“Under the Dog,” the Masahiro Ando-directed anime short that raised $878,000 via Kickstarter last September, is undergoing a major creative shakeup. On January 22, posting its first update in months, the official Kickstarter page announced that the original producers had departed the project.
The update came from exiting producer Hiroaki Yura himself, whose company Creative Intelligence Arts spearheaded the overall production and Kickstarter campaign for “Under the Dog.” Taking over the production and creative direction of the project will be Kinema Citrus, the company behind “Black Bullet.”
The reason for the departure, according to the January 22 press release from Yura, was due to “certain requests from members of the UTD creative team.” Yura stated that he was departing the project “regrettably,” but that it was being left in “good hands.”
Controversially, Yura took a very different tone on Twitter, posting that if Kinema Citrus does not finish the project, “all UTD backers and myself included have grounds for filing a class action [lawsuit]” and “let's cross our fingers, wait and see if they [Kinema Citrus] live up to the promise they made me and the UTD backers like a true honorable Japanese would.” He also added “as to the ‘detailed’ truth of what had transpired with the project, I am sure one day, the truth will see the light of day.”
A second press release was issued on January 30, where the new creative team, headed by replacement producer Koji Morimoto, producer of the “.hack//SIGN” and “CANAAN” anime, offered more details regarding the creative shakeup, saying, “different and sometimes conflicting ideas were proposed and considered by all of the UTD members, we managed to narrow them down to two promising creative directions: One suggested by a group led by Kinema Citrus (KC), the other growing out of a team spearhead by Creative Intelligence Arts (CIA),” with the eventual “establishment of a new UTD creative team mainly led by KC.”
That same day, Yura tweeted, “Absolutely horrified. How much of my staff do they have to disrespect, how much do you have to lie to your supporters?”
Despite the Under the Dog project controversy, the January 30 press release stated that full-fledged operation by the new creative team is expected to begin in mid-February. We hope for the sake of the project and all its backers that the production continues smoothly from here on out.