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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Part IV: Otaku War Journal: Tuesday Night Anime

Location Bravo, Somewhere in the Arabian Desert – This is my fourth installment of the Otaku War Journal. If you want to read the other posts, click here.

In the sands of the desert, my old school otaku social behaviors resurfaced again. (Is that an oxymoron “social otaku”?)

After talking to other people at the base, I discovered a small cluster of anime fans. I thought that it might be a good idea to set-up a series of weekly anime showings. The idea harkens back to old anime clubs which usually consists of one fan with a huge cache of anime organizing regular local screenings. In my case, I brought a sizable amount of anime with me to the war.

Before I could begin event planning, I needed to choose a name for my little endeavor. I originally wanted to call it “Friday Night Anime”. It was reference to an old 80s television show called “Friday Night Videos”, a program that showcased a two hour block of music videos on NBC.

I tried to schedule “Friday Night Anime” in the local projection tent. I found out that Friday nights were booked solid, and it was impossible to reserve. Tuesday Nights were the only open block of time. So, I had to change the name from “Friday Night Anime” to “Tuesday Night Anime”. Hence, the name…

Your results may vary. I never established any consistent number of people. It was difficult attracting a regular audience.

The full feature anime movies attracted the largest audiences (e.g. Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (バンパイアハンターD), Tokyo Godfathers (東京ゴッドファーザーズ), and Fullmetal Alchemist the Movie: Conqueror of Shamballa (劇場版「鋼の錬金術師 シャンバラを征く者」)). Movies are easier for non-anime fans to watch. They don’t require any background knowledge or prior character development, and they are mostly standalone narratives.

The largest number of people showed up for my screening of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (風の谷のナウシカ). Hayao Miyazaki (宮崎 駿) always seems to draw the biggest crowds. It was an English dub which also helped non-hardcore anime fans.

Any viewers that I gained from the Nausicaä screening were quickly lost when I showed Cromartie High School (魁!!クロマティ高校) the following week. Most of the audience walked out completely baffled. The worst received anime were: Cromartie High, Spirit of Wonder (スピリットオブワンダー), Mind Game (マインド・ゲーム), and Nerima Daikon Brothers (おろしたてミュージカル 練馬大根ブラザーズ).

I had a few regulars. They were mostly ardent anime fans prior to the war and familiar with some of the shows that I was screening. I met some people who you wouldn’t suspect of being an anime fan. Others were even more surprised that there was even an anime fan group in a warzone. After my tour was over, I even managed to pass on the Tuesday Anime Night event to two viewers to host.

In the end, I enjoyed hosting Tuesday Anime Night. It kept me occupied on my down time and gave me something to “look forward to” every week. Regardless of the daily stress of living in a warzone, I could always say to myself: “Tuesday Night Anime is only a few days away.”

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