Other Japanese cultural imports?

The roughly mid-90's and earlier (generally pre-Toonami, pre-anime boom) era of anime & manga fandom: early cons, clubs, tape trading, Nth Generation VHS fansubs, old magazines & fanzines, fandubs, ancient merchandise, rec.arts.anime, and more!
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DKop
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Re: Other Japanese cultural imports?

Post by DKop »

davemerrill wrote: Fri Jan 08, 2021 9:01 pm I went and checked Google and that store ("Players Choice?") in the North Myrtle Beach Mall is still there, and I think a new arcade opened up there as well? That's a pretty good store, lots of everything. Interesting in how a shop like that shows how Japanese animation has become such a part of American popular culture- Sailor Moon, Dragonball, Naruto, Gundam, lots of properties were on display like it was no big deal. Seeing a place like that when I was a kid in Myrtle Beach would have blown my mind.
Yea they've gotten bigger the few times ive been there, which is great for their business. Its become more comic and retro gaming based where the anime and figurine merch is their smallest inventory there, but they got about everything for everyone interested in that nerd stuff. I'm hoping their anime section has gotten bigger but stores are going to put up what sells.

Just checked google images for their location they've REALLY expanded since I was there in 2018 or so.
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Re: Other Japanese cultural imports?

Post by davemerrill »

as the malls of America hollow out, the niche retailers are going to move in - how long before we get our own Nakano Broadway, a mall full of model kit stores, DVD sales, old books and magazines, video games, collector's toys, and comics?

This was my plan for the Galleria - the mall that got turned into the convention center where AWA is held - but that new Braves stadium suddenly caused the real estate in that little area to spike. Oh well.
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Re: Other Japanese cultural imports?

Post by Fireminer »

davemerrill wrote: Fri Jan 08, 2021 9:01 pm I went and checked Google and that store ("Players Choice?") in the North Myrtle Beach Mall is still there, and I think a new arcade opened up there as well? That's a pretty good store, lots of everything. Interesting in how a shop like that shows how Japanese animation has become such a part of American popular culture- Sailor Moon, Dragonball, Naruto, Gundam, lots of properties were on display like it was no big deal. Seeing a place like that when I was a kid in Myrtle Beach would have blown my mind.
That reminds me: When was the first time you guys saw a store that stock mostly anime character goods and other Japanese pop culture curios? Or the first specialized anime store for that matter. Did they sell stuffs licensed by Dark Horse and the likes in comic book stores back in the days?
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DKop
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Re: Other Japanese cultural imports?

Post by DKop »

Fireminer wrote: Tue Jan 12, 2021 4:21 am

That reminds me: When was the first time you guys saw a store that stock mostly anime character goods and other Japanese pop culture curios? Or the first specialized anime store for that matter. Did they sell stuffs licensed by Dark Horse and the likes in comic book stores back in the days?
Suncoast video store in the late 90's immediately comes to mind. At the mall close to me was "the" place to get anime on VHS, before the DVD market took off and they supplied anime on DVD/bluray. They had Dragonball Z tapes there and other stuff that kinda blew me away like seeing Cutey Honey from ADV of a half naked woman on a tape that I thought belonged in the "adult" section hahaha. Mind you I was 13 at the time, so seeing anything female got my attention. They did carry large quantities of the Dragonball Z toys that Irwin and Bandai had out at the time as the DBZ trend was cracking through the ceiling.

A few years later iv'e seen anime/comic store pop up at malls that would tend to fad out or go full comics because comics are hot and you gotta carry the hottest thing to stay in business. One such shop in the same mall before they moved to a diff location had tons of unique things in there, so getting anime on laserdisc and first print runs of the Schodt Gundam novels were great treasures to find and buy.
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Re: Other Japanese cultural imports?

Post by Fireminer »

DKop wrote: Tue Jan 12, 2021 4:50 am Suncoast video store in the late 90's immediately comes to mind. At the mall close to me was "the" place to get anime on VHS, before the DVD market took off and they supplied anime on DVD/bluray. They had Dragonball Z tapes there and other stuff that kinda blew me away like seeing Cutey Honey from ADV of a half naked woman on a tape that I thought belonged in the "adult" section hahaha. Mind you I was 13 at the time, so seeing anything female got my attention. They did carry large quantities of the Dragonball Z toys that Irwin and Bandai had out at the time as the DBZ trend was cracking through the ceiling.

