The facts: Masaaki Yuasa, the director of Tatami Galaxy, Kaiba, Mind Game etc, launched a kickstarter for a short anime movie called Kick-Heart. The goal is $150,000 and they’ve managed to raise 2/3rds of the funds required after half of the time period they had open to donate. I’ve waited until now to post about it, because I didn’t want it to get swamped under first impressions posts. If you somehow hadn’t heard of this so far, I strongly recommend you head over now and make your donation. If I can get at least one other person to donate with this post, then it will have been worth it.
The most appealing description of Kickstarter I’ve heard is comparing it to the Renaissance Era patronage system. One rich bloke pays a painter a load of money to create art, usually of himself or his wife. This eventually gave way to the investment system where rich blokes put money into a project with a guarantee they’ll get a percentage of the profits. Both cases result in widely different forms of art being made. The issue with the investment system is it tends to favour populist stuff, despite the fact there are projects a small group of people would be willing to pay large amounts of money to see come into fruition. This is Kickstarter, in a not-perfectly-defined nutshell.
I’ve never donated any money to a Kickstarter. I’ve always liked the idea, but nothing came up that I was devoted enough to the idea of to put my money on the table for it to be made. I was mainly waiting for someone to put up a Kickstarter for Satoshi Kon’s last movie to be finalised. Instead though, we’ve got some weird Yuasa anime. He explains his idea in the video on the Kickstarter page, but the basic gist of it is some goofy love story between BDSM wrestlers. I like that the he acknowledges that he’s been criticised for not having a proper emphasis on the story in his previous anime and that he’s trying to focus more on the story this time around. I’ve felt with his previous works that he’s best when there’s someone else there to hold back his crazy side on a leash.
The thing is though, supporting Kick-Heart isn’t mainly to simply see this short movie be made. Oh sure, Yuasa is the perfect director to try fund using Kickstarter, and I’m really interested in seeing this bizarre movie of his. But it’s more about supporting the concept of funding anime through Kickstarter-esque projects. One of the issues with piracy is people outside Japan have to wait a rather large amount of time for a DVD/BD of something they’ve already seen. With Kickstarter, there’s a clear line between the money they put on the table and the thing they want to see existing at all. If you think about it, with the huge prices a small amount of people pay for anime in Japan, the industry basically runs on a patronage system already, so it’s really not much of a change. If Kick-Heart reaches its goal, they’ll almost certainly up the ante and try to fund way more anime through this method, stuff that otherwise might not ever be made. It’s a long shot, but if Kick-Heart succeeds, maybe some crazy exec in Japan might decide to try raise the money through Kickstarter to fund Satoshi Kon’s final film.
Or maybe they’ll use Kickstarter to fund a dating sim for WHO IS IMOUTO. That honestly sounds more likely…