Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Anime magazines...

This post isn't going to be quite as organized and prolific in content as my past entries have been. For one thing, I'm pretty tired, and for another, my brain feels like it's been drained of most useful information for the time being. I have a lot of blog entries I want to add, on different anime series I've been watching or have watched, as well as some comments on the state of the anime industry in America and where it's heading. But most of that will have to wait, for now I'll content myself with the selected topic listed in this post's title.

So...anime magazines. Animerica is one that comes to mind (Newtype is a given), as it was the only anime magazine I read with any sort of consistency before Newtype appeared on the shelves. It's funny, actually, because now it's gone (for the most part, it still exists as a free giveaway at Barnes & Noble, Borders, etc.). Yet another forgotten product of a long forgotten era when upstarts like MixxZine tried to change the landscape by introducing monthly manga anthologies (and somehow that product turned into the anime and manga distributing giant known as Tokyopop).

The funny thing is, Viz published Animerica, and did so quite well. Articles in the magazine, while definitely in skewed in favor of Viz's titles, had a semblance of objectivity and actually provided meaningful information about the series they wrote on. The magazine's interviews also were conducted well, with interesting, insightful questions asked. In general the whole magazine had that Viz flavor to it - high production values and a competent, professional staff.

Now contrast this with AD Vision's Newtype magazine (which I have been an avid reader of since the first copy hit newstands). Like any typical AD Vision offering, it looks beautiful from cover to cover. However, and I stress this more than anything, there is nothing but fluff when it comes to the writing. I buy magazines for the articles - the pretty pictures are a bonus. Newtype seems to love the pretty pictures, but falls flat on its face with the articles. To a certain extent I can understand that the magazine, technically an "import" the legendary Japanese magazine of the same name, will retain some distinctly Japanese characteristics such as overly flowery language and a general dearth of information. I buy an anime magazine for what it can tell me about anime, yet - with the exception of the editorial columns in the center, and the names of new series coming out in Japan - Newtype lets me know nothing I couldn't figure out myself by looking at a DVD's cover art.

Newtype has so much it can possibly offer, yet it handicaps itself by writing summaries for series with little to no actual information on the series itself. Interviews can be just as bad (though I find this is a common problem with interviews in general, not just Newtype), with whole sections devoted to a person's favorite food and interests rather than anything worthwhile (what inspired you to make/do this? What is the most difficult part of the creative process? Do you try to infuse meaning in your work, or like Murakami do you just make what you feel like?).

Now, that's enough on the current state of the only anime magazine in the US worth buying. It's sad, because I picked up a British magazine called Neo, which actually has all the aspects of a quality magazine (good writing, actual reviews, and informative interviews). It made me wonder why we can't do that here.

I think I've gone on long enough - to keep from making this post too long, I'm going to cut it off here and let what I've said sink into my own mind before I write more.


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