A Brief Introduction to Gunsmith Cats
The Gunsmith Cats OVAs were based on the manga of the same name, created by famous manga artist Sonoda Ken'ichi. Gunsmith Cats is a semi-reboot of Mr. Sonoda's Riding Bean manga, which was also made into an anime (and previously released by us using Kickstarter).
Unusually for anime, Gunsmith Cats is set in the United States -- specifically, Chicago. Rally Vincent and her friend May Hopkins run a gun-shop and moonlight as bounty hunters, which often put them at odds with both the local underworld and the local law (especially since May has a great affection for high explosives).
In this 3-episode OVA, Rally and May are blackmailed by a slimy ATF agent into helping him bust some gunrunners, but things rapidly get out of hand when they run afoul of a shadowy mastermind and a psychotic Russian hitwoman!
About the Crowdfunding Campaign
This is the fourth anime-related limited-edition HD 1080p Blu-ray set that we've released using Kickstarter. You can find out more about the campaigns and see all sorts of interesting production materials by checking out our wiki.
Please note that our license for Gunsmith Cats is Worldwide excluding Japan and Germany, English-only. We are not able to ship into those countries, or do subtitles in other languages.
Our goal for these sets is to use crowdfunding as a method of delivering the maximum possible value to our backers, and tailor the sets to their preferences. Wherever practical, we solicit feedback from the backers during the production process.
Each time we do a project, we like to experiment with new ways of doing things. This time we are playing around with individual customization, by providing a set of Core Rewards plus additional Bonus Goodies. Think of the Core Rewards as your entree, and the Bonus Goodies as side-orders. This way you can get exactly what you want, no more and no less.
ATF Case File backers ($5) get access to the online data archive, which includes high-resolution graphics and preproduction materials, and you can order bonus goodies! All higher-level rewards also include this reward.
Basic backers ($30) get a region-free BD50 Blu-ray in a premium transparent Amaray case with a reversible sleeve, so there will be two cover variants to choose from, and a 9-panel printed insert with liner notes and a mini-poster. There is no "early-bird" level because everyone is getting early-bird pricing -- we don't want anyone to feel like they missed out.
Included on the disc are:
- All 3 episodes (~90 minutes total) in a high-bitrate encode from a new 1080p HD transfer.
- Amaray case with reversible cover sleeve.
- 9-panel insert with new original art poster.
- Japanese stereo (uncompressed) and English stereo & 5.1 (ac3) audio.
- Color, SDH and traditional caption subtitles (see below).
- Artwork slideshow.
- Clean opening credits.
- Reconstructed HD trailers.
- Music Video.
- Updated and expanded HD version of the DVD Production Documentary with new material and interviews.
- Japanese commentary featuring Gunsmith Cats creator Sonoda Ken'ichi, Arai Masahiro, and Kaza'ana Takanori.
- Japanese commentary track featuring Gunsmith Cats director Mori Takeshi and Satō Hiroki.
- English commentary (from the DVD release) for Episode 1 featuring Matt Greenfield (English voice director) and Tiffany Grant (voice actor of Becky).
- English commentary track for Episode 2 featuring Bennett the Sage and Marc Swint.
- All Basic-level backers and above will be listed in a special list of supporters on the disc and on the 9-panel insert!
- How-to-draw tutorial: Mr. Sonoda will show us how he draws a character from Gunsmith Cats.
To give you a taste of the quality of the new HD transfer, here's what it looks like compared to the DVD transfer:
Premium backers ($60) get the BD50 Blu-ray in a chipboard case along with a special softcover Dojinshi/Artbook that contains both original production color art, over 100 settei reference drawings, and new artwork by Mr. Sonoda and new Gunsmith Cats dojinshi by Mr. Sonoda and invited guest manga artists.
Patron backers ($150) get everything in the Premium package plus 3 bonus goodies, and in addition they are listed in a special patronage list that appears each time the disc loads.
