An eye in a box: It’s the newest digital storytelling tool to hit the market.
The Anime Eye app, developed by the Anime Lab, a nonprofit dedicated to educational digital media, lets kids use it to capture and analyze images of anime characters, from animated shorts to full-length films.
But it also comes with some limitations.
Like most apps, it doesn’t allow kids to upload and share their images.
And the app only supports English.
That means some children can’t even tell if their characters are actually Japanese or Japanese-inspired.
“You have to know what the characters are like, because they’re really difficult to read,” said Anime Lab co-founder, David Yau.
“We want to be able to make a kid’s anime that is fun to watch.
So the Anime eye, it’s like a visual literacy tool, and we want to make that as easy as possible.”
Anime Eye’s creators have already had success with their original project, the Anime Eyes app, which debuted at Anime Expo in March.
It allowed users to upload images of characters from popular anime shows to create “animated shorts,” or fan-art that mimicked the animated show.
The resulting anime eyes can be viewed on the Anime Eyeball app, and users can also search for anime characters to create their own “fanart” that is available to download.
But because Anime Eye only works with one image per episode, it is not yet able to create an anime that would be appealing to children.
The anime eyes are only a short-term solution, said Yau, because the technology is still in its infancy.
“I want to keep it as accessible as possible,” he said.
“But if we can’t provide that, we want more people to have the opportunity to use this technology.”
While Anime Eye may not be able in the long term to make the most of its potential, the project is already having an impact.
“Our first two episodes of the anime eye were uploaded on AnimeLab.org, and there’s a huge community of people that are using it,” said Yu, adding that the project has generated $10,000 worth of revenue for the nonprofit.
“If we can make this accessible, we’ll be able make more anime eye episodes,” Yu said.
Anime Lab’s founder, David Yu, and his team have already been able to upload anime eye images to AnimeLab, which he says is the most accessible site for anime eyes.
It is also one of the first places for anime fans to view the anime eyes themselves, and Anime Lab is currently expanding to other popular sites such as YouTube, Twitch, and Reddit.
The goal of Anime Lab and Yau is to provide a platform for anime-watching children to see and share the anime they love, without needing to purchase a device.
“This is a tool that can help kids to see the anime in their real world, but also to connect to anime characters,” Yau said.
The app will also allow children to “create fan art,” which is an easy way to share anime images with friends.
“Fan art can be the coolest part,” Yu noted.
“And you can even share it with your friends.”
Anime Lab hopes to expand the project to other online services in the future.
But Yu says the app is already making a difference.
“It’s a big deal, for us, for our community, and for the children,” he added.
“So we hope that this app will have a positive impact for them.”
The Anime Lab app is currently only available on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone, but Yu says he hopes to add the app to other platforms in the near future.
“The main goal is to bring this app to all platforms, and make it as universal as possible for children,” Yu explained.
“They can use it anywhere.
If you’re using the same device to do the same thing, it will work.”