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Nostalgia - The First Lesson




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Greboruri



Joined: 09 Jul 2003
Posts: 305
Location: Canberra, ACT, Australia
PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2009 9:53 pm Reply with quote
Prior to Manga (via Siren) coming on the scene, there was a very, very small fanbase here. But of course Manga Video popularised it. There was always some form of Japanese animation or live action show on TV in Australia beginning in the 1960's; Astroboy (in B&W), Amazing 3, Ken the Wolf Boy, The Adventures of Kum Kum, Princess Knight (aka Choppy and the Princess) and into 1980's with Battle of the Planets and Robotech.

During my childhood throughout the late 1970's and into my teens in the very early 1990's the credits were the tip off, only Battle of the Planets hid it's origins from me due to lack of Japanese names in the credits and new western animation added in. Back then I saw Japanese animation as something very different from western stuff. Characters could die and some shows had continuing storylines. They animation style and cinematography was also light years away from anything Filmation or Hanna Barbara were doing.

While most anime isn't aimed at adults, I must say that that even in shows aimed at kids, morals are never usually rammed down the audience’s throats like they were morons who must be spoon fed everything. Interesting most of the time the Japanese seem to let the audience decide for themselves which is really refreshing. A child audience is a treated with a fair bit of respect in most anime, while western animation of the time treated kids like idiots.

As for Cartoon Gallery, I think Michael did the wrong thing with his prices of his region 1 DVDs. He put them up to about $80 when the dollar plummeted to US 48 cents around 2000, then refused to lower the price once the dollar stabilised above 70 cents, By this time people have easy access to the web and were ordering directly from his supplier the Right Stuf or other online video stores. It was no longer just the three choices of Cartoon Gallery, sending lists and an international money order to Nikaku in San Francisco or bootlegs from certain hobby shops. He never seemed to understand this, and still sells R1 DVDs on his website at $70 per disc.

As for the Tezuka disc, it's really good. I originally bought the Japanese R2 Pioneer disc years ago so I could play Jumping and Broken Down Film at a convention.
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Zin5ki



Joined: 06 Jan 2008
Posts: 6680
Location: London, UK
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 10:15 am Reply with quote
A great new column. It's interesting to see how Manga selected the titles to spearhead a global interest in anime. Of course, as good as it is to mention the formative titles of the industry (Akira et al), describing the later booms in the years that followed would be an option for future instalments, and especially useful for those like me who have only been in the anime loop for a couple of years.

As for the fear the author expresses, I don't see how it should be considered to be anything grave. Though I cannot offer any sympathies from experience, I can say that by publishing the column a tangible link between himself and the current fanbase still exists, clearly to the delight of the more seasoned fans who remember the same times.
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Tim H



Joined: 30 Jun 2009
Posts: 3
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 6:06 am Reply with quote
Wow. A couple of posts of real, honest feedback. I'm proud of you guys Smile

I'll certainly consider looking into the future booms that followed on from Akira - Evangelion is certainly the most obvious, although I do have to wonder just how much work Pokemon did behind the scenes. Whatever I make of that show, it was common knowledge that it was originally a Japanese production, which the likes of Robotech never had the luxury of.

I think that my fear of becoming disconnected is largely something that comes with time, as well at the transition of periods. Back when I was first becoming hooked in, it was possible to know almost everything that there was to know about what anime was available, what was hot and what was not. These days, general life experience has widened the girth of my interests, while at the same time Anime has absolutely exploded; it's a very obsessive interest, and it's now so large that it would take phenomenal effort to keep tabs on it all.

(I should note that Anime has a much larger scene in Australia than in the UK, where the Manga video label is probably still the most powerful).

The point of the column is certainly to help ensure that I keep some kind of connection with anime fandom. Certainly to encourage some discussion about the history of the scene and people's experiences within it.

Cheers for replying Smile


- Tim
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Greboruri



Joined: 09 Jul 2003
Posts: 305
Location: Canberra, ACT, Australia
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 9:52 pm Reply with quote
I think some of us knew that Robotech was Japanese. I remember buying 1/72 scale Macross kits from K-Mart around 1984 (these were the Arii kits imported from Japan). Also I bought a ton of Crusher Joe kits (various scales manufactured by Nitto) around the same time. These were in just about every shop, the local hobby shop (who also had Maschinen Krieger kits) and even some toy shops had the kits. Mind you this was in Wagga, not in a capital city with a sizable Asian population.

I'm not sure what happened in the UK. The mid 1990's was a boom period with almost half a dozen companies releasing some great and weird titles like Western Connection who released Hummingbirds, God Bless Dancougar OVA, Slow Step, Samurai Gold, Salamander, Ladius, stuff which never made into other countries in English or on DVD. Plus you had great magazines like Anime UK/Anime FX and Mangai Mania/Manga Max, both of which were superior to North American publications of the time. there's still MVM, Manga, Beez and Revelation releasing anime in the UK, but their entire output is barely little more than what Madman puts out.

For me at the moment, I feel rather disconnected to anime fandom. Where we had three anime clubs running simultaneously in my city (screening every week with new material at each one), in only a couple of years this has been reduced to a single club. I think easy access to anime (particularly downloads) has knocked the wind out of clubs. I made quite a few friendships through trading and lending and borrowing tapes years ago. Now with that gone and the fact I'm a lot older than other members, I feel really out of place at clubs.

