Key is one of the most respected visual novel developers in the world. Nearly their entire catalogue has been adapted into anime, with Clannad and Little Busters! being the most well-known.
The studio has never had trouble finding suitors to adapt their work, but they surprised fans when they launched a crowdfunding campaign to adapt Kud Wafter into a movie. According to Visual Art & Key President Takahiro Baba, it’s a sign of changing times.
President Baba was interviewed by KAI-YOU, and he revealed the sharp increase in anime production costs and the scarcity of adaptations of games made it necessary to launch a campaign for Kud Wafter. He said:
“Production costs for visual novels like Key’s can cost tens of millions yen to 100 million yen, but almost 400 million yen are needed for a one-cour anime, so it becomes a big risk. If it’s a major company, they can produce an anime with even one sponsor, but we can’t easily do that. Because of that, we thought we’d try making an anime this time while experimentally using support from fans.”
Basically, a 12-episode anime can cost about $3.5 million to produce. With that rough number in mind, Key launched a Japanese and international crowdfunding campaign.
The Japanese campaign raised 78 million yen ($655,000), which is enough to produce a 40 to a 50-minute movie adaptation of Kud Wafter. An international campaign raised an additional 8.9 million yen ($79,300), which will lead to a localized release of the movie.
Kud Wafter is being adapted to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Little Busters! J.C. Staff will animate the movie.