Long Lost Japanese Anime Magazines Part 3 (of 4)

After “Evangelion” tore its way through the landscape of Japanese animation and became a runaway hit, many companies decided to cash in like mad and pumped as much product as they could onto the airwaves. The main method for doing this became “Late Night Anime”, with tons of shows of rather questionable quality appearing in the wee hours of the night, and then promptly disappearing from the memories of anime fans and producers alike as soon as they finished their broadcast run. Naturally magazine publishers decided to get in on the act and a number of anime magazines appeared on the market, only to disappear within 6 to 24 months later.

“AX”
axPublisher: Sony Magazines
Frequency: Monthly
Size: A4
Publication Dates: March 1998 – October 2001

Very much like the top three selling monthly anime magazines (i.e. Newtype, Animage and Animedia) this magazine initially contained the same sort of content; features on upcoming and screening anime, animation design reference sheets, interviews with creators and voice actors, manga, poster inserts, new game releases, broadcast and video release information and fandom sections (fan art and letters). The magazine also heavily promoted “Nurse Naniko” and “Jubei the Secret of the Lovely Eyepatch”, with excerpts of manga adaptations. However Naniko was pushed very heavily. I’m assuming Sony must have had a sizable financial stake in the series. In mid-1999, the occasional issues came with a free VCD, filled mostly with trailers for anime and games. In 2000, select issues came with a CD-ROM. It was rather noticeable by this time that with the inclusion of the discs, the magazine had gone from about 170 pages to about 80 and with a 100 yen price increase. A bonus DVD came with most issues from mid-2000 to the magazine’s eventual end. However the DVD increased the cover price by 200 yen, with no increase in length (still only 80 pages). Sony pulled the plug in October 2001.

“Dengeki B-magazine” and “Dengeki Animation Magazine”
dengekibmagazinePublisher: Media Works
Frequency: Monthly
Size: A4
Publication Dates: April 1998 – April 2001

When Bandai pulled the plug on B-Club magazine, the editorial staff went straight into publishing this B-magazine. As you’d imagine, there isn’t much that is different in content from other anime magazines of the era including; features on currently screening anime, the obligatory manga insert, animation design sheets, several columns from industry people, album, singe and video release dates, TV broadcast times, bonus poster etc. The odd thing which I never seen before in a magazine of this type is that they covered hentai anime OVAs. There’s four pages of reviews and some of the pictures are a little explicit. In May 1999 the magazine changed its name to Dengeki Animation Magazine. Mostly the format didn’t change much. There was an expanded fandom section (fan art, letters and the like) and there seemed to be quite a lot of hentai game reviews. I note that in the latter issues of the magazine, the hentai games/OVA reviews are pretty much non-existent. Some issues also contained CD-ROMs, though none of the issues I have include these.

“G20”
g20Publisher: Asukii
Frequency: Bimonthly
Size: A4
Publication Dates: October 1998 – February 2000

Specifically created for the 20th anniversary of Mobile Suit Gundam, this bimonthly nine part magazine series covered a number of topics in the Gundam universe. In particular there was a number of articles on the various mecha ns equipment that appeared in the various TV series, OVAs and movies. Being the 20th anniversary of Gundam, there were of course a number of articles devoted celebrations, events and merchandise being held or released around the time the magazine’s publication. In 2005 publisher Enterbrain republished two mooks (i.e. magazine/book) based upon the material published in the nine magazines. The first called “Side A” contained the material relating to mecha and equipment from the Gundam universe. The second book, “Side B”, contains material relating to the 20th anniversary. Unfortunately both mooks are now out of print.

“Character Damashii (Character Spirit)”
characterdamashiiPublisher: Tatsumi Shuppan
Frequency: Bimonthly
Size: A4
Publication Dates: January 1999 – January 2000

This is one magazine which I have never owned or seen a copy of. I believe this magazine ran for only five issues. Known as “Charadama” for short (the title of which adored latter issuees), this magazine was actually published as a soft cover mook with a dust jacket. The main readership the publishers where courting seems to be the older anime and tokusastu otaku male. There is an obvious emphasis on older anime and tokusatsu series. The very first issue has a major feature on “Getter Robo” and includes synopses, manga excerpts and images of various toys and figures. Other articles and features on old anime and tokusastu series not only focus on the series themselves but also merchandise such as figures, diecast model and model kits. The first issue also contains a feature on UFO Catcher prizes released the previous year, and an article on Fujiko from the “Lupin III” series. It is unknown why this magazine was discontinued, however I have read on one or two websites that the cover price was considered too high, so that may have been a contributing factor.

“Kikan Anime Hihyou (Quarterly Anime Review)”
kikananimehihyouPublisher: Maikuro Magajin Sha
Frequency: Quarterly
Size: A5
Publication Dates: February 1999 – October 1999

This magazine was initially a special issue of the magazine “Game Review” and was first published in February 1999. Yet again this is one magazine which I have never had the opportunity to see or buy. From what I have read, this magazine published essays and criticism on various anime. The proper debut issue, volume one, contained an extensive essay on Gundam. There were also reviews of anime currently being broadcast, the burgeoning digital anime industry and features on voice actors. In one particular review of the magazine, the author criticised the magazine for being unsatisfactory in terms of its writing. In the end, only three issues of the magazine (including the initial Game Review special issue) were published.

“AIC Comic Love”
aiccomiclovePublisher: AIC
Frequency: Bimonthly (?)
Size: A5
Publication Dates: May 1999 – 2000

As you can imagine, this magazine was created to blatantly promote AIC properties. Yet again, this is another magazine that seemingly didn’t make to over to any of the speciality shops or Japanese bookstores shops in Australia, so I never got a chance to look at it. However I do know that the magazine contained at least four manga titles in each issue such as “Kachoh Oji (Legend of Black Heaven)”, “Battle Athletes” and of course “Tenchi Muyo!” properties like “Magical Girl Pretty Sammy”. So, lots of AIC tie-ins there. I suppose you could really argue that this magazine sits on the cusp of manga anthology rather than anime magazine. However there seems to be quite a lot of non-manga content in this magazine, and most Japanese websites seem to lump this magazine in with anime rather anime anthologies. Other features included plenty of articles on AIC anime series including merchandise, articles on the girls from the series, a regular column on bikini models (I suppose then know their target audience well…) and a feature on cosplay (AIC characters only I’m assuming). The magazine lasted 7 issues.

“Tokyo Robot News”
tokyorobotnewsPublisher: Keibun Sha
Frequency: Quarterly
Size: A5
Publication Dates: August 1999 – January 2001

Yet another mook (magazine/book), which is this time solely focused on robots. Why hadn’t anyone thought of this before? This one is pretty bog standard; every issue focuses on one particular common feature of robots (such as transformation or special items such as drills), then you have the usual anime magazine stuff like game reviews, animation design reference sheets, interviews with creators, video and CD release information, and fandom sections (fan art and letters). As you’d expect there were large sections devoted to new figure and model kit releases. Like all other anime magazines, it contained a manga insert, naturally one which involves robots, but also quite strangely with anamorphic cat girls as the lead characters. The magazine also didn’t limit itself to anime in terms of robots. There’s also a number of small mentions various tokusastu show robots. The copy of the magazine I have focuses on robots with drills. Not only does include a massive feature on the subject, it also includes a listing of every robot with a drill in all anime and tokusatsu from 1957 to 1999. The magazine ceased publication when publishers Keibun Sha went bankrupt in early 2001.

Next time we’ll be looking at the magazines that commenced and ceased in the first decade of the 21st century.

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