Under the Dog is an in-production 24-minute animated film that seeks $580,000 to tell a story about an elite death squad.
Last weekend at Otakon, an anime convention, came the announcement of many acquired anime titles from Japan, but one panel announced the Kickstarter for a completely new project from a team of industry veterans at Creative Intelligence Arts. Under the Dog is an ambitious sci-fi action thriller about a society after a terrorist attack hits Japan at the 2020 Summer Olympics.
The anime takes place in 2025 as the UN has formed an elite group of gifted students with the goal of eliminating others with powers like theirs. The UN closely monitors the operatives and will kill people important to them should they fail or fall out of line.
Creative Intelligence Arts is asking for $580,000 to fund Under the Dog. The anime will be 24 minutes long, which seems so little when asking for nearly half a million dollars. In the FAQ for the Kickstarter project, Creative Intelligence Arts explained a single episode is more expensive in dollars per minute of animation compared to a full season.
Many of the Under the Dog staff members were present at Otakon, such as the writer of the original story, Jiro Ishii, character designer Yusuke Kozaki (best known for his designs on No More Heroes and Fire Emblem: Awakening), and producer Hiroaki Yura (The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya and Steins;Gate). Ishii produced the video game 9 Hours 9 Persons 9 Doors and wrote 428: In A Blockaded Shibuya, which went on to become the story for the anime Canaan. Under the Dog director Masahiro Ando previously worked with Ishii when he directed Canaan. Ando has also directed Sword of the Stranger, Blast of Tempest, and Hanasaku Iroha.
In a panel at Otakon, Yura said Creative Intelligence Arts chose Kickstarter to avoid the restrictions anime production committees place on projects that could be risky. "I'm sick and tired of the investors telling me, 'If it only sells in Japan, it's OK,'" Yura said. "No, it is not OK!"
Independent funding in Japan is hard to acquire because the industry relies on production committees. Corporations help to minimize financial risks, but the committees are made up primarily of investors who may place profit ahead of creativity.
If the project is a success, Creative Intelligence Arts estimates it will deliver Under the Dog by December 2015. It will include a Japanese voice cast and English subtitles.
Source: Under the Dog (Kickstarter)