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Buried Treasure - In Praise of Nerdiness


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Ai no Kareshi



Joined: 13 Mar 2005
Posts: 561
Location: South Africa

PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 1:34 am Reply with quote
That was a very interesting opening essay.

I'm South African myself, so I've never experienced the VHS fansub phenomenon. There are no conventions or nerdy get-togethers that I know of – anime is still new in my country. The only shows that get broadcasted are stuff like Pokémon, and the anime DVD selection in video stores are limited to non-existent. Here, anime is far from mainstream.

While downloading fansubs is probably the most conventient method to acquire anime here, it's not as cheap and easy as it may be for US fans. For one thing, broadband internet is very expensive here. You tend to get people downloading shows and spreading copies to their fellow fans, much like the "good old days" that you describe.

The general feeling among the handful of South African anime fans I've met (there are not that many, plus I'm not a particularly outgoing person myself) is not unlike the sensation of excitement and childlike wonder that you speak of. Personally, I find myself overwhelmed by the endless possibilities of anime and nothing has been able to dampen my enthusiasm – not even extensive contact with the oh-so-cynical US fans on the internet. In fact, I feel sorry for those many cynical fans – if only anime was to them what it is to me.
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Ryusui



Joined: 22 Jun 2004
Posts: 369

PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 1:43 am Reply with quote
"With a little work" meaning "on YouTube". ^_^;

I credit Daicon IV with getting me into Electric Light Orchestra. Random trivia: "Prologue" and "Twilight" are on the same album, "Time", as "Hold On Tight", which is currently being used in a car commercial. I wonder if we'll ever see "Yours Truly, 2095" being used to hawk computers...
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petran79



Joined: 10 Jun 2006
Posts: 109

PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 4:37 am Reply with quote
my condolences for your friend

apart from the VHS and TV series and movies from the 70's and 80's, most of which were great for their time, I wouldnt have bothered about anime if it wasnt for the internet and a screening of Spirited Away in cinema

Because the series back then were that good and countries like France imported anime and there were many Euro-Japanese co-productions, in Europe fansubs werent needed as in the States during the 80s and 90s.

But the advent of the internet lead to this phenomenon, plus that the target audience of the TV cartoons suddenly started to change and the series quality to drop. I really couldnt figure why so many people liked and still like Dragon Ball
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ichido reichan



Joined: 14 Nov 2005
Posts: 196

PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 4:48 am Reply with quote
Justin

we grew up at the same time, and around the same era.

I am glad that you wrote all that important piece of history, I was 15 when I got into anime to prove some of my friends that there WAS an anime movie of street fighter 2, I grew up in Chile, a country that was cattered on old school anime, we got to see in tv candy cady, marco, remi, heidi, Josephina the whale, and one day a friend of mine named an anime movie that it was "everything he wanted to be" I was curious on what movie can drag someone to take a decision like that and he named that movie "Otaku no Video"
I requested it to a friend that was traveling to USA (internet wasn't even close on that time) and he got me that movie.

my collection was only four anime tapes that I paid a lot of money for them, at the time it was Akira, neo tokyo, the venus wars and project A-ko and ofcourse, a bad chinese subbed version of street fighter 2 the movie that I got, and I used to watch and rewatch over an over with my friends explaining them that japanese animation was going to take over the world, but at the moment that I got that tape from animeigo, the booklets that explain you the dark jokes and that rainy saturday night when I saw that movie... My life was twisted forever...I found my reason to live in that movie, it inspired me to make clubs, trade tapes and work on events, the general japanese animation idea of "rewatch with your friends the old series you used to love" transformed me to the person I am right now.

Media is media and I still have a bunch of tapes that I am reluctant to replace, is just there are so many memories on it, hard work and nostalgia that now, I am not that 16 anymore, I am close to be 31 and the hit is not ranma 1/2 anymore, or rurouni kenshin, is naruto and bleach, but anime has given me so many satisfactions that if I would have the chance to do it again, it would happen exactly at the same time.

