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Production I.G Ups Maki Terashima-Furuta To President of U.S. Division And Announces New ‘Ghost in the Shell’ Project

Production I.G recently made a couple of major announcements.

The venerable Japanese production house has promoted Maki Terashima-Furuta to the role of president of its American arm, Production I.G USA. Terashima-Furuta founded the U.S. subsidiary in 1997 and has served as its vice president for the last twenty years.

During that time, she has overseen all phases of development, production, and distribution of the company’s projects including Mamoru Oshii’s Avalon and Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, as well as IGPX (Cartoon Network), Clone Wars (Lucas Animation), Batman: Gotham Knight (Warner Bros. Animation), Cyborg 009 (Netflix), Perfect Bones (Netflix), and most recently, the Dreamworks/Paramount live-action feature Ghost in the Shell, on which she served as co-producer.

Production I.G's U.S. team Mitsuhisa Ishikawa, Maki Terashima-Furuta, and Avi Arad.
Production I.G’s U.S. team Mitsuhisa Ishikawa, Maki Terashima-Furuta, and Avi Arad.

“Maki has been the driving force of spreading manga in the USA,” said Production I.G USA chairman, Avi Arad. “Her deep understanding and support was crucial in getting our first live action manga, Ghost In The Shell, going. Under her leadership, Production I.G has expanded its horizons into original anime programming for Netflix and others. She is full of life, optimism, and just a pleasure. Her commitment to this form or art is unyielding.”

“Maki, Avi and I make up the smallest yet probably mightiest team of Production I.G USA,” said Mitsuhisa Ishikawa, president and CEO of Production I.G. “I’ve always considered Maki as a proprietor, as opposed to an employee. She has shown great faith and dedication to our mission, and I am certain that her strong leadership skills will take the company to another level.”

Maki Terashima-Furuta with Mamoru Oshii at the 2017 Annie Awards.
Maki Terashima-Furuta with Mamoru Oshii at the 2017 Annie Awards.

Mamoru Oshii also weighed in with a statement of his own about Terashima-Furuta: “I’ve known Maki for over 15 years, and not only has she managed post production for all of my work, she’s also provided all kinds of other vital support during the process. She’s not blood-related to the CEO of Production I.G, but there’s no doubt that they share the same essential spirit. She’s become a world-renown ‘Wild Business Woman,’ someone with incredible instinct and courage. And I feel truly optimistic about her future.”

Terashima-Furuta will be busy working on Production I.G’s next project, which the company also announced this month: a new animated version of Ghost in the Shell that has been greenlit for production.

The new project will be co-directed by Kenji Kamiyama (Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex series) and Shinji Aramaki (Appleseed, Apple Seed Alpha). Its release date and format have yet to be announced.

Kodansha, the publisher of Masamune Shirow’s Ghost in the Shell manga, is on board as co-producer.

  • Too Many Cooks

    There’s been enough Ghost in the Shell adaptations. I want to see a new Akira!

    • dreamerofdreams

      If they’ll ever do a live-action imagine how they’ll have to chop up the story to fit some meaningless Hollywood-esque romantic line, decrease the overall violence and make the movie more kid-friendly?:)

      I’m excited for the VFX though…

  • Johnno

    I’m hoping the new film will raise the bar for stylish animation the same way Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence did. I’d be nice if Kamiyama continued on from where Oshii left off too. Not that I don’t love what StandAlone Complex achieved, but I’d love to see the next movie also go for a neat reinvention of the visuals.

  • GW

    The first thing I want to know about the movie that they haven’t said yet is: Will it be CG or hand drawn?

    Buzz for this movie aside, I have to be a little cynical. Why is it that there’s no original movies as ambitious storywise and artistically as Ghost in the Shell was for its time? Why make another Ghost in the Shell movie when you can make a new movie that’s just as ambitious as the original was in 1995? If there aren’t any good manga to adapt then they can do an original story.

    • dreamerofdreams

      They counted the money the live-action movie brought in and decided that, since the American public is now familiar with the GITS universe, it’s the perfect time to milk the franchise even further.
      A completely new movie is always a gamble, whereas an old fanbase might complain endlessly about the remake but will watch it anyway and will likely bring new people into the mix. Moreover, the more controversy it stirrs, on more radars the movie will emerge. It’s purely a matter of sales, as usual.

