[Update 3/17/2016] This campaign has been rebooted on Kickstarter. [End Update]
Today marked the start of yet another crowdfunding campaign. But unlike many other campaigns that are simply trying to get their products out to market, this campaign could potentially have long-lasting implications for the North American anime industry. The one-woman show behind Pied Piper, Inc. launched the Skip Beat! Anime English Dub For North America campaign on Indiegogo which could have very positive ramifications if it should meet its $210,000 funding goal by the end of the month.
First off, let's put into perspective what this crowd-sourcing effort is about. Skip Beat is a TV anime series that aired starting in October of 2008 based off of a popular shoujo manga. It is a very well received show by those who have watched it and ranks very highly on MyAnimeList. However, because it is a show aimed towards young girls and women (hence the shoujo moniker), it was probably deemed too risky of an investment by all of the North American anime distributors and thus to this day has yet to be licensed for release on home video. Ann Yamamoto of Pied Piper wishes to change that.
Ms. Yamamoto is coming off a highly successful Kickstarter campaign that saw the localization of the wonderful Time of Eve movie, a compilation of a 6-episode ONA series that also aired starting in 2008 (if you've never seen Time of Eve, do it!). This has led credence for the Japanese companies to give Pied Piper a shot at licensing Skip Beat for North America provided that an English dub is also made for it. Ms. Yamamoto has signed on some notable talents in the industry such as Mela Lee and Cristina Vee to help spearhead the effort.
What makes this crowdfunding campaign special is that if it succeeds it could possibly pave the way for more niche or "high risk" titles to be licensed in the future. Certainly Pied Piper seems to be here for the long haul to continue bringing over titles that many other companies are not willing to. And if Skip Beat does reach its mark, it could give anime distributors like Funimation and Sentai Filmworks more confidence in bringing over these types of shows. Here's hoping that this could be the start of a wonderful future that sees more beloved anime titles brought over from overseas.