________ ________ ________
2017-06-20 / \/ \/ / \
/ __/ /_ _/
I try to avoid talking about ideas I have / _/ / /
or projects I'd like to do because I have \_______/_\___/____/\___/____/_
very little follow-through and in most cases / \/ \/ / \
just sharing the idea is enough for me to / _/ /_ _/
feel like I've "done it" and lose interest. /- / _/ /
Maybe that's a little selfish since if I'm \________/\________/\___/____/
not doing it I'd be happy for someone else
to do the same thing, I'm not precious about that stuff, I'd rather see
something cool done rather than "own" a cool idea and never do it but that's
probably something to explore in another post.
Today let me tell you about a project I did start and have been working on,
albeit slowly. I called it the Otarchive project, a contraction of otaku and
archive, and if those words make sense to you you can probably already see
where this is going.
I was an anime nerd back in the "good" old days of genlocks and tape trades
when the relative obscurity and reliance on physical media at the time birthed
anime clubs and fostered a sense of community. How else would you get shows to
watch, right? You couldn't just download shows and there certainly wasn't any
Crunchyroll streaming high definition same-day releases. Hell, back then you
couldn't even get legitimate English-language releases for most shows and the
few titles that did get legitimate releases they were usually prohibitively
So you'd join a club and everyone was in the same boat; hooked on that
import 2D and fiending for another fix. You'd make friends with tapes, copy
your tapes for them, get tapes in return, have events where everyone rolls in
with a VCR and dubs tapes all day from the club's library, etc. It was a good
Also big in those days were print zines and fanzines. That's not something
unique to anime culture, there'd been music fanzines and sci-fi fanzines,
socialist and anarchist zines and who knows what else for decades, but there
were quite a few zines dedicated to "japanime" or related stuff at the time.
Some were magazine-style news-and-reviews fanzines and some were just club
newsletters. Our humble little school club even attempted our own zine; "Super
Deformed Flesh Monster" but ran out of steam before finishing the first issue.
These fanzines and newsletters are primarily what the Otarchive project
wants to preserve and make available digitally. It hurt me that so much of
this stuff just ended up in the trash because it wasn't important to someone
anymore so I wanted to do my best to preserve what's left. Any western/English
language anime print culture: zines, fanzines, newsletters, club fliers,
convention material, catalogs, etc.
It's been a slow trickle since the material is hard to find and it's a one-
man show. I work full time so don't have a lot left over to dedicate to
cataloging, scanning and uploading. In fact, I don't think I've dedicated any
time to scanning for a few years now, just focussing on growing the physical
library. But even just trying to do that comes with it's own issue: I live in
Australia and so I'm physically disconnected from where most of these zines
were produced, I've lost count of how many items I've had to let go because,
even though they only wanted a few bucks it would have cost me upwards of $30
just to get it shipped here.
Despite the hurdles though, the project has been a limited success: The
library stands at around 60 or so fanzines and newsletters, plus some
convention guides and a pile of ephemera. In future I might post about what I
consider some of the highlights of the collection but in the meantime if you'd
like to check out what I've been able to scan so far, I've been putting it all
on the Internet Archive and if you like what you see or know someone who
would, tell your friends!