Interview with Robert Silva, Part 2

by Bamboo Dong,
During its initial run, Anime Play received some negative reactions as to the material and the way that it was presented. To address those concerns, Silva replied that “more is better.” He said that he was open to feedback and other thoughts and perspectives, but ultimately, the key was to “follow [his] own heart.”

“I'm educated enough in this whole field of publishing to know what I think would work,” he said. “Instead of asking yourself, 'how can I please the masses,' you have to first please yourself and please the inner fanboy. I'm hoping there are enough people with similar perspectives as fanboys.”

Along with the new look to the magazine, there was also a change made to the staff. While the first three issues were developed by their parent company, Hirameki International's associates in Japan, issue four was “brought back to the US.” Instead of having an editor in chief that was based in Japan, the new product called for an American staff that would be more familiar with the target market.

When asked if the relatively young ages of the staff members influenced the outcome of the magazine, Silva commented that “I feel it changes the look and style of it.” Having the difference between someone aged 25 as himself as opposed to someone older would alter the image of the magazine, but he stated that while much of the staff was young, it was not done on purpose. He commented on their graphic designer, “He has the wisdom and knowledge of a 38-year old, but the heart of an 18-year old. Put those two together, and you have the heart and vision of a younger person, but the experience of someone older.”

Another interesting aspect of Anime Play is their target audience. Instead of just concentrating on pre-existing anime fans, they wanted to appeal to “anyone who is a fan of anime, and anyone who appreciates beautiful artwork.”

Anime Play is the first North American anime DVD-based publication. Regarding whether or not he thought the market was ready for such a magazine, he replied saying “Who knows? I hope that they are ready for something like that. I want to show people the potential of a DVD magazine. It's one of those things like my job is to do the best magazine or DVD that I can.”

With the DVDs, his goal that he was striving for was the actively reflect and portray anime and to get in the minds of the creators. The end result would be a magazine/DVD hybrid for which each part would stand up well on its own, but be complements of each other.

“Each medium has its strengths,” said Silva. “Words and pictures in a magazine work very well for doing certain things. Video—it's very strong in some things, but poor in other things. I feel like animation is something that's meant to be seen on a screen—moving.”

The DVD would open the doors to other things as well, such as “how to draw” sessions, behind-the-scene looks at studios, voice actors, and more.

By the end of 2004, his target circulation was simply just “the bigger the better. We're aiming to get as large of a circulation as possible... We're trying to make it as big as possible. When it comes to circulation, they're agreed—the bigger the better.” Anime Play already has relationships with outlets like Barnes & Noble, Borders, and Suncoast, so the magazines should be readily available on store shelves.

“I really feel like it's definitely a whole new magazine. I do hope that it's something [fans] would enjoy. I'm trying with each issue to make it better and better. I just want people to try it out. Anime Play 4 is a great start of something very exciting.”

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