Interview with Ron Scovil (August 2nd 2006)
Backstage: Is there any anime or manga series that you particularly enjoy?
yasuke: Manga - The only thing I still read is Five Star Stories. Anime - I like the Miyazaki films and Satoshi Kon films. Also live-action series like Giant Robo and Ultraman.
Backstage: What do you think of the current state of the anime/manga industry in the U.S.?
yasuke: It is horrid, there should have been a consolidation years ago, and the companies do not have experienced TV professionals to make that transition properly, so things are peacemeal, with both markets being saturated with too much product.
Backstage: What about the online fandom? Compared to 10 years ago, when there weren't as many anime/manga-related websites, and today, where there are thousands of fansites of anime/manga series of all kinds.
yasuke: Actually there was more stuff on the web back then compared to now. Sites lasted longer then. Today they come and go so fast, it's a waste to even put them online.
Backstage: Any advice for those who are planning to start their own fansite? What should they do to avoid making another one of those "short-lived sites"?
yasuke: It is a difficult thing to say, because nowadays people's interest in series changes every week. Get real hosting is one thing. There are not many anime today that really inspire people to make pages like there was a few years ago. Series are so short, like 13 episodes. There is not much to make for those. Also, without cels means there is a lack of images and other such things.
Backstage: It seems nowadays we are seeing more blog, wiki, and other type of easy-to-setup sites. How do they compare to a "regular" fansite?
yasuke: Anything that shares info, I value. The way information is communicated always changes.
Backstage: what are some of your favorite anime/manga sites?
yasuke: The only sites that I read daily are Anipike misc site searches and news sites for that sort of thing. Nothing else really.
Backstage: What reactions do you get from people around you when they find out you're the owner of Anipike? also when you go to conventions, do people treat you differently?
yasuke: I do not advertise in any way. I never have. My name is still not on the site to this day, so for me there is no difference.
Backstage: Why did you make the decision to team up with JuiceCaster? It seems like a interesting program.
yasuke: Everything will move from the web to Mobile for young kids. We want to communicate with them there, and provide them with first class mobile tools.
Backstage: Has the feature so far been successful? Did a lot of people register?
yasuke: It's used pretty well as a service, but it is in beta. There is some fun Juice stuff going on, like contests.
"Our employees are monitoring the top users of JuiceCaster. We plan on giving out a FREE NOKIA N80 JuiceCaster Phone to the user with the most VIDEO JuiceCasts by 5:00 pm PST August 31, and a FREE NOKIA N80 JuiceCaster Phone to the user with the MOST FRIENDS by 5:00 pm PST August 31. The Nokia N80 is a highly robust phone which utilizes all of the advanced features of JuiceCaster including video streaming and on demand video JuiceCast creation. MSRP $799 http://www.nokiausa.com/phones/N80"
Backstage: What's your view on fansubs/scanlation? Many justifies them by saying: "We're introducing new series to the fans, etc."
yasuke: There is no need for them today. Series come out lightning fast. If it's things that will never be licensed, that is one thing, but it's rarely that.
Backstage: Any last words?
yasuke: Thanks to BG, Trunkschan and Arshes for helping to keep things rolling along with all of the sites staff.
Interview with ArshesNei (August 2nd 2006)
Backstage: How was the transition when converting Anipike's original HTML link directory into a database? Was there any difficulties?
ArshesNei: Well, the process was a bit difficult because you had to preplan. It wasn't just a matter of turning links into a format for a database, but you also had to redo a lot of categories. Some of the conversions were lost, and we had to redo certain sections to feed them back into the database. It was a lot of hours, but I was proud how it turned out.
Backstage: There were several crashes in the last few years, care to tell us what happened behind those crashes, and how did they affect the database?
ArshesNei: I believe they were hard drive and hardware failures, which is always an unfortunate part of the business. Because of the sheer size of the data, making backups at that time was very difficult. Several times we lost data and had to revert back to very old backups.
Backstage: How does being the webmistress of Anipike affect your real life? Do people ask you about it? Or do you just keep it strictly as an online deal?
ArshesNei: Well, not many people do know what I do unless I mention it. Actually many are surprised when it is revealed, and they are actually rather happy that it has been updated from HTML into a database. I do however receive a lot more questions about anime series once it is known, *laughs*.
Backstage: So, what's your favorite anime and manga?
