Kōichi Mashimo

Kōichi Mashimo (真下耕一)
Born (1952-06-21) June 21, 1952
Tokyo, Japan
Nationality Japanese
Alma mater Sophia University
Occupation Anime director and screenwriter
Years active 1975–2012
Employer Tatsunoko Production
Bee Train
Victor Entertainment
Production I.G
Known for Bee Train animation studio

Kōichi Mashimo (真下 耕一 Mashimo Kōichi, sometimes credited as Kouchi Mashimo or Kouichi Mashimo) (born June 21, 1952) 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.


Kōichi Mashimo was born 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-1980s, 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 voice actors 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 Kōji 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.[1]

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. Others such as Madlax have also been known to contain subtle hints at lesbian relations.[2][3]

Mashimo once remarked that he would like to have 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.[4]


Year Anime Job
1975 Time Bokan assistant director, episode 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
1981 Kaitei Daisensou: Ai no 20.000 Miles Episode director
1982 Golden Warrior Gold Lightan Chief director
1985 Night on the Galactic Railroad script
1986 Ai City director
1987 Dirty Pair: Project Eden director, general superintendent
1988 F director, script
Dominion director, script, special advisor
1989 Dragon Warrior script
1990 Robin Hood no Daiboken director
1992 The Weathering Continent director, script
1993 The Irresponsible Captain Tylor director, script, supervisor, storyboard
1996 Sorcerer Hunters director
1997 Eat-Man director, storyboards, scripts
1998 Xenogears animation movie producer
1999 Arc the Lad Special thanks
PoPoLoCrois director, script
Wild Arms: Twilight Venom director, planning
2001 Noir director, storyboard, sound director, music director
2002 .hack//Sign director, script, sound director, soundtrack supervisor, off-line editor
.hack OVAs: .hack//Intermezzo, .hack//Unison, .hack//Gift director, storyboard
.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
Wild Arms 3 Event scene direction
2003 Avenger director
.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
Murder Princess planner
2008 .hack//G.U. Returner 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 Kōji Sawai) [5]
2011 Hyouge Mono director, storyboard, episode director


  1. Wong, Amos (March 2005). "Inside Bee Train". Newtype USA. 4 (3). pp. 8–15. ISSN 1541-4817.
  2. "Shoujo-Ai Archive: Madlax Fanfiction". ShoujoAi.com. Retrieved 2007-06-14.
  3. Friedman, Erica (2004-06-29). "Okazu: Madlax". Okazu. Yuricon. Retrieved 2007-06-14.
  4. Madlax Volume 1: Connections (insert leaflet Staff Talk #1 (Shigeru Kitayama)). Kōichi Mashimo. Houston, Texas: ADV Films. 2005 [2004]. DMAD/001.
  5. "Halo Legends". Retrieved 2009-10-26.
  • 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.
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