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Creating an English release for an anime film from the Assistant Director of Kiki's Delivery Service and director of Black Lagoon

Mai Mai Miracle was released in 2009 and subsequently did well with audiences around the world - sweeping awards like Audience Award for Best Animated Feature for adults and the BETV award at Anima, the Brussels Animation Film Festival. It also won the jury prize for Best Animated Film at the Fantasia Film Festival in Montréal along with the Excellence Prize for Feature Length Animation at the 2010 Japan Media Arts Festival. That's a lot of festival prizes and praise!

Directed by Sunao Katabuchi, director and former protégé of the legendary Hayao Miyazaki, Mai Mai Miracle is particularly noted for its beautifully designed background art. The film itself garnered much of its success in Japan thanks to a slow but enthusiastic build up of word of mouth, quickly making it a niche favourite amongst anime fans ever since. 

Such a film dripping with gorgeous art, sweetness and a story rich in the magic of childhood imagination, growing up and friendship should be enjoyed by a wider audience. This Kickstarter campaign will allow us to do just that, to finally bring about the release of Mai Mai Miracle for the first time in UK and US complete with English subtitles and, hopefully, an English dub! 

This campaign will allow us to arrange and package Mai Mai Miracle in the way it deserves and otherwise would not receive. 

That is where you step in.

A Special Thank You From Sunao Katabuchi 

"A film is never complete until it has been viewed by an audience. The movie can only become truly completed once it's in you. Because of your support this story about two young girls in a corner of Japan can now be seen worldwide. Thank you everyone! Thank you, Andrew!"

- Katabuchi Sunao

Shinko, is a third grade elementary school student with a magically active imagination. She spends a lot of her time listening to her grandfather's history lessons, imagining what her town was like 1,000 years earlier. One day, a sad and sombre girl called Kiiko transfers to Shinko's school from Tokyo. A strong friendship soon grows between the two girls as Shinko helps Kiiko come out of her shell and deal with her loss - all thanks to their adventures, both imagined and real. 

With so many prizes and praises under its belt, Mai Mai Miracle is a gem of a film that has been sadly overlooked by the wider world in terms of international release. We're here to fix that - with your help.

Mai Mai Miracle is a niche film that hasn’t had much exposure in the UK and US as it was viewed as not a standard commercially viable film at the time.  Our intention is to give everyone a shot  to prove that wrong and show support for an awesome film and director!

What we want to do is simple and much in line with the spirit of other recent anime Kickstarter campaigns - bring you the quality release for the film that it deserves.  In the process we want to give you, the backers, a say in how any extra budget is spent.

Lovingly releasing a niche film in high definition would be reason enough to support this Kickstarter campaign. What we are also planning to do is create, arrange and organise English subtitles. The money raised by the campaign will help us fund this English language release for the first time and bring the film to a wider, much deserved audience.

Anyone who knows of Anime Limited's founder, Andrew Partridge, knows he's all about transparency - down to publishing the monthly charts for anime in the UK to giving people a wealth of information on how things work! With that in mind, we feel it's vital that we explain just exactly what is getting spent where. 

Here's what the Kickstarter money is going to be used for :

50% of all money in -  Basic out of pocket costs such as production of the collector's edition (authoring, translation, material access, replication, packaging, shipping and fulfilment), and a flat fee of $5,000 to cover man-power over production at likely 280+ hrs.

40% - Split between creation of extras for the Kickstarter and any extras made as part of the Kickstarter (borrowing the term from the good folks at AnimEigo - the concept of Crowd Production).

10% goes to Kickstarter - Between the 5% fee that keeps them going to enable more awesome payments, payment processing fees & tax.

We Kickstart projects a lot (check our profile if you're curious or follow us to see what we end up supporting usually). And to be honest, we're pretty sick of stretch goals dictated by the companies in question. We are big believers in Crowd Production. 

None of the money from the Kickstarter will be used to acquire the rights - we've taken the gamble on that and shouldered that spend ourselves.  Now we need your help to prove us right that there's some love out there for this film! 

Production for a Kickstarter project such as this should allow you, as backers, to have a say in how extra budget is used.  

While some elements, such as a dub, are things we will do by default if we reach a certain funding amount, there may be an allocation of cash surplus that you the fans should get a say in how it's used!

So what we'll do is supply a list of some things that we know are viable to start and then ask you guys to expand on it. If you have other ideas, we can look at how viable they are cost-wise then list them up.  Then you get a chance to vote on where budget is spent!

Want a new audio commentary track with creatives or film critics?  How about an exclusive piece of artwork for the slipcover or an even fancier package?  

Whatever it is, you'll have a chance to request it and we'll go with where the votes are!

Before we even get to the crowd production stage, the focus of the funding will be on creating a High Definition Master that will allow an HD Blu-Ray and DVD version of the film with Japanese and English subtitles. 

In addition, we'll focus on getting as many on-disc extras as possible - whether we need to create some extra features or liberate some from Japan.  If you look at the French release for example, it's very sparse as at the time many of the extras were locked away from international release.

We also have more than enough art assets to create some nice art cards to go in the package too!

Additional funding will also be prioritised for an English dub of the film. If more funds are raised, we will then move on to crowd production and get all the extra extras you'd like to see!

A very good question! Often mentioned in the same sentence as the legendary Hayao Miyazaki, Sunao Katabuchi cut his teeth working under the great man himself. He also trained in Studio Telecom by veterans such as Isao Takahata, Yoshifumi Kondō, Kazuhide Tomonaka et Yasuo Ōtsuka

This history and experience can be clearly seen in Mai Mai Miracle, capturing the same love of background art and stories that highlight the joys of childhood.

