Kick-Heart’s Next Step

Kickstarter project Kick-Heart has been funded. This was pretty much a sealed deal a few days into the project, as projected by Kicktracker and other metrics. Even I guessed it. But what’s next?

I think it is safe to say that there will be people who will follow in this path. At least that is partly why some people signed up, to do the proverbial “save anime” thing. Personally? I think “save anime” is bullshit. It doesn’t really need saving, although there’s always tons of room to improve, especially in terms of studios that crunch out the budget, tough stuff, and not as much with Production IG.

In fact you could say IG is one of the brighter spots in the industry. I think they’re doing good work, developing talents by working with, for example, Yuasa. Kick-Heart, though, reminds me of this labor of love, in terms of how some fans rally to it. I guess that’s fine in the end–people get paid making the stuff the people who paid, like. It is a win-win by the very definition. But what was true for Redline is probably NOT going to be true for Kick-Heart.

I mean, $60 for a 15-minute short? (The $60 tier is the highest pledge tier.) And you don’t even know if you will like it because it isn’t the personal baby of Koike and Maruyama for seven years? It makes me want to talk like the kawaiikochans: MAJIDE? I guess it’s okay if you backed $1 or $5 or something. Sure, I can forgive $15. I don’t even know $30 is a good value or not. I know the $10000 tier is pretty great because they’ll fly you to Japan for a dinner date with Oshii, and I guess some people have boners for Oshii since 1995. That is a long time coming. I mean, again, like I said, it’s about value. I think Kick-Heart Kickstarter does provide value, but it isn’t something so easily deciphered, like most Kickstarter projects. But you know what? Maybe that’s why so many people pledged for a Blu-ray. You can value that easily.

Speaking of Blu-ray, how many people bought Redline again?

I think it’s also worth addressing the notion some have that by not pledging Kick-Heart you are not saving anime or some kind of inverse statement of the same. I think that’s pretty much the feeling anyone has when anyone says anything about “support the industry” in regards to buying some DVD or merch that you don’t want to buy. Get used to it. I personally think it’s kind of bull. I’d rather cut a check for some creator I like than support some wretched scheme that extort money from their customers, although I guess I will do the latter as a compromise given the difficult of the former. (Again, that $10000 tier? Soooo close to what I like to do.) Unless they start handing out badges or plaques to people who actually support the industry, it’s kind of a worthless distinction I think. It’s all just self-gratification, and there isn’t any empirical basis to those claims most of the time.

So, to Kick-Heart, congratulations. I enjoyed all the hard work you’ve put into the Kickstarter, and I look forward to the end product and the road we’ll walk towards that (as backers) even more so. Just don’t startle any more old ladies in the neighborhood. To the rest of the world, let’s milk this Kickstarter for what it’s worth! It’s open season for people with money that want to be spent on great causes!

PS. I got a few more hours in, and the kill count included just one more: Rk. Yuko Gotoh. She really took charge and on her first mission, she wiped out a floater and a thin man, until she was undone when the plaster wall in front of her melted away as a couple stray plasma bolts landed oddly. The last bogey on the same enemy phase then ended her short career. Until then, she survive through poison and a few close matches as she took the initiative to get close and stunned at least one bad guy and pinned the other. Clearly it was very heroic.

4 Responses to “Kick-Heart’s Next Step”

  • Alterego 9

    I’m not particularly hyped about the concept of Japanese studios pitching ideas to western anime fans. These kind of hybrid projects never really appealed to me, not even the glorified 90’s “anime boom” classics.

    I’m much more excited about future Japanese audiences kickstarting their own series through a Japanese KS equivalent, and western animation fans kickstarting their own cartoons, but for me, one of the major charms of Anime was always that it is *NOT* aimed at me, and that it will always have these weird foreign rules.

    Of course, we live in a globalized world, and just as even now there are some animesque cartoons and cartoonish anime, in a Kickstarter world, we will also have some blurrring of lines, but just as gaming kickstarter presrerved some old-school genres, I hope that future animation crowdfunding will also preserve traditional anime.

    • omo

      That’s always a major concern about the whole “patronage” concept. I think one of the best things about Kickstarter as a model is that it does sanitizes a lot of that potential, where it boils down to just money changing hands. If the producer wants feedback, the mechanism is there, but it’s optional. And by asking it up front, producers have to promise a little more in terms of communication and what not.

      I know you speak in generalities, but specifically Yuasa’s type of work is really meant for the global arthouse audience. His typical project is the sort of things that aren’t marketable domestically. So as a roundabout way to address your comment, basically, Kickstarter works great for some project, and terribly for others. Hopefully the Japanese know what will work and what will not work.

      As for the target audience thing, I don’t see why they could not pitch a for-Japan project on an international KS-like portal. People like what they like, if it doesn’t work, it will fail, as by design.

  • vendredi

    That’s our biker girl Yuko Goto for you, going down fighting.

    I think the whole idea of looking at the “value” of a Kickstarter contribution only makes sense if you’re approaching things from a hard-nosed investment angle, which I don’t think Kickstarter really is all that much.

    While there’s generally a recognition that transparency is required, there’s no legal obligation for say, a game development company to hit the same sort of development milestones with deadlines like they would with a publisher; the various backers can’t actually take them to court for breach of contract.

    On another level I think at least some backers think of their contributions as charitable donations, or if you want to be more cynical, “patronage” – in the sense that their giving to particular projects is a statement of identity (“supporting the industry” is one you point out, but you could also think of taglines like “bringing back hardcore gaming” or “enjoying well-written works of art”.

    I feel identity politics play as big a role as actual cost/benefit analysis when it comes to backers, if not more so.

    • omo

      Yeah, it does. Which is kind of blargh in that it’s just like art from the old days…

      But even the nobles of old wanted at least a painting or a play to their liking out of their deals. To that end, it’s value. I think a lot of people approach Kickstarter with value in mind though. It explains why the $60 tier is the most popular, at least.

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