ArshesNei: Bastard is my favorite Anime/Manga. I also like anything produced by Satoshi Kon. My username, Arshes Nei, is a dark elf from Bastard!!.
Backstage: Bastard!! Volume 24 just came out, and is doing very well in Japan!
ArshesNei: Yes I know, I'm trying to pick it up *laughs*. I have pictures of the ads for it.
Backstage: What do you think of the current U.S. anime/manga industry?
ArshesNei: I think the market is oversaturated right now. I think anime hit a very good period during the mid to late 90's, where you'd be excited over a certain series being released. Unfortunately now there is too much manga, and as the general rules go, 99% of anything is "crap".
Backstage: What about the online anime/manga scene? There was a time when there were only a few good fan sites (which Anipike kept good track of), later on tons of not-so-good Geocities/Angelfire sites popped up, and now it seems like Anime/Manga blogging/social networking is all the rage.
ArshesNei: I have to agree, there was more dedication to anime series, where people would do extensive research and provide information about how it was produced, who voice acted, or the directors. Now it seems that the appreciation for work in a series has diminished, and anime is just a style, meaning that new fans like the look but don't really do much but scratch the surface.
Backstage: Where do you see the future of the online fandom? And how will Anipike fit into it all?
ArshesNei: I really can't tell right now unless you realize that there is a lot of fusion among the fandom, where they like different genres and incorporate it with anime ones. The fandom's attention seems to be shorter, so it's possible that either anime will fade and make a comeback like things do in 20 years, or it will be so fusioned that it is no longer recognized as "anime".
Backstage: What are some of your favorite anime/manga websites?
ArshesNei: Hmm I don't think I visit any sites other than Anipike that is anime/manga-related. I visit various art sites, but I like all types of artwork, not just anime influenced.
Backstage: What kind of art do you like to draw? Anime-style?
ArshesNei: My art style definitely has anime influences to it, although I'm trying to show I can do more than just anime styled art.
Backstage: What do you think is the best way for a beginner to get better at drawing, especially anime-styled drawings?
ArshesNei: The best way a person to get better at drawing is to observe life and draw from it. The only way you're able to draw things out of your imagination is to feed yourself information of stuff around you, to create something new from a combination of ideas.
Backstage: What do you think of all the "How to Draw Manga" books? Are they helpful?
ArshesNei: The "How to Draw Manga" books tend to have more helpful tips, but really, learning basic anatomy is the first step.
Backstage: What advice would you give to those who would like to start their own anime/manga site?
ArshesNei: You should consider if you're going to be doing this in the long run. There is no point in starting a site, then dumping it because your tastes change. It comes off as a disservice to those who would like to visit your site.
Backstage: Thanks for the interview, any last words or shout-outs?
ArshesNei: I'd like to thank Anipike for graciously accepting me as its webmistress after Jei retired. I also share the same birthday month as Anipike (August), so happy birthday to Yasuke, myself, and Anipike. *laughs*
Interview with Emi (August 2nd 2006)
Backstage: How long have you been with Anipike?
Emi-chan: Well, around 5 years. I am not active in the forums at all, not a bit. I think my message count is like... 6. No one in the forums would know who I am unless they hang out in here ^_^
Backstage: How did you become an Anipike staff?
Emi-chan: I was invited. I have known Yas (Ron Scovil) for 10 years, so when he bought Anipike, he said I could write some reviews if I wanted to. ^_^;;
Backstage: What is it like being an Anipike staff? Busy? Difficult? Any comments?
Emi-chan: My main role is in the chat room, helping to maintain the rules there. That can be difficult sometimes, but people are usually well-behaved ^_^
Backstage: I'm sure there are some people who would like to become a moderator or staff for Anipike, any advice for them?
Emi-chan: Don't ask for it outright. Show your "worthiness" by example of your helpfulness and good behavior. Be patient.
Backstage: Want to share any inside stories or interesting facts that no one knows about?
Emi-chan: *Emi-chan is dreadfully uninteresting* Uh, I have been begging Yas for years to change the Anipike layout and I am happy he finally did?
Backstage: Interesting...So it has been said that you are the owner of Niko-Niko.Net, and own a lot of manga. Do you think these extra experiences and knowledge allows you to see Anipike in a different way than casual fans?
Emi-chan: My manga collection is threatening to devour my house. It does allow me to see the Anipike differently because I can identify some of the more obscure series that only have one link devoted to them in the Links section. It is nice to see more sites devoted to obscure series pop up.
