Mim was more than willing to do an interview for ‘Moe’, however was not comfortable doing an audio or video interview, which is perfectly fine. Instead we did an email interview. The transcript is below, I just need to decide how I will present this, do I get another person to read it out as though they are mim? or make an online PDF which consists of images and text?
For now this is the interview:
Town and Country of Birth: Brisbane Australia
Current Location, Town and Country: Sydney Australia
Favourite Anime & Manga: Manga wise I’ve only really read To-LoveRu for my language studies so I guess that’s my fav.
Hellsing, Macross, To-LoveRu, Asobi Ni Ikuyo, Ah My Goddess, Rahxephon, Gundam, Love Hina, Isekai no Seikishi Monogatari, Katanagatari, Bakemonogetari, Horizon on the Middle of Nowhere, Ikkitousen, Sekeri, Escaflone, Evangelion, Akira, Ghost In the Shell, Ladies vs Butlers, Toaru Kagaku no Railgun, Tenchi Muyo, Mayo Chiki, One Piece, Naruto, Bleach, Patlabor, Maburaho, Sword Art Online, Code Geass, Birdy Decode, Suzumiya Haruhi-chan no Yuutsu, Onegai Teacher / Twins, Trigun, Twelve Kingdoms, Scrapped Princess, Full Metal Panic, Full Metal Alchemist, Evangelion, Initial-D, High School Of the Dead, High School DxD, Great Teacher Onizuka (GTO), Martian Successor Nedesico, Freezing, School Rumble, Appleseed, Cowboy Bebop, Dog Day’s, Fairy Tail, Deibuster, Mouretsu Space Pirates, Accel World, Strike Witches, Outlaw Star, Mahoromatic, Fafner, Slayers, Ride Back, Zoids, Shuffle!, Rosario + Vampire, FLCL, Bamboo Blade, Negima!, Heroic Age, Soul Eater, Working, Kiss x Sis, Ai Yori Aoshi, Gurren Lagann, Last Exile, Eureka Seven, Zegapain, Cross Game, His and Her Circumstances, Fruits Basket, Infinite Stratos, K-On, Kiddy Grade, Sora No Otoshimono, Witchblade, Tiger & Bunny.
Digging deeper into your relationship with characters…
-Could you talk me through your first interaction with Japanese culture, if you can remember it.
One of my fondest early memories was Saturday morning cartoon shows. I’d empty a large bucket of Lego and play with it while watching Macross, He-Man, Gummy Bears and Smurf’s just to name a few. Back then my local video rental store had a pretty amazing anime section, that was managed by a real enthusiast, so it was at that point that I moved on from American cartoon shows and onto proper Anime.
This naturally led to collecting VHS tapes (and later) DVD’s to satisfy my ever growing thirst for Anime. The internet wasn’t really around back then so it was Anime that first exposed me to Japanese culture.
-What is it about anime or manga that draws you in?
The underlying story is important, but it’s really my affinity towards the characters and their interaction with one another that draw’s me to a show. The quality of animation and music then lifts the level of immersion for me, but are not as important.
-Which anime/manga do you love and why…
My taste is broad and I have been lucky to have watched just about everything worth watching over the last 30 odd years, but it’s really hard to narrow down my love to only a small hand full of shows. I feel it doesn’t really do justice to such a large body of work that is Amine, but I’ll try 🙂
Ah My Goddess – A really nice feel good love story come comedy filled with very likable characters. You just want to cheer Morisato along as he stumbles along with his developing feelings for what is in reality a real Angel from Heaven.
Isekai no Seikishi Monogatari – People familiar with the Tenchi Muyo universe will very much like this OVA. Although it only has 13 episodes, each is an hour in length. It has it all really with comedy, fantasy, harem and mecha set in an alien world and has a wonderful story line.
Horizon on the Middle of Nowhere – It’s a recent show that’s a melting pot of everything I love and really resonates with me. The plot, animation, character design and interaction are all top notch. I loved it so much that related merchandise is now chewing holes through my monthly budget.
-Could you talk to us about some of your figurines, whats the story behind them?
I really have a fondness for full size Nendoroid’s (the 10cm tall ones) and have every release including variants so close to 300 of them now. My fascination with them developed over time spent browsing articles on figure.fm (thanks Danny). They just look so cute and come with oh so many accessories. Nendo’s just look great on display.
