A Kick for Kickstarters: Halloween Pajama Under the Dog

Most of my posts about crowdfunding lately have been video game related, but don’t worry, I haven’t entirely forgotten about geek-related ones outside it. As I’ve mentioned constantly, crowdfunding is going through a rough time, but that also extends outside gaming projects. In another similarity, producers are still pitching intriguing ideas through various services. I don’t always get a chance to cover them thanks to missing them, and it’s not easy for anyone who merely visits the sites to occasionally check out active projects to remember everything they see. But after highlighting gaming projects through the other crowdfunding post, it’s time to highlight other geek-related entertainment: Anime!

The first one is for Halloween Pajama in Seattle, a short anime film from Yasuhiro Irie, the director of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Kurau: Phantom Memory, and Scorching Ping Pong Girls. Irie concocted the idea for this while busy with other anime works, though the main Halloween Pajama series started as a manga. But he felt there was more potential for the Seattle portion through animation, and started this crowdfunding campaign after no studio would fund it.

The feature is planned to be 20 minutes, though 90 seconds will be reserved for the opening and ending each, which makes it sound like an “Episode 0.” While the budget for the project will be set at $134,000, Irie is asking for $176,172 (not the $178,600 listed on the page, perhaps due to a conversion error) to also obtain funding for the Kickstarter fee, taxes, and production and shipping expenditures.

Halloween Pajama in Seattle will tell the story of, well, the adventures of Halloween Pajama in Seattle, Washington. Specifically, it’s based on the Halloween Pajama in Seattle: Dream Catcher manga chapter, which is available on the page. The story stars a ten-year-old girl named Ran Jakou, who can transform into Halloween Pajama and fight enemies within a special world that contains Halloween motifs in her dreams. Irie came up with the idea for the setting through the city’s Underground Tour, and the story of the dream catcher in Native American culture. If the story is adapted to an anime as is, it will be a ten-minute feature, so this campaign exists to extend its running time.

The campaign isn’t off to the best start. Out of the $176,172 Irie is hoping to raise, it’s only raised $30,185 thus far as of this writing. Along with the usual Kickstarter fatigue, premise for this project may be a little too lighthearted and whimsical for the audience that happens upon anime crowdfunding campaigns, unless it’s a sequel and has bigger names attached to it like Little Witch Academia 2. But don’t give up on this yet, because there’s always a chance a significant audience could stumble upon it and provide good funding, and 39 days still remain. If the project gets funded, it should release in December 2018. If not, hopefully the ten-minute iteration can still happen.

The Under the Dog anime project was crowdfunded a little over three years ago, and since released to expectedly mixed results. “Expectedly” because there was no way for the concept of terrorism in Tokyo years after the Olympic Games being realized within its half-hour runtime, despite the popular names attached to the project. Instead, it was clear this was being used to potentially kick off a larger franchise, hence why it was called “Episode 0” when it released.

The production team admittedly wanted to realize its potential by reaching the stretch goals in the original campaign. While it’s a pity that didn’t happen, those who enjoyed the project want to see more come from this. But this probably isn’t what they expected.

Instead of a movie or series coming, Japanese music company Exit Tunes has launched a new Under the Dog campaign for a live-action short called “Overture to Under the Dog” and a music video. Both will come along with a special edition release of Episode 0. Atsushi Isoyama plans to direct the short, which will include an Asami Seto-voiced monologue from protagonist Anthea, and produce the music video. The short will be a 20-minute companion to the original anime, and not a sequel, while the four-minute music video will be more of a compilation with a song performed by Seto. They also plan for this to play alongside the theatrical run of Episode 0 in Japan, which will be followed by a home video release.

Exit Tunes is asking for $50,000 to fund the project, and funding is to an okay start. They’ve raised $16,422 as of this writing, with 21 days remaining in the campaign. There’s a good chance for the project to be funded if this pace is even partially maintained. Perhaps it would have been better if pledgers didn’t have to put down at least $285 down to get a physical copy, but they’re simply being realistic about the cost associated with producing and shipping them. If funded, the theatrical run is planned for sometime between January and April next year, so it won’t take long.

Neither of these are high-profile projects, but the results could be entertaining if they’re funded. There’s still a chance for Under the Dog’s producers to fully realize their dream in the near future, and it’s clear Irie wants the same with Halloween Pajama in Seattle, so hopefully both turn out well.

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