Backstage: What are some websites you visit everyday?
Emi-chan: strangecandy.net (plug plug), fark.com, animenewsnetwork.com, tvshowsondvd.com, televisionwithoutpity.com, jdorama.com, amazon.com (to build my wishlist), livejournal...bk1.co.jp (the Japanese bookstore I buy all my manga at), s-manga.net....
Backstage: How would you describe Anipike in only a sentence or two?
Emi-chan: An anime hub where you can find pretty much everything you'd ever want to know about anime. Information, news, community, sites.
Backstage: Finally, any shout-outs?
Emi-chan: Shout-out to the mysterious ageless, sexless, locationless folks in #Anipike :D
Interview with boiler1 (August 2nd 2006)
Backstage: Introduce yourself, who are you, how long have you been at Anipike, and what do you do there?
boiler1: The name is Bond...James Bond. Ok, sorry. My name is boiler1, and I have been a member of the 'pike since April of 2003. I am a columnist that has been forced into a hiatus due to union activity. I am hoping I will be back in full swing come later this fall.
Backstage: What do you think of the Anipike Magazine? Tell us why should everyone be reading it (aside from it being the magazine of one of the most well-known anime website)?
boiler1: Well...if they do not read it, then I am out of a job.
boiler1: Hehehehehe...actually it is a magazine written by people like themselves, fans, trying to keep other fans up to date.
Backstage: A magazine to the fans from the fans.
Backstage: What are some of your most memorable experiences you've had at Anipike?
boiler1: Oooooh...tough question. Actually I can think of two times that I CAN share. The first one was when a certain moderator asked for my opinion shortly after becoming a member. This person said I was the most level headed person she had ever met. I did not know if that was a compliment or an insult. The second one...hehehehehehehe...was a piece of fan fiction I wrote involving members of the 'pike
I laughed so hard while writing that, that when it came time to post it, i was worried that people would be insulted.
Backstage: We've heard of you and your anti-mod business, what's the deal with that? Care to explain the secret behind this whole incident?
boiler1: Hahaha, in real life I am not to rebellious, however, every now and then I have to let out...I used to greet the new people by saying I was going to cook them, even coming up with nice recipes, but that was ruled as role-playing. Retro_J and I had fun pretending to cook people. I also like being an anti-mod just because most of my contacts are mods. Got to keep them in check.
Backstage: Please tell us your experience as an Anipike Editorial staff?
boiler1: Not to bad, the pay is one box of pocky per year. Be careful when you come to meetings, spitball fights have been known to breakout, and i carry a package of rubber bands with me just in case.
Backstage: How does the whole editorial system work?
boiler1: Uh, sorry, I was busy looking at Kei and Yuri from Dirty Pair flash. What was your question?
Backstage: Um...Please tell us a bit about your column, A View From the Edge.
boiler1: First off, for the past 7 years, I have lived within less than a block from a lake, thus the title. The column was originally political satire. My father would post it on his site, the Cross Eye Turkey; however, he has now abandoned that project.
When I came to the 'Pike, I wanted to continue this look-at-the-world from the edge of the lake I was near. Now, politics is not the main subject of the 'Pike, so I was willing to do it as a view of anime. One problem, anime was not always readily available in my area. Whenever I would ask for anime somewhere, someone would say I am to old to watch Sailor Moon (even though I was trying to watch Dragonball Z).
The column basically looks at anime from a viewpoint of a person who is older than the average anime fan, and has seen other art medias. I also take a viewpoint on the fans themselves. Lastly, I try to cover the items that anime shows cover, which could include politics, economics, and other social issues, and further more...er...wait...I got to go...I got a call from my wife asking me to bring home some chocolates NOW.
Backstage: Ah...then let's finish this...How would you describe Anipike in only a sentence or two?
boiler1: In one word...anime, in one+ word...the Anipike is as funny as anime, it is as serious as anime, it has drama like anime, it has violence like anime, and it addresses social issues that are addressed in anime.
Backstage: Any shout-outs?
boiler1: *sings* POWER TO THE PEOPLE!!!
Interview with Lisa Z (August 2nd 2006)
Backstage: What is it like being a moderator on the forum?