Prominent Patron backers ($250) receive everything Patrons do, but also get priority placement on the first page of the Patrons list.
Vocal Patron backers ($300) receive everything Patrons do, but also get a special hardcover variant of the large artbook that is signed and numbered by voice actors Amanda Winn Lee & Kimberly Yates.
Signature Patron backers ($400) receive everything Patrons do, but also get a special hardcover variant of the large artbook that is signed and numbered by Mr. Sonoda.
Perfectionist Patron backers ($500) receive everything Patrons do, plus they get one of the production check discs to review (and keep)! As the last people to see the disc before it goes into full replication, if there are any mistakes, it's their fault!
Inscribed Patron backers ($600) receive everything Patrons do, but also get a special hardcover variant of the large artbook that is signed and numbered by Mr. Sonoda and also contains a personalized sketch and inscription.
If you really love Gunsmith Cats, we have 4 Line Drawing and 2 Color Illustration rewards that will reward you with the original artwork created for this release, signed by Mr. Sonoda. These rewards will slowly reduce in price until they are snapped up.
Finally, we have the Supervillain reward. You not only get original signed color artwork by Mr. Sonoda, you get design input into its creation -- and then you get to decide if you want to share it with the rest of the backers (as a poster) or keep it hidden away in your secret lair! In addition, you will appear on the packaging and in a secret disc Easter Egg. We'll even include some extra copies of the Blu-ray for you to give to your Minions!
- Note: Lair and minions not included.
Each bonus goodie is $8.00, which includes shipping. You can order as many as you want (within reason!), and you can order multiples of any goodie. During the Kickstarter itself, you can order the ATF Case Files, Basic, and Premium sets with various numbers of extra goodies (Patron and above come with 3 as a default); after the campaign ends we'll have an easy way for you to add-on extra sets and more goodies.
Our current list of goodies includes:
- Matched Pair of Patches - two matching embroidered patches featuring Rally Vincent and Minnie May (the design is evolving, we may go with a single larger "playing card" patch)
- 1.5" Good vs. Evil Challenge Coin featuring Rally and Radinov.
- 1.5" Keychain (the coin with keychain fob added)
- From May With Love Grenade Pin - a hand-painted pink hand-grenade pin.
- Large Softcover Artbook - a larger 8.5x11" version of the dojinshi/artbook that fits in the chipboard case; 40+ pages with an emphasis on color artwork. Counts as 3 goodies.
All of these items are being produced exclusively for this edition and will only be available to backers.
We will handle extra add-ons after the main campaign ends; it's just easier to do things that way given how Kickstarter currently works. You'll be able to add extra copies of any item or goodie, upgrade to a higher backer level, and so on. You will be able to adjust your order until we finally lock down for production.
Fan Art Contest!
We are pleased to announce that Mr. Sonoda has agreed to act as the judge of a Gunsmith Cats Fan Art Contest! Winners will get their artwork showcased in the Dojinshi/Artbook and included on the disc and in the ATF Case Files -- and win Patron-level reward packages! You do not need to be a project backer to enter the contest. Complete rules can be found here.
All 8 Stretch Goals Have Been Unlocked!
$100,000 - Commentary track featuring Gunsmith Cats creator Sonoda Ken'ichi, Arai Masahiro, and Kaza'ana Takanori.
$125,000 - New 4-page Gunsmith Cats manga by Mr. Sonoda, included on a second 9-panel insert and in the Dojinshi/Artbook. Also unlocks 3 Cannon Fodder rewards that will put your likeness in the manga (probably dying horribly) as well as one of the original manga pages and all the Prominent Patron perks. Please note we can't guarantee you'll get a manga page with your likeness on it.
$160,000 - Commentary track featuring Gunsmith Cats director Mori Takeshi and Satō Hiroki.
$190,000 - English commentary track for Episode 2 featuring Bennett the Sage and Marc Swint.
$200,000 - Extra Bonus Goal to celebrate rolling the odometer! Postcard added to each set!
