ANN 5th Birthday Editorial - Zac says Thank you

by Zac Bertschy, Jul 27th 2003
You know, I could sit here and gush for pages and pages about how much Anime News Network has impacted my life. This site helped me cultivate my love for Japanese animation, connected me with thousands of anime fans and industry types across the country, helped me choose a career and launched it for me, published me when nobody else would, and even introduced me to one of my best friends. Anime News Network has been a major factor in almost every positive change in my life for the past 4 years, since I first logged on in 1999, back when Justin Sevakis ran the show. Thinking back on it now, it's really hard to list all the ways this little site (now a big site, thanks to the direction of Mr. Macdonald and Mr. Phillips) has helped me. I'm sure it's tenfold what I've already listed here.

Back in the bad ol' days, when I still paid 20.00 for three fansub tapes and struggled to buy outdated, hoary old Tenchi Muyo! drama CDs from the local comic shop in Tucson, Arizona (That's right, punks, I used to be a Tenchi fan. If I could travel back in time and smack myself, I would.), Anime News Network was my sole source of information, aside from Japanese Newtype issues from three months previous that my comic shop kept in stock. Back then, the only serious anime websites around were Anime Web Turnpike and Anime News Network. All the Turnpike had were links to pages about anime series I'd never heard of, so I spent my hours on the Anime News Network bulletin boards (where I still sling mud with the fanboys today), fighting it out with the likes of J69 (now Gatsu) and chitchatting with Tsurara, who eventually came to be one of my closest friends. It was on this forum that I discovered my passion for writing about anime, and asked Justin if he'd let me write reviews. He did. I don't remember what it was like being published for the first time, but that one event lead to me being the person I am today, and helped launch my journalism career.

Shortly after that, Justin left (believe it or not, I was in the running to take the site over; thank god that didn't happen), and Chris and George were kind enough to let me start writing Answerman, an anime Q&A column that I peppered with sarcasm. The column grew and grew, beyond my expectations, and people started recognizing my name. The rest of my career launched from there; I now write for several magazines and teeter on the brink of being a staff writer at one of them. Rebecca Bundy took over Answerman at the top of this year, and we have lots of fun things in store for the (admittedly repetitive and sometimes obsolete) column. In short, I owe Anime News Network for the career they've basically handed me. They're willing to give most aspiring writers a shot, and thanks to this particularly benevolent policy, I am now a successful writer. Sure, they don't always listen to me, and my column sometimes goes up early or late. Sometimes my reviews don't get posted, or Chris forgets about a piece I handed in, or maybe they just screw something up really badly, but hey, find me a website that doesn't do that and I'll show you a duck capable of banging out Devo tunes on an old Casio.

Thank you, Anime News Network. Thank you for everything you've done for me, and for Rebecca, and for yourselves, and for everyone who's ever visited the site. Anime News Network should be lauded for having bigger cojones and taking more risks than any other anime website out there; they have better content, better reviews, better columns and better news. Thanks to the efforts of amazing writers like Bamboo Dong, Allen Divers, and Mike Crandol, we have one of the most competent, well-written review archives on the web. We have columns like Shelf Life and Sound Decision that bring in thousands of readers every month. These people aren't reading because they want to know if the Serial Experiments Lain soundtrack is any good, or if Iron Virgin Jun is worth watching; they read because the writing is damn good and they can't wait to get more. Kudos to you, Anime News Network. 5 years isn't enough; we're gonna be here for a long, long time.

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