Let’s Make Kick-Heart Longer! (Updated)

They’ve hit their target. Thank you for backing this project on our stead!

Update 3: On 10/31, the Kick-Heart project finished it’s funding process with $201,164+, which means that Kick-Heart is getting English Dub, with help from Richard Epcar, the voice of Batou in the English dub of the Ghost in the Shell Films/Series. LA Premiere Screening and Party sponsored by Titmouse Animation Studios (date to be announced).

Update 2: On 10/26, the Kick-Heart staff added another bonus to the $175,000 stretch goal: 2 extra minutes of animation, bringing it up to 12 minutes. As of 7:32pm EDT 10/26, it was at $159,396, so that leaves $15,604 to go in 4 days. It’s certainly a stretch, but it’s probably the only one that it has a shot of reaching. Let’s make it happen!

Also, keep in mind that Kickstarter is not a charity, and backing a project is not a donation. It is a payment with well-defined products that you get in return, which you can see listed on the right side of the project page.

Update: As of 10:54pm EDT 10/24, Kick-Heart has been fully funded, reaching its $150,000 goal! Everyone who pledged or helped get the word out, pat yourself on the back! They have since added extra stretch goal targets, as follows:

  • $175,000: Spanish Subtitles
  • $200,000: English Dub and Premier Screening & Party
  • $225,000: 3-5 minute animated Oorutaichi music video directed by Masaaki Yuasa

The Spanish subtitles are irrelevant to me, and I don’t care for an English dub or a premier screening which is unlikely to take place anywhere near where I live, so I’d be very happy if it could hit $225,000. I don’t know anything about Oorutaichi, but here’s a music video that I found on YouTube. I think Yuasa would be a good fit.

lvlln // You’ve probably already heard of Masaaki Yuasa’s (wiki) (MAL) (ANN) “Kick-Heart” Kickstarter campaign. As of posting, it’s already received over $138,000 out of its $150,000 goal (now just $6k behind the goal), so it has less than 10% left to go in its final week, and we wanted to give it a little push.

Masaaki Yuasa isn’t exactly a household name among anime fans, but he’s always had a lot of cred among the hipsters and elitists for his cerebral works filled with unusual art. Indeed, he’s the director of my personal favorite anime TV show, Tatami Galaxy, and I’m very much hoping for this project’s success, despite not knowing many details about it. Its Kickstarter page describes the story thusly:

Kick-Heart is a love story between Romeo, a successful pro-wrestler, and Juliet, a nun who lives a secret double-life as a female pro-wrestler. Romeo’s secret is that he enjoys taking a beating in the ring, while Juliet feels invigorated when facing her opponents as a wrestler. When the two meet in the ring, the fireworks fly. Their story is set in the colorful backdrop of the professional wrestling world. Will Juliet reveal her true identity to the one she loves? Will Romeo be able to share his secret to the world?

It’s absurd, and I know that the wrestling back drop has turned some people off. It’s certainly not my thing, but I expect that the core story will be strong and shine through using the unusual medium of wrestling. This recent update with the final color script shows that Kick-Heart promises more of the wildly abstract and expressive visuals that Yuasa is known for.

kyokai // My first experience of Yuasa work was Tatami Galaxy and I fell in love with it instantly (I swear from the awesome OP Maigo Inu to Ame no Beat by Asian Kung-Fu Generation). He has a unique way of presentation from art to story. His protagonists are never run of the mill and what I like most is the audience experiences what they characters experience in almost all his works. Both of us haven’t seen all of it though but whatever we highlight below expresses our fondness of his avant-garde and even visionary style.

Adding to what lvlln said about Kick-Heart, Yuasa delves a bit more of the storyline and the relationship between Romeo and Juliet in the promo, and it seems their personal secrets are complementary. Knowing the psychological turn Yuasa usually takes in morality, I’m curious to know how he’ll conclude this story. I hope it’s a happy ending with some questions marks left for the audience to figure it out themselves. Anyways, this post is all about making this happen and it seems the project is just a few thousand bucks away from hitting its mark. Let us convince you to take part if you can in our own way.

Kaiba

lvlln // While blogging Humanity Has Declined, I sometimes called it a poor man’s Kaiba. Like that recent more famous show, Yuasa’s 2008 science fiction work tells the story of a far future in which society has failed. Technology has allowed people to jump from body to body, but only the most affluent can do this, effectively living forever, while the poor majority sometimes have to literally sell their bodies just to survive. It’s a tale that starts off a bit scattered but manages to tie everything together into an incredibly poignant story of love. It is exemplary of what anime can do using science fiction when it actually makes use of the setting. It’s a short and sweet 12 episodes, and if you like science fiction, you owe it to yourself to check this out.

Genius Party – Happy Machine

kyokai // Happy Machine was one of the seven short films in Genius Party collection, produced by Studio 4°C. Though, I like all of the shorts presented by some of the major thinkers of industry, Happy Machine stood out to me with its uniqueness. Now, I know I have somewhat overused this adjective but that is the best way to describe a story that visually bombards you with emotions without any usage of dialogues. Indeed, except for emotions of elation, fear and sadness the main protagonist of Happy Machine, a baby, doesn’t have any lines in the entire run. Even without any lines, just with sheer emotions, I could feel for the protagonist as he went around a strange world experiencing life. The most touching moment was the completion of life circle and how what he learned, he left for the next generation. The visuals are funky to bizarre and even creepy at some instances but the overall effect was feel-good and you should definitely check this out along with the other gems in Genius Party.

