Having been kept away by large eyes and stupid stories for what feels like forever, I've been slowly getting comfortable with the idea of watching anime again. First it was Attack on Titan, then Knights of Sidonia, and now Under the Dog, which I'm pretty keen to check out.
Bizarrely, given the talent involved (more on that in a minute), the project is actually up on Kickstarter. A risk, perhaps (even though it's almost funded), but also a good sign: a big part of the criticism of anime over the past decade or so has been that studios pandered too much to an "otaku" hardcore at the expense of the kind of stories and settings that made anime so popular (at least overseas) in the first place.
By putting Under the Dog up on Kickstarter, its team is free to make whatever the hell they want, and what they have made - there are plans for three 24-min episodes, which will combine to form a single movie - is something that looks pretty badass.
It's about a team of high school students (of course), who are also super agents based in Tokyo and on the hunt for terrorists. The interesting/weird part comes in the stresses placed on these young agents; if they fail, they will be killed. As will their families, who have all had bombs installed in their heads. Cheery.
The team involved is pretty rock star, at least when you look at it through the eyes of someone who loves video games. Director Masahiro Ando has worked on Neon Genesis Evangelion, Ghost in the Shell and Full Metal Alchemist. Jiro Ishii, who wrote the story, has worked at Level 5 (Dragon Quest, Professor Layton), as well as being the creator of visual novels Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors and 428. And Under the Dog's character design is none other than Yusuke Kozaki, who was a big reason games like Fire Emblem: Awakening and No More Heroes have such a memorable cast.
Like I said, the project is nearly backed, but you can still help out if you'd like at its Kickstarter page.