Sunday, November 21, 2021

ninteen anime eighty-one part one

 

Hey gang, earlier this year during the online Anime North convention, I delivered a virtual presentation all about what Japanese animation was like forty years ago, back in 1981. Well, those convention panels, even online ones, move pretty fast. If you aren’t careful you’ll miss something. I know I did! So that’s why today here at Let’s Anime we’re going to take that presentation and turn it into a column that we all can enjoy at our leisure.

Of course, 1980 was a big year for Japanese animation; big movies, big franchises, big shows. But if you thought 1980 was packed with cartoon goodness, well, you hadn’t ain’t done seen nothin’ yet. 1981 made 1980 look like a quiet Sunday at Grandma’s. Don’t believe me? Just look at what we’re looking at first.

 


1981 had no idea this show was going to become a massive international success. King Of Beasts Golion was one in a long line of Toei super robot cartoons built around a toy – they literally designed the toy first and the show was written around its five combining lion mecha robot beast fighters. Golion came and went in Japan without making too much of an impact, but when World Events Productions localized it as Voltron, it was exactly what North American kids were looking for. Voltron and its various sequels, reboots, and remakes continue to loom large in our collective memories.


   

Meanwhile, American televangelist Pat Robertson was looking for a way to sell Bibles in Japan, and the ad agency he hired told him “make a cartoon.” Tatsunoko was contracted and the result was Anime Oyako Gekijo, or as it was called on CBN Cable, Superbook, the story of three children and a time travelling robot experiencing bible stories. Superbook aired on cable and broadcast TV, was released on home video several times, and currently exists, like the Bible itself, in several different versions. We’ve written about Superbook and Flying House and Superbook II before!
 

 
Speaking of co-productions, the legendary Greek epic of Ulysses got an anime makeover in Ulysses 31, a TMS-DIC co-production updating the Homeric epic to the 31st century. America didn’t get this show until a few years later but those who saw it were dazzled by the sweet Osamu Dezaki animation, which blew away pretty much everything else on the TV.


 


Over on the cable channels you might have been watching Nickelodeon when they aired MK Company/Visual 80/Toho’s Meiken Jori, or as we know it, Belle & Sebastian. Inspiring live-action films and Scottish indie pop bands, this adaptation of the 1965 French novel is about a boy and his dog and another dog on a journey through the Pyrenees as they elude the cops and search for mother. I’d say this one’s long overdue for a North American DVD release.


 



Can a gloomy abandoned girl find happiness again in the paws of a ridiculous stray dog? Find out in Ohayo Spank! This 65 episode TMS series was based on the Nakayoshi manga by Shunichi Yukimuro and Shizue Takanashi, and found success in Japan and Europe. Sadly, Hello Spank’s only North American foothold was an English-narrated promo reel and a children’s plastic chair.


 


The Robinson family gets marooned on a mysterious island in the Nippon Animation World Masterpiece Theater adaptation Swiss Family Robinson – Flone Of The Mysterious Island, based on the novel by Johann David Wyss. The 1981 anime series adds a Robinson daughter to the cast and you can watch it in English on Amazon Prime, if you want to know if they ever get off that island!


  


Another western literary adaptation is MIC’s Little Women teleseries, one of the many times Louisa May Alcott’s novel has been translated into anime form. This version lasted 25 episodes and was dubbed by Sound International Corporation, the same people that dubbed Honey Honey and Leo The Lion. Did it exist in America beyond a few VHS tapes?


  



The Three Musketeers battle again, this time as dogs, in Dogtanian, a co-production between Japan’s Nippon Animation and Spain’s BRB International. Enjoyed by children worldwide – there’s even an Afrikaans dub and an Albanian dub - the English voices were provided by Americans living in Madrid.

 
 


Meanwhile over in Scotland, let’s say hello to Hello Sandybell, the Toei series about the young Scots girl with an enormous dog and a cottage surrounded by flowers. Will she finally be reunited with her mother? Will her romance with the handsome rich kid who lives in the castle up the hill finally be realized, or will her rival Kitty win out? Watch the show and find out. Fair warning: this show features a character named “Mark Brunch Wellington.”


