Doujinshi News: Introducing Sekai Project

28 Feb

Sekai Project is run by a small team of dedicated fans whose goal is to bring independent Japanese publications to a wider audience. This includes doujinshi, visual novels, music and more. As someone who is passionate about all of the above, I find their project really exciting. Getting ahold of doujinshi items can be a real challenge. Many shops, such as Toranoana, do not cater to overseas customers, and have gone so far as to block well-known deputy services from ordering products from them on your behalf.

sekaiproject

Sekai Project had a lot of success with their first Kickstarter, which aimed to localize doujinshi artist Lunatic Joker’s “Moe Headphones Design Guidebook 2013”. The book features information about many types of popular headphones, along with illustrations of anime girls wearing them to coincide with their descriptions. The Kickstarter bonuses included a range of shikishi (or “sketch boards”), postcards, digital downloads, an omake book and even a B1 sized tapestry that will feature a variation of one of the book’s illustrations (voted upon by backers!) Even if you missed out on the Kickstarter, you can still pre-order a copy of the book and the tapestry via their backerkit website. They’ve also raffled off some awesome goods like a pair of aëdle’s VK-1 Classic Edition headphones featured in “Moe Headphones”, and a copy of the Narcissu Visual Fanbook. If you want to find out when a new contest is starting up, make sure you follow Sekai Project on twitter, Facebook or G+!

Moe Headphones by Lunatic Joker

In addition to the Moe Headphones Kickstarter, Sekai Project has put 3 different visual novels up on Steam Greenlight. Despite some backlash from Western gamers (who’ve made no attempt to understand the appeal of visual novels), the Greenlight campaigns have been successful thus far. These games include WORLD END ECONOMiCA, Narcissu 1st & 2nd, and most recently, Koenchu! -The Tale of the Voice Actress-.

WORLD END ECONOMiCA

I had a talk with Raymond Qian of Sekai Project to find out a little bit more about what they’ve been working on and what we can look forward to from them in the future. Read on!

1. Can you tell me a little bit about the people running Sekai Project and their background with “doujin culture” so to speak?

I’ll talk about our core staff for now. We also have many volunteers in Japan and overseas helping us out in various ways and will introduce them over time.

I would first like to introduce my cofounder, Chris Ling. His previous work in the Otaku goods import business has helped us bring our concept to people in Japan, he is our primary license manager and coordinates with creators in Japan to get projects under way.

Next is Randy Au, his established relationships with doujin creators were able to get Narcissu on to Steam; without him we wouldn’t have been able to test the waters of putting a Visual Novel on Steam.

Next is Anthony Low, his contacts in the industry have given us many further leads that we are still exploring and will talk about in the future.

Lastly is myself, Raymond Qian. I’ve brought to the table my IT expertise and vision, I have many “moonshot” style goals that we are slowly working towards.

2. What goes into selecting a new project? Do you start by looking for artists interested in sharing their work with a wider audience and then go from there?

At the moment, we’ve been reaching out to artists who are interested in bringing their works overseas. We were also very lucky to have been covered by Gigazine.

3. What are some of the biggest hurdles when undertaking a project? I read that you had to get permission from different headphone manufacturers in order to bring us Moe Headphones and I thought that was pretty impressive!

Depending on the content, looking at what possible copyright issues that might occur and how to resolve them. Next is planning the project. While our first Kickstarter project was a success, there were many places that should be improved. Especially the lack of samples and communication during the early portion of the Kickstarter. Lastly our timing was very bad, having it near Comic Market is something we’ll actively avoid in the future.

4. What is your long-term goal for Sekai Project, and do you have a particular artist you’d like to work with the most?

One of my dream goals is having doujinshi ready for purchase digitally for fans during the event the doujinshi goes on sale and within a month later printed versions shipped out to preorders. One of our future projects includes the particular artist that I’ve been a big fan of.

5. Lastly, thanks for helping to bridge the gap between English-speaking fans and Japanese artists. I know a lot of people want to support doujin artists in their endeavors, but it can be extremely tedious and cost prohibitive to get ahold of doujinshi when you live outside of Japan! Is there anything else you want to tell everyone about Sekai Project?

Please look forward to our future projects, I have a feeling you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what we’ll be able to offer.

Thanks to Raymond and the the rest of the folks at Sekai Project for telling me a little bit about themselves and their projects. I’ll be sure to try and support each one!

Links:
Sekai Project Official Website
Facebook
Google+
Steam Greenlight
Twitter
Moe Headphones Kickstarter / Pre-Order Page

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