Welcome to the first edition of the Import Report!
This bi-monthly column will be looking into anything from Japan that deserves (or at least people wish) to be localized outside of Japan. At the end of the article, I’ll give the series a rank based on its chances of localization. The rankings will go from zero to three:
- 0: No chances
- 1: Slight chances
- 2: Moderate chances
- 3: Extremely likely
This week we’ll be looking into one of the hottest sensations currently hitting Japan, Kagerou Project.
What is Kagerou Project?
Kagerou Project is a Vocaloid song series created by Shizen No Teki (aka Jin). The Vocaloid used in the series is IA. Twenty seven songs have been released to date. A majority of the songs were uploaded to the internet in the form of music videos. The songs were uploaded to Nico Nico and garnered a vast fanbase in just a matter of weeks upon release.
The story follows the lives of these children who traveled through the phenomenon known as the Heat Haze Days (or Kagerou Days) and came into possession of eyes with special powers. Among these children are a girl who can erase her own presence/existence, a boy who can deceive others on what they can see, an indestructible cyborg and AI, and a hikkikomori/NEET (who doesn’t have powers, but is essential to the story overall). Each character possesses a dark past, and the series follows their struggles in the present.
The series has also received manga and light novel adaptations, both going by the name of Kagerou Days. An anime series will be produced by SHAFT and directed by Akiyuki Shinbo (director of Madoka Magica and the Monogatari series). The anime will go by the name of Mekakucity Actors, and will premiere in April.
- Songs: 3
- Manga & Light Novels: 1
- Anime: 2
Reasons for the Rank
The series gets three ranks due to its three different versions: music, light novel, and anime. You may be surprised that the songs category got a 3, but that’s because the songs are available for digital download on iTunes and Amazon. On the other hand; if you ever wanted a physical album, you would probably have to import it. The manga/light novels get their rank because of two reasons (one for each). First, Kagerou Project has little presence in the West, and the manga usually rides off the popularity of the song series in Japan. Second, light novels are nearly a non-existent medium outside Japan; however, Yen Press may defy these expectations since this series seems right up their alley. Chances for these media to be localized may rise once the anime releases. For now the anime gets a 2, precisely because it’s a Studio SHAFT work. The series will be directed by Akiyuki Shinbo, director of Madoka Magica and the Monogatari series. Aniplex has localized both series, so it would be pretty strange for them not to license this one.