Kōichi Mashimo (真下 耕一 Mashimo Kōichi?, sometimes credited as Kouchi Mashimo or Kouichi Mashimo) is a well known Japanese anime director and the founder of the animation studio Bee Train. Since the creation of the studio, Mashimo directed or otherwise participated in (nearly) all its works, for example, as a member of art or sound department. The anime OVA Murder Princess was the first Bee Train production since 1999 which he had not directed.
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Kōichi Mashimo was born on June 21, 1952 in Tokyo, Japan and from his early years showed interest in photography, admittedly under the influence of his father. Mashimo studied jurisprudence at Sophia University and during his fourth university year, he participated in the making of several television commercials. However, this was a rather disappointing experience, and on November 6, 1975, he applied for a position of Hiroshi Sasagawa's assistant director in Tatsunoko Production. The first anime series he worked on was Time Bokan (1975-76).
In the mid-80s, while still working for Tatsunoko, Mashimo survived a severe alpine skiing accident. During his stay in an intensive care unit, he came up with an idea of a "hospital for animators", an animation studio whose primary goal would be fostering and self-actualization of talented artists rather than commercial success and money. Some time after that, he founded a small freelance studio called Mashimo Jimusho that was mainly producing in-between animation for larger companies. In 1997, Mashimo presented his studio-as-hospital concept to Mitsuhisa Ishikawa, the president of Production I.G, who was so impressed with it that he immediately agreed to sponsor Mashimo. The new subsidiary has become known as Bee Train and in February 2006, it ended its relationship with I.G and became independent.
Approach and style
Mashimo generally storyboards all the anime he directs. As one of the leading and only regular on-staff directors at Bee Train, most series are fully directed by him. As Bee Train has expanded, more directors have been able to handle episode direction under Mashimo's supervision, such as Tsubasa Chronicle.
Mashimo is known for frequently hiring Yuki Kajiura to compose for his projects. Their first project being Eat-Man, then going onto Noir, as well as .hack//Sign, Liminality, and Tsubasa Chronicle. Besides Kajiura, many Mashimo and Bee Train's projects bring back seiyūs and crew members. Some noted cast members include: Maaya Sakamoto (.hack//SIGN Blade of the Immortal, Tsubasa Chronicle), Sanae Kobayashi (Madlax, .hack//Roots, .hack//Liminality),  as well as noted crew members such as character designer Minako Shiba, Satoshi Oshawa, and artist and director Koji Sawai, as well as writers such as Hiroyuki Kawasaki.
Mashimo's approach to music is to have the music play a key role in the series. He feels music and animation should work and push each other to new heights all the time, and it should be seen as more than simple background.
Some of Mashimo's major projects have featured strong female protagonists. The famous "girls with guns" trilogy (Noir, Madlax, El Cazador de la Bruja) have all featured female characters in lead roles. One of his earlier films, The Weathering Continent, also featured a young woman who takes matters into her own hands to save her people. Some have also been known to contain subtle hints at lesbian relations, most notably in Madlax.[dubious ]
|1975||Time Bokan||assistant director|
|1978||Kagaku Ninja-Tai Gatchaman II||director|
|1979||Kagaku Ninja-Tai Gatchaman F||director|
|1981||Golden Warrior Gold Lightan||Chief Director, episode director, storyboards|
|1982||Golden Warrior Gold Lightan||Chief director|
|1985||Night on the Galactic Railroad||script|
|1987||Dirty Pair: Project Eden||director, general superintendent|
|Dominion: Tank Police||director, script|
|1990||Robin Hood no Daiboken||director|
|1992||The Weathering Continent||director, script|
|1993||The Irresponsible Captain Tylor||director, script, supervisor, storyboard|
|1998||Xenogears||animation movie producer|
|Wild Arms: Twilight Venom||director, planning|
|2001||Noir||director, storyboard, sound director, music director|
|2002||.hack//Sign||director, script, sound director, soundtrack supervisor|
|.hack OVAs: .hack//Intermezzo, .hack//Unison, .hack//Gift||director|
|.hack//Liminality||director, soundtrack supervision, animation director|
|.hack//Infection||staff member: Bee Train|
|.hack//Mutation||staff member: Bee Train|
|.hack//Outbreak||staff member: Bee Train|
|.hack//Legend of the Twilight||director, general superintendent|
|.hack//Quarantine||staff member: Bee Train|
|Immortal Grand Prix||director, script|
|2004||Madlax||director, script, storyboards|
|Ginyuu Mokushiroku Meine Liebe||director, script|
|2005||Tsubasa Chronicle (first season)||director, storyboards|
|2006||Ginyuu Mokushiroku Meine Liebe wieder||planner|
|.hack//Roots||director, supervision, soundtrack supervision, consulting producer|
|.hack//G.U. vol. 1//Rebirth||staff member: Bee Train (G.U. grand design)|
|.hack//G.U. vol. 2//Reminisce||staff member: Bee Train (G.U. grand design)|
|Spider Riders||director, storyboards|
|Tsubasa Chronicle (second season)||director (co-director: Hiroshi Morioka)|
|2007||.hack//G.U. vol. 3//Redemption||staff member: Bee Train (G.U. grand design)|
|El Cazador de la Bruja||director|
|Spider Riders: Yomigaeru Taiyou||director|
|Blade of the Immortal||director, storyboard artist|
|Batman Gotham Knight: Field Test||segment producer|
|2009||Phantom ~Requiem for the Phantom~||director, storyboards (ending animation #2)|
|2010||Halo Legends||segment executive producer and director: "Homecoming" (co-director Koji Sawai) |
- Mashimo once remarked that he would like to have personally met the photographers Richard Avedon, Jeanloup Sieff, and Helmut Newton and film directors John Ford and Alfred Hitchcock. However, by the time the interview has been published, four of these were already dead and Avedon died later that year.
- Mashimo is particularly fond of the French movie Les Aventuriers (1967, IMDB) and has even named a character in Madlax after the protagonist of that film.
- Katoh, Hidekazu et al. "Tsubasa - Reservoir Chronicle". (May 2007) Newtype USA. pp. 26-33.
- Yuki, Masahiro. "The Official Art of .hack//Roots". (May 2007) Newtype USA. pp. 101-107.
- Kōichi Mashimo at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- Kōichi Mashimo at the Bee Train Fan Wiki
- Template:Title without disambig at the Internet Movie Database
- Koichi Mashimo at Anime-Wiki