An Anonymous on Clannad Man’s Kickstarter Disclosure Post

Editorkastel Note: Someone contacted me to put this up, so I did. I did nothing to the work except put kawaii pictures. All credits go to this Anon.

Hi there, Anonymous here. You might know me from my infamy on 2ch and 4chan, my politically motivated hacking attempts targeting the American government and related entities, or my unkind comments on the key15th blog.

Since the previous episode of Code Geass seems to have failed to convince people that Clannad Man’s ‘apology’ is lacking in sincerity, I have taken it upon myself to heavily revise his full disclosure statement to demonstrate, in my opinion, what would have been the proper way to amend for this situation. Kastel has kindly offered to post this on his blog. Without further ado, read below, noting that the sentences in blue are my own editorial comments.

I write to you today utterly dejected. This is not because I was forced to cancel the Kickstarter, which likely would have been canceled anyway due to violating Kickstarter’s TOS, but rather due to the fact that I overlooked many minor issues which misrepresented the project to many people. The very group which I was trying to benefit, the Key community, I feel that I have instead let down in a way I never thought possible. The worst part is, I only have my own incompetence to blame.

It is important, even necessary, that I provide you with full disclosure regarding every significant issue which has been brought to my attention over these past few days. I want this entire ordeal clarified and resolved as quickly as possible, and this is the best way I know to do so. I offer this of my own accord It was requested that I do this by Takahiro Baba, among others.

These opening paragraphs are largely okay, except for a few words I have crossed out which attempt to downplay the gravity of the issues at hand. I also opted to improve the grammar in places.

I’m going to present in the order of what I consider my most egregious faults down to those of lesser consequence.

In the spirit of the above sentence, I have rearranged the following paragraphs. This may make this post harder to compare and contrast with the original, but I believe it was necessary.

Fourth, regarding the second Kickstarter update: As a graduate from an internationally accredited MBA program and founder of my own startup, I surely understand how important it is to the management of a company to protect their brand’s identity and value. Takahiro Baba, in his past interactions with foreign Key fans, has amply demonstrated that he values the reputation of Key and Visual Art’s above all profits that stand to be made by reaching out to overseas fans. He does not want to be at the center of another Rapelay debacle, and who are we, mere fans, to say this is a foolish concern? I should have considered his position on the matter well in advance of organizing this Kickstarter.

There were two choices I could have made to avoid what happened. I could have reached out to Takahiro Baba prior to setting my Kickstarter plans in action and attempted to secure official permission for the documentary project. While pessimists might assert that no good could come of such an attempt given Baba’s previous interactions with foreign fans, if I truly believed that I might be able to use the campaign as a way to quantify signs of enthusiasm from members of the Key community to suggest that there was a stronger potential for profitability in localizing Key games than what he might otherwise have thought convince him the overseas market for Key games was worth the associated risks, that would have been the sincere thing to do.

As an aside, why am I not particularly competent in Japanese anyway? If I’m truly the overseas Key fan most qualified to lead this documentary project, shouldn’t I know enough Japanese to have read the games in their original language and to communicate effectively with Japanese people? I doubt the former takes less Japanese proficiency than the latter, unless I greatly overestimate the level of linguistic complexity of Key’s works. Also, my LinkedIn even said “Knowledgeable in Japanese” before I deleted it. Is that sincerity? Regardless, I should have anticipated the need to communicate with Japanese people interested in the project and retained a willing translator close at hand.

Now, the other choice- I could have made it far clearer on the Kickstarter page that my documentary was wholly unofficial. It should have come as no surprise to me that when Baba saw a page using Key’s logo and offering Key goods as backer rewards, he believed it was a scam. If I had taken care to dissociate myself from Key’s official brand, not only would Baba have likely overlooked my Kickstarter as the harmless fan project I sincerely believe it was, but confused backers of mine might have understood they were getting a documentary about locations in Key works and not about Key itself. The distinction is far more important than I realized.

