I'm Hiroaki Yura, Producer of the anime Under the Dog and Director/Producer of the JRPG video game, Project Phoenix. Also, I've had the opportunity to work on many AAA game titles like Diablo III, SOULCALIBUR V, Valkyria Chronicles and anime like The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya and the Steins;Gate movie. Last month, my team of animators, writers and designers and I launched an independent anime project called "Under the Dog" where we're aiming to revive the freedom of creation for animators by funding it through Kickstarter.

We've been overwhelmed by the support from our backers for Under the Dog and I really look forward to answering some of your questions about Project Phoenix or any of my past projects! So with that... AMA!

Information to Under the Dog https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1300298569/under-the-dog

Here's my proof: https://twitter.com/Yuraphy/status/507306772948721664

Thank you everybody for participating in the AMA! I must leave for meetings now. Hopefully I can do this again soon!

Comments: 788 • Responses: 106  • Date: 

coming_out235 karma

First off, I'm a huge fan!

It's awesome how many amazing works you've been involved with!

But, my question is what do you plan to do it Under The Dog isn't fully funded?

Will you still produce it? Or will it be abandoned all together?

Thank you for doing this AMA!

(Bonus question: What has been the most difficult thing you've come across in your career?)

UnderTheDogPR324 karma

If UTD isn't funded, we have plans and offers from other people/companies to fund the project.

Whilst it's not in the creators best interest, we'll make sure we wont tread the usual Japanese production committee version of funding.

We will still definitely produce it (we already have offer for 2 seasons, 26 episodes!) but we prefer to be funded by the people to retain our creative independence!

MiracleLotus86 karma

Hello, I hope you reach your goal as soon as you can!

I have a question concerning your post.

Do you have any plans after the first episode of UTD gets released?

If so, do you plan on using Kickstarter for future episodes or have it funded by a third-party producer? Will they be OVAs or have constant episodes released per week?

UnderTheDogPR107 karma

We absolutely do have plans after the first episode. We'd like to continue using Kickstarter for our future episodes but if we aren't able, it may be funded by another film company.

We want to shoot for OVA style approach

Belgand9 karma

What are your plans to prevent the lack of sales/Kickstarter funding from ending production prematurely even if the first several are successful? While it's great that it provides more creative freedom and often higher production quality this has occasionally been a problem for many OVAs in the past.

UnderTheDogPR14 karma

If the interest is there then it will be funded. It takes a ton of money to make films and we would need backers and investors to get us there. As long as people show interest then we will keep producing UTD materials. I guess to answer your question, it will depend on the fans how much we make.

qwq3758 karma

Without giving away spoilers, what kind of creative things are normally restricted?

UnderTheDogPR167 karma

Like... negative or tragedy ridden anime. Creative writing and ideas which is out of bounds of "light novels"... not-so-moe or fan-service type character designs. etc

Vayate84 karma

That's pretty interesting, especially when you consider that the failure rate on moe anime is pretty high. For every moe show that succeeds, there are ten that don't. Stuff that's less moe but still has high quality source material (Fate/Zero, Natsume Yuujinchou, etc) sells very well. It seems like chasing otaku may not be the best business strategy after all.

In any case, if UTD is funded I think it would be very useful leverage for your studio. It would demonstrate that a) there's demand for UTD such that people will buy it before it's even been released and b) production committee money isn't needed, so they need to get aligned with your creative direction if they want the opportunity to make money. That should buy you a lot of creative freedom. Just a thought, I'm looking forward to UTD's success.

UnderTheDogPR74 karma

Exactly. And in our case, before it is even produced.

Vayate41 karma

Just curious, how do some of the more artsy anime get funded by production committees when it's fairly obvious that they won't sell well? I'm especially curious about original anime like Texhnolyze and RD Sennou Chousashitsu, but adaptations like Kino no Tabi seem like they should be doomed as well.

UnderTheDogPR71 karma

The studio themselves puts up a lot of the money or companies radical enough to support a particular artist.

tinyredleaf51 karma

Hi,

Could you elaborate more on what's wrong with the usual production committee version of funding? Is it so restrictive that it prevents the production of more innovative anime titles?

I ask because this is a topic that comes up frequently in many anime discussion forums, where fans complain that "nothing new" comes out of the industry any more.

Some fans think the global economic crisis since 2007/8 have made production committees more risk-averse. Is that true?

UnderTheDogPR95 karma

Is it so restrictive that it prevents the production of more innovative anime titles? >> Yes it will be. They don't want to take the risks with innovative or edgy ideas for anime. They just want to do the anime that is selling well next door.

IanHamlett43 karma

Have you considered a highschool setting and maybe some sort of supernatural twist? I hear investors are happy about those things.

UnderTheDogPR40 karma

We want to make the stories that we find interesting. Right now that is Jiro Ishii's world of UTD. We are not overly concerned with what the investors would be interested in. They will follow a product that has a proven fanbase.

HaydenTheFox26 karma

If you don't get funded through Kickstarter and have to resort to secondary funding, what happens to the rewards? Do you still plan to have those as options in the future, or will they be Kickstarter-only?

UnderTheDogPR49 karma

We still want to be able to offer fans a way of being directly involved so we are uncertain how it would play out. With the KS, obviously the rewards would only be produced if we fund there.

SirHolmes22 karma

They're probably going to sell merchandise in Japan (like any other anime) but it'll be less certain whether it's going to come to the U.S.

UnderTheDogPR56 karma

We would do our best to make it available worldwide. This is part of our mission statement with this project. That said, you are correct that it will depend on the type of deal we can manage and what the terms are.

