That Key Documentary Kickstarter is Dead


Hey everybody, Tay here.   The Key documentary (initiated by the Clannad Man) has been suspended.  Here’s what he had to say:

Greetings fellow Key fans! I am writing to inform you that due to a conversation I had with Visual Art’s President Takahiro Baba, this Kickstarter is being suspended. While we were not asked directly to do so, it is being done as a gesture of good will towards Key/Visual Art’s. This does not necessarily mean that the project is dead, but rather that it may need to be modified in certain ways for it to be deemed more appropriate. Sometime soon a statement will be posted on; I would encourage you to review it to keep up with the project’s status.

Consider this: the international Key community is so passionate about their visual novels / anime that it caught the attention of even the President of Key/Visual Art’s! That isn’t an easy feat. And while I can’t say with any degree of certainty how this will turn out, I have a hunch that your collective passion will be seen in a very positive light.

I’d like to take this chance to say that the support you have shown towards this project has been incredible! I am very proud to be a part of such a devoted community. No matter how this turns out, I wish everyone all the best! ^_^

– Steve S. (the Clannad Man)

At the time of suspension, the project had raised $10,875  of its $20,159 goal (54%).


::Update:: Lulz provided a link to a blog post which purportedly details the twitter exchange between ClannadMan and Key’s owner/president Vava which led to the suspension of the Kickstarter project.  Check it out here.  Please note: I haven’t looked into this exchange myself, and cannot vouch for its accuracy.


Some clarification on what happened

About the author


I'm the Fuwanovel community admin and a big fan of Visual Novels. The easiest way to get a hold of me is via a PM on the Fuwanovel Forums, by twitter (@ArchmageTay), or by email.


  • Wasn’t it running short on its time to reach its goal anyways?

    In any case, news of this doesn’t surprise me. Key has never been accommodating to the western market. Heaven help us, we cant give those blasted westerners a documentary on us! It will ruin our policy of isolation!

  • It’s generally not a good idea for foreigners to get into internet related business with America at the moment, given the regime in charge of things.

    American influence in Japan is relatively high and can essentially crush national governments, let alone individual corporations.

  • I heard things about this documentary project. So here is a few highlight questions that came up and how complex the project was.

    One; I don’t think there are lot fans to do a Visual Novel documentary for one company’s work. How many fans would one company have outside of Japan? Also, if some of these Key games weren’t release outside of the Japan? Then most outside of Japan fans were playing the games illegally? How would the company feel about that?

    Two; I heard they were planning to go to Japan during the worst time of the year. I think it was somewhere during New Years? If any one been to Japan before? New Years is the worst time to visit as a tourist. Hotels/Inns are booked by Japanese on holidays, stores are closed, and city services are limited or shut down.

    Three; Traveling and meeting Key Staff in 17 days. If they went to Japan during the New Years from day one? They may lose 3 to 4 days that first week because of Japanese New Year. If their flight comes into Tokyo? They have to take another flight or the train to Osaka where Key’s company is located. This could delay them another day no matter what. If they had any agreement to do interviews with Key staff? Then they have little more than a week to get any interviews, if Key staff are not busy?

    Four; Game locations in real life recording? I heard they was going to record real life locations that are in some of the Key games. It is still rare for Anime and Games having real life locations… You must know each series very well and where the locations are at in real life. Key staff could give this information very easy to the documentary crew. If you can’t get this info? Then you have to do a lot of research. Problems of visiting real life game locations is traveling to the place and finding it. Also if you want to visit some place like the Haruhi Suzumiya High school for example? You have a chance being chased off by the teachers of the school. Unless you have permission or visit it during a time when no one is there. If no one is there, then the place is closed and can’t get in. So this has to be planned out in advance.

    Five; The weather in Japan may cause recording problems or cancel some plans. Going to Japan in the winter is cheaper, but less outdoor events could be done. Depending on the game’s story of what season it? A lot of games take place during the spring or late summer. Taking a picture of a area during the winter would lose some of charm from season image in game.

    Six; Crew size, equipment and their skills? Only Clannad Man told about himself being a the host of documentary. The professional videographer, and a guide/translator were unknown of their information and background. Plus we don’t know who else was tagging along? No one said that they been to Japan before and did any recording there too? The person who needed to been to Japan before is the guide. The guide would of done a lot research and know the all the cheap ways to live in Japan. What other skills the professional videographer has then using a camera? But, does this person know how to work with sound, lighting, and grip? Sounds like a fourth person has to be in the team as well. The equipment going to Japan… Since a lot of professional video equipment is made in Japan. Why pay the airlines the cost of shipping it? You might get better deals in Japan than the US prices.

    These are the questions that I had about this documentary project.
    I do say a goal of $20,000 USD is very real budget cost for any one do this.
    I’m reviewing this as a follow photographer, researcher, and otaku of Japan.

    • I forgot to say.. It looks like Clannad Man forgot to contact Key company for permission before fundraising the documentary. This was the biggest mistake to do. Sound like they were worry about money for the project than permissions. Also some linking to sub-fan groups are not always in good terms with Japanese Media companies.

    • First of all you can’t play a game illegally. The illegal part is distributing it, which is only copyright infringement.

      Secondly, the time he was going to go wasn’t even planned out.

      Third, he never intended to interview Key staff.

      Fourth, Clannad Man is probably one of the greatest Key fans, he really, really knows a lot about key works. He knows every single line of text, and place in those games. He already knows where they are located.

      Fifth, It was already stated the weather was a problem, and some places could not be visited because of this.

      Sixth, He already detailed the crew, and posted his budget breakdown.

      The last part is where things get complicated, as is was the project never needed permission from Key since isn’t wasn’t about them, it was about the locations they used in the games. The problems is he was using their logos and merchandise, along with other companies properties to raise money. That is what caught the attention of Key.

    • That what I saying…. not plan out fully before the kickstarter was posted.
      Why make a Key documentary without interview the Key creators? That kind of lame to not do any interviews. The whole documentary would be random game locations in Japan.

      Even being a greatest Key fans? How many other Key fans would like his way of the documentary? Could he make all types of fans like his style with the lack of things that a fans who may want like interviews or tour of Key Studio? Why was he always asking for researchers to search for stuff for him? He should of be asking for suggestions from other fans and did the research for himself or by a crew members.

      A detailed the crew, and posted his budget breakdown? Where was that? I must missed it that? Because I never seen it. It should of been on Kickstarter somewhere? I would not donate with out some kind of draft of a budget in clear sight.

      Lastly calling it the “Key documentary” applies it is about the company and it games. If it is a documentary on game locations only? Then it needs some other name like “Visual Novels in Real Life”. Plus the idea documentary was more like a fan video you would of see on YouTube. Like visiting to the K-On! High school, the Lucky Star’s Shinto shrine, or the Girls und Panzer sites in Ōarai, Ibaraki.

      Some one at Key would of said. “Sure, we could give you a list of sites for your fan video.” Because most the locations would be public land and need no permissions to record. Yet, when you say “documentary” it applies more than that and would cause issues.

  • I thought it was ridiculous to begin with and I still believe so.
    Just get someone who already live in japan to do this “trip” all around to get pictures and informations from the various places KEY used for their work. Actually, I’m pretty sure something like this was already done by Japanese fans.

  • they didn’t inform key’s owners and still they want to make money on illegal shit. what the hell is wrong with you people. how can you approve that?

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