I thank you for sparkling the flame and remind me on why I started to be an animation fan, it was this movie, it was their ideals, their motives.

but one think that is not clear to me, Otakus are really "that" antisocial? That much of freaks? I used to call myself an otaku but in the sense of a word I am not even close to it, for me Anime is made to make friends, to share it and suddenly I got rude awakenings on that word , so no, I am an old school anime fan, and I will be discovering even more of those little treasures you say, we are from the same time justin, welcome everybody to the graffiti of the 1990-2003 Otaku generation, as soon as otoomo, mamoru oshii, miyazaki, takahata, kawamori, mikimoto and toshitaka amano pass away, I too....will die...
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Randall Miyashiro



Joined: 12 Jun 2003
Posts: 2451
Location: A block away from Golden Gate Park

PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 7:51 am Reply with quote
Ryusui wrote:

I credit Daicon IV with getting me into Electric Light Orchestra. Random trivia: "Prologue" and "Twilight" are on the same album, "Time", as "Hold On Tight", which is currently being used in a car commercial. I wonder if we'll ever see "Yours Truly, 2095" being used to hawk computers...


I saw the Daicon video back in the 80s and also got hooked on that ELO song. We actually premiered Otaku Video (I was the projectionist) in 16mm film back at Animecon 1991 before the OVA's Japanese release. Unfortunately when we were mapping out the programming we had no idea what it was, so we showed it in the middle of the night since we ran 24 hours. I also had the pleasure of playing last Buried Treasure Twilight Q around 3AM as well.

To this day this was the highlight of my anime fandom. Nothing beats watching anime on 16mm around the clock. I will always remember playing all the 0080 War in the Pocket episodes (brand new prints) back to back in the projector.

As for Steve Pearl, I remember his very frequent posts on RAA back in the early 90s. I often wonder what happened to all those old posters, and smile when they pop up here.
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Cowpunk



Joined: 03 Nov 2004
Posts: 168
Location: Oakland - near the Newtype Lab

PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 9:34 am Reply with quote
I had a chance to meet Steve many years ago at Otakon.

I was jazzed having benefited from his fan projects over the years. It was like two little boys discussing a favorite series in the park. In fact most of the conversation was recorded by Anne Packrat Butler for a documentary project, Otakumentary, she was working on for school. Thanks Anne for setting up the meeting.

I'll miss Steve.

Otaku no Video continues to influence me, perhaps an indication of how far I have gone into fandom. I still pull it off the shelf every year or so and believe every fan should at least watch it once.

In fact when I wrote Anime Essentials I made a point of using the fan activities in the book as a guide to what to cover. Thankfully Gainax was willing to allow me to use many images for the book, including the cover.
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Thewalkindude368



Joined: 05 Nov 2007
Posts: 41

PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 9:57 am Reply with quote
Wow. I'm newish to the fandom (2003), but I can respect my elders. He sounds like he was a truly amazing guy. It always sucks when one of the giants of a hobby passes away, even more so when you knew him personally. I never heard of the man before reading this opening essay, but I wish I had.
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SalarymanJoe



Joined: 03 Feb 2005
Posts: 467
Location: Atlanta, GA, USA

PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 10:25 am Reply with quote
After initially reading this column, "wow" is about all I can say. Since the column began running, I've been a fan of it but nothing has blown me away like this one article.

The memorial opening to Steve Pearl was absolutely fantastic. I've only known him as the abstract of the alpha fan, even putting a face and name to that outline, knowing his accomplishments in the fan community, he still seems larger than life. Maybe I should start digging up some of the r.a.a archives through Google this weekend.

And there is nothing more fitting for Steve than Otaku no Video and the DAICON films. The DAICON films, to me, personify the rise of "otaku culture meeting industry" that was the 1980s - people like Anno, Okada, Kawamori Shouji and Mikimoto Haruhiko all came from hardcore fandom and created projects that were adored by their fellow hardcore fans and spilled over to more mainstream audiences, rather than mainstream-aimed programming that was held onto by the hardcore. I first saw the DAICON films, after only being mildly familiar with them for so many years, about four years ago (yes, those crappy digital rips you mentioned). At that time, I was struggling with my fandom - I had been a fan for almost ten years and even with insanely high University Internet connections, I found very little worth downloading no matter how new/shiny/pretty/GONZO it was. But I strayed upon the DAICON films from an acquaintance at a LAN party that he'd gotten somewhere and my fandom was reborn. seeing DAICON III was pretty crude but entertaining but DAICON IV blew me away, especially given its age (we're about the same) and the quality of transfer. That is what it was all about! That was why I was a fan!

