TITLE: Animerica vol. 1, issue #0
YEAR: November 1992
COMPANY: Viz Communications
Publisher: Masahiro Oga
Executive Editor: Seiji Horibuchi
Managing Editor: Satoru Fujii
Editor: Trish Ledoux
Art Director: Yoshiyuki Higuchi
Contributing Writers: James D. Hudnall, Yoshitaka Ishigami, Chris Keller, Robert Napton, Takashi Oshiguchi, Rick Sternbach, Matt Thorn
Contributing Translators: Takayuki Karahashi, Yoshiyuki Karahashi, Toshifumi Yoshida
Since 1986, Viz has been providing Americans access to manga and anime.
Jointly owned by Japanese publishers Shueisha, Shogakukan and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions (ShoPro), the publication is no doubt born from the efforts of Seiji Horibuchi and then managing director of Shogakukan, Masahiro Oga. Both men who wanted to publish Japanese manga in the United States.
While Viz would release titles in the late ’80s such as “Legend of Kamui”, “Fist of the North Star”, “Sanctuary”, “City Hunter” and other titles, because sales were not so good yet, Viz published art books.
With anime starting to become popular in the United States and companies were slowly establishing themselves as retail merchandisers releasing anime on VHS and LD in the early ’90s, along with new English-language anime productions, manga translations, anime conventions and growing fandom, it was all about timing and sure enough, Seiji Horibuchi and staff set out a goal to release a publication and bringing American anime fans information from both sides of the Pacific.
And Animerica’s first preview issue #0 was released in November 1992 which followed with a first issue being released in March 1993 (actually released in February).
First, I want to thank my friend Matt Kolk. While he is no longer with us, he was the person who got me interested in Japanese anime and made Japanese pop culture a big part of my life.
Back in 1992, I haven’t seen Matt since high school and it was during a time I believe when everyone was trying to get a copy of “The Death of Superman” or the latest comic books of the X-Men. Everyone there was waiting for those comics except for Matt.
He was looking at the magazine stand and there were two issues of Animerica Vol. 1, No. 0. We talked about what we have been doing post-high school and how I come to the store to get my comics, but he was more excited about anime. Something I never heard of at the time. I remember the Japanese animation that I grew up with, such as “Voltron” and “Robotech” but after bumping into him and talking about “Animerica” and anime, I decided…sure, what the heck. I’ll give this publication a try. He bought an issue and I bought one.
And I absolutely loved it!
He lent me fan subtitled copies of an anime favorite of his. The anime was called “Ranma 1/2” and the other was “Video Girl Ai” and he introduced me to a local anime club and a Japanese pop singer named Noriko Sakai. From that moment on, I was hooked and from that passion from anime which eventually led to my interests in Japanese pop culture, from creating the nt2099 BBS in 1993 which would eventually become J!-ENT, a Japanese club in 1997 known as The Asunaro Club and eventually, that interest would set me up to work with the Japanese entertainment industry. In fact, my first interview in my career was with a Japanese artist back in 1994. And I do thank Matt for generating my interest in Japanese pop culture at that time.
While I collected comic books, with the industry changing, I started to discover manga and anime and while there were other anime publications in English, because of Viz’s ties with Shueisha and Shogakukan, you had an English anime publication that would also incorporate Japanese manga.
The first preview issue #0 of “Animerica” would feature Robert Napton’s article on “Superdimensional Fortress Macross II, ‘Lovers Again'”, an interview with popular character designer Haruhiko Mikimoto, a history of the Macross world and a close up on “Macross II” and the “Macross” merchandising available.
Meanwhile, the publication would feature two manga chapters, Tony Takezaki’s “AD Police” and Rumiko Takahashi’s “Supergal”.
The publiation would also feature the top ten anime in Japan, one of my favorites was Takashi Oshiguchi’s “From the Forest” and what was popular in Japan, upcoming releases, James D. Hudnall’s article on “State of our Art”, America’s top selling animated videos, top 10 manga sold in Japan, video games releases and more.
While some may find issue #0, it was not exactly the most ordered publication at the time, so if you can get it cheap, I definitely recommend “Animerica” issue #0.