I have to admit that when it comes to communication, I’m far more comfortable with the written word than I am with speaking to people. Part of the reason is that I really hate the way my voice sounds when I’m speaking. The other part is that I get nervous as heck … I’m really quite awkward in social situations, too.
So that’s why, in the 10 years I’ve been working the anime/manga beat (yup! 10 years!), I’ve only willingly put myself in front of a recording device all of two times. The first time was for this video interview with then-Anime Vice editor-in-chief, current Anime News Network contributing writer, and still all-around cool cat Gia Manry, posted to the site on Feb. 28, 2009.
Here’s the original Anime Vice page that it was posted on. Note the comment by RedRose. And now you know why, three years, four months and 23 days and counting, I have yet to watch a single second of this footage. The memories of that day — lunch at Ulupalakua Ranch in upcountry Maui, followed by that interview with me and all my apparent head-bobbing glory — are more than enough for me, thankyewverymuch.
I would’ve been perfectly happy with that being my first and last venture into the recorded-for-the-Internet world, but alas, fate sometimes has a way of taking plans, ripping them up, stomping on them and then grinding them in to the dirt. And its roots were planted in my Twitter enthusiasm for Digital Manga Publishing’s Kickstarter drive for Osamu Tezuka’s Unico, Atomcat and Triton of the Sea, which, as of my writing this post, was just a few hours from completion.
In retrospect, perhaps my cheerleading was a bit much. It’s easy to get caught up in the Kickstarter hype, watching the contribution level rising, knowing that you, yes, you, are one of the people helping to make the project pitch become a reality. (Full disclosure: I signed on for one of the limited “Power of Love” $165 packages.) But I was not expecting to get this kind of response to one of my tweets in late June.
@jsyadao Why do publishers who use Kickstarter receive so much attention, while those of us who pay our own way receive so little?
— Manga University (@mangauniversity) June 25, 2012
I met Glenn Kardy, the man behind @MangaUniversity, at HEXXP in 2010. Great guy. Totally respect him. I feel really bad that I’ve never had a chance to write up the interview I did with him at that convention. But that tweet, along with a follow-up response from Ed Chavez at Vertical, opened the floodgates for several days’ worth of Twitter discussion debating the merits of a large manga publisher like DMP using Kickstarter as a way of funding their book-publishing ventures. It’s a discussion that I by and large stayed out of, not wanting to stir up any more controversy than I already had.
It was around this time that Ed Sizemore, co-host of the “Manga Out Loud” podcast with Johanna Draper Carlson, contacted me about being a podcast guest. I have to admit that I was a bit hesitant at first — me? Why me? I’m just a fan out here in the middle of the Pacific who’s already seen his best days in the sun and is now slowly fading away, tucked away in a corner of the sprawling staradvertiser.com network of sites. The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized that yeah, I probably could hold my own. And hopefully the other people Ed invited would be able to carry the load as well.
The other guests were great. Joining me via Skype in recording on Monday were Erica Friedman, president and founder of Yuricon and ALC Publishing and writer of the Okazu blog, and Ben Applegate, one of the people behind the DMP Kickstarter campaign who’s now picked up additional work at Kodansha USA. We talked at length about the Kickstarter campaign — there, you can find out the reason why I haven’t mentioned the DMP Kickstarter on Twitter since that time — and Erica, Ed, Johanna and myself also discussed Tokyopop’s resurrection and Viz’s new Neon Alley anime venture on the PlayStation Network. It was quite the experience, I must say … especially listening live to some of the parts that I think Ed left on the cutting-room floor. (I won’t divulge the nature of the discussion. I’ll just say that for the four of us around for that particular part of the recording session, it was … pretty wild.) I understand Matt Blind, he of the Rocket Bomber blog chock full of manga sales statistics and retail bookseller commentary, also joined Ed on another day to talk about Kickstarter.
So yes, you’ll probably want to give this month’s edition of “Manga Out Loud” a listen, to hear our great discussion and cringe at the nails-on-chalkboard quality of my voice. You can find show notes and a download link at mangaoutloud.com/webpage/episode-61-more-kickstarter-with-matt-blind-erica-friedman-jason-yadao-ben-applegate. That podcast officially makes it the second time that my voice has been recorded for the internet.
Will there ever be a third opportunity? We shall see. My inner voice is screaming at me “OH DEAR GOD NOOOOOOOOOOO,” but my sense of self-confidence has a tendency every so often to grab a giant mallet, bonk it over the head and knock it out. You never know.