Cannon Busters | Anime fans were scammed by Lesean Thomas

Lesean Thomas' Cannon Buster
Watch Blog video here

They let a black man into anime production and what does he do? Lace up them black air forces and proceed to scam everyone in sight. Back in 2014 Lesean Thomas created a kickstarter for his now infamous cannon busters series. He raised over 150 thousand US dollars then absconded with the funds and delivered his franchise to Netflix. Its interesting because Netlix recently released a new anime from him, the ill fated Yasuke about the titular black samurai. With his return to the limelight light I’m surprised that I don’t hear about how Lesean Rick rolled a whole community. We’re gonna talk about it today though.

Lesean Thomas is the best black animator

Lesean Thomos is an american born anime producer who is based in Tokyo. He is black and has gained notoriety for his good portrayal of black characters in anime. He is notable for his work on the Boondocks, black dynamite, Avatar: the legend of korra  and more recently his production of netflix originals Canon buster and Yasuke. Today we are looking at the former. 

Lesean Thomas’ Kickstarters

In November 2014 Lesean began crowdfunding the pilot episode for Cannon buster which would be based off his comic of the same name made way back in 2004. The Pilot episode would feature work from staff members of anime studio satelight and staff who previously worked on space dandy and the legend of Korra. Fans were so eager; that the kickstarter reached its financial goals by December of 2014. Roughly a month after its initiation. The pilot was released in 2016 to good reviews.

This is where the problems began. Outside the delivery of the pilot, the tiers of kickstarter contributions listed several rewards such as art books, art prints, t-shirts , special DVDs and other items. So far reports suggest that these things were never delivered. This is significant as the tiers offering physical rewards are from $25 all the way up to $10,000 US Dollars on the kickstarter. So some people were scammed, some more than others.�

This gets worse however because following the release of the crowd funded pilot episode in 2016, Lesean was able to use this success to lock down a partnership with Crunchyroll. He created and released an original anime movie in July 2016 called Children of Ether. Based on the release time, one can assume that he spent a sizable amount of time working on this project while not putting in sufficient effort to fulfill the kickstarter rewards. The ire of fans was deepened when shortly after this he deactivated all of his social media accounts

Lesean Thomas partners with Netflix

Lesean went on to partner up with Netflix to release a full length season of cannon buster in March 2019. In the time between the release of the pilot and the anime season, there seems to have been no effort to fulfill the kickstarter rewards. His social media is still inactive despite the official Cannon Buster social media being fully active. In 2021 Lesean partnered up with Studio Mappa and Netflix to release Yasuke. An anime detailing the stories of the infamous black samurai.

The reviews are middling but Lesean again faced controversy as unverified accusations circulated about his failure to pay staff members who worked on the project. Irate supporters of the cannon buster kickstarter also resurfaced during the promotion of this anime.

Lesean Thomas’ Cannon Buster did not suck

Going back to Cannon Buster for a second. I really wanted in my heart for cannon buster to suck. But if i’m honest it does not. It’s very average. Cannon buster is about the dystopian, western misadventures of an immortal cowboy fugitive filly the kid. He is joined by SAM, a royal-class friendship droid and Casey Turnbuckle, a discarded maintenance droid.   At first i thought the anime relies very heavily on its unique negro character designs. The character design for SAM is so different, cute and refreshing. A significant departure from the usual fantasy princess aesthetic which is largely due to her dark skinned design. P

hilly the kid is less interesting as he is obviously inspired by spike from cowboy bebop. A black gunslinger in a futuristic western dystopia is surprisingly not that uncommon in anime. The designs for the supporting characters are really good too despite them not having much depth. Prime example, look at this thick chocolate mama. Love her design. She literally had one line in the anime and it was inaudible.

So I feel like the expert character designs were used in lieu of actual character depth. I cannot interpret this objectively because as a black person , it’s super cool to see cool looking black characters in anime. 

Cannon Buster’s story and design

The story is pretty average, it introduces so many interesting new concepts in the same way that it drops interesting character designs. But similarly there is no depth to it. The animation varies from poor to amazing. It is below the standard of an average anime for its release year in most of the show’s run. It’s more like a north american saturday morning cartoon at its worst moments but there are points in the anime where the Sakuga hits absolutely top tier and can be compared to recent releases from the best anime studios.  

The music is the best part, it has a banger Opening and ending and a good selection of tracks throughout. This is the area that benefited most from the North american influences. Overall I can’t say the anime is good; but I enjoyed it.  

Leasean Thomas is our last hope

The fact that Lesean Thomas has scammed his entire community  hasn’t had any impact on his career. He has stolen in broad daylight with no repercussions. This is the perfect scam, no jail time attached. I expect Lesean Thomas to continue to even greater heights on the backs of his abused supporters. Its unfortunate because if we view cannon busters outside the context of the scam, what i see is an improving anime producer with a lot of potential and great ideas who is undoubtedly the greatest hope for diverse representation in anime. �

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress and Bootstrap4