WDuffy180 karma

Thanks for taking the time to do this! My question is this: Do you feel that the crowd-sourcing behind Under the Dog might mean more than just fans simply wanting a great scifi/action anime? With the current state of the anime industry, it's easy to get discouraged when original concepts such as Under the Dog need crowd-funding just to be made. I myself am excited about the project and what it will present in its own right, but I am also hopeful that it will serve as a wake up call to other writers and studios, showing that fans are ready for something new.

UnderTheDogPR708 karma

I hope UTD will give an example that the Japanese anime industry should really focus their attention globally, not just our tiny Japanese audience. Anime should be for the whole world, not just Japan. We don't always want moe anime or a light novel based anime. I for one long to see anime like Akira.

aDumbGorilla124 karma

Massive fan of your work! Backed Under the Dog, own the Haruhi and Steins;Gate movie blurays, all great stuff.

In the past few years each anime season will feature shows that just seem like reskins of what aired last month. Do you hope Under the Dog will be something fresh and set a new standard in the modern anime industry?

UnderTheDogPR221 karma

Absolutely. There are fewer and fewer anime I feel interested or compelled to watch each season. Every year, I hear huge political struggles from industry colleagues and they are saddened by the fact if they could put more effort in their work rather than politics, it'd be so much better.

Without much politics and freely doing what we want to do, I hope simply by doing that, UTD will reach new industry standards.

SolarAquarion63 karma

So the Production committee process creates a massive amount of stupid unneeded politics?

UnderTheDogPR124 karma

Indeed they do. Most are interested in only promoting/selling their own portions. For example a music publisher may chip in for an anime but what they want to sell and what they promote is solely the music. They are not interested in anime as a whole but more of like a stepping stone.

ultrapwnd107 karma

Thank you for doing this AMA! I hope Under The Dog is successful, I have two questions.

Is the western or non Japanese market ever taken into consideration when producing anime?

Do you think it's possible for someone not Japanese to work in the anime industry in Japan?

Thank you!

UnderTheDogPR177 karma

For UTD, our primary market is the whole world. And Japan, is only a little part of the whole world. I am very careful of doing this since I was raised in Australia despite being Japanese.

Also yes, I feel there can be non-Japanese animators as well. Actually I know plenty who work in Japan on animation who aren't Japanese.

makomankanshoku80 karma

Hi there! I'm super interested in this project and I was very happy to fund it :) I was wondering if you could elaborate on how we in the west (or just those of us outside of Japan) could help to support the anime industry and allow for more projects like this to come about?

People seemed shocked at the price that it costs to animate an episode of a series, and I think it would beneficial for anime fans to realize that supporting the industry is very important, as things are very expensive to produce.

UnderTheDogPR129 karma

First of all, (not being biased) if we fund, we'd be the first truly independent and professional Japanese animation to fund an anime at high industry standard. This would definitely lead the way for others, and I'll certainly be helping them get there. Once we succeed, I am sure others will follow and I'll also be doing other anime Kickstarters as I have many friends in the industry.

Yes, we are going above and beyond the regular Television standard (Gundam UC, Ghost in the Shell Arise) to deliver the highest industry standard possible. This is why the project is expensive and this is the way it should be.

SalubriousStreets65 karma

How do Japanese anime studios view western audiences and fans?

UnderTheDogPR169 karma

They don't... and it's reflected on the works.

Very unfortunate.

NotTooDistantFuture56 karma

What are some of your favorite anime as a consumer, not a producer? By which I mean shows that you did not have a part in making, but think highly of.

UnderTheDogPR96 karma

Ghost in the Shell and Akira.

galactic_punt23 karma

Ooooh. Mamoru Oshii theatrical films or Kenji Kamiyama's Stand Alone Complex?

Either way, good taste.

Do you ever think there'll be room for a full adaptation of Akira? I've read the manga and seen the movie and if they could reproduce that kind of quality for a mini-series, I'd probably scream with joy.

UnderTheDogPR34 karma

I hope they can do a series on Akira... I did see "Bukiyo saraba" recently and that was awesome.

violaxcore51 karma

  1. Can you talk a bit in detail what a producer does, or what you do as a producer?

  2. A couple issues in the Japanese animation industry are short, difficult schedules and low pay for many animators. Have you taken either of these into consideration in your project?

  3. Any hints for future Creative Intelligence Arts projects?

  4. Why are violas better than violins?

UnderTheDogPR89 karma

  1. A Producer a) picks the members/studio to create the animation b) source the funding c) promote the animation d) keep everyone (I mean EVERYONE!!!) happy e) distribute the animation in the best way possible

  2. Yes. UTD will ultimately share a lot of the money generated from the project back to the creators (which production committees usually don't do)

  3. We do have several anime and video game project up our sleeves but that's all we can tell you

  4. Because Violas are more sonorous, deep and richer. And I mean it.

mdemarsm47 karma

Do you think you will do a new chat at r/anime? I bet it would put the goal at 100 %... and even over 580k!

UnderTheDogPR59 karma

We'll try!

pyrofighter44 karma

what kind of things are you going to try and make different about Under the Dog as compared to other AAA titles?

UnderTheDogPR136 karma

Keep the whole world in mind, not just Japan

almeida3742 karma

[removed]

UnderTheDogPR84 karma

Biggest reason to support UTD is because this will change the anime industry, to strive for creative freedom.

Traditional distribution method would involve the production committee so that's why we chose Kickstarter

almeida3723 karma

I had no idea there was such executive meddling in the industry. Is that why most material is adapted and there's few original stories?

UnderTheDogPR53 karma

Yes... old franchise sell...

jraiketchum40 karma

Hi Yura-san, thanks for doing this AMA. My question to you is what made you decide to become a producer of video games and anime from a background in music and orchestra? Is this something you have always wanted to do?

