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Guest Pick: Widya Santoso

An Australian Fan

Fan Art / Cosplay / E-mail

      Whew! You know I was invited to partake of this before July- I only finished this on Saturday ?:-) Doing a Guest Pick isn't easy! What do I say? Which sites do I promote? Which friends do I tiff off? Still, getting the nod to do this is a big honour, and I am very pleased to introduce myself. I'm Widya Santoso, an anime fan who's been around since the age of the dinosaurs- or so it seems. Everytime I go to a con it seems as if the average age of the con goers seems to be dropping. But anyway... how long have I been a fan- let me work it out...

      Wow! Ten years of being a fan. Well, not a fan in the usual sense, but a fan in US fandom! This year is my tenth year of being involved in US fandom, a long time even for a lot of fans, let alone for someone who doesn't live in North America. In 1989 I subscribed to my first anime clubs, the New England-based Anime Hasshin, and the Dallas-based EDC. Both the people running these clubs, Lorraine Savage and Meri Hazlewood, were my first friends in American fandom. I had been an Australian anime fan since 1985. That's when I first beheld Robotech, and my life hasn't been the same since. Fourteen years later...

      Nowadays people take watching anime for granted; it's easier than ever to go to your local Blockbusters and check out the latest releases, or to purchase by mail order, or on the 3W, or at your local comics shop. Still, when I started off as a fan, it was still pretty tough to find new releases- and more so being an Australian. To be an anime fan in Australia in 1989 was a matter of pure chance. You really had to know someone who was a fan to watch anything. Fans who had material to watch were far and few between. If you didn't have the material nor the equipment (Australia uses the PAL video system rather than the NTSC system that the US/Japan uses) you were hard-pressed to follow your fandom.

      Things in Australia are definitely looking better nowadays. Whilst we haven't the flood of releases you enjoy in the US, we are still getting new releases. Last year Australia enjoyed a first- the broadcast of Neon Genesis Evangelion in prime time on a free-to-air television network. This is the first time this has happened in an English speaking country. Other series, such as Sailor Moon and Pokémon are very popular. Comics and speciality shops are not only picking up some of the US packaged translated manga, but they're also selling original manga. Next year, as part of the Sydney 2000 Olympics Arts Festival, there will be an anime film festival, showcasing films by Osamu Tezuka and Hayao Miyazaki, including the much anticipated Australian premiere of Miramax's edition of Mononoke Hime.

      Whilst Australia is still too small to support an anime convention, there is still a lot of fans. One of the central places for fan activity is , which lists many of the clubs around Australia, a shopping guide to the larger cities in Australia, local news on releases, and other useful resources.

      One of the longest lasting and most knowledgable fans that I know of, , is Australian. Kelly is one of the most intelligent and perceptive anime enthusiasts I know, having followed anime since 1979! He has an extensive collection of , so extensive that US fans regularly consult him on series broadcast in their country! His speciality is , and his collection of tapes covers both Japanese, American and European incarnations, including episodes of Saban's Eagle Riders that have never been broadcast in the US. His greatest love though is for , and he is often consulted as an authority in this field.

Read what Fan Art sites he likes.

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..^^)

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Last Update: 11/22/99