Friday, 16 December 2016

Unboxing [UK]: Mai Mai Miracle - Collector's Edition & Artbook (Kickstarter) [$130 Tier] (BD/DVD)

It took a long time, but Anime Limited have finally managed to finish the kickstarter for Mai Mai Miracle.

Here's what this kickstarter exclusive collector's edition release looks like.

Mai Mai Miracle (also known as Mai Mai Shinko to Sennen no Mahou) is a film animated by studio Madhouse and didn't get picked up for international distribution until Anime Limited stepped in. The film was directed by Sunao Katabuchi, known for being the assistant director for Kiki's Delivery Service and the director of Black Lagoon.

The kickstarter started on February 4th 2014 from UK distributor Anime Limited. The campaign was available not only to the United Kingdom and Ireland but also United States and Canada. The kickstarter was successful with $107,153 and 1,903 backers. The original goal was to reach $30,000 but they achieved it at around 18 hours. After that there were two stretch goals; an English dub and Original Theatrical Pamphlet, both were achieved. Backers did ask for the soundtrack but Anime Limited couldn't acquire them due to the rights being with Avex when they licensed the film straight from Shochiku.

Now you may ask, why did this kickstarter take this long? There's a couple reasons for that, based on what I have read from the updates and comments from the distributor:

#1 - The Japanese committee helping Anime Limited requested the script be re-translated so that it includes more coverage of the Japanese culture, this took some time to process especially as the dub also had to be reworked as well. A similar case happened to Funimation with their dubbing work for Evangelion: 3.33.
#2 - The second issue was the English dub itself; this is not your ordinary dub work. A majority of the anime dubs out there use older actors to imitate younger characters but with Mai Mai Miracle, the folks at NYAV Post actually managed to get child voice actors to play the main leads of the film. And since these people are novices, a lot of time can be taken as a result.
#3 - The third and pretty much the sole problem that took this long is the Japanese committee itself. The committee took its time approving the individual pieces for the kickstarter that practically forced Anime Limited to not provide any updates for quite a while, and what made things worse in recent months were the director's recent film In the Corner of This World which the committee were too focused on.

Of course I am not 100% confident that the reasons I mentioned above are completely accurate, but it's somewhere along those lines on why this kickstarter took 2 years.

Anywho enough about that, here's the set itself. The $130 tier I backed covers the collector's edition set and the artbook, but the artbook was not completed in-time.

The Anime Limited Collector's Edition release includes the film on Blu-ray and DVD with the original Japanese audio and an English dub. The set uses the slipcover to cover the logos and info details while the digipack holds the discs. The Blu-ray is Regions A & B compatible with unlockable subtitles, while the DVD is Regions 1 & 2 at NTSC format (since Anime Limited prefer to release their DVDs in that way rather than PAL). The on-disc content will be available for standard edition owners.

Blu-ray Specs:
Languages: Japanese, English
Audio: LPCM 2.0 [Japanese, English]
Video: 1080p HD Native 16:9
Region: A B
Subtitles: English
Subtitles Locked: No
Discs: 1

DVD Specs:
Languages: Japanese, English
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 [Japanese, English]
Video: SD NTSC 16:9
Region: 1 2
Subtitles: English
Subtitles Locked: No
Discs: 1

Plot Synopsis:
Shinko, is a third grade elementary school student with a magically active imagination. She spends a lot of her time listening to her grandfather's history lessons, imagining what her town was like 1,000 years earlier. One day, a sad and sombre girl called Kiiko transfers to Shinko's school from Tokyo. A strong friendship soon grows between the two girls as Shinko helps Kiiko come out of her shell and deal with her loss - all thanks to their adventures, both imagined and real.

On-Disc Extra Content:
Original Trailer
Interview with ADR Director Michael Sinterniklaas
Title-Free Ending

Collector's Edition Extras:
Chipboard rigid box packaging
4 Artcards
52 page Booklet

Here are the photos for the Collector's Edition Combo set:

And here are a ton of photos of the massive 195 page Artbook for those who backed the Artbook only tier or the $130+ tier. My hands are in the way because the book is quite large and I wouldn't be able to get a good view of the pages without interfering:

And last but not least, a size comparison (using the Escaflowne Ultimate Artbook to help out). In case you're wondering, the artbook is even taller than the Final Fantasy XV Strategy Guide Hardcover and just around the same height as the Final Fantasy Type-0 Collector's Edition European Version:

Mai Mai Miracle has been licensed by Anime Limited for distribution in the United Kingdom and Ireland, plus United States and Canada with Rightstuf handling distribution on their behalf. The non-backers will be able to have access to the film in mid 2017.

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Member of the Anime UK News forum, and also once part of the Sheffield Hallam Visual Arts society throughout 2013-2017. Been collecting anime since 2012 and supported the anime distributors ever since. Also been hanging around on the Blu-ray forum and Fandom Post forums.

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