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Otaku Unite! at AWA

posted on by Christopher Macdonald
Anime Weekend Atlanta to screen Otaku Unite!

Following the "rough-cut" premier of Otaku Unite! at Kosaikon, the final, finished documentary will be premiered at Anime Weekend Atlanta in September.

Excerpts from Press Release:

The official world premiere of Otaku Unite!, a feature-length documentary on the history of Japanese animation fandom in the United States, will be held at this year's Anime Weekend Atlanta, September 26-28 in Atlanta, GA.

Two and a half years in the making, Otaku Unite! documents the history of the importation of anime to the U.S. as well as the accompanying fan movement. Japanese animation first made its way to American shores in the early 1960s in the form of theatrical motion pictures, but truly gained visibility later that decade due to syndicated programs such as Speed Racer, Astro Boy, and Gigantor. Anime-specific fan groups were founded in the late 1970s based on a shared enthusiasm for Japanese animation. The efforts of these fan groups led to the inclusion of anime programming in national science fiction conventions throughout the 1980s, eventually giving way to the first convention devoted entirely to the art form, AnimeCon 91. There are now more than 50 anime conventions held annually from coast to coast. Due to the popularity of recent television programs such as Pokémon and Dragon Ball Z, anime has become a household word and is currently enjoying more visibility than ever before.

Production on Otaku Unite! began in November 2000 and wrapped in April 2002. Over the course of that year and a half, the OU! crew attended a dozen anime conventions from New York to San Francisco, Chicago to Dallas as well as the homes and businesses of fandom celebrities and avid fans. Just a few of the faces appearing in this documentary include Steve Bennett and I.C. Entertainment (formerly Studio Ironcat), Carl Macek (creator, Robotech), Fred Patten (co-founder, C.F.O.), Carl Gustav Horn (anime scholar, Viz Communications), Trish Ledoux (writer, Viz Communications), Gilles Poitras (author, The Anime Companion), Frederik L. Schodt (author, Manga! Manga! and Dreamland Japan), Helen McCarthy (co-author, The Anime Encyclopedia), Kaiju Big Battel (anime/kaiju influenced monster wrestling)...the list goes on and on. Some of the events that are featured in OU! include the first anime convention wedding, the first anime con friar's roast, an exclusive behind the scenes look at Kaiju Big Battel plus many more that will remain surprises for now.

Otaku Unite! is a 90 minute documentary that illustrates the history of a truly unique fan group. A fan group that embraces a completely foreign culture, that exhibits the conflicts and feelings common amongst any tight knit community, that ignores the opinions of outsiders in favor of the enjoyment of the cartoons themselves. The evolution of fandom is represented through the use of archive material dating back to the very first anime convention, as is the evolution of both the "cosplay" phenomenon and the representation of Japanese animation on television.
The soundtrack to Otaku Unite! is comprised exclusively of Japanese artists both mainstream and underground. Footage from several anime programs is included throughout the documentary for the benefit of those who are unacquainted with the art form. The result is a sometimes hilarious, sometimes tragic, but all around fun experience for both die-hard anime fans and non-fans alike.

The fine folks at Anime Weekend Atlanta are currently in the process of finalizing their convention's schedule. Otaku Unite! will definitely screen on Friday (September 26) and Sunday (September 28) with a possible third screening to be announced. The Otaku Unite! crew will be on hand for introduction ceremonies prior to all screenings and question and answer sessions following said screenings. Expect quite a few live surprises to occur at all screenings of the film.
Otaku Unite! will also have a space in the dealer's room where you can find out more about those who participated in the project, purchase OU! related memorabilia, and interact with members of Team OU!.


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