$210,000 - How-to-draw tutorial: Mr. Sonoda will show us how he draws a character from Gunsmith Cats.
$225,000 - Sticker sheet added to each set.
$300,000 - English commentary track for Episode 3 featuring voice actors Amanda Winn Lee and Kimberly Yates!
All additional pledges collected (both during the Kickstarter campaign and for several months post-campaign) will contribute towards an additional Backer's Choice feature. Based on the total amount, we'll work up several possible alternatives and put it up for discussion and a vote.
On this project, we're charging a shipping fee on all orders, as opposed to giving US backers "free" shipping (which isn't really free, it's just bundled in). One reason we're doing this is because it helps establish the correct customs value for international shipments.
The shipping charges are:
- US: $6.
- Elsewhere: $15.
Premium Sets (and higher levels or multiple sets):
- US: $7.
- Elsewhere: $25.
Customs costs, VAT and "processing fees" are a major annoyance for international backers, and we want to do everything we can to minimize or eliminate this hassle. That's why we're pleased to announce that this project is EU and Canada-friendly.
This means that we'll be shipping copies directly to fulfillment houses in Canada and the UK (who will then reship to backers in the EU -- except Germany of course; if Brexit causes any complications, we'll also use a third EU-based fulfillment service).
Shipping costs have had to rise since our previous projects because of increased costs. In particular, USPS First Class Mail International rates have been relentlessly rising over the past several years.
Note that the shipping cost is a flat rate; if you later add on extra sets or goodies, the maximum shipping cost is the Premium Set cost.
We will ship to non-CA/EU international backers directly from the USA using USPS International First Class Mail. For many countries, the value of your set should be below the personal exemption amount, so you may escape duty, taxes, and processing fees. As of the last time we checked, backers in the following countries should not need to worry about customs fees:
- Premium backers: Australia, New Zealand.
- Basic backers: Norway (barely), Switzerland.
Your help in making this list more comprehensive/accurate is appreciated. Please note that exchange rates (and rules!) may change between now and when we ship.
We are expanding the range of subtitle options for this release. First, we will have multicolored subtitles (in both regular and SDH variants) for the Japanese audio track. Main characters will have a unique subtitle color that will be consistent over all 3 OVAs.
The colors have been adjusted to be even more color-blind friendly. In addition, there will be monochrome caption SDH subtitle tracks (similar to what you'd see on Netflix) for both the Japanese and English audio tracks.
All commentary tracks with have multicolored subtitles with each commentator having his or her own color.
Backer participation and feedback is a big part of all of our special Blu-ray editions. Got a question about Gunsmith Cats you'd like answered? Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org with subject "GSC Commentary Questions" and we'll pass it on -- your question might get answered on one of the commentary tracks!
For a vintage anime like Gunsmith Cats, sometimes original artwork and production materials are not easily available. You can help -- if you have (or know of someone who has) original materials, please get in touch at email@example.com.
We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to Sonoda Ken'ichi, John Ledford, Janice Williams, Ogawa Yūko, Kawaguchi Junko, Kanai Azusa and Satō Hiroki for their generous assistance in assembling the materials for this release.
All original Gunsmith Cats anime artwork and video in this campaign are ©1995 Kenichi Sonoda/Kodansha, VAP, TBS.
Risks and challenges
While we should be able to meet or beat the March 2019 release date, a video production project such as this can suffer unexpected delays. In particular, one side-effect of the excellent feedback we get from backers is that we expect a certain amount of "feature creep" as people come up with great ideas that "simply must be done", and these tend to stretch the schedule a bit.
Our policy is that when a critical-path item causes a delay, we use that extra time to try and improve other aspects of the project. All of our previous projects have ended up shipping a few months late (each time for new and "interesting" reasons), but what we ended up shipping was better than what it would have been if we'd hit our schedule.
The bottom line is that we will take the time to get things right, even if that means slipping the release date, and that we will keep you fully informed every step of the way -- we typically post updates every couple of weeks.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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