‘I Believe That A Studio Will Die If It Doesn’t Create Original Content’: Bones President Remarks

Bones President Masahiko Minami

In a recent “Anime Studio Chronicle” segment on Comic Natalie, President of Bones Masahiko Minami talked about the importance of original works for an animation studio.

He firmly believed that a studio will die if it doesn’t create any original content. Although he agreed that creating adaptations would boost the popularity of an animation studio, considering how Bones got its breakthrough with the adaptation of Fullmetal Alchemist, he was of the opinion that fostering creativity and imagination amongst the staff was a crucial element.

Bones President Masahiko Minami

I believe that a company will die if it doesn’t create original works. Just creating adaptations can make an anime production company grow significantly. However, as Bones, we understand the necessity of fostering creativity and imagination in conjunction with our staff. We approach animation as a visual medium and contemplate the kinds of works we can bring into existence. This creative aspect is crucial.

According to Minami, the studio’s philosophy revolved around a dual approach, one that involves in creating both adaptations and original works.

He went on to explain that creating adaptations enhances the staff’s ability understand the source material profoundly by grasping the dramatic and artistic expressions as envisioned by the manga creator, and then to translate them to animation.

…when creating adaptations, we need to understand the drama and manga expressions as the original creators have portrayed them. Then, we think about how to express it as animation. That experience helps us understand the original work better and share the vision with the staff.

On the other hand, originals are hard to imagine as a finished product. They require a ground-up approach and starting from scratch can be challenging, especially for those with less experience. Keeping that in mind, Minami has encouraged producing both adaptations and originals since the founding of Studio Bones.

Minami believed that creating original works are often enjoyable as the core staff actively participates in its creation. He gave the example of Space Dandy‘s creation to highlight this.

For instance, the staff has asked me, ‘Why did you decide to create ‘Space☆Dandy’?,’ to which I respond, ‘Wasn’t it enjoyable to create?’ Everyone affirms, ‘It was indeed fun!’ Well, to some extent, ‘Dandy’ was a project that Director Watanabe and I were particularly eager to undertake (laughs). Both the creators involved in its production and the audience desired to create and witness something enjoyable. It may have been a somewhat constrained era. Animators enjoyed significant creative freedom, and various artists expressed different aspects of ‘Dandy’ without appointing a chief animation director.

Bones was seeking to see how freely they can express themselves through the medium of hand-drawn animation, and this was the foundation on how they approached original works. However, this was quite a challenge to pull off because original anime aren’t well received, especially in Japan.

“It’s quite challenging for original works to be accepted by many people, especially in Japan. Japan is probably the toughest market. Overseas, the popularity of works varies by country, and they have interesting ways of viewing things depending on the nation.”

Bones has prroduced popular original works like Space Dandy, Eureka Seven, SK8 the Infinity, and others. They are currently working on Metallic Rouge, which is set to release in 2024.

Source: Comic Natalie

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