Anyway, keep up with the articles. Personally I'd like to see an in depth look at the various phases of anime in this country from the 1960's onwards, but I don't know how feasible it would be to write something like that. There is some source material out there showing what was screened in this country back then.
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Tim H



Joined: 30 Jun 2009
Posts: 3
PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 7:00 am Reply with quote
Greboruri wrote:
I think some of us knew that Robotech was Japanese. I remember buying 1/72 scale Macross kits from K-Mart around 1984 (these were the Arii kits imported from Japan). Also I bought a ton of Crusher Joe kits (various scales manufactured by Nitto) around the same time. These were in just about every shop, the local hobby shop (who also had Maschinen Krieger kits) and even some toy shops had the kits. Mind you this was in Wagga, not in a capital city with a sizable Asian population.


I turned one in 1984. I sometimes wonder if there's a huge generational gap here - between those who were older and would bother to read the credits on these shows, and those of us who were a too young to care. Even during the first or second grade at school, it never struck me to wonder about the origins of Samurai Pizza Cats. I really needed a mallet over the head.

Quote:
For me at the moment, I feel rather disconnected to anime fandom. Where we had three anime clubs running simultaneously in my city (screening every week with new material at each one), in only a couple of years this has been reduced to a single club. I think easy access to anime (particularly downloads) has knocked the wind out of clubs. I made quite a few friendships through trading and lending and borrowing tapes years ago. Now with that gone and the fact I'm a lot older than other members, I feel really out of place at clubs.


I think that you may be right to suspect that accessibility has knocked the wind out of a kind of community. I actually probably spent more time in Anime club screenings while a teenager who had to travel two hours from the Blue Mountains than I did when I finally went to University myself.
It's odd, though, as I'm sure that I would often gravitate towards older members. Maybe this is because all the younger members had formed their own groups and were into some show that I'd not yet had a chance to see, or maybe it's because I saw the older guys as hobbyist sages (they were also often the ones who supplied the imports or fansubs), and just wanted to learn what I could from them. Or maybe both, to a degree.

I'd certainly like to look further back, but it will probably depend on what materials come my way.
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Greboruri



Joined: 09 Jul 2003
Posts: 305
Location: Canberra, ACT, Australia
PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 9:34 pm Reply with quote
Tim H wrote:
I sometimes wonder if there's a huge generational gap here - between those who were older and would bother to read the credits on these shows, and those of us who were a too young to care.
I'm really going to show my age here, but I think I was about 8 or 9 when "Star Blazers" and "Astroboy" stated to be broadcast on ABC. As I said before, it was probably the production values, design of the characters and mecha that really put Japanese animation into a different league to other animation on TV. Probably due to the credits and Japanese writting apearing in the show, even at that early age, I knew these shows came from Japan. Also loved "Monkey!" as well. Not many other shows of the time stick in my memory except sci-fi shows like Doctor Who and Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

Of course Sandy Frank didn't included any Japanese credits in "Battle of the Planets" except for Tatsunoko. Still I was really drawn to that show as it didn't really look like anything else on TV at the time. It was only when I bought the book "The Complete Anime Guide: Japanese Animation Film Directory & Resource Guide" by Trish Ledoux in 1996 or so, I read the chapter on Japanese animation broacast on US TV and could not belive that "Battle of the Planets" was Japanese! I always thought it was American.
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Tim H



Joined: 30 Jun 2009
Posts: 3
PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 5:21 am Reply with quote
I must say that I admire your ability to pick out the names at such an early age. I honestly doubt I bothered reading the credits, and likely just watched the pretty pictures flash by if I indeed left the TV on at all.

I really enjoy reading those light academic anime books (Samurai From Outer Space et al), actually. They're typically not as heavy or theoretical as dedicated film papers, but they also rise above the candy pulp that makes up a lot of anime writing in magazines and online and offer some kind of substance. There are good reviews and articles out there, of course, but there's often a swamp to wade through in order to get to them, so it's nice to have a single, trusty tome to read from time to time.
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michaelheins



Joined: 28 Apr 2009
Posts: 1
Location: Sydney
PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 5:21 am Reply with quote
It was a delightful surprise to come across Tim's article, especially since it mentioned my former shop Shocked
I suspect that the nostalgia element is something which starts to happen about age 30, when you are a big, grownup person who has forsaken childish things (like watching cartoons). Some of us never seem to have grown up at all, and at age 52, I would certainly include myself in that grouping.
Apart from the "plausible impossible", a term which Walt Disney liked to use, I think you also need a child-like quality to be able to watch animated films and enjoy them when you are an adult. I'm a sucker for fantasy stories, so something like Totoro will be a lifetime favourite for me. Just about the perfect fable, I'd say.
The young dudes and dudettes who are discovering anime now will probably know nothing about the early days of anime in Australia (almost 20 years ago now) and care even less. Why should they? They hear enough about "how tough it was when I was a kid" from their parents.
I had to smile when I read Tim's comments about Macross Plus - I hadn't thought about that series for years. It is fun to tell youngsters about the bad old days, when local anime fans only got 3 new titles a month, if they were lucky, but those days are long gone now. Anime is a commodity, sold by every DVD store. It's nothing special anymore, or at least not in the same way. I had clients who owned laserdisc players, downloaded English language scripts in the early days of the Internet, and then sat down and read the scripts as they watched the Japanese language only discs. Now those were hardcore fans Wink
I'm glad that I was around in the early days of anime in the West. It was fun, even listening to the mindless debates of Uni nerds, arguing whether subs were better than dubs, when none of them could read, speak or write Japanese.
Thanks Tim for a nice trip down memory lane.
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