 

 

1981 was a big year for romantic European gals. MIC’s Honey Honey, based on the manga by Hideko Mizuno, is literally chased around the world because her cat Lily happened to swallow the priceless gem the Star Of The Amazon. It seems Princess Flora of Austria promised to marry whoever retrieved the jewel, which she had inserted inside a fish, fulfilling some no doubt whimsical Central European tradition. A crew of ethnic stereotypes and handsome masked thieves track Honey from Austria to Germany, France, England, Spain, Italy, Iraq, Japan, Norway and Russia only to wind up in New York City. This 29-episode shoujo comedy was dubbed into English by Sound International, aired in the US on Pat Robertson’s CBN Cable, and has only had a few sporadic home video releases.



 


And in modern day Japan, the glamourous young teacher Miss Machiko is forced to endure a constant parade of sexual harassment from her elementary school class in a Studio Pierrot anime series that lasted 92 (!) episodes and inspired eight (!!!!) different live-action versions, all based on eight volumes of Takeshi Ebihara manga, because Japan loves this kind of thing, I guess. Don’t take my word for it, watch it for yourself on Crunchyroll!




  

Japan also loves pro wrestling and Tiger Mask II delivers the kind of powerful masked grappling that inspires millions of fans, and also inspires Tatsuo Aku to don the titular mask and become the second Tiger Mask in this sequel to the early 70s Toei hit, which was based on the popular manga by Ikki Kajiwara and Naoki Tsuji, and which also inspired real-life wrestlers, as well as a legacy in the ring and on TV that lasts to this day.


 


The 65 episode Tatsunoko series Dash Kappei stars diminutive high school sports champion Kappei and was remarkably successful in the ratings, maybe because of Kappei’s panty fetish. Nope, not kidding.



 


Etsumi Haruki’s Jarinko Chie, or Chie The Brat, or Downtown Story as TMS would have you call it, is the story of a short-tempered Osaka girl named Chie and her ne’er do well gambling father, as Chie valiantly attempts to get Dad meaningful employment and a reconciliation with mom.


 


Kenichi’s best friend is the little ninja Hattori, who has amazing ninja powers but is deathly afraid of frogs. Based on the manga by Fujiko A. Fujio, the Shin-ei anime series Ninja Hattori-kun lasted an impressive six hundred and ninety-four (694!!) episodes.



 

You might know Akira Toriyama for Dragonball, but his first manga success was Dr. Slump, the tale of a fumbling genius inventor and his greatest creation, the robot girl Arale. Toei’s cartoony, colorful, crowded, and crazy Dr. Slump anime series ran for 243 episodes, ten movies, a 1997 remake, and at one point crossed over with this series ---


 


Queen Millenia is based on the Leiji Matsumoto manga of the same name which was serialized one page a day, five days a week, for 1000 days, in the Sankei Shimbun and Nishinippon Sports newspapers. That was the plan, anyway. Toei Doga would animate 42 episodes about of the discovery of La Metal, the 10th planet, which not only is on a collision course with Earth, but whose advanced civilization sends a queen to secretly rule over Earth every thousand years. What happens when La Metal’s queen sides with the Earth people? This mashup of the Princess Kaguya tale, the kook-science works of Immanuel Velikovsky, and the film When Worlds Collide would be edited together with the 1978 Captain Harlock anime and be shown in America as “Captain Harlock And The Queen Of 1000 Years.” And as mentioned, there was that crossover with Dr. Slump.



Over at Tatsunoko, the Time Bokan series continued with the fifth installment Yattodetaman, as Princess Karen and her robot guardian Daigoron travel back in time to 1981 to recruit Wataru Toki and Koyomu Himekuri in a quest to capture the immortal fire-bird Phoenix - no relation to Tezuka's Hi no Tori.


 


Prince Mito and his loyal retainers set out in the super robot Daioja to inspect the galactic empire in this fifty-episode Sunrise sci-fi update of the popular Mito Komon jidaigeki television series.