Also, absolutely LOVED the music work in The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya and your violin solo at Otakon a few years ago!

UnderTheDogPR71 karma

I didn't mean to be a Producer for Video Games and Anime. It kind of just happened. With my background, I was intending to be a classical violinist but things lead from one to another, from performing as a soloist, to performing anime/game music to recording for anime and video games, then making enough friends to want to make a difference to both these industries as a Producer.

Thank you for liking Haruhi Suzumiya. Haruhi is definitely one of most proudest moments so far. You were there at OTAKON?! Thank you!

Logi_Ca113 karma

Did you do the orchestral version of Gymnopedie no.1 in The Disappearance? If so I would like to thank you! It's one of the most beautiful and moving pieces of music I have ever heard in my life and I still listen to it everyday!

UnderTheDogPR20 karma

Yes we did! Thank you!

skiboy9540 karma

So I am super excited and hope Under the Dog gets made through the kickstarter. But are there plans for anything long term past the episode if it is successfully funded through kickstarter? ( I have kinda fallen in love with it already)

UnderTheDogPR54 karma

Long term we would love to create a film trilogy for UTD. Our idea is to use the OVA from KS to use as a pitch to investors for a film. KS does not seem ready to take on a multi-million dollar project just yet but if there is interest enough when we are ready to do it, then we will consider it.

Aaragon39 karma

Hello, first of all! Thanks so much for doing this! I loved your work in Steins;Gate: Fuka Ryōiki no Déjà vu and Diablo III, and judging by the trailer, the score on this series will be just as awesome!

My question to you is with the previous project you worked on (Project Phoenix), what are some similar difficulties you've run into with Under the Dog, and what challenges are completely different when creating this series as opposed to a JRPG?

I've been aspiring to start some of my own independent projects and was wondering which side of the spectrum (games or Anime) is easier to enter, or at least more accessible.

Thanks again! I hope for the best with this awesome project!

UnderTheDogPR56 karma

Under the Dog is an anime so just like a film, the time - music direction only goes from A to B. A JRPG is an interactive game so time - music direction doesn't simply go from A to B, we must use looped music and combine (somewhat cleverly) music so it feels fresh.

That been said, film music is very difficult as it needs to be crafted with utmost care as people may watch the same scene over and over again and we want to make sure every little detail is worked out.

Nothing is easy to do, but as long as you have the passion and the will to do it, you can start with any project!

Thank you for your question!

asylumsaint36 karma

Hello! I am a huge fan all the teams work! I am super exited to be a backer!

What are your favorite JRPGS / Anime?

Have you ever worked with Hideaki Anno? If so, do you have any cool or funny stories?

Bonus question: Do you think there will ever be a time when Foreign voice actors will show up in Japanese anime? (i.e. playing a foreign transfer student in a slice of life anime)

UnderTheDogPR86 karma

Thanks for backing us!

My favourite JRPG is Secret of Mana/FF9 and Anime is the original GitS and Akira.

I've been in front of Anno-san's desk when I was working w/ Studio Khara. Funny story? It's not really a story but it was way smaller than I expected.

Bonus Question: Yes, I hope so. Maybe UTD will do it

tallbuildings30 karma

Did Demo's video actually have an effect on backings?

UnderTheDogPR32 karma

I think we saw a leap during the time, but what I can say, is f***** awesome!!!

ShushKebab25 karma

Hi Hiroaki Yura! Been a fan of you for awhile and that of Eminence Symphony. Any chance we'll see a continuation of the A Night in Fantasia series? Or has it been pretty much supplanted by the similar concerts held in Australia e.g. Play! and Symphony of Legend?

UnderTheDogPR28 karma

ANIF is definitely going to continue and we'll celebrate the 10th anniversary soon!

We're so busy with recording of official stuff it's hard to juggle the recording and the performing!

Thanks for asking!

Tarage24 karma

If UTD is funded, will you flat out refuse your other funding options? Or will you make one episode and then use the alternative funding in a different way?

UnderTheDogPR32 karma

It will depend on the second Kickstarter and how that will go. We are always open to options

McFly941924 karma

Hello, I am very excited for UTD! Could you explain what some of the negative effects of traditional studio funding are and why you believe that crowd-sourcing was the best option for this project?

UnderTheDogPR39 karma

Production Committees are the negative effect for a studio as they have a guideline for the anime to further their each companies commercial needs. I think animation should be free of such committees, and in truth, we feel these committee were initially made with a different intent but sadly, only the negativity remain.

Crowd sourcing was the best way for UTD since as we can keep our own artistic freedom

Stolasmek12 karma

I haven't seen the Steins;Gate movie, but does the blatant tie-in of products like Dr Pepper in the show give you pause on any project or is it more of a necessary evil?

I'm excited for UTD and your efforts to break the mold of funding, best of luck!

UnderTheDogPR26 karma

Well we call it a "Neta", an idea we can fix on. The Steins;Gate thing wasn't too bad in comparison to other placements...

DiabolicalPianist22 karma

Hello Hiroaki Yura! Welcome to AMA.

After reading the script for "The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya" what was your first reaction to it? Did it live up to your expectations?

UnderTheDogPR48 karma

It went above and beyond my expectation. But it was even better after the great voice actors did their thing!

kidenraikou17 karma

Would you recommend watching Haruhi in the original broadcasted episode order or chronologically?

UnderTheDogPR63 karma

I think the original broadcast method, as intended.

OttoRockettt19 karma

How do you feel about the challenge of telling a complete story in just 24 minutes?

