Mixx Letters

Aug 14th 1998
Letter from Stuart Levy

September 26, 1998

To all Mixxers: As you may know, there are many rumors circulating around the newsgroups lately about our company and me personally. We have been patiently watching, hoping that everyone would be able to distinguish between what is true and false and not get caught up in any extremist movements. Unfortunately, the group that has been instigating the rumors, the untruths and encouraging sabotage against the company and myself has continued to act illegally and unethically on the Internet. Because of this, many of you have been subject to blatant lies about Mixx and me. It's not fair to you because you have supported the magazine and our first year of growth. This group of hecklers is preventing you from having a direct, candid relationship with us, and they are destroying your freedom to enjoy the magazine in peace. I'd like to open up the book entirely so all of you will know exactly why this group is acting this way and what *is* true about Mixx, compared to all the falsehoods that have been circulated by the group in question.

(1) The Group of Hecklers

As you may know, Ronald Scovil Jr. is not with Mixx anymore. He has gone online stating that he resigned because of his disagreement with our decision to move Sailor Moon into Smile. This is entirely fictitious. Ronald did not resign; he was terminated from the company on July 17, 1998. Ronald was given many chances to contribute to the tremendous amount of work our small Mixx staff has to handle. However, while the rest of our small team worked overtime, we also had to make up for Ronald's lack of effort. Ronald spent most of his time on the very newsgroups that his group is now using to wage his personal war against Mixx. The reason why he was able to spend so much time talking to many of you online is because he failed to do most of the duties he was hired to do--such as his editorial duties and his distribution duties.

Ronald may have thought that his lack of contribution would not affect his employment status at the company, however it had been made very clear to him on numerous occasions that he was not performing his duties as part of the Mixx team. In the end, the rest of the staff was tired of working extra hours on behalf of Ronald, and we decided that he needed to be replaced with more productive staff members who would share the workload. But since that time, Ronald did not choose to move on with his life and maintain a professional business stance towards Mixx; he felt it better to cover up his failure with lies. He lied about his role in the company: he was not a founder of Mixx. In fact, he was never an owner of Mixx. He was hired as an executive in charge of distribution. His title of Editor-in-Chief was mainly honorary--he almost never contributed to the editorial of the magazine from Mixxzine 1-1 to the current issue. He did not have any role in the process of localization of the manga throughout Mixxzine's publication history.

The decision to terminate Ronald was the most difficult decision we have ever made in this company. Although Ronald was not performing at work, he was a personal friend of ours and very dear to us. It is often said that one should not get in business with one's friends, and this is the main reason why. Even though he was our friend, he was not pulling his weight. In the end, when we decided it was necessary for the company's survival to let him go, we hoped he would remain our friend. We had no idea he would so viciously attack us in the way he has. We couldn't imagine that he would libel and defame both the company and me personally. It is not professional; in fact, it's illegal.

However, Ronald has been spending his time, with a few close friends, flooding the newsgroups with false rumors and ugly stories about Mixx and me so that he could savor the sweet taste of revenge. Well, it is time everyone knows the truth. Although others around me encouraged me to reveal the truth about Ronald, I insisted on giving him a chance to act maturely. I did not imagine he and his group would go as far as they did. Although I will not name them here, it is easy for all of you to recognize the group of Ronald's friends that have united to help Ronald in his quest for revenge. The Eye on Mixx page, the "unofficial Webboard" on Ronald's girlfriend's site, the "20 Question Ultimatum" attack, the "report" from San Diego Comicon--all these activities stem from this group of hecklers. It is even feared that the recent hacking of the MixxOnline website with a dangerous virus may have been influenced by the false statements of this group of hecklers.

We believe that as long as they have free time, they will not give up. However, you have a choice to not accept their disrespectful and malicious ways. If they continue to lie, they will receive letters from our attorneys. Defamation and libel are illegal, even on the Internet. We request this group stop posting lies about Mixx or me personally at once. Hopefully, they will eventually realize how wrong their actions are.

(2) Sailor Moon

Many of you are disappointed that Sailor Moon is leaving Mixxzine. Although this is a difficult move for us, we believe that after everyone has become adjusted to the change, our direction will be as exciting to all of you as it is to us. First, let me make it clear that no matter what any of the hecklers have said online, we are not moving Sailor Moon to rip you off. That's entirely ridiculous because if you feel like you're being ripped off, you won't buy our products. Why would we want that? And we certainly can't hide the fact that we're moving Sailor Moon, so it's not like we thought "Aha, we'll sneak one by them!" These are the kinds of things the group of hecklers wants you to believe, but don't let them fool you--we're not so stupid to think that we could rip you off.

