Veteran Animation Director Shifts Blame From MAPPA To Staff Members In Recent Controversy

Mamoru Yokota - Animation Director

Animator Vincent Chansard, who is popular for his work on One Piece anime and the recent Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2, had revealed that he won’t be working with MAPPA studio again owing to their poor working conditions.

However, veteran animation director Mamoru Yokota, who has worked on Death Note, Dragon Quest and even One Piece among other series, was skeptical of the “overseas animator’s” claims about the working conditions, and pointed out a number of things about the situation.

Mamoru Yokota - Animation Director
Image Source: Fullfrontal

In his first post made on Jan 10, 2024, Yokota said that the animation studio can only be blamed if animators were paid less than what was agreed upon initially, or if the project was delayed or cancelled. If a contract breach had not occurred, then the responsibility for poor scheduling falls on other staff members including the director and even the production staff/committee.

I saw a post from an overseas animator who announced that they would never work for a certain company again. They said that the working conditions were bad, but I have some questions.

What were the terms of the contract when they were hired? Was there any hidden information? If the work was within the scope of the contract, then the problem is not with the production company, but with the director, animation director, or production staff.

If they were paid less than agreed upon, or if the project was delayed or canceled, then that’s a different story. But if it’s something else, then I don’t know what they’re complaining about
,” Yokota wrote in his post on X.

Yokota was of the opinion that animators who complain about the working conditions/scheduling of the anime should have negotiated it during the contract itself instead of making a fuss later.

Taking up or rejecting the work is completely up to the animator. And if the animator’s rejection leads to the project falling apart, then the production studio would have suffered.

SNS is your own yard, so you can say whatever you want.
No, that’s not right. It’s rude.
But if you spit up at the sky, it will come back to you.
Negotiate in advance before making a fuss later.
I understand that there are people who can’t do it, but then you need to hire friends or agents who can.
After that, have the courage to refuse.
Whether you do it or not is up to you.
The production company will be the one to suffer if it falls apart.

Yokota likened this situation of animators accepting projects without considering the difficulty of the storyboard of the anime, to that of someone jumping into a boiling cauldron thinking that it was empty. He urged everyone to consider both sides of the situation and not just one.

I think it’s just a story of jumping into the boiling pot, well aware that the hellish kettle is empty where the calorie calculation of the storyboard couldn’t be done,” the post read.

Note: In Yokota’s tweet, カロリー (karorī – translated as calorie) refers to the difficulty and workload associated with an animation project. Imagine the storyboard (コンテ, conte) as a blueprint for the animation, and calculating its “calorie” represents estimating the amount of effort and resources needed to complete it. So, jumping into the “boiling cauldron” without calculating the “calories” means taking on a project that is too demanding without understanding the full scope of the work involved.

Further illustrating point, Yokota said in one of his posts (on Jan 14, 2024) that some extremist anime fans were attacking the staff members from the production studio, who were working on a different project.

After seeing a one-sided post from someone who declared they would never work with a certain company, an extremist anime fan who didn’t know the details about the company attacked an anime-related person who tweeted about a different work from the company. They also said that there have been many cases of the company giving animators difficult work that ignored their calorie intake, and then demanding a pay raise after the work was completed,” Yokota wrote.

MAPPA has come under fire in recent times from fans for the poor scheduling issues that came to light during the production of Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2. Vincent Chansard was among the animators who vocal about the poor working conditions.

Immediately after his work on the project was done, Chansard had declared (in November 2023) that he would no longer be working for MAPPA.

Chansard was not the only one who had voiced concerns, as veteran animators Itsuki Tsuchigami and others too had similar complaints about the production schedule.

Source: Twitter

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