If you’re at all familiar with my peculiar taste in these crazy things we call Japtoons (although really, why would you be?) you might know that I have a certain amount of affinity for an old OAV series called Bubblegum Crisis. Because of that, I spent much of my “nerd time” in Japan (that is, whenever I wasn’t in school or hanging out with people and pretending like I was a totally normal cool dude) looking for old books or magazines pertaining to my beloved Bubblegum Crisis. Suffice it to say, Japan doesn’t really give a crap about Bubblegum Crisis, and such material was always hard to find. Which is why when I found out the now-defunct Anime V covered Bubblegum Crisis a lot, I started trolling through used bookstores and Mandarake shops for back issues.
The funny thing is, I didn’t find a single issue. Well, I did find one or two, but they were both from the mid 90s and thus irrelevant to my interests. Bizarrely, Anime V is absent from the shelves of shops that might sell such magazines, even as they might stock a large selection of other late 80s anime magazines. Yahoo Auctions wasn’t much better, a few odd issues would occasionally show up, but rarely within the time frame I was looking for. So then, where the hell are all the old back issues of Anime V?
I have no idea. I do have one issue though, and it’s the January 1987 issue. So I’m going to talk about that for the second installment of this ridiculous column.
I’ll fully admit that I can’t talk with much authority about Anime V, being that I only own a single issue. Judging by this issue, however, the magazine isn’t much different from other anime magazines published around this time in Japan. A mixture of color and black-and-white pages, the paper quality is low; black and white pages are a rough newsprint and the color pages are very thin. The production values aren’t as coarse as those of manga weeklies, but it still feels rather disposable.
The contents are about what you’d expect. There isn’t much in the way of actual journalism here, just lots of copy about then-current or upcoming releases, some line art (from Outlanders), chapter five of a Bubblegum Crisis novel, fan art and and article about exciting new consumer electronics (ever heard of VHD?). In 1987 the OAV market was just beginning to take off and Anime V seems to be almost entirely dedicated to the format (if the magazine’s subtitle of “New Video Magazine” wasn’t enough of a hint).
To give you an idea: Robot Carnival, Outlanders, Dream Hunter Rem, Del Power X, Guyver, Grey: Digital Target, Dirty Pair, Elf 17, and Twinkle Heart are but a few of the Oriental Animation Videos covered in this issue. There’s a lot of listed prices, which makes for some interesting comparisons. For instance, at this time OAVs were coming out on VHS, LaserDisc and the above mentioned VHD, but not all OAVs came out on all formats. Prices and release dates were inconsistent, take for instance Grey: Digital Target: the VHS was released on January 25 at 13,800 yen, the VHD and LD releases didn’t come out until March 25, but they cost less at 9,800 yen. It’s hard to conceive that in this day and age people would be willing to pay that much for a video tape only an hour (or less) in length.
You kids get off my lawn, etc.
Next Week: The Canadian giant robot magazine!