The Anime Diet State of the Union Address
– By Ray Hu, representing all for this moment in time.
February 26, 2010
My fellow Otakus:
As Anime Diet enters its third year, I’m reminded of the tracks that we have carved in the history of anime fandom. As fellow anime lovers, or otakus, if you so dare, we have been fighting. Yes, fighting. Just as you have struggled through the last decade engaged in mortal combat with changes, finance issues, work, school, relationships, and any other seemingly trivial but strong foes. You have waged war with the enemies with all your heart, your might and your strength, and at the end of the grueling match, you have come out on top, and that’s why you’re reading and hearing this. I congratulate you for your bravery and resourcefulness in managing social upheavals as well as other concerns that have been of the utmost importance in your lives. As for us,
As for us, we had our shares of struggles, toils, and battles. We faced up to impossibilities ranging from trying to get a ticket for the SOS Brigade signing event, to getting an interview with Mr. Tanaka, the Claymore directior and Mr. Umahara, the character designer. They’re distinguished folks from Madhouse and we are mighty proud of what they have done over the years. We hold them in the utter most regard. We had other emergencies to deal with, some of which rivaled with the Invasion of the Magi by the 11th angel in magnitude of seriousness. We had our shares of doubts and fears, especially when we pulled all nighters trying to publish a doujinshi of our own, namely the “Anime Diet on the Road Activity Book.” Egos were trampled and personalities clashed, not to mention friendships were tried by fire. In addition, scores of dragon slaves and buster beams were fired on one another. In our process of working with How a Girl Figures and Anime Genesis, two fine and outstanding members of the fan community, we held heated discussions and fought passionately for our ideals. We were scrambling for battle even at the very last minute, right before the panel started.
We faced off with doubters who shot their freeze arrows of cynicism. Some of the folks voiced their disbelief at the idea of making a second season of Claymore, citing that the first season completely ruined it all. We jousted with colleagues who regarded casual fans and those at the entry level as outsiders, as ippanjin. We competed with powerful peers without any funding. As a matter of fact, we only had three weapons; three legendary relics left from the days of Gunbuster. They are passion, guts and hard work.
Let me briefly explain.
Passion is the power that drives men and women forward in their endeavors to create a better world, or in our case, to foster fun, joy and collaboration in the community. I see passion as the most powerful weapon from the legends of old.
Guts is the power that makes us daring, and daring makes us great. I see guts drove us to reach new heights, to try new methods and to seek new places to grow. In addition, the possession of guts is what made some of us using our real name in the often dangerous and unpredictable cyberworld. Guts is the second most powerful weapon in our arsenal.
Hard work is the backbone of the entire site. It is the magic carpet that helped us delivering our contents to the fans. However, it is the most strenuous part of our undertaking. It is only with hard work, not to mention perseverance, that we survived the onslaught of cybergods, cynics, haters and the lack of action on some of the fans for support. Hard work is the least attractive but the most essential weapon we have.
As incredibly as it has been, using these three weapons, three swords if you will, we managed to defeat legions of difficulties, spites and hurtful words. We conquered inertia and gained a small but proud group of followers, frequent commenter’s and contributors. More and more are joining us and we are very proud of them. You know who you are and you really should pat yourselves on the back, sit back and have your favorite beverage, but only for the time being; because we still need your comments, your support, and your participation in this year and beyond.
Some of you may be saying to yourselves: that’s corny. Making a site work with only passion, guts and hard work sounds so cheesy. Well, let me say this: in addition to our swords we have shields and armor. These help us to deflect the arrows of despair, of boredom, and of distractions from life.
First, we work as a team. Think back of the Chicago Bulls in the 90’s. Yes, they had Michael Jordan, and yes, he almost always made the critical shots. But imagine with me for a minute – if the Bulls had only Jordan and no one else on the court, they could not win so many championships. As a matter of fact, there were nights where Jordan waned in some quarters, or even in entire games. But surprisingly, they still managed to come out on top for most of them. You wanna know why?
Because others stepped up and took charge.
That’s what we have done.
Needless to say, our very own Mike Huang is like the Michael Jordan of Anime Diet. He’s been carrying the heavy load on his back since the inception and he has scored consistently with site designs, wordpress plugin configurations and other technical elements. On top of that, his reflective articles as well as his willingness to take one for the team on the Anime Diet Radio has helped the team to secure viewers and listeners – winners such as yourselves – to the community. Whenever needed, whenever the foes known as real life difficulties stood in our way, he drove toward the basket, split the defense, leaped and shot an impossible to block fade away jumper, scoring the critical point and helping us back on our feet.
As human, we all get tired. Mike gets tired too, just like Michael. Whenever he’s down and out, others would often step up and make contributions. Matt stepped up to cover Code Geass, Jeremy masterfully-planned convention related activities and Moritheil penned witty and enticing articles. Others, me included, have contributed a great deal as well, all at various crucial times.
If that was the only defense we had, our foes could still defeat us via other unconventional or conventional weapons such as dullness and boredom. But as a group of diverse and talented people – just like you – we make tracks into various territories related to the anime culture. We have strived to talk to as many people as possible, reach out and shake as many hands as we have found, and promoted as many friends as we could. We interviewed bands such as the Pillows, UchuSentai NOIZ, and Makenai. We laughed with Nabeshin and chatted with Yukana, not to mention gained the privilege of accidentally leaving a backpack in Shokotan’s dressing room. We held panels at AX in 2008 and 2009, and we became friends with many other cool folks in the Japanese anime industry as well as in the community. We have tried our very best to keep it interesting, not just for ourselves, but also for you.
All in all, we have fought and so have you. We stand on the shoulders of giants and forerunners such Danny Choo, Random Curiosity, THAT and others and we have come up with our own flavor, our very own taste of the anime scene. We danced with friends and celebrated our success with many from nations all over the world. Our fans come from the US, Japan, Germany, Britain, Canada, Australia, France, Malaysia, Brazil, Mexico, Singapore and countless other nations. We have contributors from US and from Japan. Thanks to Kona-chan AKA Tukasa Kagami, we were one of the first to post cosplay pictures from the last Comiket of the 00’s.
However, at the end of the day, you know what touches me the most? Your comments of appreciation. While we may not be perfect at times, you have stayed with us, cheered us on, assuring us that we were being read and followed. When at the moment of my uttermost despair, doubting what we do, you stepped up and thanked us, telling us how we made your shitty days better, how we have lifted you up, and that you enjoyed my impromptu gag pitting Liang against Krauser II, and so on. That, my fellow Otakus, is what counts. Let me state it in plain words – YOU, are what counts.
In this year, we shall continue to ask much of you. Your various supports, including the necessary evil, will help us grow, to be able to continue in our mutual quest and to help us to deliver better contents, goods and services to your enjoyment. Your comments and critiques will help us to stay on top of the game and to do even better, so that we may continue to reach out to you and to serve you. I have been known to have a bad temper and I don’t react well to severe criticisms, so please bear with me. But fortunate for all of us, Anime Diet isn’t merely run by one, or two, or even three persons. It’s run by many people, beginning with our staff, but extending through you to many others still out there.
We at the Diet are looking forward to another year with great hopes and dreams and we thank you for accompanying us on our quest to serve. Thank you very much from the bottom of our hearts.
Sincerely with much love,
P.S. Please keep Cirno, one of our beloved members, in your thoughts or prayers. He’s going through some major battles right now. Thank you for your support!