So some of you might have noticed the buzz about the Kickstarter project for the film Mai Mai Miracle. UK label Anime Limited already have the rights to it but they need help putting together the blu ray and DVD. Well, I’m here to give you five reasons why you should support it.
One: It’s a fantastic film that critics have really enjoyed. I, personally, have not seen it but through word of mouth from friends and colleagues I am reassured that this is a film that fans of Studio Ghibli will appreciate. The film has a setup, art style and construction similar to Miyazaki’s tone of films and the director, Sunao Katabuchi, trained under him at Studio Ghibli (more on him in a sec). Mai Mai Miracle was shown in festivals in the UK and the US and the critics almost universally loved it. Whimsical, inventive and heartwarming are easy words to bandy about but harder to ascribe when asking both children and critics to agreed on.
Two: The project allows viewers who have not seen it in festivals that were too far away or that they didn’t know about at the time to enjoy. The US rights are also included in this release so Anime Limited has this open to anyone who wants it. All the people at Anime Limited are looking forward to this release as it is not available in a format for English speaking people to enjoy. As for other distributors, the film came out in 2009 and nobody wanted to pick it up as it’s a niche title and unless it says Ghibli on the box, niche titles like this stay hidden from you. (For full disclosure: there was a 2010 DVD release of this with English subtitles but only in Hong Kong). The Kickstarter starts at USD $45 for the early bird DVD/Blu ray combo pack and that includes postage and packing around the world! If you just want to see the film, there is a digital copy only for USD $25(UPDATE: Free shipping only applies to the physical art book pledge level. Shipping worldwide for the DVD/Blu ray will be slightly more expensive. Only backers in the UK/US/Canada/ROI have the shipping included in the price.
Three: Sunao Katabuchi is a director who has been toiling away in the anime industry for a few years now. Most people will know him as the director of the BLACK LAGOON anime series and that project speaks for itself in terms of his skills as a storyteller and as a director. Now, you might say that a story about South China Sea mercenaries has nothing to do with a story revolving around two Japanese schoolchildren but Katabuchi cut his teeth working on children’s movies and TV shows and as stated before, he trained with one of the best modern storytellers around at a studio that has made a career out of not talking down to children and adults alike.
Four: The studio animating the movie is MADHouse, one of the best known studios still working in Japan. From shows like Ace of Diamond, Cardcaptor Sakura, Chihayafuru, Galaxy Angel, Kobato and Nana to films like The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Millenium Actress, Ninja Scroll, Redline and The Princess and the Pilot, the studio has proven over and over throughout its history that it can tackle any story and apply just the right pressure to make sure the stories get where the writers and the directors want them to go.
Five: You’re in control of the project. Once the project meets its USD $30,000 minimum, the stretch goals will open up and yes, this could include a dub but only if the people backing it want it. Taking a leaf from Animeigo’s successful $154,000 drive to release Bubblegum Crisis on blu ray, Anime Limited is working toward a goal of the 30k just to get the film in your hands. Everything after that (extras, commentary track, a dub, soundtrack, nicer packaging) will only come about if A) the money for it is raised and B) if we want it on the disc. So the look, design and content of the movie comes down to us.
Well, that’s about it. The Kickstarter is now open and I hope you help raise the money needed and get to enjoy this film with me.
Blu Ray case image from FutUndBeidl @ Flickr and used with a Creative Commons 2.0 Share and Adapt Licence: http://www.flickr.com/photos/61423903@N06/6060382452/
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