Dearest Rachel –
Now, I suppose I could just rabbit on about the work Jan and I did on your side of the bedroom yesterday…
…but it’s that time of year again… except, of course, that it’s not, really. As mentioned in a previous letter, AnimeCentral was cancelled months ago. Which is a bit of a shame, as it seems that things are actually starting to open up, mirabile dictu. But the organizers couldn’t have predicted that way back when they made this decision. Heck, I wouldn’t have even a month ago, and I was already thinking the whole pandemic panic was a little overblown. But after all, what does my opinion matter against The Science? Things were supposed to be shut down for the foreseeable future, no matter what I might or might not believe, because I’m not in charge – nor do I wish to be. Don’t know why the sudden change in edict, though – although I have my suspicions.
Be that as it may, I keep regretting the fact you’re not here to see things open up; but as far as AnimeCentral is concerned, you’re not missing anything to speak of. If watching panels on Twitch last year made you weep, you’d have had to stock up on Kleenex this year as well – to say nothing of headache remedies for after your little crying jag. It was something you always seemed to have happen, one thing following the other as night following day.
And while I’ve talked about the meet-and-greet we hosted for so many years with the members of the fanfiction panel, there was always something else we enjoyed about Friday nights at ACen:
Anime Hell, and Midnight Madness.
These were live screenings of the wildest and weirdest animation (or in the case of Anime Hell, sometimes non-animation – after all, it was meant to be a sort of antithesis of anime).
These used to be draws big enough for the main programming room, but from time to time, they were shunted off to smaller rooms, which seemed to be good enough once the last parody anime finished rolling at around three or so in the morning – only the hardiest of the hardy could manage to stay up long enough to appreciate it all.
And you were part of that hardy bunch, even to the point of attempting to film a couple of the parodies screened back in 2007, since we could never get our hands on an actual copy to watch on our own time. Unfortunately, you didn’t manage to get much of the actual footage – only the audio, and the audience reaction.
On the other hand, once we managed to get ahold of the actual parodies, we found they just weren’t as funny without a crowd of fellow otaku watching and laughing along at some goshawful hour of the morning, when just about everything is funny, thanks in no small part to a heavy dose of sleep deprivation. So, just for the sake of seeing if it makes a difference, I’ve combined the final edits of two of Studio Sokodei’s best parodies with the audience reactions from the 2007 screening, to see if anyone would find them just that little bit more amusing.
It turns out, YouTube isn’t necessarily keen on this kind of effort, and these may be blocked in some places due to copyright strikes. But hey, it wasn’t as if I was concerned about monetization in any case; this is just to remind us what it was like in those screening rooms, laughing and clapping along together with everyone else.
Quick warning to those willing to stick around and watch: there is some language in these, not to mention a fair amount of, ah… implied adult situations. So… take that as you will. It’s the nature of parody to aim slightly below the belt, I suppose. Again, at two in the morning, just about anything that doesn’t put you to sleep can be considered funny.
I should mention that, in a cruel irony for anyone that might actually enjoy these episodes, there used to be a site that hosted them, and a whole host of other fan-made parody anime – albeit long after our attempt at recording them fourteen years ago. Called animefanparodies.org, it was around only two years ago, but has since dried up and blown away. They say the internet is forever, but that doesn’t always seem to be the case, after all.
And to be honest, it may be just as well. While the audience reactions in these edits I’ve cobbled together may get in the way for some people, it’s a reminder to me that much of the enjoyment really comes in the fact that we were watching with other like-minded souls, appreciating the jokes together as they came. A laugh track may be cheating on television, but the response of a live audience adds a genuineness to the humor – listen, someone else was finding this funny just as you are, so feel free to laugh with them.
It’s why, if you follow the link to the Anime Hell blogspot, you’ll note that its creator/curator is somewhat insistent on it being a live performance rather than trying to set it up for online viewing or download. Without the benefit of the live audience, it loses so much. Yes, you may only have the one opportunity to see this footage, but that’s part of the appeal: you only get the one chance.
Kind of like life itself, wouldn’t you agree, honey?