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Anime Expo 2023: MAPPA Crunchyroll Panel 2

Crunchyroll sponsored two Studio MAPPA panels at Anime Expo this year. (This report covers the second panel.) Studio MAPPA is an animation production studio that first rose to notice from the revolutionary Yuri on Ice series that caught attention from even non-anime fans, and has since developed into one of the well-known and rising animation studios in the industry. 

This panel featured MAPPA CEO Manabu Otsuka, Producer Makoto Kimura, Director Kiyoshi Matsuda, and Director Kaori Makita. Of focus, the panel highlighted animated series “Campfire Cooking in Another World with My Absurd Skill,” “Hell’s Paradise,” and “Attack on Titan Final Season THE FINAL CHAPTERS Part 2,” revealing rare behind-the-scenes production experiences to a captive audience. 

MAPPA CEO Manabu Otsuka, Producer Makoto Kimura, Director Kiyoshi Matsuda, and Director Kaori Makita

“Campfire Cooking in Another World with My Absurd Skill” was directed by Matsuda and aired from January to March of 2023. Originally adapted from the light novel, it fuses the common isekai trope with the down-to-earth reality that is online grocery shopping and actual cooking recipes. The series has since received overwhelming praise for the recipes and mouthwatering dishes, which we learn is animated from real life video clips of the dish being made. The production team would film a chef preparing and cooking the actual food itself, and then reference the video and use rotoscoping to create the animation. They showed some of these video and animation clips in tandem at the panel to show what they did. 

Rotoscoping example

Matsuda confessed that the most memorable meal for him was the red boar shogayaki in the first episode if he really had to choose one. His reason was that it was the first one they did, first time rotoscoping, first time trials and errors, and it took much longer than many of the other episodes because they had to work out all the kinks in the process, so it has a special place in his heart. 

He also mentioned that one of the challenges with this series was deciding on the coloring of the food, particularly because making food look appetizing in the evening scenes or the dark is much more difficult than in full light. 

Though a Season 2 has not yet been confirmed, Mtasuda said that he would like to do one. He also teased that in one of the future scenes not yet animated, the main character will meet a girl for whom he cooks a hamburger, and Matsuda said he’d like to make it an In-N-Out burger in honor of his first time trying it this summer at Anime Expo. (Spoilers: He really liked it.) 

As a closing remark, Matsura said he is happy to continue working with the MAPPA team and to please look forward to future titles, and he would love to return to LA to promote them. 

“Hell’s Paradise” is directed by Makita and aired from April to July of 2023. A season 2 has already been confirmed for the series, with no set release date as of yet. “Hell’s Paradise” is an adaptation of the manga by the same name, following the ninja Gabimaru the Hollow who was taken in as a child and trained to be a killer by the village chief. Captured and sentenced to execution, the Shogunate offers to pardon all his crimes if he undertakes a mission to find the elixir of life in a newly discovered legendary realm. 

Makita expressed sincere gratitude that fans kept up with and watched Hell’s Paradise as the current season was full of many other great titles to choose from. As the manga has already finished back in 2021, Makita herself knew a lot of people who liked the series and was happy for her when she was appointed director for the anime adaptation. She said that one of the goals of her team was staying true to the original character design, and it really shows in the released episodes. She chose an animatic scene to show the audience at the panel, revealing a before-color line animation and an after-color rendered animation side by side. It showed not only the process but also the amount of effort that went into making the battle scenes. As Producer Otsuka said, they “promise to continue putting all their hearts and souls into the battle scenes.” 

For her final words, Makita said she is excited to bring season 2 of Hell’s Paradise to everyone. She sees everyone’s passion at the studio as they work, so please continue to support everyone. 

For the third segment of the panel, MAPPA brought a new chilling and heartstopping PV for the upcoming Attack on Titan’s final season. Producer Otsuka spoke on his feelings about the series drawing to its end, admitting that they’ve technically been working on it for the past three years and there were times when they felt it was tough, but working on the show helped them learn a lot of things as well. He hopes the fans look forward to seeing it as well. 

CEO Kimura also spoke up, acknowledging the difficulties the creative team had working on the show because the series was important to everyone. He said the team is working hard to bring the fans what they want.