Asahi Production to Build Studio for Musubi-maru Anime

posted on by Egan Loo
Studio in northern Japan to animate samurai mascot of Miyagi Prefecture

The northern Japanese prefecture of Miyagi has announced on Thursday that Asahi Production, the Tokyo-based anime studio best known for Hello Kitty, is building a production studio in Miyagi's Shiroishi City in April of 2010. The aims of the studio is to create employment opportunities for young people and to promote the anime industry in the prefecture. The studio will accomplish these goals through the production of anime for the prefectural mascot (yuru-character) Musubi-maru.

Asahi President Muneharu Yamaura noted at the Thursday press conference that the number of people willing to work in the anime industry has been falling. Yamaura added that Asahi intends to train new talent and to produce works that will be loved by everyone from children to the older generations. The studio will employ up to 30 people from the area.

The prefecture agreed to give about 17 million yen (about US$200,000) from its job creation fund to the studio to produce anime footage and commercials of Musubi-maru. As his name implies, the character's head is shaped like a musubi or onigiri, the Japanese rice snack. He also shares the same characteristic crescent moon symbol on his samurai helmet as Date Masamune, the powerful real-life warlord of northern Japan who has already been depicted in Sengoku Basara, Sengoku Gyōjin Dullahan, and countless other anime, manga, games, and character goods.

Besides Hello Kitty, Asahi Production animated other Sanrio anime such as Sugar Bunnies, as well as unrelated franchises such as Blue Drop: Tenshi-tachi no Gikyoku. Another anime company, Studio Ghibli, established its West Ghibli spinoff studio with up to 30 young animators in the western Japanese city of Toyota in April.

Source: 47News

Image © Sendai-Miyagi Tourism Campaign Promotion Committee

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