Anime writer and director Yutaka Yamamoto brought attention to his beloved Tohoku (part of Honshu Island) in two of his previous works: the five-minute special blossom, which focused on Otsuchi, and the series Wake Up, Girls!, which is set in Sendai. With his upcoming project — titled Hakubo ("Nightfall"), he hopes to close out his unofficial "Tohoku Trilogy" with a trip to Iwaki in Fukushima Prefecture.
The original idea for Hakubo, as well as the original concept art, came 20 years ago. However, Yamamoto was unsure as to how to approach the story, so he shelved it. But two decades later, he is ready to make it.
"Everywhere, young women are having experiences. Everywhere, there is life. Everywhere, there is love. This is a very precious thing for those of us living after the earthquake."
Yamamoto also intends to feature a number of Iwaki landmarks and locations in the anime to encourage "pilgramages," thus bolstering the city's tourism and economy.
You can become a backer starting at 5,000 yen, at which tier you receive an autographed book of the anime, a certificate of appreciation from the director, and regular production updates. Higher tiers offers perks such as special private screenings of the finished anime, dinner with the crew, and even the ability to name a main character.
The campaign needs 15 million yen to go to productions. At the time of this writing it has reached 2.6 million yen, with 62 days to go.
Yamamoto has said that he prefers to crowdfund because it frees him of most of the shackles of a professionally-funded production, allowing him to create the story he wants.
Backer rewards will be delivered in September.
Kara Dennison is responsible for multiple webcomics, blogs and runs interviews for (Re)Generation Who and PotterVerse, and is half the creative team behind the OEL light novel series Owl's Flower. She blogs at karadennison.com and tweets @RubyCosmos.