Cue that Peter Erskine riff, if you would!
On August 31, Anime Central announced that Kenichi Sonoda will attend next year’s convention as a guest. Sonoda will host the world premiere of Bean Bandit Episode 0 at the convention.
Kenichi Sonoda has been active in the industry since 1984. He made his start at age 21 at studio Artmic. During his tenure, Sonoda worked on Bubblegum Crisis and Gall Force as a character designer.
In 1989, Sonoda began work on Riding Bean. The four-chapter series received an OVA by AIC and Artmic in the same year. Sonoda’s most prominent work, Gunsmith Cats, kicked off in 1991. The series ran for eight volumes, and spawned both a three-episode OVA and sequel manga Gunsmith Cats Burst.
The Riding Bean anime is currently licensed by AnimEigo in North America.
The Kickstarter for Bean Bandit ran from May 8 through June 17. The project managed to bring in ¥23,343,872 ($210,229.39 USD) across 1,928 backers with an average contribution of ¥12,107.82 ($109.04 USD) per backer.
The campaign originally had a funding goal of ¥15 million ($135,086.46 USD), which it reached on June 3.
With the funding reached, Sonoda aims to make a five-minute film, which will be offered in both English and Japanese. According to their latest update, Sonoda will work with “authors of many transaction-proven English dubs” for the English audio.
Ultimately, Sonoda plans to finish the episode within one year of funding, so that it can be shown off at Anime Central 2019. He also intends to produce an artbook. He notes that, if possible, he’d like to include concept art, designs, and a newly drawn original color comic into the publication.
Kenichi Sonoda will direct the project. Other confirmed staffers include animator Shujirou Hamakawa and supervisor Showji Murahama.
Sonoda’s Riding Bean launched in the pages of Monthly Comics Noisy in 1988. The title ran for just four chapters, and remains unfinished.
The title was originally conceived as an OVA, which hit retailers on February 22, 1989. Yasuo Hasegawa (Ai no Kiseki – Doctor Norman Monogatari, Cosmos Pink Shock) directed the feature at studios AIC, ARTMIC, and Youmex, with Sonoda providing character designs and writing the screenplay.
AnimEigo released the title in North America on Blu-Ray, DVD, and VHS.
Following Riding Bean, Sonoda launched the Gunsmith Cats manga in Kodansha’s Monthly Afternoon magazine in February 1991. The series ran through June 1997, and spans eight collected volumes. A sequel, titled Gunsmith Cats BURST ran from September 2004 through October 2008 in Afternoon magazine.
The series received a three-episode OVA in 1995. The project was directed by Takeshi Mori (Stratos 4, Vandread) at Oriental Light and Magic, with Kenichi Sonoda (Bubblegum Crisis, Gall Force) and Norihiro Matsubara (Pokémon: Black and White, Berserk) teaming up to provide character designs. Atsuji Kaneko wrote the screenplay.
Jazz drummer Peter Erskine composed the show’s soundtrack.
ADV Films released Gunsmith Cats in North America on VHS in 1996. The series received a DVD release in 2001, followed by a re-release under ADV’s “Anime Essentials” imprint in 2004. The series has been out of print since the mid-2000s.
In December, AnimEigo announced that they acquired the license for the Gunsmith Cats OVA series. The publisher succesfully crowdfunded the title, raising more than $350,000 by the time the campaign closed on April 23.
ADV described the OVA as:
They’re here! Chicago’s most lethal ladies have finally made it back to DVD. Join the pistol-packing Rally Vincent and her partner, grenade happy Minnie May Hopkins, as they infiltrate a gun running operation at the “suggestion” of the ATF. Burn up the highway in Rally’s Shelby GT-500 as she chases a psychopathic Russian assassin who’s kidnapped Minnie. And then watch the bullets fly in a duel to the death with a cache of illegal weapons as the prize.
Source: Anime Central (Thanks to L.B. Bryant for the tip!)