Masao MARUYAMA, the URASAWA fan producer
Last Thursday during the festival, producer Masao MARUYAMA went on Japan Expo stage for a conference at 11.30 am. At the ripe age of 70, he shared with the audience 50 years of experience of working in Japanese animation.
© Eric Boccalupo
Until last year, Masao MARUYAMA was still an active member of Madhouse animation studio. Then he devoted himself to MAPPA, his new independent studio. His first project has been an Anime series called Kids on the Slope and have been a big investment for MAPPA. Used to restricted budgets with Madhouse, MARUYAMA pretends he spent freely for this first production to have the best result possible. For this, he has cooperated with big names of the animation: Nobuteru YÛKI for the chara-design (Vision of Escaflowne), Yoko KANNO for the soundtracks (Porco Rosso, Cowboy BeBop) and Shin'ichirô WATANABE (Cowboy BeBop, Samurai Champloo).
The conference was also the occasion to share some of MARUYAMA’s moving memories. He talked about his former colleague Osamu DEZAKI with whom he founded Madhouse studio which won’t ever be the same without him. Then he evoked the Anime director who left the strongest mark on him, the talented and regretted Satoshi KON. By the way, he was wearing a Paranoia Agent shirt as a tribute to him, which he took off and gave to a fan in the room!
© Julien Chicoisne
The producer nonetheless talked about his future at MAPPA and about the projects he would like to see come true before he retires. Among those, his dearest wish is to adapt Naoki URASAWA’s Manga, Pluto. As a big fan of the renowned Mangaka, MARUYAMA would have liked to adapt every one of his Manga (he already did with Monster, Yawara and Master Keaton), but adapting Pluto is the most realistic project speaking about time and budget. One can only hope to see his desire come true!
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