With the April 2009 issue, I’m officially done going through the entire 67-issue run of Anime Insider. I uploaded everything I found interesting, focusing in particular on interviews with people involved directly in anime and manga production. I’m keeping the magazines in case I ever need to rescan anything or double-check contents, but this’ll probably be the end of me scanning articles for a few months.
Anime insider ran for 67 issues and ended in April of 2009, but issue 68 *was* planned (including the cover below and an interview with Takashi Miike), but the magazine was cancelled before that could be published.
Thoughts after leafing through and archiving the complete history of US anime mag? Did the US fandom lost something with its demise? Or has the web (and Con scene) suffice in filling that hole?
Having articles written in longer form by professionals is nice, but the main thing I liked about the magazine is how they had actual statements from Japanese creators (something I feel is in scarce supply). It gets harder for interviewers to ask specific questions when there are fewer members of the press at work, but the thing that struck me across the vast majority of the interviews was that most of the questions were relatively softball and allowed people to answer questions with a bunch of platitudes of the “the original source material was interesting” or “the staff on this project are great” variety. Longform interviews still yield interesting testimony (thinking in particular of the July 2005 Akitaro Daichi and April 2007 Kazuki Akane interviews which dropped some interesting facts), but those were only very occasionally featured in AI.
That may not be entirely the interviewers’ fault, though. Part of the ANNcast detailing the life of the magazine mentioned that there was a third Seiji Mizushima interview that happened got very in-depth into politics that never got published because Sony forced them to pull the whole thing. I don’t know how regularly that sort of pressure happens, but weaksauce interviews in general are supposedly pretty common when it comes to anime: https://twitter.com/giapet/status/551521312338743296
There’s a serious argument to be made that most of the time interviews don’t approach the level of depth you see in bonus materials because of how softballed the questions are. Frankly, a part of me suspects that having access to translations to all of the staff quotes in a given franchise’s artbooks/audio commentary would be just as productive as trying to interview people. I own mooks for Arpeggio of Blue Steel, To Heart, and Sakura Taisen with pages and pages of staff testimonial. Like, the last quarter of these hundred-page books are just pages of text with them describing details of how they went about making the show, about everything from staff meetings to fashion and mecha designs. These sorts of guidebooks are geared towards fans, expensive, more detailed than the public might want, and usually go untranslated unless the work is reasonably big over here, but my point is that large quantities of information are being published by the actual production committees in Japan. Albeit in a highly inconvenient form for most Western fans to access. I don’t think access of the level AI had is an irreplaceable commodity in most cases, though it’s certainly much faster to have the info presented in a lump than it is to hunt for all the scraps scattered around the landscape.
If there’s something distinct we lost, I think it’s the ability to explore specific subject areas with a large number of people. Something like this feature from 2006 feels like it’d be unlikely to happen in 2014: https://animetics.net/2014/08/04/via-anime-insider-hollywood-spitballing-december-2006/
I appreciate all the work! I too found the occasional nuggets of in depth detail fascinating scattered throughout.
Never really dove deep into the world if anime (very picky, you see), but having lived during the run time of such an amazing magazine would have been awesome. I let this one pass me by.
Is there a way to look through your scans by issue? Finding this blog site a bit difficult to navigate in that sense. Not sure if you’ll get this message but worth a shot.