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Zac Bertschy - In Memoriam

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Gina Szanboti

Joined: 03 Aug 2008
Posts: 8850
PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2020 8:35 pm Reply with quote
Oh dammit all. I saw that headline and thought, "Is Zac leaving ANN?!" assuming he must be moving on or something. When I clicked it, I was alarmed by the format, and not finding confirmation of anything, kept skimming down the page to hopefully not see what I was dreading would be there...

I hope people will be patient with the ANN staff as they go forward from here. It's not going to be easy with such a huge loss, both structurally for the site, and personally for each of his friends and colleagues. As sad as I feel, I know it can't begin to approach what they're going through.

I'm really going to miss his writing. Whatever his view, he could articulate it perfectly with knowledge and passion and wry humor, and while you could disagree with his opinions, you could rarely say that he was wrong about his facts. And if he was, he'd admit it! Since I usually agreed with him, I valued someone who could express my thoughts better than I could hope to. I could sure use him around about now to say the right things. Instead, I'll just shut up and go get another kleenex.
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Joined: 27 Oct 2015
Posts: 545
Location: SF Bay Area
PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2020 8:42 pm Reply with quote
Shocking. I never interacted with Zac, but it's apparent from his work that he was a good person who fought to better himself. He has so many people who care about him. So many things he was passionate about in life. Made such a difference in people's lives...all of a sudden gone just like that. Hard to grasp the fact that he is no longer here. ANN will feel so different without him. Unreal. Rest in peace. May his family, friends, and loved ones find comfort in the good memories they made with him. Sad
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Joined: 18 Apr 2010
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PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2020 8:48 pm Reply with quote
I'm sad to hear this. Back in his Answerman and Tales from the Convention days, we would often butt heads. I never read his Twitter comments nor listened to his podcasts but after reading his many comments on this site, the cause of his death does not surprise me. Having a parent who has experienced the same thing for much of my life, I knew there was a lot more behind this.

My condolences to his friends and family. It's going to be a lot to process. I encourage you get the emotional support you need, should you need it, by talking with friends, family and professionals.
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Aria CompanyAria Company

Joined: 20 Dec 2017
Posts: 1
PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2020 8:48 pm Reply with quote
I remember when I saw a great many people mourn the death of Johnny Carson. I was not from that era, so I did not understand that loss, but today I do.
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Joined: 16 Apr 2006
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Location: Who-me? Am I supposed to be somewhere?
PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2020 8:53 pm Reply with quote
Needless to say there will be no more anncasts which I truly enjoyed listening to. While I didn't always agree with his opinions I shared his love of anime as an entertainment medium. RIP
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taster of pork

Joined: 11 Nov 2008
Posts: 523
Location: Oregon
PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2020 9:05 pm Reply with quote
Cloudywind wrote:
taster of pork wrote:
Ouch. This came out of nowhere Sad Don't tell me he was a victim of the Corona Virus?

Tweets from Justin strongly imply that it may have been self-inflicted. His long struggle with depression and alcoholism seems to have been especially bad as of late. Either way, there is no official word on the cause of death and it's best not to jump to any conclusions.
I don't use Social Media so I had no idea he was struggling with issues like that. Shocked
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Joined: 04 Oct 2015
Posts: 8
PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2020 9:16 pm Reply with quote
I've been trying to think of what to say all day and have consistently come up short. I didn't interact often with Zac but each time I did I was struck with how forthright and passionate he was in everything he did. I always will admire him for his tenacity and while I didn't always agree with all of his opinions he had a way of presenting them that made me more thoughtful and critical of the media I consume. I will miss seeing his tweets on my timeline and I only wish I had gotten the opportunity to better know someone who has so obviously bettered so many lives. Zac, you were one of the good ones.
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Psycho 101

Joined: 14 Aug 2006
Posts: 14902
Location: Inn of the Last Home
PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2020 9:44 pm Reply with quote
This will be a bit of a long post.

I have been a part of ANN since 2004. I started using the encyclopedia that year and reading articles. I joined the forums officially in 2006 after lurking for a long time. He and I clashed IMMEDIATELY. He would many years later tell me in a PM how we were both such full of moral superiority at the time. Right out the gate though he and I had many disagreements. Both publicly here and many more in PM's. There were many "shouting matches" in PM's back and forth. We were both very passionate people to say the least. The thing is despite all our arguments and differences he never once pushed for me to be removed from the site. Lord knows he could've easily done it himself with a snap of his fingers. We'd yell and shout, stand our ground, make our cases, and then move on. While I often disagreed with him I always respected him. I always respected his dedication to the site and staff. He would also at least always hear me out. Even if we were just arguing in circles.