Other than Nendo’s I developed a love of Freeing’s 1/4 Bunny girl releases so collected those along with a sprinkling of other figures I pick up now and then based on their aesthetics.
-Do you feel a connection/ emotionally attached with any of your figurines?
I very much do as many figures trigger little memories linked to key moments from their respective shows. Their value to me tends to directly relate to how enjoyable I found their shows and of course the character design itself.
-How much money have you have spent on creating your Otaku Sanctuary?
Hmm.. I don’t really think too hard about how much in total and simply try to stick to a monthly budget. The collection just naturally grew from there.
-Does the majority of attention go into this hobby?
Yes indeed it does, but it’s very much a multifaceted thing. Yes I love figures, but then I also love games, cosplay, anime, manga and Japanese culture in general also.
-I want to talk about the idea of the Sanctuary now, my bedroom is very much my place, I come to watch anime and read manga, I rarely do it anywhere else. Do you see your room in the same way or does your interaction with anime go beyond the four walls?
I very much agree with that perspective as my own room is very much a sanctuary. Outside my room a few wall scrolls have migrated to just outside my door, but I’m happy with that.
-Would you say your obsession is healthy?
From my own perspective I think it is healthy as to me it’s a psychological investment. As long as it does not impact on your social life, career and family it’s a good thing in my eyes. As with everything there needs to be some sense of balance.
– What do you personally gain from putting this much time and attention into collecting figures and watching anime?
About the same as a person gains from sitting in front of a TV… entertainment.
– One thing I think people don’t understand is the difference between Hentai and Anime, the posters on your wall are ”panty shots” could you describe why you chose to put these particular posters on your wall?
In order to better answer this it would be best to break things down. Broadly speaking I perceive three categories being non, mild and explicit. Non needs no explanation, however the other two are key to understanding your question.
There is a term for mild adult material called ecchi, which the industry tends to associate with slapstick comedy. An example of this would include a typical beach scene where a swimsuit top might accidentally fall off due to a comedic mishap. Even then such scenes are censored without detracting from the comedic moment.
The final category is Hentai, which is normally associated to explicit material.
To be honest it really varies from person to person as to what their tastes are. Many Anime shows have cute characters that appeal on a number of levels. I have a number of figures and, as mentioned, wall scrolls that are mildly sexual in nature and so are classed as ecchi. Mine revolve around key characters that I found appealing.
-What’s the fan base like where you are from?
The fan base is steadily growing here in Australia, but my perspective on that is only limited to the conventions that are held in Sydney throughout the year.
-Do you attend any conventions? If so do you go alone or have friends to go with?
We have a number of conventions around Australia all year round. I attend a few of the Sydney based ones each year along with a small group of friends.
-How important is the Online Otaku community for you?
I think it is of critical importance to not only me but the industry and fan base in general. An online presence is so accessible and the medium allows the sharing of so much information that its now hard to image not having it around.
-Have you ever experienced prejudice as an Otaku?
To be honest I don’t recall ever experiencing any. Perhaps I’m lucky, but you would be surprised at the number of open minded individuals in the IT industry. Many watch or have watched Anime and some, like myself, display merchandise on their work desks.
I think you can really thank American cartoons like Simpsons, Family Guy, South Park and the plethora of Nickelodeon productions for the greater degree of acceptance from more people.
-Why do you think “outsiders” can’t grasp the idea of Otaku?
In my own opinion that would be a combination of peer pressure and their environment. Its rather like religion in that you might not understand a person’s devotion to their religion, but that doesn’t mean you don’t respect their opinions or life choices.
-Does is ever upset you that you can’t be 100% open with people about the area you love so much?
Eh? But I am… from all my friends, to my family and everyone at work. To the extent that all my shipments arrive at work and the mailroom calls me to say a new batch have arrived for me. Even workmates take a look at shipments out of curiosity, which has resulted in me sourcing the occasional bit of merchandise for them.
-Can you describe the feeling you get when you meet another Otaku who likes similar anime randomly?
We tend to become really animated (pardon the pun). It’s a really cathartic experience meeting others that share your passion.
– Could you explain your life outside of your Otaku Sanctuary? What do you do day to day?
I’m a career IT man and have been for 18 or so years now.
– Do you have friends or family who aren’t aware of your love for Anime?
Nope. I don’t call people that don’t respect my interests in life.. friends.