This past Friday, domestic anime publisher AnimEigo posted its first-ever Kickstarter project; an “Ultimate Edition” Blu-ray collection for the classic sci-fi anime Bubblegum Crisis. As one of the company’s original domestic releases way back in the era of VHS, the project page states that AnimEigo is using it as a test bed for a new release model.
The “Ultimate Edition” set is planned to include the following:
- The entire eight-episode Bubblegum Crisis OVA series with the original Japanese audio and English and French subtitles, as well as the English dub.
- The complete collection of Hurricane Live animated music videos.
- The Holiday in Bali live-action video.
- Access to a downloadable “Omake” archive featuring extras such as program notes, song lyrics, and English-translated interviews with the series creators, color artwork, and line-art.
- Five postcards from the fictional setting of Bubblegum Crisis, MegaTokyo.
- Commemorative Challenge Coin.
All of the package’s video content will come in a set of two Blu-ray discs. Backers will also be allowed to participate in helping come up with ideas for how any extra budget collected through pledges can be spent on additional features and bonuses.
As an important note, this Ultimate Edition will only be made available to backers of the project. While a Blu-ray edition of Bubblegum Crisis may be made available for retail purchase at a later date, such a release will not include any of the extra features offered in the Ultimate Edition. AnimEigo is also considering including the AD Police prequel OVA as a part of the package as well, depending on budget and resources.
With a target goal of $75,000, the project has already met over two thirds of its goal in pledges in just a few days. At the current rate, it will likely be funded in full with plenty of time to spare.
I personally feel that this is a worthy project to back, not just because of the quality of the OVA, which despite its incomplete nature is still highly entertaining, but in support of AnimEigo. The publisher is one of the oldest surviving North American anime distributors, and while their output is small, the care and attention to detail that they historically put into each release is among the best of the best, with accurate, well-written and informative subtitles and a willingness to go that extra mile for fans with items as simple as physical liner notes. If Bubblegum Crisis is a success, who knows what might follow? Special Blu-ray editions of Kimagure Orange Road, Vampire Princess Miyu, or Otaku no Video?
For more on Bubblegum Crisis, read our Anime of the Past column on it.