Yoshiura Yasuhiro, a brilliant rising anime director, recently turned a series of web shorts titled Patema Inverted
into a feature-length film, as he did with his earlier project, Time of Eve
. I've seen the film twice now, and it is beyond gorgeous.
I'm not sure how I feel about the distributor Anime Limited's Kickstarter campaign
to release Patema Inverted
in the UK. On one hand, the Kickstarter model makes me happy in that it gives more power to individual consumer-producers (ie, fans) and opens a forum for communication. On the other hand, I feel that professional licensing companies, who have economic and legal resources at their disposal that are largely unknown and unimaginable to the average fan, should shoulder the burden of publishing and promoting their properties without relying on or expecting fans to do their work for them.
I personally missed the opportunity to participate in the Kickstarter, so you might argue that I'm just bitter. That is indeed a valid argument, and it reinforces the point I'm trying to make, namely, that I shouldn't have to feel left out of this project. Anime Limited should have promoted this project more without touting it as an opportunity for "dedicated fans," who presumably don't need to rely on normal media outlets for release information, "to show their love and support." By closing off the project to all but the most dedicated fans, the distributor is in a sense marginalizing this release by suggesting that it is not of interest to a mainstream audience.
Another problem with this particular Kickstarter project is that, while enthusiasm for and appreciation of anime is global, media territories are stridently regional, and it makes little sense to launch a campaign on an international crowdfunding platform for a media property that will be by law and by practice largely limited to the UK. Don't get me wrong; I contribute to many local campaigns that have nothing to do with the part of the world in which I'm currently living, from bringing drinking water to a certain community in Laos to protecting a small ground of trees in a certain park in Brooklyn to putting on an interesting and queer-friendly interpretation of a Shakespeare play in Edinburgh to placing a collection of Torres Strait Islander folktales in Australian libraries. That being said, I think film licensing is a bit of a different ballgame in that tangible barriers have been put up with the express purpose of preventing the flow of films across territories. In essence, before you launch an international campaign, it might make sense to ensure that you have a project that is in fact accessible to an international audience.
An additional complaint I have concerning Kickstarter is that I find endless updates about endless delays
infuriating, and that such messages are even more upsetting when they come from professional distributors, but that's a different story for a different day.