24 Jun 2024 18:09

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Netflix series Pluto anime’s producer on his masterpiece creation at Sharjah Animation Conference

Producer Masao Maruyama narrates the transformative journey that elevated Pluto from its static pages of a manga to an anime for OTT platform

Producing an anime of the scale and quality of the Netflix series Pluto was a big challenge, said Masao Maruyama, the octogenarian Japanese producer who adapted Naoki Urasawa’s manga comic, at a talk titled “Exploring the Universe of Pluto: Unveiling the masterpiece from Manga to Anime” during the Sharjah Animation Conference (SAC), happening at Expo Centre Sharjah until May 5.

Maruyama, the co-founder of Madhouse, MAPPA and Studio M2, said the manga style is very special and author Urasawa had asked him to improve the scale and quality of his production which had made him set up Studio M2. “I had to set up my own studio to bring the project to light. I was 70 when I started it, and it took me 10 whole years. It is also the reason why I am here today,” said the producer in conversation with moderator Yasmeen Sinan.

Marayuma, whose introduction into anime was through Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy manga series, said he had felt a calling to adapt the Pluto manga. Although the original manga story is short and was expected to be contained in four volumes and 8-10 hours of work, Maruyama’s project became eight volumes long with eight episodes on Netflix.

The Japanese producer who was accompanied by Sumio Udagawa, producer at Tezuka Production, said that they had incorporated CGI in Pluto to have modern animation techniques along with traditional ones.

“In Pluto, we used both digital and hand-drawn animations to create a seamless flow that looked very natural. For instance, the sandstorms were hand-drawn by our top animator,” he said, adding that they want to protect the legacy of 2D hand-drawn animation and have it preserved in Japanese animation.

Regarding the scene of the robot playing a piano, the animation producer said that author Urasawa not only wrote and illustrated manga but also composed music and he was therefore very much involved in the creation of the music especially in the last scene where the children are singing in the background.

Organised by the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), SAC has emerged as a pioneering platform in the UAE and the world for animation enthusiasts, providing a platform for industry luminaries, aspiring artists, and creatives to converge, exchange ideas, and create meaningful connections.


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