I thought that 2014 would be different. The first two batches of the Young Animator Training Project came and went with little fanfare. When the project was initially announced there was a lot of praise as it seemed exactly the sort of initiative that a good deal of the commenters wanted the anime industry to do in hopes of promoting new talent. But in the time between when Anime Mirai titles are revealed and when they are released is long enough that most people in the English-speaking world have forgotten about them. Add to that the simple fact that they are not streaming as another barrier. If this was started five or six years ago it would be a different story. Enough people still regularly downloaded fan-subs so they might have gone to their favorite aggregator site and downloaded a peculiar one shot out of mere curiosity. But now that streaming is so prevalent that if a title is not legally online it practically becomes invisible unless it has some insane amount of hype or a legacy behind it. Overall the animation made for the Anime Mirai came and went with little fan fare. Certain titles may have been important to individual fans but overall they never made a noticeable splash.
Little Witch Academia seemed like it would have changed all of that. It was the first title that really grabbed people’s attention and became a phenomenon. It got to the point where Trigger officially put it on Youtube and that snowballed into a fevered pitch that launched an insanely successful Kickstarter. While Death Billiards did not get that same momentous level of success it currently has its own TV series so the general halo effect can’t be ignored. Ryo and Alv Rezul – Mechanical Fairies did not get to share in that rising tide but they were also inferior productions (in my humble opinion). Still it seemed like Anime Mirai had finally come into prominence.
Then in 2014 the next batch of titles came and went with absolutely no celebration or hoopla. They have not been totally ignored. There are a decent number of reviews of all the titles. But the level of interest fell back to the same blasé disinterest that it had been before Little Witch Academia. I only knew that this years titles were out because a fan-sub of Harmonie appeared as a recommended title on YouTube after watching an unrelated Loading Ready Run sketch. I feel like that is a real shame since this was a pretty strong selection this year. So I hope that this post might get a few more people to check out this year’s batch.
Remember when it was thought the Anime Mirai project would go away? I am so glad it didn’t, because as Al said, it really has come to be something special despite the lack of fanfare. While Little Witch Academia and Death Billiards are clearly the best known from the project, there is a lot of other fantastic work on display. It is nice to also see short films that are purely created as short films in which they can play more and try different things. It is amazing how much you can communicate within 30 minutes.
I’d really love to see Anime Mirai work shown here in the U.S., it would be perfect for film festivals or special, limited engagements. Come on Gkids, make this happen!