What appealed to you about anime when you first discovered it? Slam Dunk and Yu Yu Hakusho were among the series that kept me glued to the screen every afternoon. Mai-HiME kept me glued as well, but to a point that I kept (day)dreaming of Mai in slice-of-life situations.
Sounds like you really got hooked on Mai-HiME. What was it about the show that hooked you, and how did you express your interest in it? I remember writing a poem about Arika Yumemiya and Nina Wang (Mai-Otome) and a slice-of-life story starring Mai (I forgot this one). I even tried to draw a comic strip (I almost forgot this, too). As for forums, the most memorable Mai-HiME-related forum I got into was the Mai-Universe forum at Gaia Online.
I was writing slice-of-life fanfics on paper as I keep daydreaming, like, what if Mai resembles the average Filipina who loves to cook and likes to sing? Those kinds of daydreams lightened my heart. I aimed for a lighthearted slice-of-life where I’d see a Mai Tokiha that is ready to cheer me up.
What was it like to be a part of anime fandom at the time? It gave me a window of opportunity to connect with fellow fans, and in turn it led to me blogging about the community.
Tell me about how you went from watching anime to blogging about fandom. How did that opportunity arise? The ZEN Otaku Honbu forums was my gateway anime forum where I learned about local anime events. I already had a website and a blog at that time, so I took the opportunity to share my experience about it. The fondest memory that I had was when I was detailing my route and sharing how much it will cost to get to venues such as the SMX Convention Center in Pasay or at Megatrade Hall in Mandaluyong, two of the most common destinations for anime- and otaku- related events.
We were paying to get inside events to cover it at first, but we got the opportunity to actually be a media partner for an event called “Otomonogatari” in 2012, where local cover bands gather to hold one night of music.
The rest was history—we applied for media partnerships for major and community events, were accepted, and we covered it either on our website or on video. That’s what I’ve been doing frequently with my friends while I was in college, but I still find time to do it while I have a job.
Was the Internet a part of fandom at the time? Yes. I was almost finishing high school when I was taught about 4chan. We connected through Facebook as it is a common point, though forums were still the hype back then.
Today 4chan kind of has a reputation. But it sounds like you spent a lot of time there early in your anime fandom. What was it like? It was there that I learned memes, just like most of us who dabbled on either 4chan or Reddit or so. Nowadays, you can see memes on Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter, but nothing beat the likes of 4chan. I laughed at the anime memes there (especially the “Consider the Following” meme).
Do you remember your first convention? Anime Overload Festival 2009. It was my first time visiting south of Metro Manila, and if I had a decent camera back then, I’m sure I’d be getting photos of cosplayers.
In your opinion, what’s the biggest difference between anime fandom then and now?
- Yaoi fans were not as expressive way back then. There were events related to Yaoi before, yes, but it was only around the 2010’s when I realized that the Yaoi fandom got expressive. From Tumblr, then to Free! and eventually to Yuri!!! on Ice.
- Idol anime such as Love Live! and THE IDOLM@STER gave birth to the concept of “Primus.” It’s a bit hard to explain this in a nutshell, but I can describe Primus as someone who loves a specific anime idol character so much that he/she tries his/her best to get all the stuff of the said character, which then increases how the fan loves that character so much, therefore having the bragging rights to be called “____ Primus.” I think it’s staying in the community for good.
- In relation to #2. I am happy that more anime-related movies are coming to the country at present. We’ve also had the opportunity to screen μ’s Final Love Live, Aqours’ First Love Live! and other live events.
- In my circle of friends online, I can see some of them saving up money to go to lives in Japan or other parts of the world. Some of them even went to Anime Expo’s Anisong World Matsuri.
- May I also include “memes” in this list?
Jay can be reached on Twitter.