UnderTheDogPR27 karma

We intend to tell a full story in 24 minutes like many other shows do as well. What will not be completed in the OVA is a revelation of the UTD world as a whole. It really serves as a springboard for the story we really want to tell and will whet people's appetite for more, we hope. We want to do several prequel to "set the world" of UTD. In an ideal setting, we want to do: 3 OVAs setting the UTD world Trilogy of feature films for UTD and more if we are popular!

IAmNorthKorea18 karma

What is your opinion on the current state of the anime industry and what do you think it would take to change it, if you even think it needs changing?

I'm a backer for Under the Dog and really hope you all reach your goal. This project is the kind of thing the anime industry needs, I think, and I really look forward to the future of it.

Also, I really enjoyed the interview done on ANNcast.

UnderTheDogPR29 karma

I believe the Production Committee business model is old, and I hope the anime industry starts creating anime for the people, not just domestically but internationally.

Thanks for backing us!

JoJolion17 karma

Hello there! I appreciate the idea behind this project more than I can express. I've been very excited since the very moment I learned of Under the Dog's existence and been extremely eager to see how things play out. It's my first chance to really directly support some creativity in the anime industry without going through the loops of western releases.

That said, I've got just a couple questions!

  1. Have you ever felt that anime could be significantly more successful sales-wise if the west was provided with faster/more direct opportunities to support studios? I always feel a bit helpless to see sales for anime I love be lower than studios want, but import prices to support the series are pretty ridiculously expensive for where I live.

  2. Though obviously you can't answer this in detail, do you have any other ideas for an anime to create in the same vein of Under the Dog you'd like to do still? More specifically, another idea for something animated you wouldn't want a production committee meddling with?

UnderTheDogPR19 karma

1) Yes, that's why we're doing UTD to pave a way for other studios.

2) Yes, but after UTD has stabilised! =P

Thanks!

bsus141217 karma

First off, I want to say congratulations on making it this far in Under the Dog and I wish you the best of luck in reaching your goal. I also backed Project Phoenix and am now saving up to upgrade to Developer status, so now I have to find out how to spread my money over both of your projects. Now, onto my questions.

1) What has it been like for you to balance both Project Phoenix as well as your current project Under the Dog and what have you learned so far from this experience that will carry over to your future projects?

2) You have already stated plans for incorporating additional rewards for those who backed both Kickstarter projects. How is this plan progressing so far? Are you planning more for physical rewards or digital rewards, such as Under the Dog character costumes and/or weapons for Project Phoenix?

3) approximately when are you planning on posting pictures of the mock-ups for the add-ons for Under the Dog? I am especially curious to know what the challenge coin and foldable utility box will look like.

UnderTheDogPR28 karma

Thank you so much for backing both our projects!

1) Balancing both projects wasn't too hard as Under the Dog is just Producer tasks instead of Director tasks like with Project Phoenix. I also have a very capable team who always helps me in many ways so I am in good hands! I've learnt that we should prepare almost a month in advance, that communication is more important than usual since we don't all work under the same roof and when you ask for help, people are more than willing to help!

2) We are planning Anthea's powered suit for Sylrianah. Shhhh.... we haven't announced it and also we haven't said anything about Kozaki Yusuke re-designing it to suit Sylrianah at all.

3) Probably after the Kickstarter since Mr Kusano is so popular w/ working on the best design projects in Japan, it'd be just too rude to ask him to work for us for long periods of time. The utility box will be similar to the Evangelion box!

damnedation16 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA. I'm not into a lot of anime but I backed Under the Dog immediately I saw the PV.

Since there are plans to create episodic content, is there a set direction for this? Meaning has the story/plot been fleshed out from beginning to end?

UnderTheDogPR23 karma

We have the plot for 26 episodes already mapped out but we believe the best medium for the story we want to tell with UTD would be feature length film, specifically a trilogy. The plot points are bound to adapt but we have a solid direction and people on the team are very excited with the prospect of what we are doing.

-Niernen16 karma

What problems do you see or have you run into with the current funding and production methods of Japanese animation? Are there any large problems that you hope crowdsourcing will not have compared to the standard method? And how would sales of any possible future merchandise affect where you go?

Good luck!

UnderTheDogPR29 karma

Minimum investment, Maximum profit, screw the creators.

That's what it comes down to.

For UTD, any licensed products and it's profit will be shared amongst our creators.

aabbccatx15 karma

Who is your favorite active mangaka?

UnderTheDogPR26 karma

Yusuke Kozaki's Donyatsu is going crazy in my head

freddyfreak199915 karma

What is your dream video game?

UnderTheDogPR31 karma

Metal Gear Solid 1, Secret of Mana, FF9, Diablo II, and the Warcraft series. These are some of my favorites. Any combination or reproductions of these are dreamy.

JalaneF13 karma

This is a question from The Gamer Headlines, a website dedicated to video games and its culture: If this wonderful project successfully achieves its targeted goal at KickStarter, will it be possible for a video game to come out from this anime production?

BTW-I loved the Haruhi Suzumiya series. ;]

UnderTheDogPR31 karma

Yes, I do want to make UTD a game... if this is all successful!

We actually have a high level game design document already muahahahaha!

SoraCheeABlue13 karma

Under the Dog; the creation of the story seems to quickly becoming as interesting as the story itself. The bravery and sacrifice it requires to take on such a venture; I only wish the best for you and the rest of the staff for "Under the Dog".

Change the world of anime with this. Remember when people were saying how Studio Trigger saved anime through Kill la Kill? Make this even bigger. :) Good luck in the future!

