There is this project on Kickstarter, asking backers to fund an anime project. I call it an “anime” project in full honesty despite it being produced in the 3DCG style, like Arpeggio or Sidonia, because unlike the other, garden variety, animation projects on Kickstarter, this one is run by some anime industry folks and will be produced in Japan, with Japanese creators.
I want to write about it mostly because it is a Kickstarter. It is about cartoon idols, and one of the seiyuu is Tachibana Rika, a seiyuu of some interest.
It’s called Chika*Chika Idol. I’m not sure what the title of this project means, because doesn’t it just mean it is twice the underground than normal?
To understand the content of the project, the Kickstarter page says most of the things you need to know. The largest omission (partly) is the lack of push on the 4-koma manga that was created to promote the project. The comic series fully explain to you what the story idea is, and it’s basically likely the point of the animation, or at least the necessary prereq material in order to understand the story.
In the KS proper, the link to the comic is kind of just a line in the thing, and you know how most Kickstarter pages are–full of stuff and crammed with links and pictures. I thought the comic was important enough that it deserves a lot more recognition than just a link. Well I guess the KS also embeds a few of these strips but that’s not even close to the full deal.
There is one item I want to get out there, as a negative. Chika*Chika Idol uses AWESOME Japan to promote their crowdfunding project. As part of AWESOME Japan, this kickstarter is being promoted by Tokyo Otaku Mode. And I don’t have a good experience with them as a customer–namely having a very bad customer service experience over something I purchased, bad enough that probably warrants never buying anything from them ever again. That’s on top of the other questionable practices it engages in, but I am not personally experienced enough on them to talk in detail.
But unlike most naysayer about TOM, I’m fairly ambivalent on what they actually do because I like what they do in theory–which is to be another agent to improve the overall “Cool Japan” exports in some categories relevant to my interests. I think if you engage businesses with it at arm’s length, you can be pretty okay with it, especially since it serves a really, really lacking and IMO needy segment.
Welp, that didn’t stop me anyway from backing Abbey’s tier. What also isn’t stopping me is that this project is going nowhere fast. It’s asking for something like 130K USD on Kickstarter and as of this writing, it has reached maybe 4% of that goal, and it’s most likely not going to get funded. It’s worth noting that this project also has a Japanese crowdfunding effort on Makuake, which is doing about the same–started on Feb, 5, 16% on track to 15M yen as of Feb 24…
Yeah, this thing isn’t gonna get funded. Which is why I feel okay doing some shilling for it, since I do like the project and it will likely produce a funny, 15-minutes-long ep, if the 4koma are any indication. It already caused a niconama to happen with our three newbie seiyuu, so whatever happens next is kind of the call on us fans who are enjoying the good-will sample/sneak preview.
And now I will go to the next level of creeper.
There is a company out in Tokyo who periodically releases these limited-run, customized Windows laptops and tablets that have various seiyuu that voice the sound theme on the laptop. Depending on the configuration these run from $1000 to over $2000. What you do is pay in advance, and they’ll get some info from you, and in exchange they will custom-load your PC with lines from the seiyuu that are customized to you.
Chika*Chika Idol has nothing like it. The closest you can get is the $2000 tier reward, where up to 5 backers can get a customized video clip of an idol of their choosing to voice a thank you message that has your name included in the message. Nothing strange about this, if you ask me, except maybe for the price tag. That $2000 tier also comes with a lot of other stuff, most notably a signed autograph board of all the cast and staff. That tier is $850.
Sure, it’s nothing like a customized laptop where the seiyuu of your obession will utter a chirpy greeting to you when you start Windows, but the fact that the comparison can be made in good faith gets at what I think is the good and bad design of the Chika*Chika Idol KS. It’s paying homage to the right things, and it’s clear that the creators of the project understands how “idols” work.
But having no event tier… well, that would have gotten some money for sure. But at the same time fulfilling an event is already costly and that might not be the kind of business or intent the creators want. And I like how the tier rewards, at the least, honors that 2D-versus-3D line. It’s great that it is Abbey that may cheer you on instead of Riccasama, but is that what people want? And I guess at that price tag it’s dubius that it will really get at what the otaku wants.
It’s a mixed bag on a mixed idea with unproven fulfillment, so it’s no wonder why that this crowdfunder will have a mighty struggle. No matter how much I like it, I guess.