Welcome to animeOnline. And let us be the first to congratulate you. You’re about to embark on a life-changing online experience. Not like moving to a new town life-changing, or even winning the lottery life-changing. It’s going to be a bit more subtle than that. In fact, it’ll probably mostly consist of you changing your homepage to animeOnline.
Oh sure, you love your Yahoos and your Googles, loading patiently whenever you open a browser, and we don’t begrudge you that, what with their news and the email and their double-o’s. And many of you start each online experience with MySpace, checking up on friends, family, and stalking your ex-boyfriends and girlfriends. We’re down with that too. And surely there are a few of you dedicated anime fans who open your browsers to anime news and fansites. We say right on.
But we also say: it could be easier, couldn’t it? For instance, if there were a site that had news and a social network all in one, well, that would be pretty convenient. And if it had some additional entertainment and informational resources on it, that would be great. And if a site had all that, and then was tailored specifically to fans of anime, manga and Japanese culture, well…then it would be animeOnline.
We’re trying to do it all, at once. Anime news and information, updated constantly, every day; an online community tailor-made for (and by) anime and manga fans; and entertainment in every way we and you can think of. It’s kind of like one big, 24-hour, 7 days a week, 365 days a year anime convention, except it’s free, and there’s a smaller chance you’ll see Man-Faye. But you don’t have to take this small paragraph’s word for it – we invite you to take a quick tour to find out everything that animeOnline offers, what we’re trying to do and mainly how this site is yours as much as it is ours.
There are a lot of great anime news sites out there right now, and we’ll tell you right off that we’re not trying to knock any of them off. But like the videogame industry has ign.com, 1up.com, Gamespot, Gamespy, Kotaku.com and countless others, we firmly believe the anime industry has room for at least one more site. But we don’t want to just cover the same ground as our distinguished competitors, so here’s what we want to bring:
OUR EDITORIAL MISSION.
Really, our news mission boils down to trying a little harder, like getting more quotes for news stories. We also want to provide a bit more information and context in each article to be accessible to new anime fans – but never at the expense of boring or alienating hardcore fans. And we think we might have a bit more of a unique take on the news than some of the other sites, but…well, feel free to judge for yourself.
MORE THAN ANIME AND MANGA COVERAGE.
Our plan is to write at least 12 articles a day (slightly less on weekends), and if we just cover the anime and manga industries – both home and abroad – we’ll be in for a tough time. So we’ll be covering J-pop, J-rock and other appropriate music, as well as some videogames (as appropriate) and all important social and cultural news from Japan. If the entire nation of Japan knows about it, we promise you’ll know about it too.
Our editors are anime fans, for sure. But they are also professional journalists. Some of them even have journalism degrees. We think this helps. You can meet Editor-in-Chief Rob Bricken, News Editor Gia Manry, Tokyo Editor Bryan Hartzheim and Associate Editor Dale North here, and don’t hesitate to add us to your friends list. We’ll say yes. We’re so lonely.
Beyond the daily news articles, we’ll be providing one magazine-style feature every Friday, exploring the newest and hottest series, interviews with Japanese creators and bands, manga previews, company Q&As where you ask the questions, in-depth guides to Japan…everything and anything, really. It’s our way of covering the big news better, and keeping you guys informed and entertained. Oh, and we take suggestions.
YOUR NEWS, TOO.
Yeah, the fact that some U.S. anime licensor has issued a press release announcing its release of DVD volume 6 has been delayed by a week is technically news, but we’d much rather write about you. Did you get an anime tattoo? Make or find some awesome fan art? Get sent a hilarious AMV? See some anime graffiti on a wall somewhere? Take a picture and send it to us. We’ll be reporting on fans just as much anime, but we need your help to do it.
If you’re rolling you eyes at another “online community”/MySpace rip-off, we’re with you. We felt the same way…until we realized that having an anime-specific MySpace rip-off might not be such a rip-off after all. We go to cons to
buy tons of gashapon hang out with other anime fans. People who understand. That’s who we want joining animeOnline, and that’s who you’ll meet; however, that’s not nearly all you get.
THE NORMAL STUFF.