 



Also from Sunrise, Fang Of The Sun Dougram documents the guerrilla rebellion of planet Deloyer from the corrupt Earth Federation and its puppet government. Created by Ryosuke Takahashi, this real robot series featured mecha designs by Gundam’s Kunio Okawara, and toys and model kits of this series’ mecha would appear in North America both badged as “Robotech” and under the Dougram brand, while Dougram manga by Yoshihiro Moritou would see print in Kodansha’s Comic BonBon, not to be confused with the completely different Dougram manga by Yu Okazaki, which was running at the same time in Adventure King, make up your mind Japan.

 
 



Robot mayhem continues from TMS with God Mars! Earth is attacked by the Gishin space empire, led by the dark emperor Zule. Our only hope is Crasher Squad member Takeru Myojin, who it turns out is actually a Gishin space alien with ESP powers and a six-god combination super robot that doubles as a planet-destroying bomb sent to demolish the Earth! Based on the manga by Mitsuteru Yokoyama, TMS’s God Mars ran for 65 episodes of colorful, science fictiony, very not-real robot action, and you can watch it right now streaming for free on Tubi.



Speaking of unreal robots, Sengoku Majin Goshogun is all about how the shadow illuminati Dokuga, secretly ruling the world for Lord NeoNeros, comes under attack by Good Thunder and the GoShogun team, using Beamler energy to battle for the fate of humanity! Ashi Pro’s Goshogun only lasted 26 episodes but its mix of colorful action and fun characters captured enough fans to get a compilation film and a sequel OAV. Portions of the show were dubbed into English as “Macron 1,” the television broadcast version of which contains music video segments featuring covers of popular 80s tunes. The Japanese series has been released in North America by Discotek and is streaming on Retrocrush.


 


Hiro Taikai finds a gold cigarette lighter that instead of helping smokers to get lung cancer, is actually the transforming sentient super robot Gold Lightan, sent to defend the Earth from invasion by the Mechanic Dimension. This Tatsunoko series lasted 52 episodes and is streaming on HIDIVE!

 


From the studio that brought you Little Women and Honey Honey comes Galaxy Cyclone Braiger, the first in Yu Yamamoto’s J-9 series. In the lawless Asteroid Belt, four outer space commandos for hire use their expanding plasma super robot Braiger to defy the cult-leader crime-lord Khamen Khamen, who plans to blow up Jupiter. Will he succeed? Get the discs from Discotek and find out!


 

Rumiko Takahashi’s outer space high school comedy Urusei Yatsura concerns itself with the tumultuous relationship between the space princess Lum and the Earthling reprobate Ataru, except when it focuses on their equally wacky friends and neighbors. Urusei Yatsura came to TV in 1981 courtesy Studio Pierrot, and its mix of girls, gags, and galactic shenanigans would last 218 episodes, spawn six feature films, appear in a Matthew Sweet music video, and generally obnoxious-alien its way into pop culture legend. The series was released in English by AnimEigo and the pilot was dubbed into English on two separate occasions.
That’s an awful lot of anime TV shows! Join us next time when we head to the movie theater, buy a ticket, some soda, a large popcorn, and some Twizzlers, and also take a look at the Japanese anime theatrical films of 1981!
-Dave Merrill



Monday, October 18, 2021

anime weekend atlanta is back



After a year off ANIME WEEKEND ATLANTA returns to the Cobb Galleria Centre and the Renaissance Waverly Hotel for four days of Japanese anime fandom fun! It's all happening October 28-31 and you can find out all about the show - including COVID-19 policies - at www.awa-con.com which is and has been the AWA website for years. Hint, the policy is "get vaxxed" and "wear a mask at all times," thank you.