Then several years later I met him, and other ANN staff like Chris, Justin, etc at a particular Otakon. I said hi and what not. Even asked a question during the Q&A part. After the ANN panel though I met up and saw him in the hallway. I approached him and thought I'd say hi personally. I fully expected a bit of an eye roll or "jesus christ this is him?!" from Zac. Instead what I got was a warm and friendly hello and a genuine handshake. We talked for 15 or 20 minutes about several things. Some forum items but mostly just anime and our opinions on some movies and shows. He was very genuine and friendly. I even apologized to him for all of our heated discussions. He told me not to worry and that the forum stuff between us didn't matter to him. He was just happy I had come to the ANN panel, enjoyed myself at it and participated, and he was glad I had come to say hello to him. I remember thinking how that was not what I had expected and how nice it was. I felt like an ass for some of the things we had argued about over the years.

Years ago when they needed to add more moderator as others had moved on with life he actually was not convinced about me at first. I wasn't surprised or upset. He actually changed his mind though and supported me. He once again surprised me. Over the past several years we've still had disagreements but he's always been polite with me and again, listened to what I had to say. Being a moderator and seeing behind the scenes discussions I also came to appreciate even more how dedicated he was to the staff. He really did care about them and I can't count the times he'd go to bat for them when discussing how people might be taking personal shots at them in discussions or social media.

His own self admitted demons and struggles also mirrored many of my own. Especially depression. There are a lot of parallels between his struggles and my own. I wondered in recent years if maybe that's part of why he never got rid of me from ANN because of those. When he started to exercise and try and fix those demons and change things around I told him how inspiring it was. I messaged him several times here and said how due to many of those parallels between us it was even more inspiring to me that he could do this. That it gave me hope personally I could follow suit and make the same changes. He thanked me deeply for the kind words and offered support and said he believed I could. I truly appreciated those comments after watching him do what I felt I could only hope to do myself.

Given recent struggles of my own with my depression I feel guilty I am here and he is not. I feel guilty for not saying to him more times how his work inspired me to try harder myself. I was by no means a best friend of his but I still feel as if I should've said more. Even though it might sound cliche' during this Covid time I hope anyone and everyone reading this can try and love themselves more and love each other more. Support each other.

RIP Zac.
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Joined: 06 Jan 2005
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PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2020 9:45 pm Reply with quote
RIP Zac. I loved ANNCast, your writing, and acerbic wit. I was intimidated by you sometimes, but I know you were one of the best people around. I will miss you. The anime world and the world in general is a darker place for this loss.
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Joined: 04 Sep 2005
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Location: Iowa
PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2020 9:48 pm Reply with quote
Terrible news in an already terrible time. At first I thought he was quitting ANN because I just didn't want to believe that someone so young could be gone.

I always looked forward to his seasonal anime reviews and his opinions on ANNCast. He definitely had strong views but I really liked his cutting humor. He was also really good at keeping people in line on the forum.

When he was in charge of Answerman one of my responses was selected to be published and I was so proud and excited. He was a great talent and will be sorely missed. RIP.
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Joined: 22 May 2020
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PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2020 9:56 pm Reply with quote
I'm a bit late coming to learn of this sad news and had to think a while before posting.

While I've never had the honour to meet Zac or really interact directly with online, I have been browsing this site since the 2000's. Zac's opinions and editoral influence had a major impact on the Anime community that will leave a huge hole in the Western Anime industry.

Honestly, over the years I have both enjoyed and respected the content he has created and help create, with so much of his passion and strong opinions always coming through so much this is a bit of a shock. I'm honestly disappointed in myself for not going the extra mile to express my admiration for his work here, that he will now never get to see.

Condolences to his family, friends and colleagues for their loss. Rest in peace, Zac.
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Joined: 08 May 2007
Posts: 372
PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2020 10:00 pm Reply with quote
Really sad news. I strongly yet silently disagreed with him in the last few years on many things, but I'll always remember some of his hilarious & creative reviews back when each season started. RIP.
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Joined: 01 Jun 2009
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Location: Antarctica
PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2020 10:12 pm Reply with quote
I don't think I've been here for many years. When I heard the news of Zac's passing, it didn't seem right not to pay my respects here.

I never knew him personally, only tangentially from regular interactions we'd had on the site, and from his editorials and articles back when I was a regular on these forums. He seemed cynical, and self-indulgent in a lot of ways --- but, he also seemed sincere about his opinions, and willing to humble himself when he felt he'd given a bad take, which is a lot more than can be said of most people. I might not have ever fully understood or agreed with his feelings about entertainment, anime and geek culture, but I can at least say in retrospect that I admired his drive as an internet personality, and his seeming work ethic around this site for what time I was here. He was a presence that left a mark on the fandom, and won't be forgotten.

My condolences to those who loved and cared for him, and may he rest in peace.
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Joined: 01 Jan 2015
Posts: 134
PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2020 10:50 pm Reply with quote
Just... wow. R.I.P. to Zac. He helped shape what ANN is today. He is still here in spirit.
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Joshua Zarate

Joined: 12 Jan 2017
Posts: 1804
PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2020 10:53 pm Reply with quote
My condolences go out to those who knew him best. ANN will never be the same without him. I sincerely wish it didn’t have to be this way. RIP.
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