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Last Exit Before Toll

by Ryan Mathews

Last Exit Archives

October 2000

When I first started writing Last Exit Before Toll back in May of 1997, I did it for nothing. Three years later, I'm still doing it for nothing. My reward, the only reward I ever expected or wanted, is the pride of having a monthly column on a high-visibility website and all the feedback I get from my readers. It never occurred to me that someone someday might actually consider paying me for doing something like this.

Well, guess what? This month, I officially turn pro. I've been hired to write a column for a start-up anime news and reviews site, . The column, called "The Dub Track", will be a monthly review of dubbed anime. Five years ago, that might have seemed like a silly idea, but with the dub-quality bar being raised higher and higher each year, English-language voice acting has become more than worthy of review. Each month, I'll pick apart a dub, highlighting the best actors, criticizing the less-than-best, and comparing it to its Japanese counterpart. My intent to focus on the individual actors as much as possible, pointing out which roles they play, and what notable roles they've played in the past, in the hope of getting them the name recognition that in many cases is long overdue. (For example, Wendee Lee is one of the best actresses no one's heard of.)

The first review is complete, and should be appearing when the website has its grand opening in a few weeks. How long it lasts after that will depend on how popular it becomes. Of course, I'll still be writing Last Exit every month (for nothing). I couldn't abandon my readers, especially when it's thanks to them that I got my new job. Thanks to all of you for making this column a much bigger deal than I ever thought it would be!

As much as I'd like to write an exciting editorial, it's been a slow month. The most interesting thing that's happened was last night, as my friends and I went shopping at a Target and found it had a cosplay section. Well, okay, not really. They were selling children's Halloween costumes. But given the large selection of Dragonball Z, Pokemon, and Digimon costumes, you might as well call it cosplay. Anime is truly conquering this country, one tiny step at a time. Given that it seems to be losing ground in its native country, this might be happening just in time. But that's a much larger subject for another time.

Also, Xoom, my punching bag last month as the crappiest free web-hosting service due to the trouble users have connecting to their servers, has been acquired by, of all companies, NBC. The only immediate difference I see is that, once you finally succeed in loading one of their sites, you see the NBC peacock logo on the banner. Hopefully, this change in ownership will eventually result in a better grade of service.

Seeing as how I don't get paid for this column (and don't really want to be paid; Last Exit is a labor of love), I hope you can forgive me for doing something I consider unprofessional: apologizing for the shortness of this column. I agonized over whether to do so, but the fact is, this is probably one of the worst columns I've ever done, and you deserve to know why. I have a good excuse. I've spent the better part of this week with the flu, hacking up my lungs and getting stoned on NyQuil. Even as I write this, I'm only about 80% well. So in the future, please think of this as my "flu column". (So why didn't I just skip this column, or delay it into October? Because I'm dedicated, dammit. Yeah, right. Pigheaded is more like it.)

Y'know, this might improve readership! Right now, people are calling their friends over to their monitors. "Dude, Last Exit's gonna really suck this month! Check it out!" All part of my nefarious plan! Ha ha ha-- hack, hack, HARF! Pardon me while I take more cold medicine, for all the good it does.

Speaking of NBC, as I was a moment ago, NBC's television
networks are currently broadcasting the Olympics, which
was the inspiration for this month's topic.

Last Exit Before Toll @ Anime Web Turnpike™
Last Exit Before Toll © 1997-2000 Ryan Mathews. All Rights Reserved.
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Last Update: 9/25/00