What's happening at the show? Events like the Video Art Track, the Super Happy Fun Sell, video rooms, videogaming, the Starlight Idol festival, the Kuma Kuma Maid Cafe, Anime Hell, panels, workshops, exhibits, AWA's cosplay contest, the giant vendors' hall and Artists Alley, tabletop gaming, and the Super Happy Fun Sell. Guests include voice talent Dante Basco, Khoi Dao, Chris Guerrero, Lisa Ortiz, Christina Vee, Austin Tindle, Derick Snow, Alejandro Saab, Faye Mata, Kyle Hebert, Eric Vale, and Roger Clark. Music guests include Kino, Meirlin, Shihori, ACME, James Landino, and MIYAVI. Fashion/cosplay artist guests include Baby The Stars Shine Bright, Thranduart, A7L props, Yarn Goddess Cosplay, Casey Renee Cosplay, and Sunlight Cosplay.

Carl Gustav Horn, the man who brought America Golgo 13, will also be at AWA representing Dark Horse Comics and their decades-long commitment to manga. Carl Horn has edited Fate/Zero, Oh My Goddess, Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, At The Mountains Of Madness, Banana Fish, Blood: The Last Vampire, Cardcaptor Sakura, Eagle, Eromanga Sensei, Mob Psycho 100, and something called Neon Genesis Evangelion.

Neil Nadelman will be bringing his Totally Lame Anime a-game to AWA with a new batch of terrible anime failures for your viewing pleasure. And Ryan Gavigan returns with anime parody dub late night fun with Midnight Madness. 

 

artwork by @Jmanvelez
 

Among other events, the Gunpla-jama party will be making its return to AWA this year! Be sure to mask and pajama up for some gunpla building fun on Friday night October 30th from 10:15 to 12:15 in room CGC 105!

 


 

What am *I* up to this year? Well, I'm back managing the SuperHappyFunSell Thursday night at 6pm in the Renaissance Waverly's Grand Ballroom. This event is a wild flea market as pre-loved anime goods pass from fan to fan, finding new homes. 

 


 

AWA founders Lloyd Carter and myself are presenting the History Of AWA Friday at 3:30pm in room 103 in the Cobb Galleria Centre, taking a twenty seven year voyage back in time to the beginning of the convention - and beyond. 

 


 

Anime Hell returns to AWA at 10pm on Friday in Main Events (Hall D, Cobb Galleria Centre) bringing the customary two full hours of short form Japanese animation and Japanese animation related nonsense to the audio/visual centers of your brain!

 


 

My First Anime takes a look at the Japanese cartoons that first hit us like a ton of bricks and made us fans, from the 1960s all the way to the 2010s, every anime was somebody's first anime, what was yours? Saturday at 10:15am in the Highlands Room in the Renaissance Waverly.

It's AWA's first year back after 2019 and we're hoping we can get the machine running safely, soundly, and successfully. See you in Atlanta! 


-Dave Merrill

Saturday, August 7, 2021

Eagle Sam The Anime Olympic Eagle


It's Summer Olympics time again and the world's athletes are sweating it out in Tokyo while the world watches... from home, because COVID-19 is still a thing and spectators aren't allowed into the games. Fans of Japanese animation have been making Akira references since the Games were announced, the news media has had fun misidentifing Odaiba's Gundam statue, and in general Japanese pop culture has been an inextricable part of these 2020/2021 games. But did you know evidence of a Japanese anime connection to the Olympics might just be all around you?

Now pitching for the Dodgers, Eagle Sam The Olympic Eagle

Back in 1984 the Summer Olympics were held in Los Angeles, and the committee selected an all-American mascot, Sam The Eagle. Sam was designed by Disney artist Bob Moore to be a friendlier, cuddlier version of America's national bird, the eagle, which is typically seen as stern and intimidating. Sam The Olympic Eagle would appear on a wide variety of merchandise and as a graphic element on hundreds of Olympic publications, and the mascot suit character would be seen around the world as part of Olympic events. 

 


However, one iteration of Sam The Olympic Eagle would only be seen in Japan. Taking this eagle to its bosom, more than forty Japanese companies licensed the character, releasing hundreds of character goods. A TV cartoon to sell this merch was a natural move, and Dax International, fresh from Vickie The Viking and Kirin Masterpiece Romantic Theater, got together with TBS to air the anime version of Sam The Olympic Eagle under the title "Eagle Sam." Please, we ask you, don't confuse this Eagle Sam with the Eagle Sam that narrated Disneyland's "America Sings" attraction. The Eagle Sam animation aired Thursdays at 7 from April 1983 until March 1984, for a total of 51 episodes.