In fact, we knew that some people would possibly cancel their subscriptions or not subscribe, but we also knew that after everyone understands what we're trying to do, we'll have all of your support. Remember, we're all on the same side here--you want manga and anime available and we do, too. Of course, everyone has a different opinion on their favorite titles, whether subs or dubs are better, whether translation should be literal or more "Americanized," etc. etc. But we all want the same thing--to be able to access as much anime and manga as possible. We are trying to introduce anime and manga to many other people out here in North America who otherwise wouldn't even bother with it. Remember, there was a time when you didn't know about it or care about it either. There are a lot of other potential fans out there that will learn about anime and manga because of Mixxzine. And we believe that if we get the balance right--editorial, manga, content from Japan, local content, etc.--that there will be many people who normally wouldn't care, but now will check it out.

Does anyone remember back in the beginning when Mixxzine first came out? If you don't, go do a search on dejanews--I looked at it the other day. Many of the fans were saying that the magazine should be split into two magazines--one for shojo and one for shonen. At the time, we weren't able to do that because we didn't even know if one magazine would work. But even Ronald said on the newsgroups that we intended to do that in the future. So, in our first year of publication, we saw how things went and thought it was a good time to split the magazine as many of you fans had wanted us to do from the start.

We are adding in editorial content so that the mainstream market can access the magazines easier and then "discover" the manga. It's not easy, but it's the only chance manga has at really making it big. If manga does make it big, what will that mean? Lower prices and more manga. That's what all of us really want--remember, we're on the same side. Mixx will make more money if we charge LESS but are able to sell MORE. Right now, the market is not big enough to do that, but already we are bringing prices down whenever we can. The new Sailor Moon Pocket Mangas coming out will be $9.95 for the same 192 pages. So, don't let the group of hecklers fool you that we're just ripping everyone off. Our goal is to be the cheapest manga company around with the most for your money.

(3) Smile

Some of you may love Smile; others may hate it. Who knows? We think it's a great publication (the first one is printing now), but it's the first issue and there are tons of improvements we want to make. When it comes out, take a look at it and see what you think. It's certainly not a pure otaku oriented publication--it's much more mainstream-oriented. However, it is not "Teen" or "Seventeen." It's the first magazine for the digital teenage girl.

I'm sure there will be many of you non-teenagers or even guys that read it, but that's okay. I'm a guy, but I like it, too. OK--so I'm biased. But if you're a guy and want to read Sailor Moon, but don't want to buy Smile, don't worry--the SuperS series will be published as Pocket Manga just like the earlier storyline. Well, we're curious to see if you guys like Smile. I hope you do.

Finally, people have asked why Rayearth is not being moved into Smile. It's really a combination of a few reasons. Initially, we were torn between moving it or not also, but when we realized that the Sailor Moon SuperS stories were so long (especially the first one), we realized that we wouldn't have enough room for both of them. Since Smile is a magazine for the digital teenage girl, it is not mainly a manga magazine, which limits the amount of space available (the first issue of Smile is already half Sailor Moon!). Also, we felt that Sailor Moon fits the atmosphere of Smile, but Rayearth is more of an RPG story, which provides a good balance for Mixxzine. At any rate, Mixxzine is still the primary magazine for manga, while Smile is more of a balanced magazine.

(4) Sailor Moon Comic

The Sailor Moon storyline that continues where Mixxzine 2-1 left off is being continued as a separate 48-page comic, as many of you know. This monthly comic was a specific request of many comic book shops that do not sell graphic novels and begged us for a Sailor Moon comic. Originally, we only planned to continue the Mixxzine storyline for Sailor Moon as Pocket Mangas, but we decided to publish both so everyone can have a choice. This is not a ploy to get more money from everyone-- no one has to buy both. If you simply want all the Sailor Moon stories and have no interest in either the 48-page comic or Smile, it's best to just buy all the Pocket Mangas.

(5) San Diego Comicon

I do not want to make a big deal of this, but I think it's important that the air is cleared for those of you who did not attend. I had absolutely no control over Naoko's schedule. Comicon had requested a signing and a panel on Friday. They scheduled the times, the rooms, the method, etc. I did not choose how it would work; I had nothing to do with the set-up; and I did not choose the Sailor Moon episode they showed. We at Mixx had requested a signing for Thursday, which she did. That signing was sponsored by us, not Diamond Comics. We did not get to choose the place; we originally planned it at our booth but security moved it to the signing area.