One nit to pick, though:
Quote:
Meant as an Opening Ceremony video for the Japan Science Fiction Convention (AKA Daicon),


DAICON is the name for the Japan Sci-Fi Convention when held on Osaka. When it travels to other cities, it adopts a different name, usually reflecting something with the name of the city.

Otaku no Video, for me, was a similar experience as the DAICON films were. I wasn't struggling with my fandom at that time but I guess I was growing weary of the situation I'd gotten myself into. I was the president/ruthless dictator of my high school anime club, the "go-to" guy for recommendations and was tape-trading across the US. On a whim, I rented Otaku no Video. It was VHS, so I didn't have the option of altering the segments as we do now with the DVD. While the animation was fairly good for the time, it's stylization and references are very 1980s. The first time though it was just there, but as time's gone on, they become more endearing. However, what did it for me that first time through was the Portrait of an Otaku segments. While some of them were kind of boring (the first one talking about circles and such was kinda boring, save for a line or two) to funny (computer programming Char) to goofy (military otaku) to hitting too close to home - the tape collector you mentioned in the article.

As I watched Otaku no Video, I sat on my bedroom floor - where the TV was - surrounded by VHS (legit, copied fansubs, and blanks all) with anime posters nearly wallpapering my domicile. I looked at him, kinda pudgy, getting a phone call to make copies of Godmars and always in search of bigger collections and more things to watch, enjoy and copy for others so they could do the same. I didn't see a Japanese man jokingly portraying a sub-culture phenomenon - I saw a mirrored image of myself. I laughed at first, then cried a little inside, and have grown to accept that I am kinda like that guy in Otaku no Video, even now.

Quote:
What the old school guys mourn isn't the loss of their community, their sense of propriety over an unappreciated art, or the thrill of hunting for strange and rare artifacts from a mysterious foreign culture. What's missing is the newness, that starry-eyed open-mouthed gape of a child at a world heretofore unimaginable, and the excitement of sharing that new experience with those around us. Today, we are not the children, we're the chaperons shouting, "slow down!" oblivious to the joy in the room.


I'm going to hold onto this because for many of us old fans, we outwardly complain about the loss of community, people being too jaded, things are too easy to get ahold of nowadays, even that sense of propriety - but I think you've found what the root cause is: the fact that for us, its become old hat and we've been around it all for so long we're not used to people getting over-excited about it and most shocking, to me, is people not getting over-excited about the same stuff I did originally.

While I still lament the loss of some of the community aspects that older fandom and smaller fandom communities had in "the Days of Yore (TM)", it is merely how the concept of fandom has changed with time and technology rooted in a less-glossy eye chaperon. Ironically, I think a dose of meeting and getting to know fans across generations face-to-face is something that can help cure this cynical culture that's become a part of the Internet (not that this culture doesn't have an appropriate place).

I can't stress this enough - this is an excellent article. You've made this crotchety-before-his-years fan a little misty eyed remembering and relating to the nerdienss mentioned. Steve will be missed by his friends and associates but thankfully, his contributions can still live on so long as they're not lost to the Ether.
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Avacado Burger



Joined: 25 Apr 2006
Posts: 85

PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 11:50 am Reply with quote
In many ways, the loss of Steve seems indicative of something much larger; a subculture paradigm shift that has been underway for years now. You may have noticed it in the grumblings of old-school nerds, who may haunt conventions and forums as they did in the past, but complain that "it's just not the same anymore." Despite sounding like the curmudgeonly musings of someone past their prime, it's close enough to my reality to give me pause.