Eagle Sam in April 1983's "My Anime"

You'd think an animated cartoon about an Olympic mascot would involve sports, but Eagle Sam has more important things to do - he runs a detective agency in Birdie Town, and that Uncle Sam hat? It's magic! Keiko Han voices Canary Carina, Sam's sexy secretary. Tagging along on adventures is Canary's younger brother Guzlan, and the whole crew is constantly coming into conflict with Albatross, Birdie Town's police chief. 

 

Eagle Sam and Canary

If the human being characters sometimes look a little Lupin III-ish, well, that's no surprise, as character designer Yoshio Kabashima also worked on Lupin's second TV series. Sam has adventures around the town and around the world, but strangely enough, there's nary a pole vault or 100 yard dash or diving competition in sight. 

one reason this show might not have made it to export


Eagle Sam shares this un-Olympic quirk with Japan's other Olympic-mascot-themed anime, 1980's Misha The Bear Cub. This TV Asahi series was built around Misha, the mascot for the 1980 Moscow Olympics, and aired from October 1979 until April 1980. Misha is a cuddlier version of the Russian bear designed by Viktor Chizhikov, and he - Misha, not Viktor - lives in an animal town with his mom and dad and his bear girlfriend Natasha, who is also voiced by Keiko Han.

 

Misha and friends and Moscow Olympics logo

Misha's non-track-and-field adventures among the small-town animals are pretty typical kiddy cartoon fare for kiddy cartoons around the world, with the possible exception of episode 18. That's when Misha meets Kunta, the bear mascot of Hokkaido Television Broadcasting, who was named after Kunta Kinte, the star of popular HTB series "Roots." This mascot meeting of the minds might be the loudest echo of the Russo-Japanese War we'd seen in anime until 2018's Golden Kamuy.

Misha vs Kunta

Nippon Animation's Misha made it to France, Italy, and Arabic and Spanish-language markets, and was re-run on Japanese TV in 1999 and 2009. Eagle Sam, on the other hand, not only never aired outside Japan, but hasn't aired since and so far it has yet to see any home video release at all. I guess we know who won that particular Olympic competition.


Eagle Sam merchandise found in America's antique malls

On the other hand, if we want to talk about the availability of merchandise starring Olympic mascots who had their own Japanese TV cartoons, well, Eagle Sam is going to win hands down. Ever since I started keeping an eye out for him, I've seen Eagle Sam merch showing up in antique malls and vintage markets all over the place. He's definitely a 1980s anime character that will never be misidentified as a "Transformer." If you're interested in owning a bit of Olympic / anime history, Eagle Sam mugs, glasses, shirts, plasticware, and plush toys aren't too hard to find, especially every time the Summer Games roll around and the antique mall vendors fill their booth up with seasonal items. Prices can vary widely due to the Crazy Grandma Price Guide effect, so be cautious. 

hey buddy, they won't even let ME wear it

Well, you can't keep a good eagle down. Sam the Olympic Eagle is still seen every year as the mascot of the Mt. SAC Relays at Mt. San Antonio College, part of the LA84 Foundation's endowment, using the surplus from the 1984 Olympic Games to "promote and expand youth sports opportunities in Southern California." Keep up the good work, Eagle Sam!  And if you want to know what it was like to actually BE Eagle Sam, check out this podcast interviewing one of the people inside the Sam mascot costume! 

 


DISCLAIMER: OLYMPIC® is a trademark of the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (“USOPC”). Any use of OLYMPIC® in this blog is strictly for informational and commentary purposes. The Let's Anime blog is not an official blog of the USOPC. The Let's Anime blog is not a sponsor of the USOPC, nor is Let's Anime associated with or endorsed by USOPC in any way. The content of this blog does not reflect the opinions, standards, views, or policies of the USOPC, and the USOPC in no way warrants that content featured in Let's Anime is accurate.
 