Sixth, some people have mentioned that I should be ashamed for claiming other people’s credit for having claimed to have led the English localization projects for Clannad, Little Busters!, and Tomoyo After. I have never had any intention of taking credit for other people’s work. I oversaw and helped restart the VN Division at Doki for a time and organized for those projects to be continued by Doki from the prior project masters. As patches from Doki for Clannad & Little Busters! have not yet been released, some people feel that there is other terminology more appropriate than saying I ‘led’ them. To me, the terminology seems like a minor issue.

After thinking critically upon what a ‘leader’ is as it pertains to a fan translation project, I now recognize that the word implies a person with a central and important role, without whom the project would not be possible at all. The people most deserving of this title, of course, are the translators themselves. There is perhaps room for argument whether the projects would have been continued without my efforts, but if it were not, this implies a highly dysfunctional project structure with translators who were not self-motivated to work on the game of their own accord and required a taskmaster to goad them into completing it. This is no way to run a translation project, and I should have taken no pride in ‘leading’ such an effort for games I sincerely love and admire.

I give all the credit in the world to the previous project leaders and contributors to these projects for having made the sacrifices necessary to spread Key’s beautiful stories to fans around the world. Early work on Clannad, Kanon, etc. was instrumental in fostering my interest in Key works, and I hold nothing but appreciation for having been exposed to it.

Fifth, people chose to ask what locations would be traveled to. This information was intended to be shared with everyone as time went on I should have finalized the plans for the project before launching the Kickstarter and shared them on the Kickstarter page. There is no excuse for jumping the gun like I did. I was asking for some serious money; the least I could have done is been clear about what it was going to be used for.

Third, some felt it would be helpful to see the breakdown of costs for the project. That request seems wholly appropriate and I should have done it in the first place; the estimated costs of the Kickstarter were allocated as follows:

I have not exhaustively examined all of the expense figures, but a few stand out as being blatantly inflated.

Food: $2,040 ($40 a day for 3 people) When living off fan goodwill we could have eaten a lot cheaper. Ramen and box lunches don’t cost $40 a day.

Universal Train Passes: $1,833 (3 people, two week) I could have saved $450 off this figure by not planning to buy first-class train passes.

Cost of Rewards: $4,229 (Approximated at 30% of trip/editing expenditures) I shouldn’t have made people pay for my own personal collection of anime goods that I was giving away as backer rewards. That’s like saying “if you donate to my project, you can have this cool stuff, but you have to pay for it too.” The rewards being offered that did not come from his personal collection do not, offhand, appear to add up to $4,229 in what they should cost.

Next on my list of errors regards the reward types offered. The OPMs, the polo shirts, Little Busters! Vinyl, and the Memorial Score cannot be offered under Kickstarter’s terms and conditions as they were not directly produced by the project.
Some of the esteemed bloggers covering this issue have also pointed out that the OPMs were, in all likelihood, not actually “original production materials” and are available for extremely low prices on Yahoo! Auctions. The only explanation for offering them in the manner that I did was that I was ignorant of their worthlessness myself and truly believed them to be OPMs. This is perhaps a moot point, as I was not permitted to offer them in the first place, but I acknowledge it casts doubt upon both my sincerity and my reputation as a Key expert.

First I’ll begin with the mention of ‘The Grand X-Change Co.’ I’m at a loss why Clannad Man thought anyone was concerned about this, let alone enough to so make it ‘the most egregious concern’ and first on the list. Personally, the only thing I got out of it is that he should have paid his assistants. But hey, if they were willing to work for free and undervalue their professional skills, it’s not my place to tell them they can’t.

While my errors have been careless, incompetent, foolish, and have led some to believe me to be a scam artist, I would actually like to thank those who called out these problems, though it would have been nice if I had stuck around in #TLWiki on IRC when I paid a visit there, or used to answer questions as was personally suggested to me. I could have even done so using my Twitter account. In the future I will take steps to actively engage in dialogue with those concerned by my actions rather than post Kickstarter updates and blog posts that attempt to diminish and deflect the issues I brought upon myself.

