I just came across this Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) discussion run by Hiroaki Yura, the producer of Under the Dog. Basically, Reddit users ask questions and the person running the discussion answers. Obviously the person being asked is not obligated to answer all questions, but quite a lot of juicy dirt still manages to come out.
In this case, Yura doesn’t reveal much about the anime production process that should be too surprising for people familiar with how sausages get made in the entertainment industry at large. His description of the committee process for securing funding and approval for creative decisions, for example, sounds rather like the way studios send movies for endless rewrites and focus group testings and recasting. If you think about it, it’s bizarre that a bunch of beancounters should be the arbiters of expression, as if having lots of money is the most important criterion for creating art.
But that criticism of the present system of production is neither here nor there. It’s depressing, but the fact that the rich use their money to perpetuate their biases is not a revelatory observation.
What I did find interesting is the point that under the current production regime, anime with negative or tragic stories tend not to get produced. I hadn’t thought about it, but I haven’t seen a tearjerker anime show in a while. It’s all been happy and fun and affirming, and any sadness experienced are merely temporary setbacks or obstacles that the protagonist overcomes on the road to self-actualization.
Anyway, I’m still not convinced that Under the Dog will be all that, but it’s interesting to see that an insider to the anime industry is also sick of all the shows pandering to otaku.