Visual Art's/Key President Reveals Cost to Turn Visual Novels Into Anime

posted on by Jennifer Sherman

Game developer Key is known for tear-jerking visual novels such as Kanon, Air, and Clannad. The company's games and their anime adaptations have fervent fans known as "Latchkey Kids." However, even the Latchkey Kids may be unaware of exactly what it takes to turn visual novels into anime.

The Japanese popular culture website KAI-YOU posted an interview with Visual Art's/Key President Takahiro Baba on December 1. In the interview, Baba discussed the Kud Wafter anime film project. Baba said that the reason Key decided to use crowdfunding to fund the anime is that there has been a sharp rise in the production cost of anime, and investments for anime adaptations of games have become scarce. Baba said:

Productions costs for visual novels like Key's can cost from tens of millions of yen to 100 million yen, but almost 400 million yen are needed for a one-cour anime, so it becomes a big risk. If it's a major company, they can produce an anime with even one sponsor, but we can't easily do that. Because of that, we thought we'd try making an anime this time while experimentally using support from fans.

With the difficulty of obtaining about US$3.5 million in mind, the gamble paid off in a big way for Visual Art's/Key. The project's Japanese and international crowdfunding initiatives flew past their initial goals.

The international crowdfunding campaign surpassed its initial goal of 3 million yen (about US$26,000) in five days after launching in October. The campaign ended on Thursday after earning 8,980,540 yen (about US$80,000) from 325 backers. If successfully funded, the campaign's final 15 million-yen (about US$132,000) stretch goal would have increased the film's planned 40-50 minute length to 60 minutes.

The Japanese crowdfunding campaign launched on July 19 and ended successfully on September 30. The campaign reached its initial goal in three days and its first stretch goal in six days. The campaign was initially seeking to raise 30 million yen (about US$267,500) to fund a 20-minute original video anime (OVA). The campaign eventually reached its 60 million yen (about US$535,000) stretch goal to fund a theatrical anime four days before the campaign ended.

The anime will be the first part of a celebration to mark the 10th anniversary of the release of Visual Art's' Little Busters! PC software. J.C. Staff will animate the project, and Key will have complete supervision over the anime.

[Via Yaraon!]

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