UnderTheDogPR17 karma

We will definitely try! Thank you!

shooooosh13 karma

Hey I'm a huge fan of your work and I wanted to know if there has been more recent anime, say in the last 5-6 seasons, that you feel has creatively excelled? Or do you feel that the industry as a whole has stagnated. Thank you!

UnderTheDogPR21 karma

I mean, I like the Yamato remake, Gundam UC and GitS: ARISE but they all have the nostalgic factor.

So in terms of completely new IP, there are titles which I support like Captain Earth but there are no anime which made me totally flip over.

r_antrobus12 karma

If UTD ends up not making it's Kickstarter goal and it ends up being a standard industry cranked out anime, what sort of creative compromises do you see yourselves making for the anime?

Also, what are your view on Fansubs?

UnderTheDogPR15 karma

This will not happen. We would get it funded some other way, even if we had to do it ourselves, which we have already spent a good amount getting it this far. Compromises would include product placements in the anime, moe characters instead of characters we want, our lack of say in approval, etc.

For fansubs, I don't have any interaction with them since I watch anime in Japanese.

crest45612 karma

I want to help out with UTD, but I can only do so with Paypal, and I don't see the option to do so.

Am I blind, or is it not there?

UnderTheDogPR18 karma

Paypal will be available soon!

cohesiv311 karma

What's your opinion on Hayao Miyazaki retiring and what do you think will happen to Studio Ghibli?

UnderTheDogPR29 karma

I know what's going to happen to Studio Ghibli (I am friends with their core staff) so I cannot comment on that.

However I love Hayao's work, and of course with all Japanese of my generation, we were literally brought up with his wonderful films.

... to a certain point. I feel his peak was at Princess Mononoke.

mykilltf211 karma

What are your feelings related to the kickstarter campaign? What I mean by that is, do you think this could be a successful means for funding creative projects, like the remake of UTD, in the future?

I think this could be the start of a new era in anime media production if this can go through so I am rooting for you guys with all my heart. Good luck on the project!

UnderTheDogPR19 karma

This is what we hope and what we are seeking to find out. We really want to bridge the gap between anime creators and the fans who support us. The biggest hurdle is the budget and perhaps, as we and others try this method, we can begin to bring that down as more money goes directly to the creators.

FinnSanity711 karma

Hello, First of all Thank you for doing this AMA and I also really hope UTD is funded so you can do what you desire with the project :)

I'm also Australian :) I was wondering what inspired you to work with such a dark premise? I mean I love the Idea and it hasn't been overdone in anime although dark assassin type storylines are often seen in western media as it almost guarantees an audience, but other than PHANTOM: requiem for the phantom I haven't seen many anime (or western media) properly tackle that dark premise that makes you re-think humanity, I have high hopes for this and I really believe it will be a hit!

UnderTheDogPR15 karma

Thank you!

Well, I think the dark hero types are in "fashion" now but Anthea is not really a Heroine as in like w/ Bruce Wayne. UTD is kind of like a jail break in some sorts as well, and it'll be great if we can express the complexity of the emotions involved with this.

derkrieger11 karma

First of all im excited to see you guys reaching out like this and im happy to see how close the project already is. I just recently learned about it earlier todayso this is a pleasant surprise for me.

So as for my question, what is your plan for Under the Dog after the first episode? Your kickstarter rewards say youll give future content to backers over $20 and thats awesome, a lot of projects wouldnt go that far. So if you only receive backing for your first episode and its a success outside of kickstarter as well would you then all consider moving forward with another episode on future income or perhaps reapproaching kickstarter for a second round?

Also just wanted to say thank you for your contributions to both the game and anime industries. In my case im a big fan of both Steins;Gate and Valkyria Chronicles so Woo!

UnderTheDogPR16 karma

We want to do several prequel to "set the world" of UTD. In an ideal setting, we want to do:

3 OVAs setting the UTD world Trilogy of feature films for UTD

and more if we are popular!

ctom4211 karma

Hi, Under the Dog is the first Kickstarter I have ever backed. I'm looking forward to the potential changes this can make in the anime industry.

Since you have been talking a lot about wanting to look at things globally and avoid the current production committee structure, I was wondering on your opinion on anime pricing. Under the current model anime sold domestically in Japan is marketed at exorbitant prices to the small crowd of super fans that are willing to pay any price. Will you be planning on pricing DVDs/BDs for Under the Dog at prices more similar to the western market? Do you intent to market to the larger audience rather than the high paying minority? Do you foresee any shift in the overall industry towards lower prices and higher volume sales?

UnderTheDogPR19 karma

Thank you for backing us!

I feel physical media is an old medium, reserved only for the fans of fans. The vanilla BD/DVD should be cheap but the limited edition w/ artbook and what have you should be priced around $100 or so.

This way, we can cater for all!

MisterSzar10 karma

I love so many of your previous works and I'm very excited for UTD! How did you first get into the anime industry? Also what do you find most rewarding in your line of work?

UnderTheDogPR14 karma

First anime was ROMEO X JULIET by GONZO back in the day and then we did Tower of Druaga with them too.

Hitoshi Sakimoto, the composer of FFT got us into all of this mess lol

I find it rewarding to watch the film or play the game, when it all comes together!

thisisyu8 karma

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UnderTheDogPR23 karma

In the ideal world, I hope the anime industry move onto Youtube and be able to support itself by receiving revenue from Ads/Crowd-funding.

AKIRA...? would be my favourite anime if it's sci-fi.

I hoped they would make the full version of Nausicaa...

animeprophet8 karma

Is the new design for Anthea final or is there a chance that it will change again? I like both designs but I prefer the color scheme of the original a bit more. If you guys happen to do another change, have you thought about holding a vote and letting the backers choose?

