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[ the editorials ]

Musings from the Bottom of a Coffee Cup

November 1999

It's been nearly three years since this Café opened, and we've been blessed with a very regular clientele of visitors. The site's hit rate is at an all time high, despite a rather lengthy hiatus over the summer. Plus, the site's contents continues to expand in many different directions.

The most noticeable change is the recent integration of A Parent's Guide to Anime with the rest of the Café. This was purely a logistical move, since (a) it makes maintenance for me a lot easier, and (b) the original 'Guide was not (as many of you readers pointed out) printer friendly. Hopefully, you won't mind losing the 'Guide's distinctive colour scheme.

The other thing to note is the addition of many new features at the Café. It's not just a review site anymore. We're suffering from a case of 'information creep,' where several topics end up taking over entire sections of the site. The new Events Calendar came about from several e-mails requesting that we post some notices of up-coming events for various clubs. Ironically, we haven't had a single notice since posting the calendar. We've created the Anime In the News section to keep track of various things from around the world.

The reviews section is also expanding with in-depth analysis. Recent contributions from Kenneth Lee and Matthew Weise have been posted to kick things off. Then there's this new editorial section, plus a new mailbag section will also open shortly. (Yeah, we lifted the name from T.H.E.M. Anime.) We also plan to add a search engine, though we're not sure which one to use yet.

Several of you have been wondering about D.A.S.H. 2000 -- yes, it's in the works, and no, it won't be during the holidays. We plan to run it during the Easter break, and make it a real scavenger hunt. We may run an expanded Giveaway contest to tide us over the Christmas...

We're still trying to figure out what to do with our other URL -- whether to keep the Café name, or change URL's and switch over to 'A N I M E G U I D E . C O M'... Several other "anime cafe's" have since opened and closed... and, there's the issue of discovering a store of the same name in Washington. Plus there's the re-activation of the URL (which wasn't active when we did our search). But, that's neither here nor there. It seems that we're all co-existing rather peacefully at this point.

Two huge events have triggered a recent outpouring of anime-related news articles: the release of Princess Mononoke, and Pokémon: The First Movie. Pokémon continues to confound the critics, by posting yet another 32.5 million dollars in gate receipts as of November 14th. Most people who were unaware of this marketing phenomenon are simply baffled by the frenzied interest in 150 poorly-rendered critters. While I can't say that I like the movie (I haven't even seen it yet), I can understand the furour. Case in point: I recently acquired a DVD player. Guess what was the first disc I picked up? It wasn't The Matrix, nor a James Bond flick, nor even a piece of anime. I picked up Wing Commander, a literal dud at the box office. But this was a movie I just had to have -- I've been addicted to the Chris Roberts games since its first incarnation. Like the hordes of Pokémon fanatics everywhere, it was guilt by association. Kids love Pokémon, and the critics don't understand...

I fear that Princess Mononoke will suffer from just the opposite problem. Here's a title that's geared for more mature audiences, but it's long, it's foreign, it's complex, it's animated, and no one breaks out in song and dance. It's not even science-fiction. Non-anime watchers will probably be bored, and I dare say that even many an otaku would probably be fidgeting in their seats towards the end. Don't get me wrong -- I think it's an absolutely marvellous piece of work -- but it's really a flick for the art-house crowd. And like so many quality movies before it, the critics will love it, and the audiences won't understand.

- Akio Nagatomi, 1999.11.19

p.s. - The title of the section does need a little work... I was considering using my old title ("The Exit Ramp") which I had for my previous newsletters for the CSCC, but it sounds too much like Mr. Matthew's column over at the Anime Web Turnpike -- despite the fact that I had been writing those columns many years before the 'Pike even existed. Besides, the name didn't fit the theme. What I'm trying to say is this: I'm open to suggestions!

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The editorial opinions expressed on this page are just that -- opinions of the author. No statement of fact, unless specifically quoted, is implied.

Page last modified 1999.11.20