A few years later iv'e seen anime/comic store pop up at malls that would tend to fad out or go full comics because comics are hot and you gotta carry the hottest thing to stay in business. One such shop in the same mall before they moved to a diff location had tons of unique things in there, so getting anime on laserdisc and first print runs of the Schodt Gundam novels were great treasures to find and buy.
Say, didn't both Marvel and DC went into a rump in the 90s for reasons like the emergence of independent publishers? How did they bounce back anyway.

And the Gundam novels really were a different beasts to the TV series. Tomino feels to me like he always need a strong-handed producer to rein him in, yet the novels show how the wilderness in his thinking can bring some really interesting things.
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Re: Other Japanese cultural imports?

Post by davemerrill »

Fireminer wrote: Tue Jan 12, 2021 4:21 am
davemerrill wrote: Fri Jan 08, 2021 9:01 pm I went and checked Google and that store ("Players Choice?") in the North Myrtle Beach Mall is still there, and I think a new arcade opened up there as well? That's a pretty good store, lots of everything. Interesting in how a shop like that shows how Japanese animation has become such a part of American popular culture- Sailor Moon, Dragonball, Naruto, Gundam, lots of properties were on display like it was no big deal. Seeing a place like that when I was a kid in Myrtle Beach would have blown my mind.
That reminds me: When was the first time you guys saw a store that stock mostly anime character goods and other Japanese pop culture curios? Or the first specialized anime store for that matter. Did they sell stuffs licensed by Dark Horse and the likes in comic book stores back in the days?
Pony Toy Go Round at the Japanese mall in... Torrance? Torrance CA, during my only trip to Anime Expo in 1994. All Japanese imported products.
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DKop
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Re: Other Japanese cultural imports?

Post by DKop »

Fireminer wrote: Tue Jan 12, 2021 7:24 am

Say, didn't both Marvel and DC went into a rump in the 90s for reasons like the emergence of independent publishers? How did they bounce back anyway.

And the Gundam novels really were a different beasts to the TV series. Tomino feels to me like he always need a strong-handed producer to rein him in, yet the novels show how the wilderness in his thinking can bring some really interesting things.
I am not that comic book guy, someone else more qualified can answer that ( I feel like its been brought up in the past a few times).

The translation to the Schodt novels were the best they could do. I haven't read through them yet but it was translating what they could like Char being Sha, a Zaku being a Zak and so forth.
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Re: Other Japanese cultural imports?

Post by davemerrill »

long story short with the American comic book industry -
Used to be comic books were sold alongside magazines and newspapers, and the vendors - newsstands, drugstores, etc - could return unsold comics for credit. This was 1940s-1970s.

Sales of comics have been dropping fairly steadily since a peak in the mid 1950s. By the 1970s the price of paper and ink and trucking the things all over the place had risen dramatically. It was looking like comics weren't going to be around.

However, also in the 1970s, comics fans who had been selling back issues started opening their own comic book stores and purchasing comic books directly from distributors, without any returns. This created what we know as the direct market, driven by comic book collectors.

Most of the big comic publishers of the 50s and 60s faded away in the 1970s but Marvel and DC kept publishing comics, and a greater percentage of their sales were to the direct market. By 1990, most of their sales were to the direct market, meaning the same audience was buying their comics every month. They began to rely on gimmicks to keep their customer base interested - variant covers, foil stamped covers, cross over event storylines. Customers bought these comics assuming they'd increase in value.

Some of Marvel's top artists left the company in the early 1990s and started their own publishing company, Image, which also depended on a speculative investor customer base.

Several failed event comics in the 1993-1994 time frame served as a wake-up call to the collector-speculator-investors - these comics were not actually worth anything. This echoed a crash that had previously destroyed the baseball card collecting industry. Marvel had been owned by three or four different groups in the past decade and in 1995 they purchased a bankrupt card company and a struggling toy company, and this led to bankruptcy. DC had been owned by Warner this whole time so it weathered the crash better.


There's a more detailed description of what happened here: https://comicbooked.com/comic-book/
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Re: Other Japanese cultural imports?

