The Return from Parts Unknown
by Tim Georgi
I won't lie. The last few years have been quite the challenge. Since our last issue, back in August 2005, a lot of stuff has happened here. I believe the thing that kicked off the little self-induced hiatus was my attempt to go back to school, version 3.0. I was in Kansas City at the time, getting ready to finish up my Associates Degree so I could transfer into the Art program at the University of Kansas. I started back at one of the local community colleges there and was that one semester away from finishing something that I had been chasing after for well over 10 years at that point. I had been accepted at the University of Kansas, and all but quit my job, when the unexpected happened. My apartment flooded. A sewer main backed up into the apartment, rendering the basement, where I lived, uninhabitable. I'll spare you all the details, but one thing led to another and I ended up having to drop out of school, leave my apartment behind and wave goodbye to KU. At that point, I had no place to live, so I packed up all my stuff and moved back to Chicago, where a lot of my friends from the Anime Central days live. Things were rather spotty while there. I was fortunate enough to be able to crash at a friend's place, though I was there much longer than I ever wanted to. Eventually I got some contract work going and was able to move into an apartment again. But even then, life stayed rough.
In the middle of all this, around the beginning of 2006, we actually had gotten 3/4 of an issue done, but never enough to get an entire issue done. When things were looking good, something would happen to kill everything. Yes, 2006 was a tough year. In early 2007, contract work took a severe downturn, as it tends to do around the beginning of the year. Advertising budgets seem to disappear in November and don't reappear until February or March. With no financial support, I returned to Utah to attempt to finish my Associates degree (School v4.0!) and then move on to a Bachelor degree. I started back in the middle of 2007 and it took a little over two years to get the rest of that done, but after chasing that poor degree for 18 years, it was finally done. In 2009, I finished my degree at the end of June. I got a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art & Visual Communications with an emphasis in Graphic Design and a little bit of illustration on the side.
School wasn't all I was doing though. I dabbled in the world of webcomics and produced a small series, called Beyond Neverwonder, that has been updated rather spotty at best. It was more an excuse to keep drawing while in school. As with a lot of things, time changes things.
And here we are in 2012.
I look at the anime world today and I see a very different world than the one that was left in August of 2005.
Since our last issue, ADV Films, Central Park Media and Geneon/Pioneer all went under. Tokyopop stopped producing anime and manga in 2011 but may be looking to start up manga again. (We'll keep you posted there.) Most recently, Bandai Entertainment announced just after New Year's that they were going to get out of the U.S. anime production business and focus on licensing. Manga Entertainment was bought by cable movie channel Starz and are fortunately still producing shows. The biggest change was the ascension of Funimation from small bit player to anime juggernaut. All this has happened and the overall landscape of the U.S. anime production world radically changed. Looking back, it seemed that things were going so well in 2005.
Not to say that things aren't going well now. It's just very different. A lot of my friends that work in the anime industry are still there, working hard. They've moved around a bit, but quality voice actors are just that. They will always have work as long as there is anime to be made. But the fundamental way of the anime world is altered.
As I get acclimated to this New World Order of Anime, it may be a rocky restart. I've stepped back from the convention world, letting the younger generation take that on. I have a lot of stuff to catch up on. Netflix is going to be a good friend. I dare say that for the foreseeable future, we'll be looking at a lot of what we call "RetroAnime." Until we can get our contacts going with the production companies again, we'll be looking at a lot of older titles that we have sitting around that never got a proper review from us. We got lucky this month since our friends at Manga Entertainment have valiantly kept sending us screeners despite our long hiatus. We have two great shows from them this month, the WWII action of First Squad: The Moment of Truth and the adrenaline rush that is Redline. We also have a few things that were originally done for that issue that was almost done in 2006. It's not perfect by any means, but I think it's a good place to start.
I'd like to personally thank all the folks that have kept us in their sights over the years. In anticipation of the return, we got a Google+ page set up and we're happy to see folks joining over there. We have a Facebook page too, but I've been more of a G+ guy, so it's really sparse over on Facebook. But either way, we'd love to hear from anyone and everyone.
It's my hope that we (and when I say we, right now I mean "I") can get into a good groove with this going forward. It's been a long 13 years since our first outing, but I've enjoyed the run so far, despite all the pits and distractions that have happened along the way.
If you'd like to share your thoughts about what we do here, what you'd like to see us talk about, or anything in the anime and manga world, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for reading!