SciFi Japan

    MIDNIGHT THE ERA - Crowdfunding Campaign Launched for Anime + Toku Hybrid Kaiju Film

    The student filmmakers of the kaiju short film MIDNIGHT THE ERA have started a crowdfunding campaign. Photo courtesy of Studio Mujaku. ©Studio Mujaku

    Professional voice-over recording for independent animation! Film production combining animation and special effects!
    Source: Studio Mujaku
    Special Thanks to Avery Guerra

    Last December, SciFi Japan ran an exclusive preview of MIDNIGHT THE ERA, an independent kaiju short film that was being created through a combination of  animation and traditional Japanese tokusatsu FX techniques.

    One notable aspect of MIDNIGHT THE ERA is that it is being produced by Studio Mujaku, a group of 30 university students who have split their time between their school duties and making this movie.  Led by director Hanasuke Okada and producer Kakeru Taiga, the team is striving for "the highest level of perfection" and have decided they need to hire professional voice actors and sound engineers to do the dubbing and sound recording, which requires a high level of expertise. To make that possible,  Studio Mujaku has launched a crowdfunding campaign on the Japanese fundraising site CampFire with a goal amount is ¥1,500,000 (Approximately $10,575 US) to cover these additional expenses. With a donation of approximately $7.00 (¥1,000) contributors can get their name in the end credits of the film.


    Photo courtesy of Studio Mujaku. ©Studio Mujaku


     In peacetime. Kaiju served as a deterrent. But they were replaced by nuclear weapons, which are less costly and safer than Kaiju.

    All kaiju states have introduced nuclear weapons and at the same time have been killing kaijus.

    The two domestic kaijus created by the team of Ms. Fuyumi Sanagawa, who was once a key figure in Japan's kaiju development, were no exception, and they were waiting for the time to be destroyed.

    However, an incident occurred. It was discovered that one of the domestic kaijus, "Chalanchoe," had developed intelligence.

    The Chalanchoe escaped during transport to a processing plant.

    It sat on the edge of the plant factory area that handles all food production in Japan, and demanded its own survival, using the plant as a hostage

    The remaining kaiju, 'Asura seed," was deployed to  respond immediately to the situation, but it was not reliable as a weapon because of the Chalanchoe incident.

    Negotiations come to an end without finding an effective  countermeasure to Chalanchoe.


    Photo courtesy of Studio Mujaku. ©Studio Mujaku


    The creators of MIDNIGHT THE ERA explained that, "The script is dense with sci-fi and monsters. We are sure that we will be able to show you an independent film unlike any you have ever seen before, utilizing the advantages of both animation and special effects. Although it is far from the mainstream of today, by using deliberately subdued colors and plenty of dark shadows, we have achieved a realistic look to our animation. This is most evident in the character designs, which are less deformed and more realistic."

    "Furthermore, our anime is no ordinary anime. In pursuit of the ideal angle and reality, we created miniature set ts for the backgrounds. Although precision work was required, we were able to faithfully create sets by utilizing the miniature production techniques used for classic special effects films. By using both animation and miniatures, we are able to design every element of the environment; composition, lighting, gradings, and characters, and we boldly incorporated live-action cinematic effects, adding to the realistic look of the film. In this way, a highly finished animation has been created that is not inferior to TV animation or commercial animation."

    "New forms of expression are being pioneered through the congruence of live action film and miniature animation. We believe that we can offer you a vivid visual experience that only independent production can provide."


    Photo courtesy of Studio Mujaku. ©Studio Mujaku


    According to the filmmakers, "Monsters are an important part of MIDNIGHT THE ERA."

    "The kaiju Asura seed is red with a human-like body shape. The design is mechanical, using curves and curved surfaces."

    Photo courtesy of Studio Mujaku. ©Studio Mujaku

    Photo courtesy of Studio Mujaku. ©Studio Mujaku


    "The Chalanchoe monster is named after the kalanchoe flower. It has a a white base color, and is characterized by its neck, legs, and long tail."

    Photo courtesy of Studio Mujaku. ©Studio Mujaku

    Photo courtesy of Studio Mujaku. ©Studio Mujaku

    Photo courtesy of Studio Mujaku. ©Studio Mujaku

    Photo courtesy of Studio Mujaku. ©Studio Mujaku


    "The special effects were mainly shot on a full-scale diorama set, measuring 10 meters long and 5 meters wide, with costumed actors. The filming was done with an emphasis on spatial effects that make the best use of the space. We designed the film differently from a [FX] TV series and developed a number of new technologies. In this film, we can show you our unique and spectacular destruction scenes."

    "This is the very best part of special effects filming. We were able to capture plenty of powerful battle scenes."


    With the cooperation of the voice actor agency, amuleto, Studio Mujaku has already chosen the actors they plan to use in the film...


    Photo courtesy of Studio Mujaku. ©Studio Mujaku

    Mariko Honda as Misaki Otowa

    Mariko Honda has provided her voice for several anime and video games. Her representative works include EVERYDAY LIFE (as Yuko Aioi), THE STUDENT COUNCIL'S EXISTENCE (Kurimu Sakurano), HYAKUJO ARISTOCRAT (Mr. Ishii), ROBOT GIRLS Z (Mazinga Z-chan), UTETAMA (Inu-tan) and TOHO DANMAKU KAGURA (Marisa Kirisame).

    She will play the main character in MIDNIGHT THE ERA,  a 28-year-old negotiator named Misaki Otowa. Misaki has a strong sense of responsibility, is vivacious and cheerful, and is easily influenced by her emotions. In her childhood, she was in a car accident from which she was not expected to survive, but she was treated using monster engineering technology, and part of her brain has been converted into an artificial brain. She is the only person who can contact Chalanchoe.


