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A Little Older, A Little Wiser. No, It's Not My Birthday.

March 20, 2007

As of this point, I've been in online anime fandom for nine years.

Nine years of subs versus dubs. Nine years of convention drama. Nine years of people insisting, "Yeah, this show gets better after episode four," and me being horribly disappointed nine times out of ten. Nine years of treasuring that one time out of ten that I'm wrong: Berserk, here's looking at you! Nine years and almost a thousand reviews. Wow.

More importantly, I'm sitting here thinking about a few major milestones. College graduation. My ten-year high school reunion, a couple months earlier. (I can't complain: I'm sure half those folks never made it to college anyway!)

It's rather funny to look at old reviews and old editorials, just to see how different your mindset becomes from age nineteen to age twenty-seven. If my genetics hold out (and I don't get run over by a Metro bus tonight after I type this), I'll still be yammering on about pop culture sixty years from now, possibly many more if modern medicine keeps up.

For a change, I get to write an editorial where I don't have anything to complain about.

I could, if I tried: there's always people complaining about how their favorite character's dub voice isn't quite right, or how there's so much saturation in the anime and manga markets (something I would have killed for in '98!). Heck, I just posted about yaoi paddles in LiveJournal! But that's not what this is about.

When this site began in the ever-scheming mind of Raph back in late 1995 / early 1996, he wanted a website that wasn't a bunch of neat little synopses, or glib paragraph-long tidbits of fluffy-bunny promotion. He wanted reviews. Serious reviews, with discussion on the actual animation, on the plot, on the characters, with strong opinions when the title demands it.

Less conejo, more cojones.

It's what he wanted, and even now, it's what readers want. Yes, there are edgier, more subversive sites, more indepth sources of anime information, and yes, places with more reviews. Some might say they're our rivals, which is so not true and so much adolescent posturing. Besides, we all collaborate on the Meta Anime Review Project anyway.

But we're the only site with a crazed Icelandic girl willing to eviscerate your organs (digitally only!) as an initiation rite. And you know you love that. Kindly note that the swan outfit is an option that may cost you extra (likely your pituitary).

Nine years of finding at least one show every year that I'm going to really like (last year was Haruhi). Nine years of realizing just how screwed up the Japan psyche can get, and still getting surprised again by something like Higurashi anyway. Nine years of waiting until the ideal mate of the Japanese fanboy finally hits puberty ... on second thought, this will likely never happen in any of our lifetimes, so let's just call that one off.

Nine years, and despite slowing down, rediscovering other hobbies and interests, even leaving fandom for a while, I haven't "outgrown anime" at all, for all that it conforms to Sturgeon's Law.

It's been a wild ride, going from Rank Newbie reviewer right out of high school to Figurehead Emeritus. I'm still here, and hopefully we'll get to poke into the thoughts of our other editors here at THEM (at least one of whom is older than I am).

And it wouldn't have been possible without the nine years of readers that have come here. Some of you hated what we had to say about Golgo 13 and Don't Leave Me Alone Daisy. Some of you felt relieved that you weren't the only ones to suffer through Odin or Rizelmine. Some of you joined the boards and even became reviewers and editors in your own right.

Thank you. Nine times thank you. A thousand times thank you.

So I have left the site in the capable hands of the Editorial Junta, though I shall remain available just in case the steering wheel or the throttle needs an extra nudge once in a while. THEM Anime isn't going anywhere ... but forward.

Now: to do something about Dita ... weren't we supposed to rotate her out eventually?

- Carlos Ross


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