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[Anime Web Turnpike]
Weekly Web Picks: 7/14/97

Introducing the AniPike's Famous Fan Web Picks!
A new industry related and/or notable fan guest every second Monday.

July's Special Guest:

        Hello, AniPikers! I am (points up, or sideways), Lea Hernandez. I have been an anime fan since it was called "Speed Racer". I was still an anime fan when it was widely known as "Japanimation". I can imagine many of you out there, you guys and gals that are twenty and under, clawing pathetically at your ears and staggering around in pain at the mere mention of the word. I'll stop.

        I like anime and manga (and animation and comics) so much, I joined the company. Lots of them. The much-worshipped Gainax as vice-president of their U.S. merchandise arm. Dark Horse (Caravan Kidd and Rebel Sword cover colors, Star Wars and Predator story colors), Viz Communications and Studio Proteus (nearly 2,000 pages of retouched manga), DC Comics/Paradox Press (The Big Book of Urban Myths), Marvel Comics (cover inks for The Little Mermaid), Disney Comics and Disney Adventures Magazine (The Little Mermaid #1 finishes and inks), Toshiba/EMI ("Monster Friday" for Comic ON #1), originated and wrote the Wizard magazine anime and manga column for its first year, and illustrated the past year's covers for Animeco magazine. Five short stories sales with anime in-jokes, even. I've also moderated the Genie anime/manga forum, JaMO (Japanimation--screeech! I forgot! Gomen ne!--and Manga Online), for the past six years, and have just launched Anime and Manga Online, with Wendell Hong, on the Dueling Modems service.

        (In both places, I'm known as--dubbed this by the users--The Anime Goddess. I got a letter from someone else's suck-up boy because I made fun of their object of desire and he observed that I called myself a goddess but I wasn't nice. I checked--nope, I never claimed to be nice. Doesn't ANYONE know who Kali is any more? Sheesh.)

        Before we get to my picks, I want everyone who already has a site, or is planning one, to go read "Jay's Web Page Tips" page. I surf a lot, and I see few pages that don't break at least one of the rules of good page design. I saw with my own eyes, an "Under Construction" .gif that was animated--insult to injury! Poor proofreading. (If you have a computer, you probably have a spellchecker. AT the very least, you can buy a dictionary for less than five bucks.) Many, many anime and manga pages that use images that take too long to load. Trust me, and make them load faster without a detectable loss of viewing quality. A page that causes a surfer to doze off while waiting for a giant image to creep down the phone line is nothing to be proud of.

        So, how did I pick my picks? Once I tossed out the obvious dodges like picking my own pages or the pages of people I work for or just picking a page I love like the AniPike five times, I picked stuff I liked. Yep. Liked. Liked for good info. Nice pictures. I picked one because I thought it made a good point. I also picked a couple pages that broke the "rules" of good web design, but they were REALLY good, and their faults were no more than the equivalent of venal sin. (For you non-Catholics, it's a naughty thing that you did that you get rid of by going to confession and promising not to do it again, then saying some "Hail Marys".) For these pages, it would be the matter of an addition or subtraction of a line of code or two, and they would go from being my picks to objects of perfection.

        Now, for my picks, which I like to call the GOOD, the BAD, and the PRETTY.

the GOOD

Ken Aromdee's .

        No, not really a web page exactly, but this FAQ contains every dang thing about Sailor Moon you wanted to know and didn't know you wanted to know, presented in a well-organized and readable form. It's a great resource for Sailor Moon spazzes like myself, but also for Sailor Moon newbies.

        Ken, it's obvious from the FAQ, is getting pretty cranky about being asked the same questions over and over (why else have a FAQ?), so do yourself a favor and read the whole thing before you rocket off email nitpicking or querying or asking to reuse the FAQ.

Next is Scott Frazier's excellent and sobering

        Scott has distilled ten years of experience as a professional in all aspects of anime production into a document that is guaranteed to wise up all but the most starry-eyed of anime fans who imagine that Japan will be fun and shopping and dinners with Rumiko Takahashi and drinks at a hostess bar with Kenichi Sonoda instead of sleeping in parks, sleeping under your desk, painting in smoke-choked rooms, a huge culture gap that results in your boss screaming at you, and cheap-ass weird food shit from the corner store (assuming you have money for food). Required reading for any person who wants to go pro here or in Japan.

