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Project Name: Let’s Dub Emma A Victorian Romance Anime TV Series Season 1
End Date: 10/18/2018
Goal: $110,000

What Is It?

The Technical End

Emma: A Victorian Romance is a 2005 series, based on Kaoru Mori’s manga of the same name. Tsuneo Kobayashi (The Twelve Kingdoms, Glass no Kamen OVA) directed the project at Studio Pierrot, with the team of Keiko Shimizu and Yuko Kusumoto (The Twelve Kingdoms, Super GALS!) providing character designs. Mamiko Ikeda (Rental Magica, Chrome Shelled Regios) wrote the show’s scenario.

But Really…

Emma A Victorian Romance Key VisualEmma: A Victorian Romance is a drama, set in England during the 19th late 19th century. During this period, societal hierarchies reigned supreme. Members of the upper class were aristocrats; barons of industry and nobles who would know no other experience than decadence and luxury. The middle class members were the geniuses of business. They were the factory owners, the industrial innovators, and the generally prosperous. The working class, meanwhile, did what they could for those up the chain, as they toiled endlessly to survive. They cleaned, fed, and served the upper classes, be it as employees, laborers, or servants.

It’s in this world that Emma manages to eke out a living, as she works as a maid for retired governess Kelly Stowner. Though she never felt her place in life to be much of a burden, this all changed when she met William.

William is a rising member of the gentry, and the heir to the fortunes of a wealthy merchant family. His winning smile and natural charm aim to capture Emma’s affections, like she did his own affections. But, as a maid and a noble, society decrees that the two shall never be together. Can love truly conquer all in a world such as this?

Since Emma‘s 2005 airing, fans across the globe have found themselves enraptured by the world, characters, and, well… everything that makes this series tick. The title is a critical darling, which has won numerous accolades from publications big and small alike. It’s never received a dub, though, and has always shipped as a sub-only release in the west.

Right Stuf, who previously released the title on DVD, wants to rectify that. The company aims to give the title a HD Blu-Ray release, which will include an all-new English dub. With the help of veteran director Joe DiGiorgi at Headline Studios, Right Stuf intends to produce a dub that matches the series in its obsessive authenticity to Victorian England.

Notable Reward Tiers

  • $15: Behind the Scenes Feature Access, plus all rewards at $10 tier.
  • $25: Bonus Gift from Right Stuf, Backer Badge, Name on “Emma Backer Wall”
  • $60: Emma: A Victorian Romance Season 1 Blu-Ray, plus all rewards at $35 tier ($55 during campaign’s first 7 days)
  • $100: Emma: A Victorian Romance Chipboard Box, Kickstarter-exclusive manga reproduction drawing, Emma’s Journal, Art Card set, Name in “Special Thanks” section in Blu-Ray, plus all rewards at $60 tier ($95 during campaign’s first 7 days)
  • $150: Priority listing in “Special Thanks” section of Blu-Ray, PDF copy of dub shooting script, plus all rewards at $100 tier
  • $200: Official Emma tote bag, plus all rewards at $150 tier (Limited, 4)
  • $250: Personalized wax seal stamp, plus all rewards at $150 tier
  • $300: Complete hardcover set of Emma manga, plus all rewards at $150 tier
  • $400: Emma Blu-Ray cover signed by Japanese series staff, plus all rewards at $150 tier
  • $500: Voicemail message by one of the Emma dub actors, plus all rewards at $400 tier
  • $500: Access to view English dubbing sessions, plus all rewards at $400 tier
  • $750: Shout-out in Blu-Ray by English dub actors, plus all rewards at $500 (“Recording Sessions”) tier.
  • $850: 10-cel set of Emma reproduction cels, plus all rewards at $750 tier
  • $1,000: Autographed English shooting script, Custom cosplay costume by Jez Roth, plus all rewards at $750 tier (Limited, 2)
  • $1,000: Autographed English shooting script, Emma 1/7 Scale PVC Figure, plus all rewards at $750 tier (Limited, 3)
  • $1,500: Official Articulated Emma doll (by Azone) with extra clothes set, Autographed English shooting script, plus all rewards at $750 tier (Limited, 1)
  • $2,500: Dinner with Shawne Kleckner, Right Stuf “Employee For a Day”, Autographed English shooting script, plus all rewards at $750 tier
  • $5,000: Dinner with dub director Joe DiGiorgi, Tour of dubbing studio and sit-in for a recording session, Autographed English shooting script, plus all rewards at $750 tier

As of press time, backers are able to pledge and additional $60 to receive an exclusive art book.

Notable Stretch Goals

As of press time, three Stretch Goals have been announced:

  • $120,000: Written interview with Emma creator Kaoru Mori
  • $135,000: Emma season 1 dub commentary
  • $180,000: Emma season 2 dub production

Why Profile This Title?

