Rilakkuma and Kaoru Stop-Motion Animator Shigeru Okada Seeks Crowdfunding for Horror Project

posted on by Lynzee Loveridge

Stop-motion animator Shigeru Okada earned recognition in 2009 when he was nominated for the YouTube Video Awards Japan. His short "Kamisumou" was recognized for its blend of live-action and special effects work. Okada's YouTube channel is filled with behind-the-scenes videos and cute stop-motion shorts. Beyond social media, he's worked in the stop-motion art form for 15 years and was an animator on Netflix's recent Rilakkuma and Kaoru series.

Okada's body of work looks cute, but everything he animates isn't sunshine and rainbows. Okada has a 'darkside'; a YouTube channel dedicated to his stop-motion horror work. His Darkside channel is where he planned to post his short-form horror series The depth of YAGEN but he encountered problems with YouTube's restrictions. First, his account was demonetized. He was able to get the streaming service to reconsider but continued to have problems with the service flagging his videos. It was then he decided to take his project to Kickstarter.

Okada imagines The depth of YAGEN as a five episode series and each episode will run 7-8 minutes each. He'll release a shorter version, roughly three minute long episodes, on YouTube for free. The full length series will stream on pay-per-view services like Vimeo.

But first he needs to raise US$13,419 before June 10.

The series' Kickstarter campaign describes the story:

Once upon a time in Japan, there was a poor couple living with their only daughter. One day, the father, an avid gambler, sells his daughter to human traffickers in order to settle his gambling debts. The traffickers, on their way back to the village with the man's daughter, decide to take a shortcut by entering the forbidden mountain. The girl's mother pursues the traffickers into the mountain in a bid to reclaim her daughter. The mother begins a terrifying transformation as the curse of the mountain settles on her. Yet, she continues her pursuit to save her daughter...

The word yagen in the title refers to the monster's mortar.

Okada's YouTube channel has behind-the-scenes videos showing how he made the characters and the mechanics behind their movements and expressions.

The Kickstarter campaign is offering digital downloads of the series and a making-of book, a home video release, tickets to a screening in Tokyo, the chance to appear as a background character, and earn the credit of "associate producer."

Source: Kickstarter

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