Why did we disappear for two years?
We struggled to find the right people to work on the animation production:
The lack of scope for frame-by-frame animation in Indian shows means a serious lack of people developing this skill. As you know, till today most of the 2D animated content produced for Indian original shows is targeted towards the 4-7 age group, and involves simplistic character designs and computer-rigged animation. We were ambitious enough to stick with the manga art-style and the exact method of production of Japanese anime, all without any foreign collaboration.
There have been many brilliant artists who have offered to illustrate but not animate. Also, there have been many who accepted the challenge of animating in a style and method they are not used to, and learned in the process. But the few people who could brave the extreme rigours of anime production formed our core team and can tell you exactly how difficult making anime is.
We struggled to find excellent voice artists to dub this:
Those who watched our scratch demo 2 years ago will remember how we animated that with a team of 3 people and dubbed all the voices with the help of friends. It was an amateur production but it was something new and previously unattempted, so a lot of people were excited about it on Youtube, and at our panel at Delhi Comic Con 2017. It also ended up headlining Anima Sao Festival 2017. But we were working on something bigger, and developed a screenplay and character designs.
A few months later, we were noticed by a circle of prominent Bengali film stars who recognized potential in Karmachakra and to our delight, offered to dub for the movie. They had full support for the Indian anime community, and saw a future in a new kind of content that has millions of Indian fans but has never been produced solely by Indian citizens.
Where and when will Karmachakra release? And what will release?
Our current production is Karmachakra : Episode Zero, an ~80-minute movie to mark the beginning of the franchise. The trailer can be found on all our social profiles. The production of the movie is 75% complete and we are trying our absolute best to finish it by mid-2020. We will announce the exact date of completion when possible.
In the meantime, we have also shared our award-winning pilot episode (first ~20 minutes) of the movie on our social profiles for free for you to watch. We want to show our love for the community by breaking the norms and revealing exclusive content directly to fans even before release. You are our lifeline.
We are still struggling to find platforms to release this. We cannot release this without the help of our fans.
Over several months, we have been in talks with every major OTT service who broadcast in India. Since theaters are only likely to open after September 2020 because of the pandemic, we are trying to release it on OTT services first.
How can you help?
We were delighted both when Dragonball Super: Broly and more recently Weathering With You were given the green light for screening in India, thanks to superb fan-driven campaigns at a scale like never before. But considering the huge effort it took for fans for the screening of big releases from established names, guess how tough it's going to be for us? We are trying to bring this content to you despite all odds, and we need the highest level of support from you.
Take this FAQ and use it however you please. Make videos, screenshot it, translate it, share it, talk about it. All you really have to do is help us spread the word, and who knows where that will take it. Our content is your content. Go bonkers with it, nothing's stopping you.
If we release the whole movie online for free, our studio will die out even before it begins life. It's quite simple, nobody has ever worked for this studio for free and never will. Everybody was paid right from day one (more than 3 years ago) by the producer, who himself has made absolutely no money from this production as it stands today. Giving it away for free means no money and resources to continue putting stuff out there for you guys. Basically, no studio anymore. We don't want that. We want to keep bringing you newer and better content and put India on the world map for anime.
Anime production is an expensive affair, and the funds required to simply break even on a production of this level are impossible through things like YouTube's video monetization, or Crowdfunding, which in our country has worked mostly in the short film / low-budget film situations, so Wishberry/Patreon is out of the question currently, as much as we would have loved to take that route.
Will it be dubbed in other languages?
The original cast includes the very best of the Bengali film industry. We would love to dub it in Hindi, English and other languages in the future, and for each language, we plan to give you a cast on the same level as the original. And this plan will be easier to execute once we get a platform to fund us and broadcast our content.
'Indian anime? Why call it anime if it isn't made in Japan?'
Does serving a recognizably Japanese dish at a restaurant in India make it an Indian dish?
That said, we would love it if there was ever a word for manga-style works made by India while the Indian scene for it matures some more. Or we could continue, in the same way we say 'Indian hip-hop'.
'How is this the first Indian anime?'
Some facts: Ramayana and Batu Gaiden were both collaborations with Japan. Roughly put, character design done in India, and animation done in Japan. Unlike such productions, every single process of our production is carried out by Indian citizens residing in India. All animation is done in-house. No foreign collaborations whatsoever. Some more facts: We genuinely love and respect both productions mentioned above.
See you around!
~Studio Durga Team