Sometimes it seems as if my life really came into being when I came into contact with the magic of the moving picture. I was six; rather late by today's standards, or even the standards of then. I apparently harrassed my parents to take me along with them to a movie. The movie was The Buddy Holly Story, of all things, but it's one of the earliest memories that exists as more than a fractured, surreal, meaningless fragment.
I'm not old enough yet to have really decided if my parents were really weird or just intelligent; that probably won't come until I have kids of my own and realize I'm doing the same weird things. But it seems to have resulted in my being a quiet, shy, almost friendless lad who read too many damned books. I still count Quest for a Maid and Earthfasts among my favorite books.
I reached a turning point in 9th grade; I'm not sure what the hell happened to me. I reversed my apparent personality completely; I became, if not popular, well known, in the way that slightly mad, good for a laugh people are.
I've got a few theories:
But it's the going to movies bit that really matters here.
My tastes were refreshingly diverse; I'd watch anything. At least, anything good. This led me, one fateful day, down to a local art theater to see a obscure Japanese film known as Angel Dust. Words cannot properly express the sheer greatness of the film; and even if they could, they cannot express the impact the film had on me. Crawling out of the theater after sitting on the edge of my seat with fear throughout, I drove home paranoid and shivering. Of course, this was also because it was winter and my heater sucked.
Angel Dust has, I'm happy to report, not lessened it's impact on me after 5 viewings; and everyone I've shown it to has had a smaller version of my reaction. I'm aware that I tend to exaggerate everything; hell, that's what got me the request to write this thing. But Angel Dust really cemented in me the importance of EVERY aspect of a film: colors, sound, motion, crowds, silence, pacing -- everything combined together to make the film effective.
I still haven't been able to get my hands on any further films by the director, Sogo Ishii... But I did the next best thing. I watched every Japanese film I could lay my hands on. After nearly two years of this, and talking about it to anyone who'd listen, someone finally got around to handing me a tape of anime -- Ninja Scroll. God how I loved that. God, what an idiot I was. But it was enough; I showed up at the first meeting of the anime club here and never looked back.
Though I have looked sideways quite a bit.
Encouraged to take Japanese as my language requirement, I picked up a few scattered volumes of manga near the end of my first year...which was the second impact. Once I began to get the knack of it, and found an easy enough series, it became clear to me that there really wasn't anything I wanted to do more than sit around and translate it.
The more I translated, the less I got out to see movies, and my original plan of being a film critic slipped by the wayside. The website I'd begun became neglected. I'm unshaken in my resolve: I'm looking at ways to get myself to Japan as soon as possible..
First, stuff I've had a hand in:
-- the remnants of my review site. I think I was getting pretty good near the end.
-- the website that proves my friends are as mad as me. I'm loosly involved in role playing; I find it a fun way to develop original characters for the anime script I pretend I'm going to write one of these days.
-- the results of my translation efforts so far. They may not be accurate, but damnit, I'm at least fairly sure you won't notice. Too often.
-- the anime club I run here at Boston University. We're sponsered by one of the oddest men who's ever lived; Shirakawa, a native of California who teaches Japanese here and has perfected a speech pattern that makes him sound badly dubbed. Favorite moment: yelling "The East wind blows in a horse's ear" out in class inexplicably when we couldn't remember what to do with adjectives.
Not directly related to me sites:
-- The Ultimate Manga Guide: one of the greatest, most insane endeavours around. A bountiful store of useful information, or places where information could go if insane people like me got around to actually giving it too him. If you need to know anything about manga, look here first. If you know anything about manga, look here and see if he does too: if not, add it. And someone rich and cool give the man a decent URL and unlimited space! This is too valuable a resource to be trapped on Geoshitties.
-- Anime on DVD. Yeah, I'm a regular. Better updated news than most news sites, and the largest decent discussion community outside of Usenet.
-- I see other people have already selected this and NJStar many times over. I'll do it again, because they're just that useful.
-- No Outlet joins as an online comic that's consistently funny. Providing a moment of pleasure at the end of a long day.
-- I bought the massive collection of Manga that scares all real Japanese people who stop buy here.
-- In my random wanderings, I sometimes come across the sort of site that just makes you need to create an award. This had the impact on me that Mahir had on everyone else.
http://www.duellists.tj/ -- The Utena Encyclopedia. Why can't EVERY series have a site like this ? No halfassed halfway there and forgotten about site with the same stuff as everyone else. This has it all.
-- This one's headed in that direction. I've found it very useful; more info on the manga and it's nailed it.
-- You'd think by this time I'd be more mature than to laugh at silly foreign people writing in languages they clearly don't speak. I still get a kick out of HECTO and HK subtitles; and I get a kick out of 'Soak Face.'
-- Or, how I found half the stuff I read now. A single scanned, translated issue of a manga, no matter how illegal, can do more for getting someone interested in a series than anything else. Hell in a random fit of Photoshopping, I stole, with permission, the scans of The Violinist of Hamelin Sizer had up and retouched them, flipping, and adding my translation. for my version.
Here's the point at which I realize how little of my time I actually spend websurfing. Let me wind up by blabbing something about what I hope to see when I'm ready to turn professional:
An Ultimate Manga guide that really is ultimate. Geobreeders retouched properly. Viz hiring writers to beat their translators out of leaden prose. A serious effort to make truly detailed, informative sites on things we love. Combined, community efforts to make these sites as good as possible. A lot more attention to manga. Mosquiton recognized as the height of greatness it is on DVD. Wild Cherry Pepsi in every convenience store. That rumored Anime soundtrack thing working out and re-releasing all the Giant Robo soundtracks I can't find. A market expanding enough that I can actually hope to make really good money working in.Hell, I can't have all these things; I'll be lucky to get even one or two. But ya gotta have dreams. Or what good is life ? Well, as long as is being successful, who cares ? I don't.
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Last Update: 12/6/99