I stopped for a moment of clarity after reading this statement, for I too have felt these same feelings in recent years.
I too consider myself one of the veterans of anime (I was reared on Vampire Hunter D and Ranma 1/2, back during the late 90's), and I remember the sheer joy of going to an anime convention, with the prospect of meeting others who happen to share the weird hobby of liking those "Big Eyed Japanese Cartoons" (no intention to offend here, but I've heard that stupid phrase thrown around so much back in the day).
Conventions were all about the embrace and sharing of our favorite series. Nowadays, it's all about getting drunk, DDR, and juvenile /b/tard shenanigans. Not anime. I've gone to cons every year hoping to see some of the old schoolers that I used to bump into and talk shop with, but they don't come by anymore for the same reasons that I should stop my yearly visits to ACen.
I've never met Steve Pearl, but I do remember his name being thrown around. I mourn his passing because I mourn the days when you were amazed to meet another anime fan in the flesh, instead of having said fan criticize you for your choice in anime.

Enough curmudgeoning aside, I totally remember Otaku no Video. I thought to myself as I watched it "Man, these guys are so hardcore! I wonder if an American could ever be that hardcore?". Well, Steve did, and that answered my questions about that Razz

I know for a fact that Daicon is floating around the internet somewhere, maybe in Youtube form, because I'm positive I saw it on a friend's site before. Weird stuff, but it totally encompassed the era in which it was made.
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The Ramblin' Wreck



Joined: 07 Apr 2003
Posts: 924
Location: Teaching Robot Women How To Love

PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 11:53 am Reply with quote
The Diacon films are all on Youtube and Google Video.


God bless the internet.
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jsevakis
ANN Director of New Media


Joined: 28 Jul 2003
Posts: 1529
Location: Los Angeles, CA

PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 12:06 pm Reply with quote
Avacado Burger wrote:
I stopped for a moment of clarity after reading this statement, for I too have felt these same feelings in recent years.
I too consider myself one of the veterans of anime (I was reared on Vampire Hunter D and Ranma 1/2, back during the late 90's), and I remember the sheer joy of going to an anime convention, with the prospect of meeting others who happen to share the weird hobby of liking those "Big Eyed Japanese Cartoons" (no intention to offend here, but I've heard that stupid phrase thrown around so much back in the day).


You know, it's funny. We used to compare homosexuality and being an otaku in social stature. Neither one was understood, and both were often ridiculed by the mainstream. (Not that otaku have been subject to hate crimes or opression on anywhere near the same level, but that's another matter.) We jokingly referred to the admission of being an otaku as "coming out of the tape closet." Smile

Interestingly, from what I've been told it seems like similar things have happened in the gay community recently. Primarily gay sections of San Francisco and New York are now dispursing, and are often filled with as many straight families as gay ones, while may gay people are living openly in communities not previously known for accepting them. Similarly, the drag scene is almost dead (at least, according to Rupaul on Howard Stern last week). As such, the once close-knit community is losing its unique culture.

I guess the moral of the story is that once things start being accepted by the public at large, the sense of community brought about by minorities banding together goes away. I guess it's for the best; having to band together at all was a temporary respite, and if it's no longer needed, that's a good thing in the long run. Even if it doesn't always seem like it.
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exedore



Joined: 21 Dec 2006
Posts: 17

PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 12:25 pm Reply with quote
An excellent article as always, and a fitting tribute to Mr. Pearl.

For those seeking more information on the Daicon IV segment, and some explanations of the in-jokes, a wiki has been set up with screencaps for identification. All are welcome to contribute as long as they can contribute something useful.
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orangered



Joined: 30 May 2007
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 1:29 pm Reply with quote
. .

Last edited by orangered on Sat Oct 25, 2008 5:26 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Ktimene's Lover



Joined: 23 Apr 2005
Posts: 2242
Location: Glendale, AZ (Proudly living in the desert)

PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 1:37 pm Reply with quote
Finally, I've found what I was looking for. I've been trying to find what would the "rarest of the rare" in the Buried Treasure column and what are among the rarest and most obscurely known anime. Daicon seems to fit.
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Xenofan 29A



Joined: 09 Aug 2007
Posts: 378

PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 2:56 pm Reply with quote
Ctimene's Lover wrote:
Finally, I've found what I was looking for. I've been trying to find what would the "rarest of the rare" in the Buried Treasure column and what are among the rarest and most obscurely known anime. Daicon seems to fit.


But I've seen the Daicon animation segments. They can't be that rare.

Justin, great column. It's nice to finally see something on here that I've watched myself. I really like Otaku no Video, although I'm not part of your generation. I think that even today, it has relevence to fandom.
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