Under the Dog is the newest in crowdfunded anime. Set five years after an attack at the Tokyo 2020 olympics, Under the Dog follows a small group of “gifted” special operations troops and their ongoing hunt for others like themself. The Kickstarter funding period has been open for the past month and closes soon. Check out the Kickstarter video below and learn a little about the project.
This is the group Creative Intelligence Agency’s second Kickstarter. The first is Project Phoenix, a Japanese-style strategy/RPG set to be released sometime in 2015. The team for Under the Dog, much like Project Phoenix, goes outside the usual table of organization. This one boasts a number of veterans who have come from many different projects and companies. Just a few of the names working on this project are director Masahiro Ando (Ghost in the Shell, Fullmetal Alchemist), artist Yusuke Kozaki (No More Heroes, Fire Emblem: Awakening), producer Hiroaki Yura (Steins; Gate movie, Valkyria Chronicles), and storyteller Jiro Ishii (the games 999 and 428). Animation studio Kinema Citrus (Eureka Seven movie, Black Bullet) is the project’s primary production unit.
While Under the Dog is not the first anime project seen on Kickstarter it is one of the more ambitious with an initial goal of $580,000 and stretch goals as far as $5.1 million. For a while it seemed like funding would be unsuccessful. During the first week backing was fast-paced and a third of the goal was reached with no problem. Things quickly slowed down and up until very recently the situation was doubtful. Thanks to a media blitz involving both traditional oulets and social media as well as the endorsement by Hideo Kojima the remaining money was quickly raised and surpassed the original goal.
As stated earlier the story focuses on a group of “gifted” soldiers. What they are exactly gifted with has not been explained, or possibly even chosen, yet. We do know so far is that at least one has subtle psychic powers. Others are very skilled at combat in physics-defying manner (then again this is anime) as well as more traditional roles like long-range marksmenship. We do not know exactly what the attack was, how it was carried out, how many people were involved, or anything. What we do see in the trailer is the character Anthea jumping around and killing bunches of people.
I guess that’ll do for now.
The two taglines repeatedly seen are “Our enemy is the light of huminity” and “We are forced to exterminate ourselves.” This seems to refer to how the gifted may be the next level of humanity and yet the soldiers must either integrate or eliminate others like them. Each soldier is fitted with a cortical bomb and their family members are also marked for elimination if a soldier goes against the system. This is a very different world where the UN has a covert arm (much unlike now where all member nations maintain their own forces and there is no UN-only force). I’m not exactly thrilled with the very Japanese “has to be a school somewhere” setting. For the OVA it will likely be glossed over and just accepted as “it has to be.” I’m hoping there’s a well-thought underlying reason to it that may be expounded upon later.
I’m curious to see how this project eventually turns out. For the moment it will just be a 24 minute OVA and that’s not a lot of time to work with in order to establish a setting, characters, and have the rest of a story. With the way the stretch goals are laid out CIA obviously wants more. Following completion of the initial project they may be able to secure further funding and produce additional OVA episodes. As a backer, I do have a material stake in it myself, and considering the amount I bought in at, I do want a decent return on it.
The basic backing level is $25 and gets you a digital download of the episode. It also gets you any future OVA episodes. A few more bucks earns you a digital download of the soundtrack and artbook. Physical rewards start at $60 for the Blu-ray/DVD. The more you pledge, the more physical stuff you get. Posters, script, storyboards, and more. Even a figure at $200 but that’s a steep price for one you haven’t even seen the design of.
If you happen to be reading this after the official Kickstarter funding period is over you’re in luck. CIA will open PayPal donations much like they did with Project Phoenix, albeit at a small premium above the Kickstarter prices. Considering how the estimated delivery time is almost fifteen months away in December 2015 it might be the wiser choice, especially for the more expensive tiers.
The kickstarter page is located at here.
The official facebook page is here.
Once they get it running, Paypal donations as well as more information about the project should be available at under-the-dog.com