Online community site generally provide members with their own personal Profile page, the ability to find and add friends, mail and instant message each other, write a blog, and have an image gallery. We got all that too. We also have the ability to make clubs (fan club, school and location based clubs and a variety of other types, some that might not technically exist). But…
WHAT MYSPACE DOESN’T HAVE.
What makes animeOnline unique – and, might we add, makes it designed specifically for anime and manga fans – is the Top Rated Series bar. Basically, you have the ability to look through our database of hundreds of anime movies, TV series, OVAs and manga, and choose your five Top Rated Series exactly, and proclaim them on your Profile page. We’ve even made general series categories to choose, so you can pick everything Ghost in the Shell as opposed to having to pick the movies, the manga and the Stand Alone Complex TV series for all of your Five. By picking your Top Rated Series, everyone who views your page can see exactly what you love, and what kind of fan you are – and you can see what kind of fan everyone else is. You can use it to see what your friends dig and discover something new, or when some writes some tirade against an anime series – like, for instance, Ouran High School Host Club – you can check out his Top Rated Series, see that all he has are shonen fighting shows on his list, and decide whether his opinion matters to you.
Only registered members get full access to animeOnline’s wondrous bounty. Not only is it how you get the Profile page, the mail and blog and all that other junk, but that’s how you can contribute to the site, like editing the Series pages (we’ll explain this in a sec), uploading videos, and posting on the forums.
Oh yeah, we have forums. Anime fans dig ‘em, we hear. And for the record, we also give all members the ability to comment on each and every news article we post, as that seems to be a more convenient way to discuss the news. But you do have your choice.
AND BY THE WAY.
So those Top Rated Series every member has? We tally up all those votes and proclaim the winners on the animeOnline homepage, so that at every given moment, it’s very easy to tell exactly what the most popular series among American fan are. We thought it might be useful.
If our news page and all the profile page goodies aren’t enough to keep you occupied, we’ve still got a few ways to help kill the time. Mainly by clicking on the Videos tab on the navigation bar, you get two surefire ways to put off work and/or homework.
Like YouTube, animeOnline does let you watch and upload a host of videos, whether they be anime music videos, con skits or just nonsense like you hitting the mall in your cosplay. It should go without saying that we will not host any fansubs, no exceptions. Any fansubs posted will be taken down immediately, and the member banned.
It’s not all fun and games here at animeOnline. In fact, we hope that if you stick around long enough, you’ll learn a little something. Not about yourself, for goodness sake – but about new anime and manga. Here’s a few of the ways we want to help keep hardcore anime fans informed and help new fans get educated.
A RESOURCE FOR FANS.
There are plenty of DVD and manga release date lists on this great Internet of ours, but none of them are….well, pretty. So what we thought we’d do is make it easier on the eyes, as well as more informative. We list each week’s releases – for DVDs, manga volumes, Japanese videogames and all anime soundtracks and J-music – by week, all by hitting that Releases tab in the navigation bar. There, you’ll find covers, companies, summaries, links to buy it at Amazon.com…and you can look up to ten weeks ahead to see what’s coming out. And then, on animeOnline’s homepage, there’s a quick look at the week’s major releases for each category.
As mentioned above, every manga and anime series has a page at animeOnline which is used to help choose your Top Rated Series. But that’s not all; we want each page to also provide some info about the show. You’ll be shocked to discover we didn’t quite have time to write up info on 600+ anime and manga series before animeOnline’s launch, but that’s where you come in. Every animeOnline member has the ability to write and edit these Series pages, Wikipedia-style. We have various sections that need to be filled out, and if you diehard fans aren’t willing to do it for love of the series, we’ll bribe you –we’re giving away a DVD a day to someone who makes a positive addition to our Series pages. Mind you, we’re not trying to be as exhaustive as Wikipedia or Anime News Network’s great encyclopedia pages, but we feel there’s a need to have some info and trivia on our favorite anime and manga. By clicking the Series tab up top in the navigation bar, you can see the master list of all general series; by clicking on the letters in the sub-nav bar, you can see all the individual anime and manga we’ve listed so far.
THE OTHER STUFF.