UnderTheDogPR15 karma

We can put up a vote, but Kozaki-san's intentions are that the new design is more "real" and "functional" to the situation Anthea will be put in.

We will definitely consider putting up a vote.

SnowyCaptain8 karma

If UTD reaches it's goal, how will you go about distributing the finished project and other project that stem from project? Also if the project is widely successful will you guys continue with crowd funding for future endeavors or will you market your project to a production company and gain funding from them (if they let you have creative freedom of course)?

UnderTheDogPR10 karma

We have been in talks with distribution channels such as Netflix, GoG, and CrunchyRoll. Obviously we cannot relay the specifics but needless to say there is significant interest in fresh content.

We are proving that KS is a viable platform and yes we will do more on it. The one limitation so far is seen as the budgets get higher like for film as an example, but that trend may change in time and we hope to help it get there.

I_give_rude_comments8 karma

I personally love what you guys are doing and I sincerely hope this succeeds. I have donated already and plan on increasing my amount.

Here's my question: Besides getting the chance to retain your creative independence, what other things do you think sets Under the Dog differently than other anime out there right now?

UnderTheDogPR15 karma

Well the budget is pretty high, so I'm pretty sure that would very much differentiate our project from others.

TheSoberRussian7 karma

Steins;Gate was amazing. I was wondering, what was anime that inspired you and your career?

UnderTheDogPR12 karma

Princess Mononoke has inspired me heaps when I was a teenager

TheJayP7 karma

If the OVA does well do you think you'll make a full series?

Also, what is your reaction to the backlash due to the pulling out of cooperating with fansubbers?

UnderTheDogPR24 karma

We definitely want to make a full series at high standards!

Well the reaction with the fansubbers... my answer is... its the internet. We'll stick with pros even if I have to sell my Warhammer miniatures.

Zangori7 karma

With your team's Kickstarter being relatively close to the goal, but only three days left to fund it, what would your plans be regarding "Under the Dog"? I know you looked to Kickstarter to avoid dealing with production companies and the changes they would make, but would that be the only other option if the Kickstarter fails?

UnderTheDogPR13 karma

We do have contingencies but definitely not one involving Production Committees. I believe the level of creators we have for UTD will allow a favourable contractual terms with whomever film company that may be.

We have the strength to say "No" if we must

vunilla7 karma

Do you have any shows/series that are your "guilty pleasures"?

UnderTheDogPR11 karma

hmmm... not really haha!

ComplexMH7 karma

I absolutely love where Under the Dog is going in terms of story and characters. Given that UtD also makes a statement about the anime industry of current, I have on question: What are the top things you would change about the anime industry (or the current state of anime in general) if you could?

Also, who's your favorite League of Legends character in terms of looks/style?

UnderTheDogPR13 karma

I really want the anime industry to understand that there are wider audiences outside of Japan.

My favourite LoL? Hmmm... I like Yasuo and Jinx!

Tempest1236 karma

Hey! Glad you could do this AMA. Want to say, as a backer of Project Phoenix and Under the Dog, I'm excites to see what the future holds for both. Also enjoyed both panels at Otakon. I had two questions.

  1. The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya is often regarded as one of the best anime movies of all time. What is your thoughts on that? What was the best part of the production for you?

  2. What do you think of kickstarter in relation to your projects? Ups? Downs?

UnderTheDogPR8 karma

Thank you!

1) Seriously? I'm totally chuffed. I was working on the music so I like to say... when we were recording! 2) Kickstarter is a very fair medium to gage your project. I think it's given people dreams to work on, and I love it!

pwnrfield6 karma

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UnderTheDogPR5 karma

we'll show you everything for UTD once the production starts!

ASD13926 karma

Really looking forward UTD. I know it will be a total success and will set anime free from production committees.

My question is: UTD will have English and German subs, but do you have any plan for Spanish subs as well? Because it would be great if you include Spanish subs, that way Hispanic fansubs wouldn’t translate it illegally. I’m sure there are a lot of translation groups willing to translate this important project for free, including myself.

Thanks for this AMA. Great fan of yours and the whole UTD team.

UnderTheDogPR10 karma

Yes we have plans for Spanish as well! (done professionally)

EternityGear6 karma

I understand that this project will give you the independent freedom you need to create something great. However, just because something is great unfortunately does not mean it will be a commercial success.

My question is: Should UTD not sell as well as you hope, do you still plan to start another kickstarter for another crowdfunded anime? Even if you don't do as well as some of the mainstream shows that have been done 1000 times before, I hope you guys keep doing what you are doing and don't let potentially poor initial results hinder you. This is the type of mindset that could seriously revive the greatness of anime, so I fucking believe in you and your people. Please deliver :D.

UnderTheDogPR21 karma

Yes, we will keep making anime until we can perfect it. Which is never. But we will keep trying forever.

Thank you for believing us, we will definitely deliver and that is a promise.

Apethe3rd6 karma

Thank you for doing this, and as a backer, I hope you and the rest of the UTD team exceed your goals. My question is: Do you have any favorite non-japanese animations?

UnderTheDogPR27 karma

yeah Blizzard Cinematics!!!

artgrl266 karma

As an animator myself and a huge anime fan, I can't tell you how much this project means to me. I really hope UTD makes its goal, to open up more avenues for creative projects of such a scale to be funded by the viewers rather than corporate interest. ~Thank you~

On that note, my question to you is:

Do you think that Japan is receptive to crowd-sourcing? I know Kickstarter is mainly a phenomenon in the U.S., but could something similar take off in Japan, and elsewhere in the world? It would be wonderful to see a truly globally funded project.