        Scott owes me a few "Hail Mary's" and a BGCOLOR tag for his which has a gorgeous graduated background with type that is jewel-like in contrast -when the background loads-. Until it does, the type colors on a default browser setting of white or grey will make you eyeballs vibrate. Then again, if you read all of Scott's pages, it may occur to you like it did to me that he meant to do it--in which case, mea culpa, Scott, and put down that glass-studded club.

Finally, There's EX--The Online World of Anime and Manga.

        Lookee! Anime fans who got an .org and actually are doing something with it! Man, this is one slick production. Great graphics, a fast loader, content I wanted to read. Unlike some other "magazine" web sites, there is no discernable sucking up to companies or personalities, which gives it bonus points. It also has a hilarious column by that Scott Frazier guy--alone, this would be enough to make EX great, but it also has reviews, columns, news. It's everything print anime magazines could be.

        I'd say something like "Fall Down And Worship EX!"--but my Catholic conditioning has kicked in and I can't. Do subscribe to their notify service and bookmark the site. This, like AniPike, is a page every anime fan should be going to. Indispensable, sharp and wonderful.

the BAD

        I was going to include because of one unintentionally hilarious line. Being a good fact-checker, I surfed to the site to make sure the line was still there, but instead I found the ominous line "This Page is Dead", and an explanation why. So how come I'm including a page that doesn't exist? Because it's an excellent cautionary tale of what can result when people think they can and should suck pictures off the web because their mouse has a right button.

        While the keeper of the page is typical in their kvetching about having "their" stuff stolen (the Temple was art scans), the owner was quite right in their ire about having graphics lifted and re-used without permission. I've been ripped off, I'm sure Jay has been ripped off. Excusing this by saying "Hey, it's the web" is like saying it would be okay to copy and give away a book because you were able to check it out from the library. Think of the WWW as a library where everything is shared, but not stolen, and not kept. Think of The Temple of Uranus where, if some people hadn't been blockheads, you might have been able to read the immortal line: "Enter the Temple of Uranus".


        Now, I hope Emily, keeper of , doesn't get steamed that I called her page pretty--but it is. I went to the page because the title was so great I couldn't -not- go. (Another tip for Jay's Web Page Tips: A great title helps. Where do you want to go--The Amazing Anime Hunk-O-Meter or Cute Anime Guys?) This site would have had to been pretty doggy, or loaded in geological time to have kept me from staying to see the Hunk-O-Meter with my own eyes.

        Lucky me--! It wasn't doggy. (Yeah, I know, how could a Hunk-O-Meter be doggy?) The first thing to load is a charming row of hearts, and I knew was in a serious girl-zone, and I loved it. Clearly, Emily likes anime guys. The lowest rating of one heart is "hunk potential", the highest "perfection". It's a funny, charming lark with great pictures and a companion site for .

        I'll be honest--I went looking for a page like this, because girls -do- think differently, and I wanted to see if any girl was willing to do a page that was hardcore, unabashed admiration for Things Girls Like, like boys, Sailor Moon, Magical girls, boys, pretty pictures and boys. Emily's Hunk-O-Meter is it.

        Emily owes me two "Hail Mary's" and a deleted line, however, for her totally unnecessarily self-effacing "under construction" line (hey, Emily, it's like apologizing for unwashed dishes--unless there's new life in the sink, just don't), and a pokey page load. There's also a totally redundant use of a Sailor Moon image with her hearts on the Hunk-O-Meter. Emily runs a web ring and uses some reasonably sophisticated web page design and tools, so I know in my heart she can optimize her images and ditch Sailor Moon so the masses that will now flock to her site may experiences the Hunk-O-Meter more quickly.

        All in all, though, The Hunk-O-Meter is exceptionally good, and worth a look now.

        Am I some kind of web design hardass? Sure, because it's so easy to not suck--even in a mild way--at page design no matter how spare the information conveyed. It's sort of like convincing well-intentioned but outraged fans that Fujishima really really did too say "Oh My Goddess" was okay even though the original Japanese is "Ah My Goddess" -- well, no it's not really. It's more like your papa saying "You could do this if you'd only apply yourself" --annoying in the extreme, but true.

        Even with all the pages that disqualified themselves, mostly through glacial load times, it was still a job to narrow my choices to five pages that I thought represented a good cross-section of anime and manga. Which means there's lots out there waiting to be discovered. Go find it!

Your Anime Goddess (Megamisama no Anime) Lea Hernandez

Weekly Web Picks @ Anime Web Turnpike™
Anime Web Turnpike™ © 1995-1999 Jay Fubler Harvey. All Rights Reserved.
Last Update: 7/14/97