    Photo courtesy of Studio Mujaku. ©Studio Mujaku

    Ai Yamamoto as Chalanchoe

    Ai Yamamoto made her debut as a voice actress in 2013. She is active mainly in anime and video games, and is also a professional women's mahjong player. Her representative works include YAMANOSUME (Kasumi), PASTEL MEMORIES (Senju Nankai), LALALACOCO (Coco), SAKIU ALSTORIASSUN! (Para granum), SUMMER TIME RENDA (Asako Kobayakawa) and dubbing PROUD FAMILY (La Genega Boulevardais).

    Ai will portray Chalanchoe, who only Misaki Otowa can reach. Chalanchoe is in touch with the world through the sprouting of human physical texture and emotions.


    Photo courtesy of Studio Mujaku. ©Studio Mujaku

    Genki Ookawa as Yayoi Sanagawa

    Genki Ookawa started his acting career in 2005 and made his debut as a voice actor in 2012 with the anime YU-GI-OH ZEXAL (Mizael). He has been active in a wide range of fields, including anime, dubbing, video games and radio. His representative works include CHARISMA (Terra), B-PROJECT (Tatsuhiro Nome)  MAJIN SENTAI KIRAMAGER (Majin Jetta) and the musical PRINCE OF TENNIS (Kirihara Akiya).

    His MIDNIGHT THE ERA character, Yayoi Sanagawa, is a 21-year-old college student whose mother died when he was in junior high school. He aspires to become a writer, but his heart is filled with anxiety about the future.


    Photo courtesy of Studio Mujaku. ©Studio Mujaku

    Youji Ueda as Kunikazu Kamino

    Known for his stability and wide range of acting skills,Youji Ueda has appeared in numerous productions including anime, dubbed foreign films, and video games. It was recently announced that he will be playing the role of Eisen in SOUGOU NO FUREN (Funeral Freelance). His most notable works include. JOJO'S BIZARRE ADVENTURE (Robert E.O. Speedwagon) MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM: THE WITCH FROM MERCURY (Kenanzi Avery) and BLEACH: THOUSAND YEAR BLOOD WAR arc.

    Youji Ueda will voice Kunikazu Kamino, a 49-year-old kaiju researcher. Kamino is one of the leaders in the development of domestically produced monsters and is currently the guardian of Yayoi Sanagawa. He is also the one who fitted Misaki Otowa with an artificial brain. In the film, he is on loan to the military from Miyama Kasei, the company that developed the Asura seed and Chalanchoe.


    Photo courtesy of Studio Mujaku. ©Studio Mujaku

    Shingo Yoneyama as the Colonel

    Shingo Yoneyama is best known as a narrator for TV programs, and in recent years he has been expanding his activities to include animation and video games. His representative works are SHIKIZAKURA (Ibarra), ON-AIR NAIKENAI! (Koyuji) and narration for "Tokusatsu Gaga Gaga Support Program: Hot Ze Tokusatsu Gaga Gaga Narration for SUKUSUKU PON!, and  SPORTS LIVE HIGH FIVE! 

    Yoneyama will play the Colonel, a 56-year-old military man who thought he was close to retirement, but was given a major assignemtn due to the Chalanchoe Incident. He is in command of a unit that operates, maintains, and researches monsters, and is a capable leader with a strong heart who experienced war in his 20s. 



    The campaign is now running on Campfire. The majority of the funds will be used to pay the voice actors, sound director, and sound staff. If the financial support exceeds the target amount, Studio Mujaku will use the funds to compensate the staff, cover the cost of materials, and hold screening events.

    Depending on the amounts donated, those who contribute will receive returns from Studio Mujaku.  Please see the chart below for details...

    Photo courtesy of Studio Mujaku. ©Studio Mujaku


    ●  For "Thank you video from Kaiju" Studio Mujakufwill send donors a video from the monster to say thank you. The URL will be sent to your registered e-mail address via Gigafile Mail.

    "Name in credits" Please be sure to indicate your preferred name in the remarks column when you make your donation so it will be listed in the credits for the movie.

    "Full-length movie" We will send you a full-length movie of "Midnight the Era" (about 30 minutes). The URL will be sent to your registered e-mail address via Gigafile Mail.

    The "Soundtrack" will include not only the music and sound effects used in the film, but also audio that was not used. The URL will be sent to the donor's registered e-mail address by Gigafile Mail.

    The "DVD" includes the full-length movie "MIDNIGHT THE ERA" (approx. 30 min.) plus a making-of featurette (approx. 10 min.) about the shooting of the special effects. The DVD twill be mailed to the donor's registered address.

    *The "Art Book" will contain concept art, setting materials, illustrations, production scenery, and filming scenery. Printed booklets will be sent to the donor's registered address.

    Prizes described as "data" are returns that will be sent via Gigafile Mail.

    The "Character Designed Paper" is a color paper handwritten by the main animator.

    Miniatures, props for filming, and heads for action will be sent as they were actually used in the filming. Please note that they are not in perfect condition, although they have been restored after shooting. They will be sent to the donor's registered address via courier service.

    The "Kaiju Suit: actually used for filming will be sent to the donor. Please note that the items are around 2m in length and may be delivered by the production staff. Please note that Studio Mujaku cannot repair the items after they are sent.


    Donations from international supporters are welcomed, but prizes can only be shipped to those who have a mailing address in Japan. Donors who do not live in Japan can use a service like that allows them to borrow a Japanese address and make arrangements to have the prize shipped overseas.


    Photo courtesy of Studio Mujaku. ©Studio Mujaku


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