Long before Downton Abbey, there was Emma: A Victorian Romance. The show’s obsessive depiction of Victorian England, lends itself well to the very human drama that unfolds throughout the series. Period-accurate details, from the fashions to the use of language, all help to flavor the world, and the upstairs-downstairs relationship that unfolds between Emma and William. It’s a rare, incredibly special show that deserves every bit of hype it’s received over the years.

DiGiorgi’s record is one of excellence, dotted with numerous fan favorites like His and Her Circumstances, Boogiepop Phantom, and Aria the Animation. To grant Emma a dub of this caliber would be a boon for the franchise, as it opens doors for a new generation of fans.

The overall project goals are sensible, with a $110,000 end goal, and reasonable defined stretch goals. Likewise, the scope of the project is reasonable, with a planned May 2019 release. The reward tiers are sensible, with tangible rewards for those who contributes as little as $10 to the campaign.

 Emma A Victorian Romance - Funding Model

Moreover, though, Right Stuf’s proven that they are able to thrive through the crowd-funded model already. The publisher’s recent campaign to produce a dub for Aria the Animation was handled immensely well, with regular updates on progress, video diaries, and cast interviews that were solely for backers. Through it all, they were able to ship the final product on-time with a quality that exceeded backer expectations.

It’s this combination of a strong product, a smart campaign, and Right Stuf’s reputation for quality and consistency that are able to give a full recommendation for the Emma Kickstarter.

Creator Interview

We were able to reach out to Right Stuf CEO and Dark Lord Shawne Kleckner to discuss the Emma Kickstarter.

Anime Herald: What led Right Stuf to select Emma as a candidate for Kickstarter? What qualities does the organization look for when choosing titles to crowdfund an English dub?

Shawne Kleckner: When we were considering Kickstarter projects initially, this was one on the list – as a program set in Victorian England, we had received feedback that it was a bit jarring to watch in Japanese, and we did agree that it deserved a proper dub. Logistics and approvals on this title were more complicated. It is a wonderful show with a good story and we felt that it deserved the wider audience it would receive with a dub.

In terms of choosing titles, it comes down to efforts to work with Japan on their willingness to allow such a venture, and titles which we feel people would be excited about. Some titles would be very difficult to do.

Anime Herald: Out of curiosity, about how long has the team been working on the Emma Kickstarter, from the build-up to launch? How much planning typically goes into launching a campaign of this magnitude, that the backers don’t often see?

Shawne Kleckner: We have been working on this Kickstarter for over a year. Planning can be very complicated. Firstly we have to seek and receive approvals, and that can take significant time. All of the tiers need to be designed and vetted, with budgeting and quoting of items which would be included within the reward levels. Most times, these will also need to receive approvals as licensing of merchandise is generally separated from video rights. Once the budgeting is completed, we look at variances that we might run into, look at stretch goals that could be achievable (as well as costing them out). The pitch video needs to be written and recorded, and the entire project needs to be written out so that it can explained to an audience. There is a huge amount of overall labor that goes into putting a project like this together, which really isn’t visible to the world. After funding, running a Kickstarter is also very labor intensive in interaction with the backers, but it’s still a lot of fun!

Anime Herald: Previously, Right Stuf successfully Kickstarted an English adaptation for the Aria anime franchise. What would you say have been the biggest takeaways from that campaign, and how have they helped you in the Emma Kickstarter?

Shawne Kleckner: The Aria Kickstarter succeeded well beyond our expectations. One of the lessons we quickly learned is we had to have all of the stretch items figured out and ready to go immediately. We had a bit of a scramble because although we had things in process, we couldn’t react fast enough.

Anime Herald: What would you say is the biggest challenge when working in the Kickstarter/crowdfunding framework for projects of this nature?

Shawne Kleckner: Getting interesting materials for rewards tiers, especially on older programs, can be a big challenge, no only in figuring out what to do, but also getting them approved and actually having the artwork or stylistic elements that are necessary to design them. Emma, for example, was made in 2005, 13 years ago. There is no current merchandising for this title, and in Japan it wasn’t extensively merchandised in the first place. Aria was a bit easier because Avvenire was released in 2015.

Anime Herald: How would you describe your experiences interacting with and, in some cases, working directly with your backers?

Shawne Kleckner: It’s a great deal of fun. I know I personally love interacting with our fans, and our production team loves to hear their feedback and to be able to highlight their efforts to make the backer’s pledges a reality. We had three individuals who came in to be a part of the dub, and a couple of folks that came to the office directly, and I certainly hope that they all really enjoyed that experience. It has been our desire from the beginning to be very transparent about the entire process from start to finish, and we even gave backers the ability to vote on different styles we created prior to submitting them for approval.

Anime Herald: Is there anything you’d like to say to our readers, and to potential backers out there?

Shawne Kleckner: Working with fans directly to create these new dubbed Blu-Rays has been an absolute joy. The ability to interact on this type of level is certainly different than just selling them a disc that we have produced or that we are reselling from an industry publisher. We want to thank each and every one of our backers that have supported these projects and allowed us to bring a whole new view of these programs to the world.

Many thanks to Mr. Kleckner for answering our questions!

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