Back in October 2016, we covered Nadir Shirazi’s MultiFacet, an anime project about a world with a single water source. We caught up with Nadir in this exclusive interview to see how the MultiFacet project is doing after last year’s feature article.
Kryz: Hey Nadir! How has the project progressed so far?
Nadir: It’s doing great! And thanks to the collaboration of Paul Wollenzien, Nancy Nor, and Fraeya Pinto (my Co-Creators and Animators) this fictional world is looking scarily similar to our own and is beginning to connect more with people.
Since last year’s feature article, it’s started to pick up steam and we’ve been getting more questions on what the series is about.
Kryz: I’ve been meaning to ask that as well. How has the plot developed from last year?
Nadir: We decided to focus on the fact that it is set in “Dunya”, a world divided between extreme forms of religion and secularism.
There are two opposing factions who want to control Dunya’s last water source, and both of them have extremist members in their groups who cause havoc. Then you have the titular MultiFacet who are trying to keep a middle ground but barely succeeding.
Kryz: That is definitely an interesting story. What will set this apart from other indie anime that are tackling real-world issues?
Nadir: I think what will set MultiFacet apart from other series is there are no real villains and heroes. The four main characters each have unique viewpoints and their own solutions for Dunya’s problems.
You have Shabina who is furiously trying to keep the two factions from each other’s throats. You have Arsin from one faction who has a complicated relationship with the extremist Fanata. Billen from the other faction who has let the extremist Ultrere flourish. And then you have Rydin who wants the established systems abolished to try to reunite his brothers.
Being a “Protagonist” is just a matter of perspective.
Kryz: Your plot has evolved to include people of different beliefs, all thinking they are the good guys, and how they are facing the threat of extremism. The answer is obvious but I still have to ask for clarity’s sake, where are you pulling inspiration from?
Nadir: These characters and the world of Dunya all stem out of my internal conflict between my own Canadian secular identity and my Islamic religious one post 9/11. It’s not a series about Muslims, but it is made by one who has spent his adult life working with people from literally every faith and non-faith value system out there.
That tragic day has sort of created a vicious cycle where every-day-Muslims and their allies globally (but especially in Western countries) are forced to defend themselves physically and psychologically from both Islamophobes and groups like ISIS. These two groups claim to hate one another yet the only people they attack are the non-extreme innocent people in the middle.
The series is about reclaiming real life narrative from extremists on both sides. It’s about those of us who ask ourselves if it is possible to “Stay the Middle?” and not join in on this cycle of hate.
Kryz: So you’ve decided to tell your story, and the story of a lot of Muslims and people of color, through anime.
Nadir: Yes. I quit a successful career working on multi-faith issues in public life to follow my passion as a lifelong nerd and anime fan and to have a bigger impact. It is in a somewhat timely moment my team finds itself in. Anime culture inspired by Japan has never been hotter globally.
Kryz: There are a lot of criticism involved in making anime-inspired projects outside of Japan, how are you going to deal with that?
Nadir: My team and I have decided to work on a different form of anime that I think we are at the forefront of. I call it LITE Anime.
It is anime-inspired but will ultimately look different in that it will experiment in storytelling mediums versus being just animated. We can tell one part of the story first in the traditional animated form then continue in other cheaper mediums like sound, motion comics, writing, etc. An interactive transmedia experience.
I am part of a new group of people who are trying to make anime, despite the fact that there is no multimillion-dollar budget for the project and also despite the fact that there will be purists who will look down on any anime that’s not produced in Japan.
Kryz: You have just launched a Kickstarter for MultiFacet. Do you have a message for the community at GoBoiano to support your project?
Nadir: The purpose of the Kickstarter is to have people help me fund the first mixed media chapter of the story so it can be released online for FREE. In the past years crowdfunding has all been dominated by larger companies who use it as a store front. Let’s go back to crowdfunding’s indie roots and let’s get this chapter off the ground for everyone!
Especially if you are a Millennial nerd of diversity, someone who likes fantasy action-adventure anime, fans of western shows like the Legend of Korra, and if you’d like to take back the true meaning of crowdfunding: MultiFacet is a project that could help fight radicalization and impact the real world.
Thank you for the exclusive Nadir! If you like Nadir’s work and would like to support him, check out the Kickstarter!