Posted by joserenteria on Thursday, February 20th, 2014 (Japan Standard Time)

Kick-Heart

“A love story between two people with each having a secret to hide. One a pro-wrestler, the other a Nun.  Losing never felt so good.”  This is the plot for the anime “Kick-Heart” from Masaaki Yuasa by Production I.G. in which I had the pleasure of participating in a group interview at the Anime Expo that was held in Los Angeles in the summer of 2013.

Director’s statement on Kick-heart!

“Lately I’ve been feeling that filmmaking has become a bit rigid. Aiming for an easy hit by making it very orthodox and simple is good and something I shouldn’t disagree with, but as soon as you go outside of that rule, I’d be told, “Wait a minute, you’re stepping outside of the line,” or “What are you doing? You won’t make a hit.” I’d wonder, “Isn’t there a more fun way to do this?

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Masaaki Yuasa used the crowd-funding website “KickStarter” to fund the anime production of  Kick-Heart.  Only people in the United States can donate to the site.  Which shows people from abroad show support for Japanese culture.

Kickstarter for Kick-Heart

Because of Kickstarter, Yuasa had more freedom in developing the story of Kick Heart.  This was different to working with a standard budget coming from sponsors, who at times may want an anime with a popular genre.  This revenue gave Yuasa a chance to make an anime that would be hard to produce.

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Mexican Wrestling inspired him for the idea of the short film.  Thinking of the notion what type of individuals would wear masks and go into combat and abuse their bodies, he thought:" What if a wrestler really enjoyed the pain, and that’s one reason for participating in a dangerous sport?"

Before going to the interview, I viewed Kick Heart.  With a running time of twelve minutes, I sensed a really unique style.  The movie used very simple story telling with little dialogue. It’s a very dark comedic premise combined with off-the-wall concepts.  When it comes down to the artistic style of the anime, you can’t really compare this to the current trends that are dominating the anime industry today. 

As for the availability of the film, there have been a few releases to the general public.  In the fall of 2013, it was shown on the Cartoon Network in the United States, and had a limited blu-ray release on Amazon.  There’s also an English dubbed version available.Keep your eyes peeled, since it should be available soon on major streaming networks.   

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Jose Renteria
Jose Renteria, reporter in Los Angeles, USA. He loves to cover Japanese pop culture.
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