I offer my sincere apologies to the following people and groups:

  • Takahiro Baba, for wasting his time and not contacting him in advance to seek permission for my projects
  • All of my Kickstarter backers for misrepresenting the objective of my project and the rewards that were offered
  • Everyone involved in the Clannad and Little Busters translation projects, for positioning myself as the ‘leader’ of those projects when I didn’t really contribute that much to them
  • Everyone in the Key and visual novel fan communities as a whole, for damaging relations, potentially irreparably, between VisualArt’s and their overseas fans with my shortsighted actions
  • Kastel, for accusing him on IRC of “starting all of this” when all he did was blog about it

And that’s all I got. I hope you take a look at this, Clannad Man, and learn a thing or two about how to write an apology. I sincerely hope so.


8 thoughts on “An Anonymous on Clannad Man’s Kickstarter Disclosure Post

  1. Just to explain why I quizzed CM on the company first above all things (and why I considered it the most problematic):

    Here’s the hypothetical:
    1) I form a company I own.
    2) I solicit cash through something (kickstarter, donations, whatever.) saying I’m going to purchase/use services from my own company.
    3) I fail to disclose that I’m effectively paying myself through all of this.

    This turns the cash into legitimate income for the companies/people involved. That is effectively not just a scam, but money laundering. Obviously the scale is small in this instance, but after you launder once, it’s not hard to set up more products to continue feeding through your legit shell company, where you can take either a salary or the profits as dividends.

    CM seem to have taken what I felt was the priority to clear up, and ran with that.

    I’d guess that after it was absolutely clear he wasn’t trying to launder money, it was no longer the top priority.

    • Very good point. His expense breakdown clarified that, reimbursing himself for his anime merchandise collection aside, he wasn’t planning to just hand himself a big chunk of the money and justify it as his own salary for services rendered. But it’s true that was not apparent until he made the full disclosure post.

      In that knowledge I’d perhaps elevate it above the other problems related to the project itself and its rewards, though I still think that co-opting Key’s brand without their permission and taking credit for the translation projects were greater issues.

      • While I don’t agree with everything, and I don’t think Clannad Man should have to completely growl like that, I understand what you’re getting at, but I thought you were gonna write the post the way you would have written it if you were Clannad Man? The way it stands, there are several sections in it where it doesn’t sound at all like anything anyone would ever write about themselves in a serious post, at least not in such a way. It sounds very unnatural. For example, this whole section:

        “As an aside, why am I not particularly competent in Japanese anyway? If I’m truly the overseas Key fan most qualified to lead this documentary project, shouldn’t I know enough Japanese to have read the games in their original language and to communicate effectively with Japanese people? Also, my LinkedIn even said “Knowledgeable in Japanese” before I deleted it. Is that sincerity? Regardless, I should have anticipated the need to communicate with Japanese people interested in the project and retained a willing translator close at hand.”

        I mean c’mon, this doesn’t sound at all like anything anyone would say about themselves in such a way in their own post. It just sounds like YOU asking him those things, and then replacing “you” with “I” everywhere, making it sound just plain weird…This should have been something like this instead:

        “As an aside, I probably should have considered the fact that for a project like this, it would be necessary to have a decent grasp of Japanese in order to communicate with Japanese people, both in terms of explaining the project to Japanese fans, seeking permission from Visual Arts to use their logo and to make the documentary, and in order to communicate with people in Japan while making the documentary. Since I lack this kind of proficiency in the language myself, I should at the very least have had a willing translator ready and available instead, in order to assit me on these matters when necessary.”.

      • Also a fair point.

        Here’s my full disclosure of why I wrote it like that: “I am sick as a dog ATM and my brain kind of melted in the process of writing this, particularly at the end which is why my final comment sounds so dumb. I offer my sincere apologies for anyone who may have been affected or adversely affected by the existence of this post in any way. Except Clannad Man.”

        I suppose I should have just dropped the pretense and taken him to task in the same way Kastel’s previous post did, but I thought it might stop people from just arbitrarily dismissing the whole thing as “twisting his words” as they did with that post. Well, whatever, I hope I still managed to make some valid points.

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