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Anime Director Yutaka Yamamoto Files For Bankruptcy (Updated)

posted on by Crystalyn Hodgkins
Bankruptcy proceedings will not affect Yamamoto's upcoming Hakubo film

Anime director Yutaka Yamamoto posted a document on his blog on Monday that reveals that he filed for personal bankruptcy on March 4. The document is credited to Yamamoto's lawyer at the Mizunokuchi Law Firm.

In the document, Yamamoto's lawyer explained that the bankruptcy filing is related to the production costs borne from past anime projects. The document added that Yamamoto is filing for bankruptcy because it is currently difficult for him to pay back the more than 100 million yen (about US$900,000) he owes to creditors. The document stated that Yamamoto himself has "mostly" no debt aside from a car loan and his personal credit cards, and that the greater part of his debt is regarding the costs borne by the production of the anime projects.

Yamamoto's lawyer stated in the document that Yamamoto and Twilight Studio's Hakubo (Twilight) anime film is unrelated to these bankruptcy proceedings (as the bankruptcy is for Yamamoto himself), and the proceedings will not affect the funds for the film. Additionally, the document stated that none of the funds for the various crowdfunding campaigns for Hakubo have been used to pay creditors.

The film is still planned to screen in May. Twilight Studio had announced in January that the anime will open in Japan at Porepore Cinemas Iwaki Onahama in Fukushima prefecture on May 24, then screen elsewhere in Fukushima before getting a larger countrywide release.

Yamamoto launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for the anime in February. The project is seeking to raise 5 million yen (US$44,998) by March 31 in order to create English subtitles and expand the anime's theatrical premiere in Fukushima. As of press time the campaign has raised 1,028,509 yen (about US$9,256) of the 5 million yen goal.

The anime previously had a Japanese Campfire crowdfunding campaign to fund the initial project. The project met its goal of 15 million yen (about US$137,000) in April 2017. The anime was previously slated for 2018 before being delayed to 2019.

Yamamoto is planning the anime as the last of his self-described "Tōhoku trilogy" set in Japan's Tōhoku region in the northeast. Hakubo in particular follows youths living in "the now and present" in Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture after the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011. (The previous two Tōhoku projects, blossom and Wake Up, Girls!, were set in the town of Otsuchi, Iwate Prefecture and Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, respectively.)

Update: We have corrected some wording in the article to make it clearer that Yamamoto's bankruptcy filing is a personal bankruptcy filing.

Sources: Yutaka Yamamoto's blog, Mizonokuchi Law Firm via Hachima Kikō

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