Best of luck for UTD!

UnderTheDogPR14 karma

Not really in Japan since there are many investment type organized crimes here... and also we're not really one to give money for charity. We take up different forms of charity but a lot of NPOs are corrupt as well... (not all though).

So it will be difficult... BUT I know there are a lot of Japanese backers on UTD!

Elsewhere in the world, it's pretty much taking off isn't it?

sacredshadow85 karma

After you finish UTD, do you have anything else in mind that you would be doing?

UnderTheDogPR10 karma

I have plenty of things in mind =P

fybostar5 karma

When the Under the Dog project gets fundedI Believe in the fans. Then Japanese companies start to see the logic that there are people willing to purchase your product outside of Japan. How much backlash from Japanese industry will you get from seeking outside help?if any? I say this due to the history that Japanese studios tend to only cater to Japanese fans.

UnderTheDogPR11 karma

I think the Japanese industry people are too scared to poke us. We might bite.

mokonamodoki5 karma

Thank you for doing this and looking forward to the completion of the project!

For my question: What inspires you?

UnderTheDogPR12 karma

My inspiration comes from my imagination of the perfect anime. It will never happen, but it will get closer every time.

ThorinsBlade5 karma

Hi there! I'm really excited for your current project and hope that it gets it's funding from a community that needs this kind of quality!

My question is, how likely would it be for a fresh out of university western animator, such as myself, be hired by a Japanese animation studio? What roads are there into the industry?

Thanks again, and looking forward to the project!

UnderTheDogPR10 karma

3DCGI would be a good option. I know POLYGON Pictures were hiring and they aren't limited to Japanese people.

bozobozo5 karma

What is your favorite dinosaur?

UnderTheDogPR24 karma

Triceratops!

But to be honest, the zoids version. MADTHUNDER!

Nippoten5 karma

What has been the most rewarding/exciting part about working on this project so far? Also good luck the kickstarter of course!

UnderTheDogPR7 karma

Doing the multi-audio tracking with huge awesome surround sound effects + music.

Thank you!

SCNewbie5 karma

What separates a good anime from an exceptional anime ?

UnderTheDogPR14 karma

the teamwork and the depth

I_Am_Intoxicated5 karma

What's your favorite beer?

UnderTheDogPR12 karma

I don't have a favourite, but I do like Golden Ale by James Squire

MartinTheFriendly4 karma

Thank you for all that you've done for the things I love to watch and hear. My only question is, what motivated you to do what you do?

UnderTheDogPR13 karma

We want to make a great anime that caters for the whole world. Anime is not just a niche market that should target only Japan but a global standard entertainment worthy of the whole world to consume.

karmacappa4 karma

Hi Yura-san, wishing you and CIA all the best in your efforts with your current projects! I have a couple of questions:

How do you think that future investors are going to react to the CIA promise to give full digital copies of all future Under the Dog animation to 8-10 thousand backers?

What gave you and CIA the idea to create new global online communities on the spot to fund original IP such as RPGs and animation, rather than going with the typical route of merely having what amounts to a large pre-order of an already partially developed project?

UnderTheDogPR11 karma

This is something they will have to agree to if they want to do business with us and they will invest in us with that fully disclosed. In a worldwide market, we think this is acceptable to have a promotion for several thousand people who helped us achieve our success.

It really came from friends in the those industries who talked with us about changes they would like to bring about. We saw the need and we want to help make a change for the better in the industries we love. Also, I was raised in the West and have plenty of experience in both regions so I could easily spot the differences in what I personally liked and didn't.

oshare_banchou4 karma

Good Evening, Mr. Yura. Thanks for doing this AMA! It has been a good while since the release of Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya. With the start of your new project, how has the anime industry changed since the release of Disappearance? Has the domestic fanbase grown or shrunk? Have companies increased production or decreased? And how has anime distribution overseas changed since then, if it has at all.

Your response would be much appreciated.

UnderTheDogPR16 karma

I'm pretty sure the domestic fanbase has increased a little, production has increased in the past years but studios are trying to keep the numbers down, and quality up. Anime distribution overseas? Sadly, I live in Japan now and is not so knowledgeful to that extent...

tonyz7234 karma

First off, I should say, the project looks fantastic so far, I hope you guys get funded! That being said, the character design for Anthea Kallenberg looks fantastic, what kind of personality and traits will you expect her to have?

UnderTheDogPR9 karma

Thank you!

Anthea is a troubled teenager but she's one of those types to bottle her feelings and deal with the problems in front of her, one by one. Hopefully, her character will be developed to resolve these issues and ultimately, free herself from her own imprisonment.

superioreggplant4 karma

You mentioned that you still want to use Kickstarter for future UTD projects, but you want to make a trilogy of films. As this isn't an established franchise, do you really think it's possible? Especially as the amount for the stretch goal for a full length film on this Kickstarter is $5 million and Kickstarter is mostly an American/English site making it harder to get support from Japanese folks?

Also what took you guys so long to build up the PR stuff? Big news, endorsements and the AMA all came with just days to go!

UnderTheDogPR8 karma

We'll try to source the funds elsewhere if crowdsourcing isn't viable.

Sorry, it's really hard to work with a small team to bring the big guns out...

Computer-Player4 karma

Thank you for the work that you do!

Who is your favorite Haruhi Character/why and what do you feel is your best piece of work to date?

Thanks again!

UnderTheDogPR12 karma

Nagato because she's so quiet and it'd be interesting once you are able to start conversing despite her monotonous tone.

My best work is probably the Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya.

violaxcore3 karma

You say you seek to create a broader, global audience of anime. Do you see the lack of any women on the creative team for Under the Dog as an issue? Will you actively seek input and participation from female animators, directors, and other creators for future projects?

