Mad House is a Japanese animation studio, one of the leading animation studios in the world, founded in 1972 by ex-animators of Moshi Pro studios, the ones who created Astro Boy. These animators were Masao Maruyama, Osamu Dezaki, Rintaro and Yoshiaki Kawajiri. Their first animation was “Ace o Nerae!” in 1973, a TV series about Hiromi Oka, a high school girl who struggles to become good at tennis. Since then, they have animated really popular western animations such as Ninja Scroll, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, Trigun and Death Note, in 1993, 2000, 1998 and 2006 correspondingly.
Unlike the other studios founded at this decade, like AIC and J.C. staff, Madhouse stood out for its strength on TV shows and theatrical features. During the 90’s they expanded their staff to include important directors such as Morio Asaka, Masayuki Kojima, and Satoshi Kon.
In 2000’s they had a new expansion to include Mamoru Hosoda, Takeshi Koike and Mitsuo Iso as well other younger television directors.
The studio collaborates with known manga artists like Naoki Urasawa and Clamp. Urasawa’s Madhouse adaptions were “Yawara!”, “Master Keaton” and “Monster”. They animated a considerable number of Clamp’s manga, “Tokyo Babylon”, two versions of “X”, “Cardcaptor Sakura”, “Chobits”, “CLAMP in Wonderland” and recently the second “Hunter x Hunter” anime.
On Films Industry, Madhouse’s early works were as assistants on “Barefoot Gen” films and “Lensman”, an anime movie based on the space opera series by pulp science fiction legend E.E. “Doc” Smith.
In the 80’s and on the first years of the 90’s, the director Yoshiaki Kawajiri produced a range of action films including “Demon City Shinjuku”, “Wicked City”, and “Ninja Scroll”.
In the late 90’s, they animated “Sakura Cardcaptor” films, based on the television series.
In the early 2000’s they made a fantastic collaboration with Tezuka Productions, resulting in “Metropolis”, based on the silent film of the same name and directed by Rintaro and adapted from the manga of Osamu Tezuka. They had made previous collaborations with Tezuka, two feature-length films made for Sanrio, a design Japanese company, starring Tezuka’s unicorn character, Unico.
The director Satoshi Kon produced all of his four films with the studio, “Perfect Blue” (1997), “Millennium Actress” (2001), “Tokyo Godfathers” (2003), and “Paprika” (2006). Kon was making his fifth film the “Dreaming Machine with Madhouse” but it was left incomplete due to his death in 2010.
Madhouse produced “Nasu: Summer in Andalusia” in 2003, which was adapted from the manga “Nasu” of Iou Kuroda, and directed by Studio Ghibli veteran, Kitarō Kōsaka. “Nasu” was the first Japanese animated film ever selected for screening at the renowned Cannes Film Festival. Kōsaka followed up his film with an OVA sequel in 2007.
“The Girl Who Leapt Through Time”, in 2006, marked the beginning of the career in the studio for Mamoru Hosoda.
The most recent productions were Masayuki Kojima’s theatrical debut “Piano no Mori” (2007), Hosoda’s praised “Summer Wars” (2009), Sunao Katabuchi’s “Mai Mai Miracle” (2009), the company’s first Computer Graphics animated film, “Yona Yona Penguin” (2009), Takeshi Koike’s feature film presentation “Redline” (2009), a theatrical version of the “Trigun” series, “Trigun: Badlands Rumble” (2010), and “The Tibetan Dog”, a co-production with China (2011).
Currently, Madhouse is working on the first film of the the “Hunter × Hunter” series, “Hunter × Hunter: Phantom Rouge”, supposed to be released on January 2013.
In total, Madhouse films have won two Japan Academy Prizes, three Grand Prizes in Animation Division at Japan Media Arts Festival, two Gertie Awards, six Mainichi Film Awards (three Ōfuji Noburō Awards, and three Animation Grand Awards), two Tokyo Anime Awards for Animation of the Year, and five Animation Kobe Feature Film Awards.
Madhouse have made several collaborations and the main ones were with Square Enix on the OVA “Last Order: Final Fantasy VII” as well as Capcom for the mini series of “Devil May Cry: The Animated Series”. They collaborated with Studio Ghibli by contributing animation to Hayao Miyazaki’s “My Neighbor Totoro” (1988), “Spirited Away” (2001), and “Howl’s Moving Castle” (2004), as well as Tomomi Mochizuki’s “I Can Hear the Se”a (1993) and Goro Miyazaki’s “Gedo Senki” (2006). Madhouse also collaborated with WaltDisney for the anime “Stitch!” on its first season and second season, “Stitch! Itazura Alien no Daibouken”, between 2008 and 2010. They had a huge collaboration with Marvel Entertainment to create adaptations of “Blade”,” Iron Man”, “Wolverine” and “X-Men”.