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Anime Online - Web-in-a-Can

by Daniel Cruson,
This column is meant to help the anime community in their adventures over the web. I hope that it will be a bi-weekly column. I noticed that there are many sites out there but there are some that are really exceptional. I hope that this will help fans to find what they want faster. I would like to feature fan created sites here so if you have created a site that you would like me to look at feel free to e-mail me at gandalf88 (at hotmail.com). I can't guarantee that your site will make it into my column but if you have a really exceptional site you might just see it listed here. I hope that in coming columns I will be able to get interviews with some webmasters and add some other features. Now enough of my talking and lets get onto the sites . . .

General Anime Sites


     Anime Agency is a very good fan run site. It is actually run by a number of fans who all submit pieces such as news and reviews to make the site run. Overall the format is very nice. There is one main page where all the current news appears. Along the left hand side there are links to all the other sections. On the right there is a link to the message board along with a poll, the list of current viewers favorite anime, and a Quirkaption. A Quirkaption is a quote put with a screen shot from various anime series. These are usually very funny because the quote will have nothing to do with the scene the shot is taken out of but fits the picture very well. This makes for a nice organized look and easy navigation.

     The news is kept fairly up to date by a number of people called agents. Their job is to go out and find news. They are given special access codes so they can get in and add their news to the main page. Staff members run the rest of the sections. People can apply to be a staff member on a certain section or just be an agent to work on the news. There is a link on the side bar to apply for a staff or agent position. This is a nice feature that allows people who want to work on a web page but don't have time to make their own.

     Other features of this site include anime reviews, convention schedules, downloads, and even an anime radio station. The anime reviews are well put together although right now there are only a few. There will be more added in the coming months though. The convention schedule is kept pretty up to date and lists dates and locations for all of the major anime conventions in the US during the next 3 months. The downloads have a few really cool games and some music videos that the sites creator has put together. The anime radio station plays a continuous loop of 25 anime themes which are changed around and added to every once and a while. The radio station is nice to listen to while you surf the net, especially if you like anime theme songs.

     Due to a recent complete overhaul of the site not all features are completely up and running. I know for sure that right now the message board is still down. That will hopefully be back up and running in the near future. The web master also just went through his staff and a few positions opened up for both full staff and agents because of people not doing their jobs.

     Overall this is a very good site for news and reviews. The web master is very nice and most of his staff is very good at keeping the site up to date. It also seems to be a moderately popular site logging about 100 hits a day. This is definitely a site worth checking out once a week or so to keep up with major anime events.

Series-specific Anime Sites


     As you probably guessed by looking at the name, Planet Namek is a fan site devoted to Dragon Ball. It is a very good site to go if you are looking for news in the world of Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z. The format is a lot like that of Anime Agency, one main page with all of the news on it and a sidebar on the left with links to all of the other sections. Also on the left sidebar is a list of coming manga and video releases and the Lycos and Yahoo! top 3 searches for the week. These last two things are put on the page mainly to show where in the top three Dragon Ball or Dragon Ball Z is listed. There is also a right hand side bar with a poll and an ad with a link to buy the weeks featured Dragon Ball merchandise. Again this makes for a nice organized feel to the page.      Unlike Anime Agency the news is mostly kept up to date by the webmasters. They do a really good job though. They post things such as upcoming Dragon Ball events, updates on merchandise, or updates to the site itself. The webmasters make up the majority of the staff and they don't have a place for more people to signup to be on the staff. They do have a couple sections though that are made up of fan submissions which I will talk about in a minute.

     Some of the other sections of the site include saga and movie summaries, character bios, a Dragon Ball encyclopedia, and fan submission pages. The saga and movie summaries are just as they sound, summaries of the sagas and movies. The webmaster has vowed that Funimation will never air part of a saga that he hasn't added to the summery and so far he has done a good job of keeping ahead. The movie reviews are also pretty much complete even though there are only three Dragon Ball movies out. The character bios along with the encyclopedia are a nice feature, especially for those new to the series. They include pictures and will explain a character's involvement in the series or a term that appears in the series and only makes sense to those who have watched from the beginning. They also have a chart of characters power levels throughout the series and how many times they have died. There are two main fan submission pages, a fan art one and a fanfic one. The fan art is just as you would expect. Fans submit their Dragon Ball related artwork to be posted on the site. The fanfic page is meant so that people can write their own stories based on events or characters from the Dragon Ball world and have them read by others. There is one other fan submission section, which is links to other fan sites. Each section is opened to submissions once an awhile for a 24 hour period. It is always announced on the main page in the news when it is open. The links section isn't open for submissions very often though because when it is the web master is flooded with hundreds of links. Each section is opened to submissions once an awhile for a 24 hour period. It is always announced on the main page in the news when it is open.

     This site has recently been running into money trouble unfortunately. They have been battling to keep the site up but it costs them about $3000 a month to keep it going. This has caused them to take down most of there downloads and movie clips. They are trying to stay alive by asking their visitors to either donate money or click on the banner ads.

     Overall this site is very good though. It is always up to date. They always post the news as soon as they get it. The head webmaster has even made friends at Funimation so he sometimes is even the first person to get the news. This site is very popular and averages a couple thousand hits a day. I don't know the exact number because I have yet to find a counter on the site. This is a very good site for any fan of Dragon Ball and is definitely worth a look.

Anime Stores


     Last but definitely not least I get to my favorite, anime stores. How can you be an anime fan without a store to go to and find all of your favorite merchandise? Well my personal favorite site, which I always go to first for that videos and merchandise, is Right Stuf.com. They always have what I'm looking for. And if that isn't enough they always have it for a reasonable price. Whether you are looking for a graphic novel, a video/DVD, or just a toy or model they almost definitely have it.

     Not only are they a great store, they also have a news section. They announce latest releases by all the major companies and the releases for the coming months. They are always up to date. A store and a source of anime news, what more could you want in a site? To top it all off they have a great, organized site. It is easy to find and order what you are looking for and easy if all you want to do is browse. I would definitely suggest you surf on over today and have a look.

Well that is all for me this time. Until next time . . . happy surfing.

Send questions, comments, suggestions to Gollum at gandalf88 (at hotmail.com).

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