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  The Hypnotic Eye



Gavv's Did You Know?

The Daicon Animation Laserdisc cost more (approx $180-200) at retail than the amount of money spent making the Daicon III animation itself (~$150)

Greetings and welcome to my little realm of 1s and 0s existing in mankind's ethereal creation. The Hypnotic Eye is my use of overly stream-of-consciousness story telling in which I hope to relay to you the thoughts, opinions, and bits and pieces of historical trivia of a long time anime fan.

Last issue's stand-in article could technically be called my zero issue, so this is indeed a truly brand new beginning! Let's begin...

You are standing in an open field west of a white house with a boarded front door...There is a small mailbox here...

Days of the Traveling Midwestern Anime Fan

Long before the explosion of commercial videos, on-line anime stores, Sailor Moon on Cartoon Network, and of course the hellspawn known as IRC, there was a common occurrence among various groups of anime fans, the long road trip. (For extra emphasis, please add three or four 'o's into 'long'.)

Central Indiana, while known for auto racing, bad pro football, and corn, has not been the rabid center for anime fandom, especially a mere few years ago. Small bands of fans formed around a handful of university clubs, comic book shows and SF cons, and a couple of non-university based groups. It still didn't settle one of the biggest problems, the long distances to availability to 'acquire the next fix', as it were. If you wanted any import manga, CDs, or other merchandise, driving up to a place like Chicago's Asahiya bookstore didn't seem like a bad idea. If you wanted to see some of the latest anime, usually totally un-translated with a photocopied synopsis if you were lucky, often the solution was just to gather up the guys and head off to some other city's anime club.

Groups from Chicago, Cincinnati, and Dayton, would come to Indy for a show and to hang out with the Indy fans. Indy fans would drive three hours to Dayton or Chicago to watch six hours of anime and head back home after another three hour drive, and they nearly always loved it. Why? For many, it was often the only way to see new and cool stuff. It was a quick way to meet, greet, and network with others of the same ilk. It wasn't uncommon solution in the early days of tape trading, when a small circle of fans might go months without getting in a new tape.

(Of course, some of the Dayton club members' obsession with all things Saint Seiya did leave quite a puzzled look on us out-of-towners sometimes.)

Now before I start sounding like the SNL Old Man, using dialogue in which the word 'whippersnapper' is every fourth word, I'm not saying that fandom back then was any better or worse than as it exists now. In countless ways it is an exponentially better time to be an anime fan. More visibility and availability of commercial titles on television and store shelves make it fairly impossible not to find anime somewhere close by. The Internet makes it almost as easy for someone to quickly keep up on the latest news, or to discover a lost gem otherwise commercially unavailable from a fan tape trader. There is, however, a greater feeling of disconnectedness (is that a word?) in my opinion. Internet discussion groups, chat rooms and web sites breed a lot of positive communication, but it tends to retard real life social and communication skills. Believe it or not, I feel that the anime club meeting was actually a positive in this respect. Technology does tend to make us just that much more lazy, but there are still those that make the extra effort for their love of anime.

Here are a couple stories about some of the more bizarre and interesting of these road trip extravaganzas I've experienced or am very familiar with:

One person who shall go unnamed because he's guilty, decided to drive to a con in Texas. Well, he didn't decide this until after work on Friday, so he ends up driving 14 hours straight to get to Dallas, spending about 20-24 hours at the con, and then driving 14 hours back again to get to work on time Monday morning.

Two guys drive 4 hours up to an art house theater to catch the midnight premiere show of an anime on the big screen, before driving 4 hours back. Now I bet you're saying that that's not all that unusual. Well, the movie they went to see was Fist of the North Star. Now that is either hard core dedication or sheer insanity, likely both.

The most audacious example and a definite nominee for a Balls of Titanium Award happened back in 1994. A couple of friends decided to head out to Anaheim for Anime Expo '94. Problem number one was they lived 2000 miles away. Problem number two was a lack of money for airplane tickets. Never fear! A nice cross-country drive never hurt a determined otaku. This, however, leads into problem number three: the planned transportation vehicle of choice. Now it's not so difficult to imagine any trip like this as no big deal, it's been done many times for cons recent and past. What sets this attempt apart is the light tan 1979 Honda Civic hatchback referred to lovingly as 'the PushCar'. A mysterious recurring problem with some voodoo magic parts within the engine and starter (something about a solid noid, or some such thing a mere Gavv would not understand) would cause the ignition to fail. Miraculously enough, the two intrepid souls made their way to California and back without any problems, and the PushCar continued to live on.

If you have any examples of Hard Core dedication to anime fandom, please send your stories to me at gavv@atanime.com. I'll pick the best and weirdest stories to print in the future.

Gavv's Random Thoughts for the Month

Card Captor - Nix the 'Nikkie' (Nelvana acquires Card Captor Sakura)

I can't believe that in an entertainment industry that has names in titles of shows including 'Moesha', 'Dharma', and for-gods-sake 'Tir Na Nog' has a big freaking problem with the name Sakura! (Anyone bringing up the bogus Pokémon name change issue should remember, someone named 'Pikachu' is the star of that show/fad/phenomenon and I don't see any name change there.) At least the Sailor Moon tv name changes made at least some sense on some levels. Hopefully people inside Nelvana get a clue and forget this 'suggested' English translation.

The Cult of Iron Chef

I'm very pleased to say that I have become utterly enthralled with the latest imported japanese show to hit cable tv, Fuji Television's cooking extravaganza, Iron Chef (now showing on the Food Network) Perhaps the only thing worth watching on the network that doesn't have the word 'Bam!' in it. For more details, check out our feature article about Iron Chef in this month's issue. An entertaining, addictive, and hunger-inducing hour of raw fun. The dubbing is very competently produced, the sports-like ambiance of the production make this an excellent show, especially to watch in large groups at parties.

Gavv's Did You Know? part Deux

This month, August 30, eight years ago, was the first day Bubble Gum Crisis 1 from AnimEigo was sold.

The End of MST

Though it has little to do with anime directly, save for the existence of a very loyal and sometimes vocal fan community, I want to publicly lament the passing of TV's Mystery Science Theater 3000 into rerun obscurity. See this issue's fan.comm interview to see more about how the paths of anime and MST fandom cross.

Gavv's First Contest

Every once in a while in my ramblings here in The Hypnotic Eye, I'll host a contest of obscure trivia or storytelling wit. The first contest starts right now. The question is, where does the title of my columns, The Hypnotic Eye, come from? E-mail me your guesses at gavv@atanime.com under the heading 'Hypnotic Eye Contest'. If there are no correct (or even semi-correct :) answers sent in, then I will select the most original answer of the month to be the winner. The winner will receive the glorious prizes from Gavv's Big Bag o Anime Junk. Maybe a prized trinket, maybe not! :) (Translation: haven't exactly figured out what it will be yet)



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