Once upon a time, Clannad Man made a Kickstarter documentary project called key15th: A Visual Documentary. Key15th is a project where fans send letters to KEY. This Kickstarter is an off-shoot from this project. And this pissed people off. For starters, the documentary project didn’t state its itinerary and Clannad Man made no confirmation that he would meet any of KEY’s staff. It was also an illegal Kickstarter project because it was using Madoka Magica products as its rewards.
At about 10pm last night, fuji_fruit and his TLWiki friends were pissed about key15th as usual. One of them thought, “You know what, fuji, send a tweet to vava and see what happens.” And everyone thought it was a great idea. So fuji sent a tweet to vava.
vava is the president of Visual Arts, which owns KEY. At midnight, he tweeted:
ナニこれ。私は聞いてない。ということは、新しい詐欺なの？ I have not heard. That means, new scam? RT @Fuji_fruit: @vavasyatyou http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ibhmc/key15th-a-visual-documentary
This naturally became a huge scandal.
Clannad Man responded to vava, first in English and then bizarro Japanese. This is the conversation they had on Twitter. I’ve horribly translated the majority, but got lazy and stole SANchipinchi’s better translations (with permission) for the last two vava tweets and flamingspinach and ammm for correcting Clannad_Man’s tweets.
“””TL””” Note: As anyone who can read JP knows, Clannad Man was writing like a retard for the first few tweets. For example, he called vava 貴方 and the English approximation for that is “my dear”. It’s embarrassing. If I was going to properly translate it, Clannad Man would sound like a baby. So no thanks.
vava: What the heck is this? I haven’t heard of it. Is this some new scam?
CM: Hello. I am responsible for this project I would love the opportunity to speak with you about the project at your convenience.
CM: I am Clannad Man, the person responsible for this Kickstarter documentary project. If you don’t mind, I’d like to say something about you and this project.
vava: Please explain everything to me and the Japanese KEY fans.
CM: 今説明を整っているので、 少々お待ちいただけませんか
CM: I’m preparing my explanation right now. Can you please wait a moment?
vava: I understand.
1 hour later…
CM: I am a huge KEY fan and I love your company’s works. So I wanted to do something for the KEY fans. However, if you think my project is a scam and has caused harm, I will immediately take it down.
CM: I wish to give you a more detailed explanation, not just on Twitter, and would be grateful if you gave me a chance to talk about myself as well.
vava: Our company welcomes derivative works (fanart, music arrangements) and we do not mind artists selling these products. However, we do not permit the unauthorized use of original works or unauthorized commercial use of derivative works. So please be warned about these rules.
vava: I don’t understand much English. So if you can explain your plan in Japanese, that will help. The Japanese KEY fans could also help you by sharing their knowledge and giving advice to you.
vava: Visual Arts also do not own the rights to Mahou Shoujo Madoka☆Magica. Please send your inquiries to the companies that own it.
Two hours later…
CM: I’m preparing my explanation right now, but translating it into Japanese takes time. But as a gesture of good faith, I have decided to suspend this Kickstarter project. I want to prove that this project is done with the sincerest of intentions.
The conversation ends here. None has responded to each other as of this writing. But the story doesn’t end here:
On Kickstarter, Clannad Man wrote a post titled Suspension of ‘「key15th」 : A Visual Documentary’. He writes that he will modify this project to make it more acceptable. He also writes,
Consider this: the international Key community is so passionate about their visual novels / anime that it caught the attention of even the President of Key/Visual Art’s! That isn’t an easy feat. And while I can’t say with any degree of certainty how this will turn out, I have a hunch that your collective passion will be seen in a very positive light.
I’m acquainted with fuji and I don’t think he likes KEY.
After this debacle was over, he also got the nerve to send another tweet to him. For those too bothered to click the link, it reads: “Clannad.org >>> KS”. And as of this writing, Clannad.org does link to the Kickstarter project.
I am not criticizing KEY’s fans for reaching out. I think it’s good for them; I mean, that’s why they are fans and they just want to show their support. The key15th project is merely a means.
But the difference between expressing fandom and this project is that the latter is insincere. It preys on the goodwill of fans. Exploiting them for the sake of cash is despicable. It is merely an excuse for a paid vacation trip to Tokyo.
Baka-Tsuki has recently disowned the Clannad project because they attempted the Kickstarter “without the explicit approval of Key/VisualArts” and received “condemnation from their president/CEO”. They’ve also implied they won’t work with Doki Fansubs anymore.
I have clearly stated my opinions about this issue, but it is up to KEY fans to decide this issue. I like zero KEY works, but I do like some of their fans. It is my hope they will do the right thing and abandon this project for the greater good of this community.
I also recommend reading this nice Tumblr post for a more detailed look on the legality of the Kickstarter.