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Guests' Web Picks

Special Guest: Monica Shin

Who Me, a Fangirl? Never...

I was asked to write a Guests' Web Pick article and silly me, I agreed. So, here's me in a nutshell... I've been described by various sources as "the ultimate fangirl." I don't know about that -- just because I happen to own 1K+ manga, over 600 tapes of anime and I've been writing fanfics for the last four years doesn't make me a fangirl... does it? Of course, this might also be why I've also been called a fangirl in denial by a few net friends of mine. =)

My name is Monica Shin and I'm a sophmore at UC Berkeley. I'm Vice President of Cal Animage Alpha, U.C. Berkeley's anime club, as well as Secretary, Staff Writer and part of Acquisitions (I wear a lot of hats). I was also Anime Expo Staff (Exhibit Hall) and Fanimecon Staff (Green Room). I've been involved in the anime community ever since Sailor Moon hit the wee hours of the morning (6:30AM!) in NYC during Junior High and I became hooked. I've moved past SM, but it'll always have a special place in my heart -- even if I can't listen to the dub without cringing anymore.

I'm known to be obsessed with some of the most obscure manga series known (or not known) to Western fandom, and to also like the strangest array of stories. For example, I love both Slam Dunk and Marmalade Boy, Legend of the Galactic Heroes and Please Save My Earth. To get a bit more obscure, some of my favorite manga include Dear Boys (basketball manga), Douseiai (yaoi, with a penchant to play musical chairs with sets of lovers), Ppoi! (every day life comedy), Gravitation (comedic yaoi about a relationship between a musician and a writer), Diamond Century (shoujo) and Azuki-chan (really sweet shoujo); oh, and Patarilo! has my vote for weirdest, strangest, funniest shoujo manga. I'm not as much into the anime scene anymore because most of my tapes are at home in NYC and I don't have a second VCR in Berkeley, but my manga obsession is getting worse and worse. Which is bad, since manga weigh more than tapes and cost more too...

Enough about boring old me, onto the picks!

Most of my 'net surfing is actually done on the Anime Web Turnpike -- I usually go straight to the New Turnpike Links and see if there are any new cool, noteworthy sites to be seen. However, there are a few sites that I have bookmarked, mostly because the information on the site is impossible to get elsewhere. Since I'm a manga nut and my Japanese is only at a completed first year level, translations take up a great amount of my web seeking time. Here are a few of my favorite sites:

Tokyo Crazy Paradise - kuryugumi's Home Page
() is one of the first ones I check out when I connect onto the net via my 28.8 modem (cable modem... soooooon...). It contains translations up to the latest chapter released in Hana to Yume, the shoujo phonebook magazine Tokyo Crazy Paradise is released in. I love this series, and I'm so glad there's such a comprehensive site out there with everything from profiles to images to ISBN numbers. This page was obviously created and is maintained as a labor of love -- it shows in the quality of the page.

Inuyasha - Sengoku o-Tougi Zoushi () features the fan translation of Inuyasha, the latest series by Rumiko Takahashi. I am enjoying this series very much, and the clear, easy to read translation by Chris Rijk makes it even more enjoyable. The updates are frequent -- usually within days of the translator receiving his copy of Shonen Sunday -- and the care taken with the page makes it easy to read and refer to the manga as well.

maigo-chan's Ruroken Translations () is a site devoted to the translations of the Rurouni Kenshin manga. The page is currently up to volume 18 and offers a clear, easy to read translation of a great manga series. Maigo also translates the author free-talks, which gives the reader a very amusing look at the inner workings of Watsuki-sensei's mind.

FSS English Translations () is a page full of synopses about the strange, confusing and almost impossibly complex world of Mamoru Nagano's Five Star Stories. Currently, the first volume has been translated by Toypress in three Newtype-sized volumes, and are available at Kinokuniya. However, if you're too impatient to wait for the bimonthly releases that are to follow, this page gives you a good idea of what exactly is going on in the story up to and past manga volume 9. The main FSS page () also has character descriptions, a time line and much more -- enough to give any Five Star Stories fan something to chew on for a very long time.

Glass Mask and Suzue Miuchi () is a very thorough resource on the manga series Garasu no Kamen (Glass Mask) which is currently still unfinished at 45 volumes. It has information about everything from the anime to the drama to the manga artist, and of course, translations. Kelly has translations up for many of the later volumes of the manga, and also gives you information about what happened before those translations. Glass Mask is a melodramatic, gripping shoujo story which still has a strong audience even after so many years and it is a series that deserves to be read.

Aestheticism () is an interesting site to visit. While some of its content is for members only, there are plenty of reviews and scans which any visitor can view as well. There are interesting articles and commentaries and everything else, all to do with the phenomenon called yaoi. Yaoi, for the uninitiated, is used to describe manga/anime relationships between two guys, usually involving some amount of (unrealistic) sex, written for and by women. I'm still a big fan of certain authors if not of the whole genre anymore, so I find Aestheticism's site interesting and informative. Aestheticism also has a link to their Cybershoppe, which is where you can buy yaoi manga, doujinshi and other goodies if you aren't lucky enough to have a Japanese bookstore near you which stocks yaoi stuff.

I think that the two cons I staff for,
Anime Expo () and Fanimecon () both deserve mentions as two very cool cons to go to (and staff for). Although they're somewhat different in focus and size, they were both very interesting to be at. Also, they were both in the California area, which was where I am ten months out of the year. Anime Expo, being older and bigger, was just much more... more. I had so much to do there that I'm still not sure if I had fun. I think I did, since I'm going to be crazy/stupid enough to do it again. Fanime was less big, less hectic, but I did as much work as I did in AX because there were less staff to boot. I know I had fun at Fanime hanging out with all of my friends after the con wound down, and the guests were pretty cool to be with as well.

Now, the obligatory plugs: My home page () is where I keep all my fanfics, scans and whatever else catches my fancy. It hasn't been updated in... well, in about a year ^^;; but I might actually work on it some this summer (keep your fingers crossed). At the very least, I vow to finish one of 20 or so fanfics that I have in my hard drive -- look for it soon! =)

Also, I'm advertising my club's web site, () which is somewhat odd but interesting. The guy who is in charge of our website is on some version of crack that his body must naturally produce because he is the weirdest, strangest and most creative guy I know. He once drew a picture of Doraemon on drugs which made the whole place cringe and snicker at the same time... Anyways, Cal Animage Alpha meets every Monday at 7PM, and we show the newest things we can find. It's usually a feature (a movie or four TV/OAV episodes) followed by two episodes of our weekly showing. Last semester, our features included End of Evangelion, Outlaw Star, Cowboy BeBop and Record of Lodoss War TV, and our weekly showing was Slayers Try.

Well, I hope you find some of these links interesting =) Thanks for reading all the way down to the end!


Monica/Akira-chan/Heero/Hayama/Naga/Kircheis no Miko- Proud TABBE! Member,, (alt) - main web page ^_^
CLAMP, LoGH, Touch, RKen, Gundam, EVA, DearBoys, RoV, Subby, K-sama
"Tell Annerose-sama that Sieg kept his promise..." - Kircheis-sama

Anipike not being responsible for Acts of God or the vaguaries of humans  ;)
this column will appear 'as and when' articles come in. New articles will
be announced on the "New List" page. (So original, da yo..^^)

Would you like to suggest a guest? Write Nikkou.

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Last Update: 8/23/99