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JETRO Launches Crowdfunding for Japanese Anime

Five Japanese animation studios begin Kickstarter campaigns to fund their anime film or series productions.

The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) has launched a project to support crowdfunding for anime production, whereby five Japanese animation studios have begun Kickstarter campaigns where backers can make pledges through February 13, 2023.  According to the Association of Japanese Animations, overseas market of Japanese animation reached around 10 billion USD (1trillion 313 billion Yen), having expanded by more than 7.6 billion USD (1 trillion yen) in 10 years.

“Through crowdfunding on Kickstarter, we aim to raise support for each anime studio's production and thereby create a fan community for Japanese anime. Calling all Anime Fans!” stated JETRO.

The five projects are as follows:

STUDIO4℃ - Future Kid Takara

STUDIO4℃, founded in 1986, strives to produce highly unique and genre-bending work. The studio's first major film was 1995's Memories. Other award-winning films from the studio include The Animatrix (2003); Mind Game (2004); Tekkonkinkreet (2006); Genius Party (2007); Children of the Sea (2019); Poupelle of Chimney Town (2020); and Fortune Favors Lady Nikuko (2021).

The studio envisions its new project as a Japanese CGI animation film called Future Kid Takara (tentative title), a rip-roaring, time-traveling adventure aimed at both families and adults.

Public Arts - Hana, The Last Diviner

Hana, the Last Diviner will follow the story of Hana, a young “onmyoji” living at the end of the Edo Period (during the 1860’s), a time of turmoil in Japan, as the feudal shogunate government was losing its authority as opponents fought for reinstatement of Imperial rule. In old Japan, onmyoji were a special class of diviners who worked for the Emperor and possessed magical powers to ward off evil spirits.  Not only does Hana manage to master the many obstacles standing in her way of becoming an onmyoji, but she earns the respect of the Emperor along with the common people, and becomes a very powerful onmyoji. The series will contain action, magic, drama, and will take place in a historically accurate 1800’s Kyoto, as creator Hiroki Taniguchi studied with a professor of history at Kyoto Women’s University as he wrote the script.


Picona, founded by Ken Yoshida in 2009, specializes in a toon-style form of 3DCG animation, known as “cell-look 3DCG” in Japan. The studio’s latest project, the children’s series Samurai Pirates, follows a girl named Enne, a popular singer on the island of Takarajima. Through a strange turn of events, Enne receives a pirate eyepatch bestowed with magical powers from a spirit called an “ometsuke” who entrusts her with the mission of purifying the hearts of people who have been transformed into evil beings called “oni.” Enne sets out on this quest together with four of her friends, forming a group called the “Samurai Pirates.”​

Instead of fighting with weapons, the Samurai Pirates use song and dance to purify the hearts of the oni they confront along their journey. Creative producer Yoshida came up with the concept after finding very few anime shows written specifically for young children, and even fewer that did not contain violence. As a father to a young child himself, he hopes that Samurai Pirates will teach lessons of positivity and self-confidence for young kids.

Gorilla - The Top Loft!

Noko Yukawa, CEO of animation studio Gorilla, has gained an intuitive sense of what makes an outstanding story for young kids through her many years’ experience in making children’s anime.  Yukawa’s new project aims to produce a “moving picture book” from a collection of 26 stories, each of which is roughly 5-7 minutes long. The story will follow the adventures of three young children who accidentally wander into a mysterious universe filled with friendly “kaiju” (monsters). The main characters Tatta, Tette and Totto each have unique and realistic personalities, flaws and all, so children watching the show can naturally relate to and feel an affinity towards their favorite character. Although the story takes place in a fantasy world, the challenges that the children solve on each episode are based on real-life scenarios that will teach young viewers important and relatable life lessons.

Ekura Animal - Heike Monogatari Emaki

Ekura Animal started in 1982 under the name Animalya with the mission of bringing heartwarming animation to children. The studio has collaborated on many famous series including Doreamon, Lupin the Third, Batman, The Powerpuff Girls, and Crayon Shin-chan, as well as produced numerous original works including Kappa no Suribachi, Sakura and Sakurin, Kuru Kurumi Chan, and Like the Wind.

For Heike Monogatari Emaki, Ekura Animal wants to try something completely different, moving away from children’s animation. Instead, the studio, in collaboration with an artist who makes intricate papercut artwork, will create a new style of animation that follows the true story of the rise and fall of the Heike Clan. Adding animations and movement to the original paper cuttings and incorporating music and voice acting, the unique animation style brings the story to life in a captivating and artistic way. The story deals with battles and death, and Ekura Animal hopes that it will prompt viewers to contemplate the fleeting time that we have on this earth.

Source: The Japan External Trade Organization

Whitney Whitener's picture

Whitney is a freelance writer focusing on VFX-driven fantasy film & TV as well as preschool animation.