase that the anime has garnered since its release back in 2020 and has maintained till the release of Season 2 in 2023.
  • Animation Team – even before Jujutsu Kaisen, MAPPA had some of the best production teams in the industry consisting of individuals such as the “Fight Sakguga God” Toshiyuki Sato and the veteran director Kazuhiro Furuhashi. Both of whom have been connected to MAPPA productions for years now.
  • Quality – As previously stated, the production teams under MAPPA consist of nothing but the best, and their work is reflective of the quality of the shows they put out. Shows such as Dororo broke the mold not only with its storytelling but also due to the gorgeous aesthetic and backdrops that the animators injected into every frame, truly bringing the Sengoku Era to life.

The Black and White

After the recent backlash from the JJK team and multiple schedules mishandling allegations, it is no secret that MAPPA is currently one of the many animation studios that are internally promoting the “Black Company” work ethics, which consist of: –

  • Excessive Overtime – employees are often required to work long hours, well beyond the standard 40-hour workweek in order to complete episode deadlines due to their horrendous slot scheduling. This practice, known as “karoshi,” has resulted in complete mental exhaustion and physical compromise for many employees.
  • Ignorant Management – the corporate side of MAPPA is a failure in the ethics department due to their incessantly ignorant attitudes toward the pleas of their overworked staff, actively denying them breaks and rushing production down to the final hours of submission.
  • Low Wages – many times has the internal production staff revealed that not only are the working conditions for them depressing and cramped, but they all have to settle for a measly compensation that sometimes barely even passes minimum wage.

In direct contrast however stands Studio Ghibli, which has maintained a really uncontroversial position in the industry due to their consistent employee-positive policies or “white company ethics”, such as: –

  • Scheduling – Ghibli is well known for its labor-positive scheduling when it comes to the release schedules for its feature films. Their production takes no less than at least 1 year and can stretch till even 3 years depending on how grand scale the project turns out to be.
  • Job Security – Ghibli is one of the few animation studios that provide actual long-term contracts for their employees, which translates into much better and consistent income for them and a sense of Job Security.
my neighbor Totoro
Image Courtesy: Studio Ghibli
  • Friendly Management – Ghibli works under the philosophy of creativity, through which the management actively engages with the staff and encourages them to practice creative freedom with the projects they work on, this sets a healthy and familiar work environment for all parties involved.


in relation to the latest MAPPA blunder, we can only hope that the management finally receives the hint and implements a different approach to how they schedule their shows and treat their employees.

While that is a scenario we can only confirm in the future, the present reality is that companies like Ghibli require all the support we can give them, especially in this current business climate if we want more animation studios to adopt their work policies and ethics.

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