Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Help bring 'Skip Beat!' to North America!

I fell into watching Skip Beat! after hearing about it offhand during my R5 Central days. Fellow cast member Alanna talked about it a fair bit, and I decided to give it a go. This was a couple years ago.

Verdict? It was the most adorable revenge story I've ever seen.

No, but really. The protagonist, Kyoko, supports her childhood friend and crush Sho on his way to stardom, working several jobs to support him. When it becomes clear to her that he's using her and has no true feelings for her, she vows revenge -- by breaking into the entertainment industry and becoming a bigger star than him. The series follows her journey as she not only climbs the ladder of stardom, but develops her own sense of self and goals separate from her vendetta against Sho.

It's a great show, and it's got the numbers to prove it: it's ranked as one of the top shoujo titles among fans on MyAnimeList. But, while it did have a streaming subtitled release on Crunchyroll, no North American company has seen fit to license it.

Enter Ann Yamamoto of Pied Piper, Inc. She successfully Kickstarted an international release of Time of EVE: The Movie, and is looking to work the same magic with Skip Beat! on IndieGoGo. TV TOKYO is allowing her to license it -- on the condition that a dub is included in the release.

So Ann's built a team -- including voice actors Mela Lee, Cristina Vee, and Jason Charles Miller and sound producer Alexander Burke -- to produce a dub that will, in her own words, 'make Kyoko proud.' Dub production is expensive, though... and that's where Pied Piper needs you.

If you're a fan of shoujo anime, even if you've never heard of Skip Beat!, this is a project worth your time. It's a fun, sweet, positive show, and this production could potentially open the door both for more shoujo anime releases and for more neglected shows to be dug out of back catalogues. The perks aren't too shabby, either -- everything from behind-the-scenes looks at the dubs to artbooks and special cases to live video chats with the voice actors. And (if you're feeling really generous), there's room for one person to donate $5k for a trip to LA, a day with the dub cast, and a speaking role in the dub!

Visit the IndieGoGo page for more information, a breakdown of the budget and perks, and to donate and help this project get off the ground! The campaign has raised nearly $6,500 in five hours, but there's still a long way to go, and every little bit helps!
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