Chika*Chika Idol…

Posted by DiGiKerot in Free Talk at February 28, 2016 on 3:37 pm

Omo has probably already written most of what I’d want to say about this, but given I’ve not posted in the best part of a couple of months, I suppose I should probably persist.

The short version is that veteran anime director Hiroshi Nishikiori has launched a crowdfunding campaign to produce a 3DCG idol anime short called Chika*Chika Idol, which is somewhat unfortunately floundering on two different fronts.

I can’t particularly say that I want to speak for Japan, but from the point of view of a foreigner, it’s probably not hard to see what it’s not exactly lighting things on fire. I mean, aside from the fact that it generally feels its about three years too late to kickstart anything, it’s not like there’s actually been that many anime kickstarters in the grand scheme of things, none of those have exactly been wildly successful. A lot of those which did pan out have ended up leaving a lot of backers with a slightly bitter taste in their mouths as well, for one reason or another.

Honestly, though, Chika*Chika Idol is almost of a perfect mixture of things directly opposite to what made the other anime kickstarters successful, or at least things that drove the folks who backed those projects to back those particular projects. It’s easy to promote something like Under the Dog as being the ultimate 90s throwback, as something that the industry itself wasn’t funding these days. Idol cartoons, on the other hand… You have things like Love Live, both flavours of iDOLM@STER, UtaPri and, in an even larger media-mix kind of sense, Aikatsu and PriPara being amongst the most significant successes the industry has spawned within the last decade, and that’s not even to mention things like WUG or even Sekko Boys – it’s not by accident that the fake show that they were making in the first half of Shirobako was a goofy idol show. Even besides that, though, it’s hard to swing a virtual cat without hitting a show which has a token idol character in it. Idol cartoons are more the operative norm in the industry than they are unusual these days. Idol cartoons are also character merchandising promotional machines – They represent a lot of what a lot of certain folks find particularly repugnant about modern anime. They’re the dread spectre of Moe incarnate, being about the promotion and sale Moe itself.

Probably also doesn’t help that a lot of the high-rollers who’re into this specific kind of thing learnt the real secret of the industry – that it’s actually a more worthwhile use of cash trying to get event tickets and flying to Japan than it is buying expensive merchandise – at least a couple of years back (and it wouldn’t be shocking if CCI being successful just led to a bunch of live events it would be borderline impossible for foreigners to get tickets to www)

It also kind of suffers from the fact that it doesn’t really have a name attached that would get animation affectionados salivating – it’s easy to back something like LWA2 or Kick-Heart when you know your money is going towards the physical gruntwork of some pretty specific, significant animators. Whilst it’s not like CG animation is particularly easy, especially when you are trying to make it look like a 2D cartoon – it’s taken a long time for Sanzigen to get to where they are with BBK/BRNK – but it’s also something that’s spent years of fighting the stigma of being that thing studios do when they don’t want to invest in the staff required to hand-animate big robots punching each-other, usually to the detriment of the show in question. Probably also doesn’t help that their sample animation… isn’t that great.

There’s kind of a billion other things that’d stop someone from wanting to back a project like this, though – as popular as it is in some crowds, Index also rather salted Nishikiori’s reputation amongst certain crowds, not to mention just the general apathy towards Kickstarters pretty much everyone probably shares at this point. Ultimately, it might just be that, as a project, it’s offering absolutely nothing that folks aren’t really getting elsewhere already, without having to spend a small fortune engaging with it. As I say, as much as this totally plays into my personal ballpark, and as much as I’d like to see it made, it’s not really that shocking that it’s not really doing all that great.

Which is kind of a shame, as the promotional comic is super cute. Ho-hum.

(Speaking of BBK/BRNK, this weeks episode is bonkers…)

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