Naoko had requested that I allow only one signature per person because many people wouldn't get a signature if we allowed more than one per person. Also, I always allowed fans to pose with Naoko and did my best to time it so that the line would keep moving while everyone still got their photos. Finally, I was told to collect all her gifts to put into a box so she would not lose them. I never prevented anyone from giving a gift to Naoko--anyone who knows me knows I would never do such a thing.

Finally, there was an incident that happened that you all should know about because it is a very important insight into the Japanese culture. Naoko wanted to see the show, and she wandered off to many booths at her free will. Our role was to follow her to make sure she was okay. The security guards were appointed by Comicon and followed her also. While the heckler who wrote that I had "Naoko on a leash" the whole time gave himself away as being a heckler because anyone who was there saw easily that *she* had all of us on leashes. Believe me, Naoko does what she wants. There is no way *I* can control her. If I had any way of controlling her or her schedule, I would have arranged for a chat as requested, but there was nothing I could do, as I stated when I was first given that request.

Anyways, she wanted to collect pirated Sailor Moon goods because she collects all Sailor Moon goods from around the world. At every booth Naoko went to, I would introduce her and the booth owners would generously give her whatever item she was interested in. She also took photos with them and even gave autographs in return. However, there was one booth where the man who ran the booth was so stingy he wouldn't offer it to her. This is probably the most insulting thing *anyone* can do in the Japanese culture. Here is the creator of the most popular anime standing in front of you and you are selling a *pirated* set of cards and you are refusing to give it to her and asking her for money? How completely insulting!! Poor Naoko was so embarrassed, and she offered the money, as any respectable Japanese would do. If I would have let her pay, I would have failed in my job of protecting her at the show. In the Japanese culture, if I allowed her to pay, I would have been insulting her as much as the guy at the booth. So, of course I insisted that she did not pay and kept explaining the situation to the guy at the booth. Even then, he did not offer and all of us with Naoko were completely shocked. It wasn't until after I made a point to tell Comicon management that the guy gave in. I felt very embarrassed that this guy was so rude and so ignorant of Japanese culture as to not know the proper thing to do in that situation--especially if his store specializes in Japanese goods.

So, please, any of you who read a so-called "Comicon report," please take it with a grain of salt. I remember the many happy faces of over 1000 Sailor Moon fans, so I know the show was a great success.

(6) Spring and Chaos (Kenji's Spring)

Ronald Scovil insisted that we do not have the rights to Spring and Chaos. This is not true--we do have worldwide rights to the title and are just beginning our marketing plan. As you may know, Spring and Chaos is the beautiful animation piece about Kenji Miyazawa, Japan's greatest modern poet and writer. It is an hour-long TV special and very artistic. We are hoping to work with a fine-art company to introduce Kenji Miyazawa to the rest of the world. We do not anticipate a typical video-only release of the title because we are not an anime video company. As our marketing plans become finalized, we will announce them to you. When we do release the title, there is a very good chance that we will release a sub-title version for those who prefer subs.

The dub we produced was produced professionally, like other dubs. We did use professional actors (a cast of 12, if I recall), with some extras chosen from around the office. This is a typical situation in Japan, as well as other American productions. The voice recording was done in the United States and the mixing and sync was done in Japan by the original production house. The rumors that the entire production was completed in 3 days are untrue. It took us three days just to record the voices, let alone complete the entire production. Over 30 hours of recording for 53 minutes of relatively dialogue-free scripting is far more time than needed, but we did many retakes to be sure we had the best cuts possible. (For reference, the original Japanese voice recording was completed in 2 days).

(7) Mixxzine 2-2

Mixxzine 2-2 has arrived at some stores, and subscription copies are being mailed this week. We think it's the best issue yet. Gundam has been launched, and we have more full-color pages and unified design. The manga are presented as two-on-one page with color borders. Everyone around the office thinks it looks great. It will take some adjustment to read the magazine on its side, but we believe it will be worth it in the end, since it allows us to continue publishing many pages of manga. Some of you may take a bit to adjust to it, but keep an open mind and give it a shot. It certainly can't hurt. We want to be able to provide lots of manga, as well as interesting editorial, and this is our new concept on how to do it. I think our editorial is improving, too, although we still need more practice :-)

Oh, by the way, some people have said "Why don't you go monthly instead of launching a new magazine?!" We still plan to go monthly for Mixxzine and hope to go monthly for Smile, too, if things go well. To grow the circulation to the necessary amount, we needed to split Mixxzine first and define both magazine's editorial concept. We have not changed our plans to go monthly. It's not an easy thing with a glossy, color magazine like ours. But it will happen--I promise. I can't promise when because I don't know now, but that is definitely our goal.

