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.
Kaoru Abe – “No 2”
Shinki Chen – “Farewell To Hypocrites”
The Gerogerigegege – “Stairway To Promotion”
Les Rallizes Dénudés – “A Memory is Far”
Zyanose – “Voice of Youth”