-Dave Merrill



Saturday, June 26, 2021

I Was A Teenage Anime Club President

As a former teenage anime club president, I spend a lot of time these days sitting on my porch in my rocking chair with my elderly cronies, sneering at the kids today with their hair and their clothes and their streaming video and their instagram influencers. Actually, I don't do any of that. Instead, occasionally I pull some stuff from my files and use that junk to write about our anime club experience. Like now!


 

The 1980s were tough for anime fans. Streaming video on the internet didn't exist. The internet pretty much didn’t exist. Funimation, Sentai, Nozomi, and Discotek weren’t around to sell us DVDs or Blu-Rays, which also didn't exist. Sure, there were video rentals on every corner, but their anime selections were limited to Ninja The Wonder Boy or Chatterer The Squirrel or Jim Terry compilations of super robot cartoons shoved into the kiddy section. If you wanted anime, you had to know somebody who had it and was willing to copy it for you. In practical terms, you either cultivated a network of Japanese pen pals with whom you'd trade off-air American TV for Japanese anime, or you bought bootleg anime videos from a dealer at your local comic-con, or you joined one of several anime clubs, hoping they’d put you in touch with somebody who'd copy tapes for you. It was a complicated process.

In Atlanta I'd been attending comic conventions and Dr Who club meetings since I was 14, trying to get a line on somebody who knew how I could get my hands on anything with those big-eyed Japanese cartoon characters. The people I met at those conventions and clubs were grownups from places like Florida and Michigan with tapes of Lupin III and Space Cobra, and most were members of something called the Cartoon/Fantasy Organization.


C/FO New York meeting flyer from 1980

There were two other guys in Atlanta also trying to find anime and find others who liked anime. Eventually we put our heads together and decided to start our own local branch of this Cartoon Fantasy Organization. We'd meet once a month in whatever community room we could reserve, we'd screen whatever anime we could find, and we'd generally nerd out. That was our plan and we're still kind of following that plan, some of us.




C/FO Atlanta newsletter 1,3,4,5 (#2 is lost)


For us in Atlanta, those two or three years of C/FO activity were busy times. We had a meeting once a month, we went to every comic con, Trek Fest, and fantasy fair that would let us in the door, and we were constantly meeting at somebody's house to daisy-chain VHS decks and copy Vampire Hunter D or Project A-Ko or some other future Blu-Ray release over and over again into the wee hours, at which point we'd adjourn to Denny's for bad coffee and heartburn.


April 1987, for instance: we watched Time Stranger in somebody’s apartment, we’re going to defy the Omni Hotel’s ban on in-room VCRs, here's some fan art, who wants a button.


Screening anime at meetings meant borrowing the library's Media Cart - a big metal wheeled cart containing a 27" CRT TV and, if we were lucky, a top-loading VHS deck. Eventually we began bringing in our own TVs and VHS decks, and we began splitting the TV signal to secondary monitors and running the audio out to a boom box or somebody's stereo. It got kind of complicated up in there.





C/FO Atlanta newsletter #6-8



March 1987's news featuring Harlock, Gundam, Urusei Yatsura, Dirty Pair. Sounds like my Twitter feed. It only took us eight years to get that proposed anime con off the ground!



C/FO Atlanta newsletter 9-12

Our club screened pretty much whatever turned up that month; a lot of members were swapping VHS with people all over the country and the world, and usually there would be two or three decks in the back of the room copying something for somebody. I'd come home from anime club meetings with a stack of blank tapes that needed Dancougar or Dirty Pair or Yamato copied onto them. The soft whir of the Toshiba M-7850 was always in the background of my life at that time.



tips for home tapers from July 1988


The monthly newsletter we published was a lot of work, but it had benefits. Most importantly, the newsletter told the members where and when our next meeting was. C/FO Atlanta met in a wide variety of locations, including private homes from Smyrna to Stone Mountain, libraries in Little Five Points and Virginia-Highlands, and even a few community rooms located, for some reason, in banks along the Buford Highway corridor, one of which is now a restaurant called “Shaking Crawfish.”