Tatami Galaxy


lvlln // As mentioned before, 2010′s Tatami Galaxy is my favorite anime TV show. Using the Groundhog Day loop, the show told the story of a man fighting to break out of a cycle of failure, with each parallel story building on the previous one, culminating in an unforgettable and crazy final 2 episodes. It’s a tightly directed 11 episode show that aired on Noitamina back when that meant something.

kyokai // Like lvlln, this is one of my top five favourite anime of all time. Along with quirky characters, there’s a reset every episode that the protagonist goes through, getting yet another chance of reliving and redoing his rose-coloured campus life. Though, every action has a reaction and things do overflow but the crescendo of the story takes care of all that along with its cute (heroine voiced by Maaya Sakamoto, who is strong-willed by is afraid of moths), mysterious, grey and even creepy elements. This is a definite highlight work of Yuasa.

When I heard about this, backing it was a no brainer for me, regardless of premise. I was already a big fan of Yuasa, as should be obvious from my writings above. His works have a unique, somewhat off-putting but still compelling style that just fit. Both Kaiba and Tatami Galaxy are extremely cynical works displaying some of the most ugly sides to humanity, but both also manage to make a convincing argument for hope. Tatami Galaxy is over 2 years old now, and Yuasa hasn’t released anything since.

The rewards start pretty low, and a backing of as little as $5 gets you a (standard definition) digital download of the final product, though you can go as high as $60 to get a physical Bluray ($100 to get soundtrack, $250 to get an autographed print). I don’t believe that you should back this to make a statement or to support the artists. I just selfishly want to see what this talented director will make next, and I believe that you will not regret backing Kick-Heart. Please help to make this happen.

If you see the video promo for Kick-Heart, Yuusa himself says that he doesn’t want to make such anime that are already done. He always aspires to make something new and out-of-the-box. This campaign of crowd-funding something he wants to create is new, if not the first attempt. The premise doesn’t sound like THE MASTERPIECE, but rather a fun story that would have some awesome visuals and brainwaves of Yuasa. I contributed and ask humbly for you to do the same if you can. There’s no compulsion of course but if you are a fan like us, some bucks to a project of your favourite maker should be easy peasy. Advance THANK YOU if you listened to our pledge and actually went ahead with a contribution of your own. For others, do check out his work. There’s another Satoshi Kon in the making here after all.

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We live, laugh, enjoy and strictly believe on "more the merrier". When together, we usually come up with very chatty, conversation-based episodics and interesting posts.
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8 Responses to “Let’s Make Kick-Heart Longer! (Updated)”

  1. Gecko says:

    I don’t know why, but I feel like this is going to be a great anime. The plot is interesting, especially with these wrestlers that have secrets.
    And I think that using Kickstarter to produce an anime is really great. It lets them present it to the world and see if anyone’s interested. That way they don’t go in thinking “oh I need fans” but “I have backers who want this to do its best.” If this could become a trend for directors, it could be quite interesting for fans.
    So in short, I just spent a month of allowance. Why not?

    • lvlln says:

      Nice to see more people contributing. This really is a completely different way of producing anime than usual; for most late night shows, the producers pay the stations to air them, and only recoup costs through merchandise. To get paid up front like this must be nice. Though certainly this isn’t a viable option for most works, it could enable certain niche works to come to light, like this one, hopefully.

  2. akagami says:

    So umm… he’s asking for donations to release a work? Do donators get any input into the anime?

    I’ve never heard of Yuasa Masaaki nor watched any of his works (actually I just checked and he did one episode of Samurai Champloo, I enjoyed that series) and based on a quick look through mini-reviews on AniDB of his works, would probably not enjoy them at all. When a material (any medium) is classified as deep and thought-provoking, I look the other way and run! Just not my cup of tea, based on past experience.

    The wrestling masks remind me of an old nintendo game with some green superhero with those bugeyes. At least I think he was green… maybe he had antennas? I can’t remember his name.

    • lvlln says:

      Well, you see the rewards on the right pane. I believe the money would be going to completing the animation, given what’s been shown so far. If one wants input, one could pledge $10,000 or more and get dinner with Yuasa and make a pitch for him over it, I guess ;^_^.

      Certainly his works can sound intimidating, but I do recommend everyone check out Kaiba and Tatami Galaxy. These are pieces of entertainment first and foremost, and Kaiba has its share of great action scenes, while the latter has some great comedy.

  3. Joojoobees says:

    My introduction to Masaaki Yuasa was Cat Soup, but I think everyone should check out Mind Game. This movie is innovative (still! eight years later), entertaining, and it touches you.

    People can make comments about “hipsters” or that his work is “deep”, but I think anyone who has watched Tatami Galaxy through to the end understands that his work isn’t challenging just to be unusual. Yuasa uses the capabilities of the anime medium to tell stories about people struggling to overcome their limitations. Lvlln’s term above was “poignant”. What may seem outwardly weird at first (in any of these works) is really just an unusual way to tell a story of hope about the human condition.

  4. Overcooled says:

    The reason I watched Tatami Galaxy was because Kyokai said it was good and the reason I watched Kaiba was because lvlln said it was good…Ahh, the power of recommendations! Let’s see if that persuasive force can also get more people to donate too. I want to see Kick-Heart come to life! IT’S SO CLOSE!

    • lvlln says:

      I’m glad Kyo and I introduced you to those 2 works. I still need to check out other works by him, but Tatami Galaxy alone was enough to convince me that this guy was special. Kaiba sealed it for me. I can see why he would have a hard time getting funding in the current environment, since his ideas don’t tend to be very marketable (when’s the last time you saw an Akashi figure?), so it’s cool he decided to try Kickstarter. I don’t think this is the future of the industry, but I’d love to see more obscure, unmarketable ideas come to fruition thanks to Kickstarter.

  5. Joojoobees says:

    Glad to hear it happened, and looking forward to the results.

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