Just to cover our bases, we decided to add a few more founts of knowledge, all accessible in the navigation bar by hitting Resources. Not only do you get easy access to the Series pages and the week’s big releases, there’s a glossary full of anime terms and Japanese words, and then lists of Internet links to all the U.S. anime and manga companies, the Japanese studios, voice actors’ sites and several excellent fansites. Oh, and last but not, there’s a helpful calaendr of coons as well as Japanese holidays, located both on the homepage and the news page.
Believe it or not, the basic idea for the site came from FUNimation CEO Gen Fukunaga, who reasonably wondered why the anime industry had no professional site like an IGN or 1up.com. He thought it would be a good idea for several reasons, including it could print news more professionally and accurately, and it could be accessible and help grow the industry, and thus make more anime fans. Gen began chatting with Robert Bricken, then editor of the independent magazine Anime Insider. Rob, knowing how the Intertubes are clogged with anime fans (metaphorically speaking), thought it was a swell idea. The two recognized that the site would have to be independent to 1) actually grow the industry and 2) more importantly, be successful – there are just too many independent anime fansites out there for anyone to need a biased source of news. So Gen gave Rob a whole lot of money, and Rob started planning and mapping out the features of the site as animeOnline’s creative leader as well as creating a bullpen of editors as the site’s Editor-in-Chief. Meanwhile, a new company called animeOnline Ltd. was formed under Navarre Corporation, FUNimation Entertainment’s parent company. animeOnline is separate from FUNimation, and both report equally to Navarre – meaning FUNimation has no editorial control over animeOnline. Whatsoever.
Unfortunately, Rob had only ever done anime news coverage on wood pulp, so two geniuses were called in to help the poor bastard make a website: Tiffany Bryan, web-mistress and wonder-designer and Pinky:st addict, who’s responsible for the look of the site; all the crazy programming was (and continues to be) done by Toby Davis, an extremely affable man but a very picky eater. The robust Resources section – including all the series and links and glossary and so forth – are under the domain of Kelly Bisson, Fushigi Yugi fangirl and no mean cosplayer. And then you’ve already met the editors. When you join, one of these animeOnline staffers should automatically be your friend on the site and we mean it. We’re not like that Tom jerk who puts his grinning mug on everyone’s MySpace page but never replies to his emails. We actually want to be pals with everyone on the site. So email us or leave us a comment, and we swear we’ll do our darnedest to reply.
If you’re thinking this much wondrous goodness must come with a catch, well…you’re rather cynical. But you’re kind of right in that not everyone can enjoy animeOnline. You must be at least 13 years old to become a member, and you must be a resident of either the United States or Canada.
Well, that’s pretty much it, actually.
We remembered. The catch is that we can’t do this alone. Well, we can, but animeOnline will be much better if everyone pitches in a little. All of you guys are technically reporters for us; if you see news – or awesome fanart or cosplay or AMVs or other cool acts of fandom – please let us know. Discuss things in the comments and forums. Help us out by adding info to our Series pages. Upload videos.
We’re incredibly serious about each and every one of you being reporters, by the way. We want your news – we want it bad. And don’t think we won’t pay attention to those who send in the best tips, and those who leave the most insightful, well-written comments on the article. We are going to be scouting for new and more animeOnline editors every day, and we’ll be watching you.
But this is a two-way street, people. We’re not asking for something for nothing. For all Rob blathers on about being in charge during staff meetings, it’s you guys who are really in control. Want more news coverage on something in particular? Tell Gia. Have a question about Japan? Ask Bryan. Are we missing one of your favorite series in our Series section, or do we have some info incorrect? Just let Kelly know. Is animeOnline missing something major, or could we being doing something better? Tell Rob, because
he gets paid to know he’ll want to know. We all want to know. We want this to be your perfect anime, manga and Japanese culture site; we guessed as best as we could, but you guys are the people we’re working for. You let us know how we did and how to make it better. And that’s it for the tour. If you have any specific questions or concerns, remember, you can hunt us down by our Profile pages or hit the Contact animeOnline button on the lower left. We hoped you enjoyed it enough to join animeOnline…even if we don’t have those double-o’s.