C/FO newsletter volume 2 #1-3


Assembled at first using a law firm’s then state of the art word processing software and laser printers, we later downgraded to a dot-matrix printer, markers, glue stick, and scissors. Producing the C/FO Atlanta newsletter was a crash course in graphic design and guerrilla publishing. Print runs happened wherever and whenever we could get access to somebody’s copier, and this usually meant abusing the hospitality of whoever in the club worked somewhere with a photocopier. But the newsletter was all for a good cause, documenting what the club had been up to for posterity (that’s us now) and cluing members into what was happening in the world of anime. Sometimes the news was even accurate!


your "trusted" source for anime "news"





You might even have been lucky enough to live in a town with enough of a Japanese community to support retailers that sold imported Japanese home goods, Japanese groceries, and Japanese media like magazines, books, comics, and videos. Atlanta was one of those towns, and in our part of town Satsumaya Oriental Grocery was our headquarters for Pocky, Zeta Gundam coffee candy, and rental tapes featuring Dragonball, whatever Sentai show was on the air that season (Choushinsei Flashman), Dragonar-1, Maison Ikkoku, Saint Seiya, Metaldar, City Hunter, and Red Photon Zillion, which seemed to resemble a game some members were playing on their new Sega Master Systems.




Satsumaya rental VHS



Occasionally we'd pack up our VCRs and get a hotel room at one of Atlanta’s fantasy or SF conventions like Dixie-Trek or the Atlanta Fantasy Fair, and we'd screen anime on the TV in our hotel room for our friends and whoever happened to wander in for free snacks.


Thanks to our tapes and the hunger of convention organizers for programming, by 1988 we were running the anime room at Atlanta's largest fantasy convention, the Atlanta Fantasy Fair. Most of what we screened was in Japanese without benefit of subtitles, with a smattering of off-air English dubs and a little fan subbing taking up the slack.





How many people were awake on Sunday for Cyborg 009 Legend Of The Super Galaxy? I don’t know. I can confirm that we had a full house for the Fist Of The North Star movie and Project A-Ko. That’s a room full of non-Japanese speakers watching entire films entirely in Japanese, a testament to the storytelling power of the medium.



C/FO Atlanta newsletter vol. 2 #4-7



C/FO Atlanta newsletter vol. 2 #8-11 (end)



big news for Dec. 1988

Eventually the C/FO would skid to a halt. Leadership devolved to the San Antonio club, which basically decided to game the system, set the national org up to fail, and then act surprised when it failed. Our Atlanta club let inertia decide for us; the national C/FO left us behind in its headlong rush towards oblivion and we decided our new name was going to be the "Animated Film Association" and our newsletter was going to be called “Anime-X”.



the three issues of "Anime X". Look at that great Josh Timbrook Akira cover!


The club kept going under this name for a few months, but after a few years the never-ending cycle of monthly meetings and monthly newsletters and manhandling televisions across town so a room full of slack-jawed strangers can stare at Akira proved too much for me and in early 1989 the club petered out. Was this the end of Atlanta’s anime club scene?


meet the new club, different from the old club

Absolutely not. After an eight months cooling-off period, Lloyd Carter and myself started a new anime club. This new club didn't have a newsletter, wasn't part of a larger club, and wasted no time on bylaws or elections. “Why waste a great name?” we figured, and so we dubbed the new club "Anime-X." This group lasted all the way until the early 2000s, leading to both the print "Let's Anime" and Anime Weekend Atlanta. So we must have been doing something right. More about Anime X later. In the meantime, why not haul a CRT television, a top-loading VCR, and some VHS fansubs to your local community center and start your own anime club? Tell ‘em Dave sent you!


-Dave Merrill, with special thanks to Scott Weikert, Jim Reddy, Shaun Camp, Newton Ewell, Ted Delorme, and a host of C/FO Atlanta members. You know who you are.


we'll let this pencilled-in editorial comment have the last word