(8) PR

Because of the group of hecklers, we were not able to continue the Webboard, however we will try to figure out the best way to stay in touch with everyone. Feel free to e-mail your suggestions, but please understand we are not a huge company and are busy--it's not possible to spend all our time talking to everyone. We read all the letters that come into the office, but it is not practical to respond to them all when one is a magazine. All magazines are the same way in this sense, so bear with us. Our first priority has to be to get the publications completed and out to you, the readers, which is a tremendous task in itself. However, we will come up with a plan to inform you about Mixx info on a regular basis.

(9) MixxOnline

Our editorial content from Japan is updated a few times a week now, so please come look at it often. We have staff in our Tokyo office devoted to uploading info on a real-time basis, so don't let it go to waste. In the future, we plan to add video and other enhancements. Send us suggestions for what kind of info you want to see online.

(10) Summary

Well, it's been a long announcement, but the entire Mixx team believed it important to clear the air on all these issues. Obviously, we cannot discuss all of our business plans because we are a company and some information is confidential. However, we have always thought of ourselves as a pretty open company and have been so stunned by the group of hecklers that had been sabotaging us, we weren't sure what to do. We've made some mistakes in the last year--we should have told everyone about Sailor Moon's move much earlier. However, we never claimed to be perfect and we really are doing our best. And, if you get to know me personally, you would see pretty quickly that I'm not Satan or evil or a money-grubber or whatever. Yes, this is a business and we need to make money to stay in operation. No, I'm not driving a Mercedes or a Lexus (I wish). In fact, I've put my entire life savings into this business (not counting thousands upon thousands of hours of pure sweat). I know you wish I could respond more often, but please remember I run two offices (on the other side of the world from each other), and work on all our new products, as well as the old ones. As the company grows, there will be more Mixxers to interact with you. Even if we can't always meet online, come visit us at the cons, too. And please remember--we're on the same side here.

Thank you for your continued support.

Stu Levy
On behalf of the entire Mixx Entertainment staff


Rebuttal from Ronald Scovil, Jr.

Today was a pretty somber day.

Stu is making some pretty serious assertions while still dodging answering the questions that not I but the readers have put together.

The title was "honorary" No one used titles per se or had a potpourri of various responsibilities. You are in essence saying I gave the janitor the Editor in Chief title. So when that article that was due didn't come in or wasn't written We can blame him for what allegedly weren't his duties in the first place.

To quote you directly
"Although I will not name them here, it is easy for all of you to recognize the group of Ronald's friends that have united to help Ronald in his quest for revenge. The Eye on Mixx page, the "unofficial Webboard" on Ronald's girlfriend's site, the "20 Question Ultimatum" attack, the "report" from San Diego Comicon--all these activities stem from this group of hecklers."

Stu made the mistake of earlier stating that I had created this moniker for him and have been "coercing" and making others use it. He also asserts that I am the reason why SOS wrote the report that they did about his handling of Naoko Takeuchi at the San Diego Comic Con.

I also am responsible for his saying he was anti-subs at Otakon during a panel discussion in which Trish Ledoux was cheered for defending subs against Stu.

I was not at either of these events. The opinions that came out of each is based solely on peoples own personal interactions and dealings with Stuart. However, he wishes to say that I made people post up about what happened or what he said. Once again I was not at either of these events. People chose to make their own con reports and some did so from the con itself. So if they were angry or upset that is their right to be so.

There are 3 different reasons he is now giving for the webboard being deleted. First it was because individual users were flaming each other, then it was the use of profanity amongst the users in their questions on the webboard, now finally it is because some people were not happy with the product they saw or were seeing and chose to make their opinions heard.

Seeing the varying stories and reasons for each excuse to shut it down someone is lying. Fortunately the EyeOnMixx page has been documenting everything going on, so people can read both sides and make their OWN opinions.

Unlike Stu who will tell you once you hear my side you have to agree with me. I like to let people make their OWN decisions good or bad.

In claiming that the eye on Mixx page is a "hecklers" page he is out right dishonest and lying. In both of the polls that are on the bottom of the page there are 5 choices. Ranging from I love Mixx to I do not like the new mag and won't buy anymore.

People can choose whatever they wish and it is being calculated openly for everyone to see. No one is saying if you like Mixx do not use the ballots.

In fact the EyeonMixx page was started by two other individuals not myself because of the flagrant question dodging and excuse making being made on the Mixx webboard.

The webboard was intended to be there for the readers and yet once they decide for themselves that they do not like something. It is their voices that are silenced.