Lisa Z: It's thankless and sad, anyone who doesn't like the rules just goes ahead and breaks them. Rather than thinking to themselves "well if that's how it is here, then i will find somewhere else to post", no no, they gotta make posts where they say how stupid the moderators are, except in much more foul language. It's pitiful how childish some people can be.
Backstage: Is there any mod-stories you would like to share?
Lisa Z: As I was saying before, where people who don't like the rules just go and be rude on the forum...Someone had gotten upset that a certain moderator had deleted a thread of his, so the angry forum member made a new thread insulting the moderator, making comments about the moderator's male genitalia...Except that the particular moderator was a female, so we all had a big laugh, rather than be insulted. Its one of the perks of an ambiguous screen name, a lesson I should have thought of when I first joined the forum.
Backstage: Please tell us a bit about this "1000 club" on the forum, and what it's like being a member of it, as well as the "2000 club"?
Lisa Z: 1000 club? Don't really mean anything. There aren't any rewards for it. I like to joke that it just means that particular person spammed a lot. :P Or is an old fart with nothing better to do XD Too bad it's not like in Fairly Oddparents where Timmy got one rule-free wish for keeping his fairy godparents a secret for a year. Yes! members of the 1000 posts club should get one rule-free post, or something like that... so long as it doesn't break the rules such that the moderators would have to smite you.
2000 club? You're even more ancient and spammy. *coughs*
Backstage: You've been to many cons to write report for the Anipike magazine. How does it feel like attending a con as an Anipike reporter? Do you get treated differently?
Lisa Z: Yes, I get treated differently, if someone happens to see my badge stating "Anipike" on it, people ask why their link isn't updated, and why does the Anipike look so crappy (back when it did), and why this and why that about the links database. It's all just complaints. Luckily no one's realized I am the evil moderator of the forum so far.
Backstage: So how do you reply to those people?
Lisa Z: I deflect them as best I can. I did work (toil and slave away) 6 years at a... S-mart, so I've had lots of experience calming down irrationally irate folks (too bad I didn't have a chainsaw for an arm).
Backstage: Tell us a bit about how the Magazine works?
Lisa Z: I am not an editor, and recently a LOT of new editors has signed on, so I am not sure how it's all working with that area now, but the deadline is pretty flexible. Yasuke isn't too hard on people about it, and as for how an article gets submitted... it's more difficult if you have an Apple lol, as I do at home. At work I have a PC, but it's a pain to convert to MS word, time consuming, and then I started having problems e-mailing out word attachments from work, and... feh! Technology! *grumbles*
Lisa Z: My dog is the cutest dog EVAR!!!!! www.geocities.com/edge7z. Immerse yourself in Misha's butt! She loves you all.
Backstage: Okay! Any last words?
Lisa Z: That is my last word, so I'll shout it better now: MISHA IS THE CUTEST DOG EVER! EVERRRRRR!!!!! omfg! *dies from the cute*
Interview with Risu-chan (August 2nd 2006)
Backstage: Please tell us a bit about your "The Skwerly's Belly" column in the magazine.
Risu-chan: Skwerly's Belly is basically reviews on Japanese snack foods. I don't have a culinary background, but I love to explore the world of food in general. The point of me writing it is so others can get an idea on what some of the snack foods are. Because there are people who won't try things they're not familiar with. I think that's more or less it.
Backstage: It must have been fun, what are some of your favorite foods you had to write about? What's the most interesting food you tasted?
Risu-chan: Hmm... I think my favourite is the Tohato Habanero rings (The Tohato Habanero Rings are called "Boukun Habanero Tohato") because I have an affinity for hot & spicy foods.
The most interesting so far is the "Chokotto Omusubi". This is not to say that I really liked it. It's interesting in a wrong kind of way. The combination of white chocolate, black sesame seeds, rice crisps & nori is interesting in that it's such an off combination. My mouth could not figure out what was going on, which was interesting.
Backstage: You welcome every single new user on the forum, what's it like being Anipike's resident Skwerly-friendly mod? Busy? Do people get mad at you for "smiting" them?
Risu-chan: It's been pretty good. I think because of the size of this forum, there needs to be a welcoming to put people at ease. At the same time, to know that, should there be any questions about the forum, we mods are there to help. In terms of "smiting", I've not had anyone ever get mad at me for it.
Backstage: What's it like working for one of the biggest anime site? With all the works involved with mods, magazines, etc. is it very busy? How is the staff community?
