Many fans want to work in the anime and manga industry but are barred by their ability to:
- Move to Japan
- Learn the language
- Apply for work and get a work visa (somehow)
- Be approved by publishers or studios as a creator able to make stories or art that can appeal to the Japanese audience
- Survive on very small wages and probably ask for help from their parents like most starting artists in the industry (Read more on this: Over Half of Young Animators Can't Support Themselves Without Family Allowances)
The only other option for non-Japanese artists is to stay in their home country and create their own stories. Most fans only consume anime and manga from Japan and therefore think the international market doesn't exist. Kickstarter and an indie manga named Orange Crows prove with a homerun that international fans are alive, hungry, and growing this global market.
Orange Crows is a manga by James Perry II that blends together witches, a broken society, and the taboo of attempting to create your own brand of magic. The artstyle and theme is reminiscent of Soul Eater.
The first Volume of Orange Crows was published by the American licensor Tokyopop. Faced with road-blocking from Tokyopop and the artist leaving to work on other projects, Perry had to choose to either let the story die or fight on.
He decided to fight. Perry learned how to draw, launched a Kickstarter for Volume 2, became successfully funded, took on all 5 roles in manga creation (writing, drawing, lettering, inking, coloring), and distributed Volume 2 of Orange Crow to fans.
Perry has since turned back to Kickstarter for Volume 3 and has already sailed past his goal.
It's impressive to see the project at 150% funded (at the time of this writing) considering that the large Kickstarter projects usually reach huge funding goals by hiring large, savvy teams who earn a nice paycheck marketing the project. This Kickstarter is 100% creator run and all the budget goes towards creating the next volume.
While Kickstarter funded series may seem like a drop in the bucket considering the huge amount of content that fans have to choose from, they're still significant and are growing in popularity. They provide new perspectives in a market that is mainly dictated by what Japanese publishers see as likely to make sales in Japan. As the market for International manga and anime content grows, there are more unique voices for fans to explore. Imagine being able to explore French, Nigerian, Canadian, Brazilian, Philippine, Australian, and many more cultures through manga and anime. It's an exciting prospect and if Orange Crow is any indicator, the International market is hungry for unique voices that are unfiltered by publishers.
There are 2 days left if you want to contribute and earn extra perks from the Orange Crow kickstarter.