INTERVIEW: Studio BONES President Masahiko Minami on Exceeding Anime Fan Expectations

Crunchyroll News speaks with the president of Studio BONES, Masahiko Minami!

Mob Psycho 100 III


When Masahiko Minami helped establish Studio BONES at age 36, he was not sure what the future would bring him. But through the strong efforts of himself and staff members who joined along the way, Studio BONES has become a staple in showing the talent of the Japanese animation industry. At Crunchyroll Expo 2022, the president of Studio BONES spoke with fans about his notable career, the growth of the studio, and the upcoming seasons of Bungo Stray Dogs and Mob Psycho 100


Crunchyroll News had a chance to sit down with Minami to speak about the new Mob Psycho 100 season premiering this October, why Yuzuru Tachikawa is so effective as a director, what advice he would give his younger self and much more!

Masahiko Minami

Masahiko Minami, president of Studio BONES


How have you been doing these last two years? COVID-19 has been very world-changing, so have you been okay? Have you been healthy?


Minami: Yeah, I’ve been healthy these past two years. With COVID going on, the studio had to overcome this huge huge problem. And, you know, we have to make animation as part of our work. But in general, for our studio, we have to overcome many problems, work together and create these works of animation together. Coming to Crunchyroll Expo made me realize that although we're limited to creating these animations in only Tokyo, we can bring our work to a worldwide audience. We can hear all the passionate cheering, enthusiasm and encouragement from the international audience. And finally, here at Crunchyroll Expo, I can meet everyone two years later. At this moment, I'm able to realize how important it is to create animation.


Now moving on to Mob Psycho 100, is there anything you and the staff are hoping to accomplish this upcoming season that you weren't able to do with previous seasons?


Minami: So generally the story follows the original source material from ONE-sensei’s manga. So one of the bigger challenges that we have to take on is that in season three, what kind of themes can we include? What kind of themes can we work with in only one cour? We want to leave a strong impression. So we also don't want to lose the appeal that grew from seasons one and two. Within three years of fans waiting, we don't want to betray anyone and we don't want to disappoint them. So this is a big challenge.



Yuzuru Tachikawa in particular seems to have become very notable for his direction with Mob Psycho 100. What do you think about his direction makes it so effective?


Minami: First, I think with Director Tachikawa, because this is an action-focused series, the way that he plans out all the different cuts in the scenes is incredibly smooth and masterful. So Mob Psycho 100 really deals with a lot of realistic aspects. Like with Mob, this young boy, and then Reigen, this adult, and how their relationship develops in terms of how they grow together and learn from each other. Being able to express that and then also trust the animators, like with the character designer [Yoshimichi] Kameda, together, they trust their animators to be able to nail down their facial expressions and also express the drama. I think the way [Tachikawa] is able to direct and express these different aspects is very appealing to everyone.


Yeah, I think the shock faces in Mob are very well known, and that adds to that appeal.


Minami: Because the original source material is a manga by ONE-sensei, the manga itself is very pure, very simple. The art doesn't have very many lines. So the expressions are really hard for us to be able to take on in animation, but the animators do a great job of being able to express those emotions, even with the manga being that way. And it's really thanks to Tachikawa’s direction.


Mob Psycho 100


Studio BONES will reach its 25th anniversary soon. What advice would you give yourself 25 years ago when you started the studio?


Minami: So when I went independent from SUNRISE, it was so difficult. [BONES] was such a small company in the first five years. It was full of struggles. But, to my past self, I would want to say, “Oh, you're going to get to work on a lot of different kinds of titles and series, so do your best.” 


What do you think the future of Studio BONES will look like then?


Minami: I think the world is changing in a direction where, you know, animation can be appreciated all around the world by a diverse audience. By being able to challenge ourselves with new works, then we can use that to prove ourselves as a company, that we are able to handle these kinds of adaptations and create a system where we can really prove ourselves. So I think that is what is in our future.


Great. For my last question, do you have anything else you would like to say to fans of Studio BONES?


Minami: It's really thanks to our fans that we were able to grow and take on so many different series. We have so many fans who might be expecting a lot of new projects, and we don't want to disappoint anyone. We have no plans on betraying our fans. We want to create new original works, new anime adaptations, take on new projects, and we want to keep creating amazing works. We don't want to just meet the fan expectations we want to exceed the fan expectations. We don't settle. So I hope you all look forward to our future works at Studio BONES.




Kyle Cardine is a Managing Editor for Crunchyroll. You can find his Twitter here.

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