Post by Drew_Sutton »

Fireminer wrote: Tue Jan 12, 2021 4:21 am That reminds me: When was the first time you guys saw a store that stock mostly anime character goods and other Japanese pop culture curios? Or the first specialized anime store for that matter. Did they sell stuffs licensed by Dark Horse and the likes in comic book stores back in the days?
The first stores I remember seeing with a lot of anime goods in were small, local retail stores that mostly catered to the import video game market. This was probably in 1995 or 1996. A lot of the mid-90s import video game advertisements in video gaming mags carried Japanese anime character goods, and the couple of these stores were just like physical extensions of that. Video games and console modifications were their primary revenue generator (I would imagine, based on retail footprint) but lots of goods like posters, model kits, figures and a small selection of VHS tapes were always present. It probably wasn't until a year or two later that I found an anime-exclusive retailer that had all of the aforementioned goods, a small selection of games, CDs and video rental (commercial releases and fansubs).

Dark Horse comics, though, I only found in the direct-market comic shops - along with the Viz, CPM, Antartic and other smaller comic publishers. I first started going to direct market stores in '91 or '92 in lieu of the couple pharmacy and drug stores I was going to before and when we moved to Atlanta later, direct market shops were pretty much all I went to. In the mid-90s, the inventory was mostly comics (both DC and Marvel, but lots of smaller pubs, too) but there was a small inventory of comic-related goods (toys, statues, etc.). The couple of times I've strayed into comic shops in the last 10 years, there are a lot more goods, probably evidence of a shrinking market for Marvel, DC or superhero type of books. The write up Dave did, plus the linked article, are good descriptions of what the comic market was like in the 90s and the aftermath of that crash. I will add that the effects of that market are still being felt today. As I have been trying to sell my collection from my youth, I've been on various facebook groups for comic collectors and sellers, books from the 1970s and earlier fetch fairly high prices but the glut of 1990s books are shunned and nearly worthless. Unless a character is announced for a Marvel movie, then there's a frenzy around a number 1 issue for someone/something no one cared about the day before, that is.
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DKop
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Re: Other Japanese cultural imports?

Post by DKop »

Drew_Sutton wrote: Thu Jan 14, 2021 5:43 pm

The first stores I remember seeing with a lot of anime goods in were small, local retail stores that mostly catered to the import video game market. This was probably in 1995 or 1996. A lot of the mid-90s import video game advertisements in video gaming mags carried Japanese anime character goods, and the couple of these stores were just like physical extensions of that. Video games and console modifications were their primary revenue generator (I would imagine, based on retail footprint) but lots of goods like posters, model kits, figures and a small selection of VHS tapes were always present. It probably wasn't until a year or two later that I found an anime-exclusive retailer that had all of the aforementioned goods, a small selection of games, CDs and video rental (commercial releases and fansubs).

Dark Horse comics, though, I only found in the direct-market comic shops - along with the Viz, CPM, Antartic and other smaller comic publishers. I first started going to direct market stores in '91 or '92 in lieu of the couple pharmacy and drug stores I was going to before and when we moved to Atlanta later, direct market shops were pretty much all I went to. In the mid-90s, the inventory was mostly comics (both DC and Marvel, but lots of smaller pubs, too) but there was a small inventory of comic-related goods (toys, statues, etc.). The couple of times I've strayed into comic shops in the last 10 years, there are a lot more goods, probably evidence of a shrinking market for Marvel, DC or superhero type of books. The write up Dave did, plus the linked article, are good descriptions of what the comic market was like in the 90s and the aftermath of that crash. I will add that the effects of that market are still being felt today. As I have been trying to sell my collection from my youth, I've been on various facebook groups for comic collectors and sellers, books from the 1970s and earlier fetch fairly high prices but the glut of 1990s books are shunned and nearly worthless. Unless a character is announced for a Marvel movie, then there's a frenzy around a number 1 issue for someone/something no one cared about the day before, that is.
For a reference of these types of ads in gaming and especially anime magazines in the 90's, ive been doing a blog archiving what I have to put on the internet. I hadn't done much to it in over 2 years so I need to find something to put on there at some point. But you can find that site here: http://animeofyesteryear.blogspot.com/

Yea comic shops have become "Geek Central," so whatever is popular is pop culture/fandom it'll be hosted at a comic shop because in order for them to make money they gotta carry what their customers really want and would find in a comic book store these days. The one I go to in Greenville SC has a dedicated section of their store to Gunpla, and at one point was hosting a Gunpla club that I believe has fizzled out (I was part of it at its height 3 or so years back). As long as they're selling they keep getting them in.
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