For someone who wants to try to embrace the flag and wrap himself in the freedoms that this country provides. Stu you don't understand one of the easiest and simple rights people have. The right to free speech.

The bbs page that was put up on anime-manga.net was added so that people who liked or disliked Mixx and the stories could still engage in banter. It was not created to be a bbs of destruction or hatred. In fact as it was created and hosted the reasons for its creation were made known.

Stu, you don't know what the hell you are talking about.

Read the damn welcome message on the bbs. I will quote it here.

I would like to thank you all for participating in this chat.

Many of us have been on opposing sides, some of us have had opinions of each other that were non complementary. Let's face it we argued at times. One thing was for sure, a small publication called Mixxzine and their internet outlet as the webboard brought us together.

There are a lot of subscribers and purchasers that are probably what we would have been like without the use of the internet. A person buying Mixx off the shelf probably doesn't know what is going on with Mixx. I can only hope those customers become wise and make choices that most benifit them and not Mixx at this point in time. ............... I would like to say I cannot try to censor your opinions, good or bad nor will I. I do ask however, we do try to keep outright flaming out of this board. People are not idiots, morons, and other curse words. They may have silly, foolish, or unfounded ideas. Even if our discussion turns to Stu, lets try to keep the foul language to a minimum. If you guys want to have conversations about Magic Knight Rayearth and other Mixx titles on side conversations, by all means go ahead......"

Uh oh yeah this makes it sound that it is a hatefest brewing . If you read some of the damn posts people encourage each other to buy the pocket manga, Animerica Extra or what everelse they want to talk about......

On this very usenet someone created a message for people to purchase Chibi-Pop as an alternative. That is great. He can say whatever the hell he wants. No one is censoring him here or anywhere else other than in Mixx forumns.

>From Stuart,
"First, let me make it clear that no matter what any of the hecklers have said online, we are not moving Sailor Moon to rip you off. That's entirely ridiculous because if you feel like you're being ripped off, you won't buy our products. Why would we want that? And we certainly can't hide the fact that we're moving Sailor Moon, so it's not like we thought "Aha, we'll sneak one by them!"..............

And later
We've made some mistakes in the last year--we should have told everyone about Sailor Moon's move much earlier.

You point out what happened. What was happening was pointed out by people who read Previews and read the webbaord. You personally chose not to have the subscribers informed about Sailor Moon leaving. I argued that. I also argued that the vast majority of renewals were from Sailor Moon fans and having the subscriptions switched over to Smile.

Knowing that that notification is now in error You want to claim ignorance and say it was all an innocent mistake after the fact. It was either an error or it was intentional.

In fact if you read the Mixx editorial that you pointed out that YOU wrote. Where does it ever day that you will have to get two publications to get the complete Sailor Moon story? Victor is still working at Mixx. Why did he not correct this information at AnimeExpo?

It is about an equal error as Clinton developing amnesia. You conviently forget what you choose and attempt to delete and rewrite history later on.

Before Mixx was even incorporated and "I" went to the net to get the first subscribers to it. I did say two seperate magazines. One shoujo and one shounen. But they were 100% manga magazines with only relevant anime/manga enthusiast editorial if that. Get your story straight. I said it at BakaCon for 3 days. But you wouldn't know because bailed out on the con YOU agreed to attend.

Anyone who attended the Mixx panel or talked to me at the shoujo manga and other panels could tell you as much.

Lastly from Stu
In fact, we knew that some people would possibly cancel their subscriptions or not subscribe, but we also knew that after everyone understands what we're trying to do, we'll have all of your support.

Some of the people whose support you did have have chosen to cancel because they are now informed of what you intend to do. And how it is being presented. Not notifying subscribers or anyone prior was really dishonest. If the decision was made after AnimeExpo the Mixx webboard is real time it could have been announced there. There were over 1400 ppl registered who read it for information. The website also could have had a real time notification. But subscribers who still haven't recieved their issues will not know until when? Mid October and after they have renewed. Then they will have to research and find out why Sailor Moon isn't in Mixx.

I won't even comment on the Kenji Spring and Chaos.dub process which was just that.

Stu you do not exist to me.

--
Ron Scovil Jr.
yasuke on IRC
Studio Phoenix

EyeonMixx http://members.tripod.com/~eyeonmixx/ Indepentant and read it for yourself

The SOS review of ComicCon http://pei.physics.sunysb.edu/~ming/sos/comicon/cc-report.html

Oh yeah Stu now says I control SOS which has been around for how long?
--
Ron Scovil Jr.
yasuke on IRC
Studio Phoenix

who thinks some people are absolutely immoral and clueless say hi to the girlfriends for me.


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