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This weekend is Otakon, the annual, massive Asian pop culture convention in Baltimore. Most people perceive it as a bunch of nerdy looking nerds dressed up as Pokemon and robots, mangling Japanese phrases and leaving mounds of Pocky wrappers on the ground. That may be Okaton for some, but for myself, anime and other forms of Japanese pop culture is a gateway to some really cool shit.

I grew up watching anime, though not what you see on Cartoon Network. My first real introduction into anime was the cyber punk classic Bubblegum Crisis. I rented the video because my local Erols video rental store was out of Bruce Lee films. I saw the cover of the video and thought, at the age of 11, “This looks insane, I have to see this!” I popped in the VHS and what I got was a bunch of women dressed in mecca suits killing robots and playing music. There were no cartoons like this on TV and it seemed so ahead of its time. I was hooked. I started renting every anime I could find. This was 1994 so the channels you had to go through to get a hold of this stuff was almost the equivalent of trading hardcore mix tapes with someone, you had to know someone who knew someone.

Luckily I found someone in my middle school one day wearing an Akira shirt and we quickly became friends. This guy made me a copy of a mix tape his brother made him. At first I only listened to the anime theme songs on it that I knew. A few years later I listened to it again. It had killer stuff like Boredoms, Shonen Knife, The Stalin and a few others. Again, like the anime, I was into all this music that seemed way ahead of anything I was hearing. Below you’ll find a mix tape of sorts, some stuff that was on that mix tape, along with some other music from Japan. Here’s to Otaku’s everywhere, 今週末は楽しみである!

Kaoru Abe – “No 2”

Boredoms – “Acid Police”
Bastard – “Never Change”
C.C.C.C. – “Persistent Infection”

Shinki Chen – “Farewell To Hypocrites”

The Comes – “人間狩り”

Cornelius – “Star Fruits Surf Rider”
Death Side – “Fight Your Way”
Disclose – “Once The War Started” (EP)

The Gerogerigegege – “Stairway To Promotion”

Hijokaidan – “Intelligent Ignorance”
Happy End – “Kaze Wo Atsumete”
Incapacitants – “Apoptosis”
Keiji Haino – “Black Eyes (violent version)”
Fushitsusha – “Untitled”
Gai – “Hate in the Memories”
Lamp – “雨降る夜の向こう”

Les Rallizes Dénudés – “A Memory is Far”

High Rise – “Wipe Out”
Mainliner – “M”
Masayuki Takayanagi – “My Friend, Blood Shaking My Heart”
Paintbox – “Webs of Lies”
Zouo – “No Power”

Zyanose – “Voice of Youth”

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