Risu-chan: It can be a little busy at times but I'm glad we run a tight ship compared to some other large forums I've seen. Though the rules may be strict for some, not enforcing things as we do can cause things to go completely out of hand. The staff community is pretty helpful and respectful, some of whom have become personal friends of mine.
Backstage: What are some websites you visit everyday? Let us know what's on Skwerly's bookmark.
Risu-chan: ill-intent.com, skwerlyonline.com, mail.yahoo.com, livejournal.com, megatokyo.com, forum.anpike.com, strangecandy.net, homestarrunner.com, vgcats.com, muveszno.com, iro.ragnarokonline.com, roempire.com, jazz.fm.
Backstage: Where did the name Risu-chan and the whole Skwerly thing come from, it had something to do with squirls?
Risu-chan: It was during first year university. I wrote a letter to a friend while I was outside amongst all the squirrels. I really enjoyed watching them, so, somehow, I got the nickname "Skwerly", then oddly Skwerly-poo. Not long after, a Japanese friend of mine showed me a flyer for Japanese language courses with a squirrel on it and the word "Risu" underneath, alluding to me being a Risu. I figured, well, Risu-chan would be closest to something like a "Skwerly-poo".
Backstage: Anything else you'd like to say?
Risu-chan: When I mod, it's like I'm working for the community and its members, making sure that people have a good time and are respecting one another. I don't like being looked at as an authoritative figure.
Backstage: Any shout-outs?
Risu-chan: I'd like to thank all the fellow mods, admin, staff for all the hard work they put into making the Anipike work as well as all the great members who help make up this community.
Interview with Eclipse (August 2nd 2006)
Backstage: How does it feel to be interviewed by yourself?
Eclipse: It's pretty stupid.
Backstage: Okay, then shall we stop this nonsense?
Eclipse: That sounds like a great idea!
Backstage: Okay then, any last words?
Eclipse: Err...I hope the readers will enjoy this special Anipike feature.
Interview with Isaac Alexander of Anime News Network (August 2nd 2006)
Backstage: Please introduce yourself.
Isaac: My name is Isaac Alexander. I, in early 2000, I was the Editor in Chief of Anime News Network (ANN).
I then handed the reigns over to the Chris Macdonald and George Phillips. I was also involved with the Seattle Area based anime convention Sakura-Con from 1999 to 2004. I'm now just an advisor and occasional news writer for ANN.
Backstage: When and how were you introduced to Anipike? What were you searching back then?
Isaac: I got into anime fandom during the early 90's with my newly founded college anime club.
I got turned on to Mosaic and later Netscape as browsers to surf the World Wide Web. From there, I notice anime club website started popping up so I became the webmaster for my club. After I set up the club site, I started registering the website at various search engines and directories online. I came upon the anime turnpike in the mid-90's. At that time besides searching for other anime clubs and fansub tape traders online, I was looking for picture and audio directories for anime content.
Backstage: What is your view on Anipike as a fan, as someone from the industry, and as a someone from another major anime website?
Isaac: I used directories a lot in my early years looking for websites. I would look up sites for different anime titles or series to gather pictures or synopsis for personal use. Later for the use with ANN, I would utilize the links to find information about certain anime series to add data to the ANN encyclopedia.
Backstage: What kind of effect, if any, did Anipike have on the development of ANN?
Isaac: It helped when I was involved with ANN is being the place where I could find a list of companies and conventions for news. Anipike provided a great directory online of finding things in an organized matter.
Backstage: What do you think of Anipike's move in recent years in adding more content to its site aside from the links, such as the magazine, galleries, and most recently, the deal with JuiceCaster?
Isaac: I see it as a natural progression of most internet sites now. Websites are trying to keep people as long as possible on their sites using their content/functions/tools/etc.... They use the "sticky" factor then to sell advertising to generate revenues.
I enjoy reading the magazine content of the site being a news writer.
As for the JuiceCaster alliance, we'll see how the plays out. It does make it unique offering that service to visitors of the site.
Backstage: Was there any interesting stories/memories you would like to share that involves Anipike?
Isaac: I got to meet in person some of the main people that were part of Anipike: Jei Harvey and Ryan Matthews at Anime Expo, and Ron Scovil at Sakura-Con. It was just nice to sit down and talk to them and talk with them about their real life jobs, as well as where they saw fandom and the medium of anime and manga heading.
Backstage: Any shout-outs to Anipike?
Isaac: Keep up the good work.