Anime / Under the Dog

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/titledog-1_9276.jpg

It is 2025, five years after the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics were struck by a devastating terrorist attack. In the aftermath, the United Nations formed a special counter-terrorist unit dedicated to hunting down and destroying the organization responsible. Using the cover of the International School for Boys and Girls, particularly gifted high school students are recruited and coerced into the service of a specialized death squad to find and destroy the terrorists.

Under the Dog is an anime science fiction thriller by Creative Intelligence Agency, LLC (no, not that CIA) funded by Kickstarter. The 30-day fundraising campaign began on August 8, 2014 with a goal of $580,000 and achieved that goal on September 4, three days ahead of schedule. The campaign ended on September 7 with $878,028 (151% of the initial goal), making Under the Dog the most funded animation project on Kickstarter. The staff behind Under the Dog includes names such as director Masahiro Ando, character designer Yusuke Kozaki, and scenario writer Jiro Ishii, with animation to be done by Kinema Citrus.

The funding model is stated to be the first of its kind: while other titles such as Little Witch Academia used Kickstarter to supplement their budget, Under the Dog will be an anime fully funded by crowdsourcing. The production team has specifically stated that they chose the Kickstarter route instead of more traditional funding methods to ensure that they retain full creative freedom of the project.

On September 2, 2014, Hideo Kojima made an endorsement of the project. A few days later, Keiji Inafune and Taro Yoko expressed similar sentiments.

Under the Dog was released as a 24-minute OVA on August 1, 2016 for its Kickstarter backers.

On October 29, 2016, the series has entered in a new partnership and will expand beyond crowdfunding in the future.

The pitch trailer is here. A key animation trailer is here.


Tropes:

  • Action Girl: Anthea Kallenberg by far, being the team's point lady on special ops. From their descriptions on the site, Sayuri Hyuga and Estella as well. Hana Togetsu turns out to be one as well.
  • Arc Words: "Our enemy is the light of humanity." It's unclear whether the implied-to-be superhuman terrorists or the kids fighting them are the light of humanity in this case.
  • Black and Gray Morality: The "good guys" are fighting to stop terrorists from murdering innocent people... By forcing teenagers to do their dirty work for them and holding everyone they love hostage.
  • Child Soldiers: All of the main characters. Special mention goes to Estella, who has been sniping since the age of 8.
  • Cool Bike: The Trike that Anthea rides is capable of some pretty nifty things, and even has three modes for Speed, Power, and Offense.
  • Cool Guns: Anthea's gun is normally an assault rifle but its barrel can expand to become a sniper rifle. It may sound like an energy weapon in the trailer, but the design notes tell us that the rifle uses plasma gas and rail magnets to propel .50 caliber anti-armor tungsten rounds at 3,000 meters per second.
  • Covert Group with Mundane Front: The UN squad's members masquerade as students of an international school in Japan, with their commanding officer Colonel Junichi Amagata posing as a staff member.
  • Emotionless Girl: Sayuri displays no emotions, even when she's confirming Estella's kills and killing Hana's mother and brother.
  • Friendly Sniper: Estella, a sarcastic yet surprisingly warm sniper.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: These child assassins are called the Flowers.
  • The Heart: Hana's ability is to subtly shift people's moods and mental states, making her an ideal anchor of stability for the team.
  • Interservice Rivalry: Despite being a UN sanctioned anti-terror group, the Flowers don't seem to get along with the US military, with both sides willing to kill each other's agents in the field.
  • I Will Punish Your Friend for Your Failure: The UN commanding officers have each agent's loved ones implanted with micro-bombs. If an agent acts out of line or fails a mission, said loved ones will be... liquidated, along with the agent.
  • Knife Nut: When Anthea's not shooting people down, she's carving them up.
  • Multinational Team: The team consists of two Japanese, a Swede, and a Mexican.
  • Mutants: The terrorists who committed the 2020 attack seem to be this, as they are stated to be "enhanced". The Flowers also have similar powers.
  • Powered Armor: Anthea's suit can integrate with the Trike to provide her stability while shooting and riding. The helmet also comes with a heads-up display.
  • Retraux: It emulates the visual style of 90s cyberpunk anime such as Ghost in the Shell and Bubblegum Crisis.
  • Real Is Brown: In contrast to the more vibrant look of the 2014 trailer, the OVA's color palette is a rather dull grey.
  • Retool: The OVA's story underwent a massive reboot in February 2015, shortly after the staff shakeup and the removal of Creative Intelligence Arts from the project. This may be why the OVA's story and feel is almost totally different from the trailer and the previously revealed plot elements (there is no mention of a terrorist attack on the 2020 Olympics in the final product, for example).
  • Scenery Porn: The opening shots of the trailer with a beautiful view of Tokyo Bay and its downtown area.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: The OVA is ultimately this. Hana is killed by Anthea for being too weak to continue protecting Nanase, resulting in Hana's family being killed. Her last words to Anthea are to continue protecting Nanase. However, when Anthea catches up with him it turns out he's not the kind of candidate they are looking for, so Anthea kills him as well, making all of the tragic events of the OVA completely and utterly pointless.
  • Shout-Out: In the trailer, Anthea's upright stance when falling and shooting is extremely similar to Canaan's pose in that show's first episode, which Masahiro Ando also directed.
  • Shown Their Work: Yusuke Kozaki's design notes indicate this for both the Trike and Anthea's rifle. The Trike was designed with the consultation of a professional motorcycle industry specialist. Meanwhile, the rifle uses super-heated plasma gas and rail magnets to fire its bullets, meaning it must have both a source of energy for the magnets and a supply of gas. So the weapon's magazines also house the liquid coolant for the plasma as well as an energy cell to power the magnets. Another detail about the rifle's bullets is that rounds traveling at such high speed would normally be ineffective against organic targets... which is why they have a "smart charge" detector that sets off an explosive in the bullets if they hit a target that matches that profile.
  • Sinister Surveillance: All agents have a microchip in their brains that allows their commanding officers to monitor and record their actions.
  • Time Bomb: In the same vein as Black Bullet, the Flowers are basically biological time bombs to become the Pandora once the Pandoraization rate becomes too high.
  • Tyke Bomb: The Flowers, naturally.
  • Wolverine Publicity: The trailer puts Anthea front and center as seemingly the main character, and she is the heavy focus of the key visuals and promo pictures. In the actual OVA, Anthea doesn't appear until almost 3/4 of the way through, and the focus is largely on Hana.
  • X Meets Y: It can probably be best described as Gantz meets Munich meets Ghost in the Shell. Now that the OVA is out, others have compared to Gunslinger Girl meets Black Bullet, as the Olympic attack backstory wasn't mentioned at all in it.
  • You Are Number 6: Each member of the team has a number assigned to them.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Anime/UnderTheDog