UnderTheDogPR15 karma

one of our main animator, Ishii san is a lady (not the writer, they both have the same surname)!

Many female staff in Ogasawara san's Kinema Citrus too. In future projects, we'll actively seek talented individuals, not on the basis of sex.

That been said, there are heaps of talented ladies working in the industry

Jordy563 karma

I hope I am not late, but will you use kickstarter for your future works? And will there be another work from you in the near future?

UnderTheDogPR6 karma

Yes, we do intend to use KS in our future works. And yes, there will be several other works in the near future!

Propelant3 karma

How do you find focus when the distractions of personal life get in the way of production?

What are the most challenging parts of production for you to overcome as a team leader?

UnderTheDogPR8 karma

My biggest distraction is my 20 month old son who just wants to be hugged to sleep when I'm doing an international conference call. I have to do both

user_name363 karma

What was the most fun project you ever worked on?

UnderTheDogPR6 karma

The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya. That reminded me I was a musician

motsunabe3 karma

What is the biggest challenge of working in the anime and game industry today?

UnderTheDogPR9 karma

Trying to do things "right". Simple things. Things which we used to take for granted in the days long past.

Neosword30003 karma

Hi there! I'm a huge fan of what you're trying to do and I backed the kickstarter as soon as I heard about it.

My question is, how is the Western anime market different from the Japanese market?

UnderTheDogPR11 karma

Japanese domestic market and Western market is different. Sure, there are fanboys and girls who follow a lot of what the Japanese fans follow, but the core audience is liking things for different reasons to Japan. And I feel Japanese studios have to take note of that.

Werty143 karma

Hi! I am really looking forward to Under The Dog and my question is do you have a favorite project that you worked on, or a couple that you thought were really fun to do? Thanks!

UnderTheDogPR10 karma

Haruhi was one of my favorites and Diablo III was one of my most ninja-ist.

saberdoom3 karma

Do you hope other animators might take this approach to producing anime, since creative freedom is being taken from them because of the production committees? Thank you for your time!

UnderTheDogPR13 karma

Yes, absolutely. We want to prove to other creators as well as the people with the money to fund them to realize the global audience and give anime to the world not just Japan.

DBolati2 karma

Hello Mr Yura and thank your for the AMA. Under the Dog looks amazing so far and looks to shape up to be something special! I know you and team will deliver!

On to my question. What has the experience been like to work with various minds who have come from working on a lot of blockbuster hits from different anime/video games?

Again thank you for the AMA and the opportunity to ask out questions! Best of luck to you and the team.

UnderTheDogPR5 karma

Well I am very lucky to work with various cutting edge colleagues from different expertise. It's one thing which I appreciate about music, is we get to work with a lot of different people/projects within the shortest amount of time.

Working for Blizzard then working for Bandai Namco in Japan was a huge difference!

haisenpai2 karma

what is your opinion on animes such as Mushishi, Tatami Galaxy, and Ping Pong the Animation?

UnderTheDogPR3 karma

They have cool original stories and I think studios should brave these more often! Maybe more on Kickstarter!

Airleagan2 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA, this was the first ever project I am attempting to kickstart, so i'm pulling for you guys in these last 3 days.

As someone who works in the creation of anime, what is your view of legal streaming services such as Cruchyroll, which are commonly used in the west? It is my understanding that these are not available in Japan, so I am unsure as if its an effective means of supporting the creators of the medium.

UnderTheDogPR6 karma

Whatever that tries to create additional revenue for Japanese creators is welcome. However I still feel that the prime evil are the Production Committee.

Escheron1 karma

How come you chose Kickstarter as opposed to Indiegogo or Gofundme?

UnderTheDogPR9 karma

It was a platform I was familiar with

percussionfreak9D21 karma

Thank you so much for not only doing this AMA but also the fact that you believe in the community enough to start your KickStarter campaign. It means a lot to me, any way.

Quick question, and I hope you didn't already answer this (the list of questions grows every second so it's hard to keep track), but does using KickStarter help you bypass any type of rules or regulations that you would normally have to go through? I noticed the preview you put out was pretty graphic (and awesome by the way), so I was curious if going this route has helped eliminate some of the red tape you'd normally encounter?

UnderTheDogPR4 karma

It certainly does. Production committees have very specific guidelines when it comes to tropes, content, etc. and we would be forced into obliging them. We do not want to do that and we hope to change the future of funding for anime.

UnderTheDogPR4 karma

KS will allow us 100% freedom to express our works, within the law of course! And we are super excited about that.

guilty_pixel1 karma

Hi. First off, I'm a huge fan of the project and $60 tier backer (may upgrade if my next paycheck allows). I've been trying to get as many people onboard the hype train as I can and desperately hope the project gets funded so you guys get full creative freedom. Anyway, here are my questions.

  1. When can we expect to get more of a backstory on Anthea and the rest of the team?

  2. Who are some of the voice actors you guys have considered and how likely is an English dub?

  3. Besides blu-ray and DVD, what are some of the distribution methods/partners you guys have considered?

  4. I am currently pursuing an associate degree in art to become a game developer/producer, but am also very interested in joining the anime industry. As an American, what is some of your advice on how I would go about doing so?

UnderTheDogPR3 karma

Thank you!

1) We will do something very detailed once Jiro gets to sit with his script writer and director and do a final take on the details of Anthea, after the Kickstarter. 2) We haven't considered anyone yet. English dub not in the plans atm but we are considering that also. 3) We're still focussed on getting across the KS finish line. 4) Live in Japan and learn about the industry for starters!