During his career, Sunao Katabuchi worked for Studio Telecom, Studio Ghibli, Studio 4°C, Madhouse and more lately Mappa. He has contributed such works as Sherlock Holmes, Trapp Family Story, Little Women II, Memories, Darkstalkers, Chobits, Monster, Tenjo Tenge.

Sunao Katabuchi is also known for directing the acclaimed anime TV series Black Lagoon as well as the movie Princess Arete.

MADHOUSE Inc. is synonymous with quality and was founded by ex Mushi Pro members; Masao Maruyama, Osamu Dezaki, Rintaro, and Yoshiaki Kawajiri. 

The studio became synonymous with great animated television and theatrical works including Ninja Scroll, Death Note, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, Black LagoonChobits, Redline and many more works beyond that!

The level of quality at the studio has always remained consistent and this is reflected in Mai Mai Miracle.

This is a film about growing up above anything else and while there's plenty of charm in the film for children - arguably the best audience for this is adults if the Japanese theatrical performance is anything to go by!

Did you know that although targeted initially as a children's film, it was only when the animation team themselves started pushing the film to friends, family and passers by that it found a strong audience?  

In an amazing reversal of the normal this lead to a strong run of sold out screenings in cinemas across Japan, with a run of around seven months after it entered cinemas!

Simply put, this film has something for everyone! In a similar fashion to the grand tradition of Studio Ghibli productions, this is a family friendly film that easily finds a fan base with adults - whether they're watching it with a younger audience or not. 

TL;DR - If you love beautiful animation and great story telling, you'll find something to like about Mai Mai Miracle!  

The rewards are primarily focused on bringing you the best product options possible for an older title as this is. With that in mind, we’ve worked out rewards ranging from sub-only stream to a neat collector’s set. Please check the reward level details to the right of this page as there’s plenty more!

We've learned through hard experience though that it is best to promise based on the maximum deadlines than try to chance it.

For the Collectors Edition and Artbook - depending how much you make us work based on Crowd Production - we estimate a latest date of October  2014, but we hope to have it done much sooner of course!

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

We've sharpened our teeth on the last year preparing home entertainment titles so the only risk is that we need the support of you, the backers to make a US and UK release the best one possible. This is not the kind of film that normally receives a dub for example and that is critical to reaching the wider market this film really deserves in both countries.

The funds raised by the campaign will ensure Mai Mai Miracle is made available to US fans especially and will allow us to release the film in high quality and visually alluring packaging - something that reflects how much we love this film.

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  • Pledge $1 or more
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    144 backers

    WALLPAPER: A specially designed wallpaper from our graphics team for anyone supporting $1 or above - as well as the warm fuzzy feeling of helping make the release possible!

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    21 backers

    WALLPAPER + POST CARD: You'll get the Mai Mai Miracle wallpaper and we'll post you a thank you for you support from our base of operations in Scotland to wherever in the world you are!

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    248 backers

    DIGITAL REWARD PACKAGE - Digital version of film (with dub if produced), digital art book and wallpaper.

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    118 backers All gone!

    EARLY BIRD: BASIC AMARAY COMBI-EDITION Standard plastic BD case with reversible cover, DVD + BD, digital artbook, digital pamphlet, digital wallpaper and credit for helping crowd production. ONLY AVAILABLE FOR UK / US / CA / ROI

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    184 backers

    BASIC AMARAY COMBI-EDITION Standard plastic BD case with reversible cover, DVD + BD, digital artbook, digital pamphlet, digital wallpaper and credit for helping crowd production. ONLY AVAILABLE FOR UK / US / CA / ROI

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    250 backers All gone!

    EARLY BIRD COLLECTORS EDITION (DVD + BD): Collectors packaged version in rigid slipcase, with 4 art cards and the film + all extras on BD + DVD. Credit as being involved in the crowd production process. UK/ROI + USA/Canada shipping included in cost.

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    648 backers

    COLLECTOR'S EDITION (DVD + BD): Digital artbook, wallpaper and collector's packaged version in rigid slipcase with 4 art cards UK/ROI + USA/Canada shipping included in cost.

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    18 backers

    PHYSICAL ART BOOK ONLY: A tier for people who love the film already and want to support production but just want the shiny 200 page art book! Shipping included worldwide.

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    201 backers Limited (799 left of 1000)

    COLLECTOR'S EDITION (BD+DVD) + ART BOOK: Wallpaper, physical 200 page hardback book and collector's packaged version in rigid slipcase with 4 art cards. UK/ROI + USA/Canada shipping included in cost.

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    58 backers

    COLLECTOR'S EDITION (BD+DVD) + ART BOOK + EXCLUSIVE CINEMA QUAD: Everything in the $130 tier but also an exclusive cinema quad poster (30 inches x 40 inches), using the box art and only available through the Kickstarter! UK/ROI + USA/Canada shipping included in cost.

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    0 backers Limited (2 left of 2)

    FULL WORKS - MAI MAI MIRACLE TOUR + ART BOOK + COLLECTORS EDITION + CINEMA QUAD: Come to Japan and join Katabuchi-san and others on a day tour around sites used in Mai Mai Miracle (translator, economy flights from key airports and 3 nights accommodation included). A life experience for sure!

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Funding period

- (30 days)