Happy Non-denominational Gift-getting Season to you all!
We're overdue for a project progress update (sorry about that!), and there's a fair amount to report!
All materials have been assembled and authoring is underway. We expect to get a first test disc in early January. A few elements, such as the backer's list, are placeholders that will get updated just before replication, and of course we'll be obsessively proofreading right up until the last moment, but for all intents and purposes the hard work has been done. As is usual on these projects, we expect to go through a couple of rounds of test discs.
All new artwork has been received, with one exception -- the new original manga. As most of you know, Mr. Sonoda is being stretched thin these days; he has to juggle working on this project, manage his family candy store, and work on his new Bean Bandit project. This means we're having to wait a bit longer than we expected for the manga.
We've discussed this internally and come up with what we think is an interesting way to minimize project schedule risk due to these circumstances. Originally, we were planning to include the new dojinshi and the manga in the small “amaray sized” artbook that fits into the box set. However, we realized that if we print the dojinshi + manga as a separate B5-sized book, we can finalize and proof the artbooks and the packaging now (since the box depends on the size of the artbook). Then as soon as we get the manga art, we can finish the dojinshi+manga booklet much more quickly.
This is a little more expensive for printing and also shipping (larger boxes), but we think it is a prudent thing to do, and it adds value to the release. And as a side effect, we'll be able to offer extra copies of the booklet as an additional goodie!
This cunning plan is not yet set in stone, so if you have comments and suggestions, please let us know!
Currently the small artbook contains 180 pages, and the 8.5x11" large artbook variant has 54. If you want to take a sneak peek at the contents of the small artbook, you can see it here...
The design of all the goodies are pretty much locked, and we are in the process of getting production samples made for approval. We expect that to be done early in January, at which point we'll run the backer surveys. We've waited on this because as part of the survey you'll be able to make your goodie selections (if you've chosen goodies as part of your reward).
Here's what we've come up with.
Stuck On You
First up isn't actually a goodie, it's the sticker sheet that will be included with every Blu-ray.
The stickers will be printed on a transparent backing suitable for use on phones and laptops. To give you an idea of the scale, Rally will be about 4" tall.
The coin/keychain will be 1.75" in diameter and the two sides look like this:
The base color will be antique silver, and the figures will be sculpted 3D embossing.
We've already produced a set of test patches; everyone who worked on the project will get a pair of these. The final production patches will be identical except that we'll tweak the text color so eagle-eyed fans can tell them apart.
A Dynamite Pin
The pin design hasn't changed since we first showed it in an earlier update.
One big change we've made is with the rubber straps. We showed the first design in an earlier update, but after getting a sample made, we realized that we needed to revise the design to fit the constraints of the manufacturing process; in particular, the details were too small. Based on guidance from Mr. Sonoda, Sasha reworked things extensively to make them more "deformed".
The Rally strap will be ~70mm high (a little less than 3"). One thing that is a bit misleading about these mockups is that in the final figures, Rally's dark hair should contrast with the dark grey background much more that you might expect because of the 2-layer nature of the straps. And if we don't like the results, we can always adjust the color of the dark background base layer until we find something that works.
Well, that's all for this report. As always, we look forward to your comments and suggestions.
-- Robert & Natsumi