Kenichi Sonoda, character designer of seminal 90s hits “Bubblegum Crisis” and “Gall Force”, and author of “Riding Bean” and “Gunsmith Cats”, has turned to crowd-funding site Kickstarter to raise funds for his new animation project “Bean Bandit“. The key announcement was made last 18th May 2018, at American anime convention “Anime Central” in Chicago.
“My name is Kenichi Sonoda, the original creator of Riding Bean and Gunsmith Cats, and I want to make an ambitious Bean Bandit animation without focusing on profit. With a small but skilled staff and the funding and support from fans, let’s bring Bean Bandit to the big screen, and even an animations series and movie!
Every time I am invited to events in North America, I am always left with the memory that fans want a new Riding Bean and Gunsmith Cats. One day, my friend brought me a plan for crowdfunding anime. I realized then how fun it would be to make more extreme and more profound animated works just for the fans without being bound by the opinions of publishers and editors.
Our initial goal is to produce a five-minute animation. Should we receive more support, we are planning to make it longer. I would be truly happy if we gathered enough pledges to create a 20-minute anime with a slick original opening! I also intend to prepare an art book featuring concept art, design, and a newly drawn original color comic if possible.
The animation, art book, and manga will be available in both Japanese and English. Additionally, the finished animation will be released on a Blu-ray disk at the highest quality.”
— Kenichi Sonoda, via Kickstarter
As of today, over USD $136,000 of the USD $181,000 plus goal has been raised. The sole penultimate rewards tier — which costs JPY 800,000, has also been backed. If the project is fully funded and pushes through, this top backer will receive not just every single one of the lower tier rewards, but will also be invited on an exclusive personal tour of Sonoda’s studio in Japan (transport, accommodations, and meals not included).