Tuesday, October 16, 2012

"Cowboy Bebop Helmer Shinichiro Watanabe, BONES Plan New TV Anime"

For full article, link here --> Anime News Network

We got some great news today! The legendary director Shinichiro Watanabe (Director of Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo, Kids on the Slope) is going to be working with Bones on a new original series. I should point out that Watanabe was part of Studio 2 at Sunrise, which split from the company after completing Cowboy Bebop in order to establish BONES. So considering the numerous connections he has with the personnel at BONES, having him back with the studio is really something to look forward to. Put the two together, I think we should expect something stylish, innovative, and lushly animated. Now I'm actually wondering if this new series is related to CB in any way, because Bones announced a couple of month ago that they were working on a new version of a "familiar" title. It's really hard not to draw parallels with Watanabe on board. But either way, I'm just happy we have the talents reunited. I can't wait for more updates!

On a second note, Watanabe is also working with MAPPA on a new series. Kids on the Slope, also directed by Watanabe, was MAPPA's first project after the studio was established by the co-founder of Madhouse. My initial surprise at how well Kids on the Slope was produced subsided when I found out MAPPA's origin. I want to talk a little about the parent company Madhouse. Madhouse hasn't been doing all that well financially, probably as an impact of taking on less mainstream projects that are well praised but not popular within the general market, and this led to the loss of its independence last year when NTV became its biggest stockholder. While being under another company buffers the financial situation and ensures that the studio receives enough budget to carry on, it also raises a lot issues. As we saw with the case of Studio 2 splitting from Sunrise as a response to the increasing pressure from Bandai, Madhouse also risked losing a lot of creative freedom by being under NTV. Let's face it, an artist's unique vision might not give rise to works that actually sell, and the boss company probably sees making a profit as the more important objective. When there is a conflict of interest, guess who wins? So MAPPA was established as an effort to preserve the creative freedom. Works that can't be produced at Madhouse will be produced at MAPPA. Well, that sounds better than nothing, and I hope with the help of many talents, such as Watanabe, the studio will continue to shine.  

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