      • GW

        That’s fine for the short term. But in the long term they’re going to need more than one franchise to make more money. That only works if the film is successful, and let’s face it, Innocence wasn’t a successful movie. It made only about half of its budget back. It’s true that it played in few theaters outside of Japan. However, put it together the fact that the live action movie bombed, the general apathy of Americans towards both mature animation and science fiction(not sure how true the science fiction part is in other countries), and if I’m wrong, the fact that you can advertise any new movie with ” A new movie from the makers of Ghost in the Shell”, I don’t see how making another GITS movie is going to be a better proposition than making a film with a more original premise.

        For box office results of Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, look here:
        http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=intl&id=ghostintheshell2.htm

        I looked up the Box Office for Wings of Honneamise, and it also seemed to gross around half of its production costs. I’m basing this on the only source I could find, which is the yen gross listed on Google. This source could be wrong.

        Akira had a higher gross but had a higher budget too, so it lost more money. I doubt I’ll make a convincing case considering all the other anime films that have had little success but I want to say one last thing. No data spreadsheet is going to say that so and so tried to get interested in animation but didn’t find anything they liked. If nobody in the anime industry wants to create good original content, those who demand it will look elsewhere. As it stands right now, it seems that those who make the most creative anime films are doing it with smaller budgets. That’s fine for anime fans, but if they want anime to stay popular they need good big budget content to draw in outsiders. If my first experience of anime was one of the more recent films it’s highly likely that I wouldn’t care for anime.

        • dreamerofdreams

          You basically answered your own question – they’re not making more new awesome sci-fi because it doesn’t bring back even the production costs.

          A lot of amazing sci-fi and cyberpunk movies flopped in the office but amassed a cult following later (including Bladerunner). But that cult following didn’t emerge in a day. With Bladerunner Harrison Ford’s and Ridley Scott’s carriers and the fact that it’s a US movie helped greatly.

          With GITS every additional remake/sequel/adaptation helped to put the franchise on people’s radars and it took 20 years for Hollywood to notice it (I was actually pretty devastated when I heard they’re making a live-action:)). Now they’re just playing it safe and using all that buzz to further secure their positions in the US, rather than throwing themselves into another project that might take another 20-30 years to start bringing back more money. So now they’re going to use (or rather abuse) this channel producing even more buzz. They’re not righteously trying to save the whole anime industry, they’re trying to save their asses…

          Now having said that if you check out their website you’ll see that they keep making new sci-fi stuff in addition to their old projects. They released 009 Re:Cyborg in 2012 and it flopped too. Mamoru Oshii keeps directing sci-fi movies and animation and some of it is garbage (yep, we know, everybody’s gotta eat and pay the bills) and some of it is considered great, but alas – it doesn’t get noticed and doesn’t bring much money.

          • It didn’t help how ‘cold’ the character designs in that Cyborg 009 reboot looked and a story so hard to get into for those more familiar with the original franchise.

          • dreamerofdreams

            Yep, they surely did. But if you think about it, the GITS 1995 movie was so much darker and colder than Shirow’s manga (while I love the movie dearly I’m still a little pissed that they basically erased Major’s entire character to cram her into this ‘cool’ and sterile aesthetic).

            So maybe the whole popularity of Ghost In the Shell (and Akira?) are just exceptions to the general rule. Or maybe the times have changed, there’s too much anime that gets produced and the world is more responsive to titles like Attack on Titan and Death Note rather than to slow and philosophical stuff with less teen-angst and more long shots and sequences where nothing really happens…:)

          • GW

            I knew about 009: Re:Cyborg already. I didn’t mention it because it’s one film in a franchise in a long history even if Production I.G. had nothing to do with earlier ones to the best of my knowledge.

            Perhaps I did answer my own question. The part I didn’t pay close enough attention to was your point that even if the sequel flops it will still draw more attention to the franchise. You didn’t mention the flopping of Innocence specifically though.

            I would argue that It doesn’t take as long for a film to be rediscovered or reevaluated nowadays. Now that anybody can talk about any movie on the internet, the rediscovery time can be quicker. Just look at Mind Game’s ascendance in the past few years. Thanks to Netflix streaming it the movie is now getting an English subtitled release on Blu Ray. Perhaps Netflix is the answer to getting a good movie to a lot of people. You probably already know of Production I.G.’s Netflix show Perfect Bones which will come out in a year or two.

            At least Yuasa’s still active so somebody is doing content that’s daring. Though that’s still on a lower budget. Hopefully he doesn’t overwork himself like Jiri Trnka did.

            Back to whether Production I.G will do another ambitious film, I think that they’ll have to at some point. So far they’re doing minor scale more realistic projects. I suspect that they’ll either try a larger scale humanistic film or they’ll do something with fantasy or science fiction. People have already made basic artificial wombs so they might just wait until the world gets weirder and make a movie about that. : )-