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About

Don't You Know This is The Land of Obscusion?!

Welcome to my "About" page, intrepid anime/manga fan.  Since you're here I'm guessing you're curious about who I am & what I do on this blog, huh?  Either that or you just stumbled upon this page via a web search...  If you're in the latter situation, I'm sorry.  Still, I should try to make up for that, so here's a rundown of some basic questions that no one has bothered to ask me.  Everyone else has FAQs/Frequently Asked Questions, but I have this instead:

NAQs (Never Asked Questions):
1. Who Are You?
My name is George J. Horvath, I live in Central New Jersey, and I've been an anime & manga fan since 2004.
(*Hi George!*)
Well, okay, I've been a fan of anime before that year due to stuff like Fox Kids' & Kids WB's Saturday morning line-ups (Pokémon, Digimon, Escaflowne, etc.) & the "glory days" of Toonami (G Gundam & Rurouni Kenshin...  You know, when Toonami aired weekday afternoons after school?); I also caught glimpses of Dragon Ball Z in its original syndicated days (6:30 in the morning!), but didn't became a big fan of that until it aired on Toonami.  So, yeah, in this sense I'm just like a lot of you people.  I'm also a gigantic fan of video games, which I've been playing as long as I can remember; got my start on the Atari 2600, in fact.

2. Why Are You an Anime/Manga Fan?
I enjoy watching anime & reading manga because it's something different from what gets created here in North America.  Growing up I loved the X-Men & Spider-Man animated series (still do, in fact), and I guess those kinds of shows got me ready for what anime was like at the time.  Essentially, people seem to feel that as you get older you have to end up leaving behind things like animation, but I never felt the need to (nor did I want to); anime, in turn, helped feed that love for animation.  Sure, it's all "cartoons" in the end, but I don't care.  This is what I like and I'm proud of it.  Manga kind of became an extension of being an anime fan.

3. How Exactly Did You Decide to Start a Blog?
The Short Answer: I like writing.

The Long Answer: I love learning about stuff & I'm a bit of a glutton for trivia, so I figured that maybe I could give writing a try & share what I've learned.  In my last year of high school, 2004, I saw that Gamespot was allowing readers to send in their own articles for the site's (now long defunct) GameSpotting section, so on a whim I tried making an article.  Surprising myself I actually wrote an entire article on the Sega 32X, so I grabbed some screenshots from the internet & sent it in to GameSpot; I figured it would get lost in the shuffle & nothing would ever come of it.  Imagine my surprise then when I get an e-mail from (if I remember correctly) Jeff Gertsmann, Senior Editor at the time, asking if I could re-send the images because they wanted to use my article!  Looking back now, 10 years later, it isn't one of my better works by any means but I'm still proud of it, because it's proof that anything can happen.

Anyway, I went on to Rutgers University & graduated in 2009 with a B.A. in Journalism & Media Studies, so that means that I'm now in the journalism industry, right?  No, but that's another thing entirely.  Still, I wanted to use my new-found education in writing & do what I had done on a whim back in 2004, so during my time on the Mania anime forums (formerly the AnimeOnDVD.com forums) I started up a blog & talked about any random thing that came to mind.  Eventually, though, I found inspiration after watching the video productions of people like James Rolfe (a.k.a. The Angry Video Game Nerd), Mark Bussler (of Classic Game Room fame), & Johhny Millenium (a.k.a. The Happy Console Gamer) & decided to do video reviews of video games & anime over at YouTube (I have since renamed it after this blog).  Unlike those I just mentioned, who actually showed production value in their work, I simply put a camera in front of my TV and did the video right then & there; no script, no editing, & all in one take with only minimal preparation.  I did that from October 2009 to November 2010, somehow getting generally positive comments for my videos, but all the while I had always considered doing an actual, full-on blog of my own.  So, on December 1, 2010, I decided to finally do it...  And here we are now.

4. What the Hell Kind of Name is "Land of Obscusion"?
Honestly, the name of this blog is one of those cases where the first idea is the best one.  I was simply listening to "Land of Confusion" by Genesis & I combined the word "obscure" with "confusion"...  And, pow, "Land of Obscusion"!  While it was originally just a placeholder, I could never come up with anything that sounded right, so I stuck with this first idea; I've come to really like it.

5. Is Obscusion Even a Word?
Hell no!  It's a portmanteau that has no actual definition.  If you want some sort of makeshift definition, though, here's one: The word "confusion" can be defined as "the state of being confused"; therefore, "obscusion" is "the state of being obscure".

6. Why Are You Even Reviewing Obscure Anime & Manga (& Games) That No One's Ever Heard Of?
I love the thrill of the hunt, if you will.  I like finding out about all kinds of titles and trying to find stuff that isn't exactly easy to get a hold of.  Talking about them via this blog not only lets me share my feelings on them but also, in my opinion, allows these obscure titles to get some sort of recognition in English, even if it's only small.  Also, there are plenty of places online, both blog & professional, that cover anime, manga, & gaming as they are happening in the present & popular, so I don't really see the point in covering the same exact stuff that those people are talking about.  If there's a recent title that I feel got ignored & catches my interest, though, I'll cover it at some point, but this era of simulcasting really lowers the amount of obscurities.

Also, unlike most people who write professionally or are doing blogs, I don't do this blog for the hits.  I do this blog because I want to; if people enjoy what I'm writing about then that's simply an excellent benefit & I thank you all for it.  I don't have ads on this blog and I don't get paid to do any of this (hits = money, after all, and what I talk about isn't exactly a hit maker), so I feel I have every right to write about what I want to.

7. What Exactly Do You Look For When Watching/Reading/Playing Something?
Quite simply, the most important thing to me is simple: Entertainment.

I can definitely appreciate when something aims to be more than just entertainment & adds in an absorbing story, forever memorable characters, and quotable writing, and those kinds of titles are some of my absolute favorites, but in the end I simply want to have a good time.  One could argue that thinking like this means that I have "low standards" (I hate this term, by the way) or are easily pleased, but at least I don't come off as cynical & overly critical just for the sake of criticizing.  If anything, my "standards" are fluid: They shift depending on what I'm checking out, i.e. I won't hold something like Violence Jack to the level of something that Satoshi Kon directed, but that doesn't mean that I can't still enjoy Jack for what it is.

If being flexible means that I have "low standards", though, then so be it, I guess.

8. How Exactly Do You Find The Stuff You Review?
Okay, this technically isn't a "Never Asked Question", as I have been asked this question once before, but it's still a good one.

Anyway, I want to refrain from listing specific places because of their "legality" (or lack thereof), but the easiest way to answer this is simply by saying that I look at what's being uploaded onto certain file-sharing sites for the stuff that was never licensed & released in North America and if it catches my interest I try to get it before it becomes nigh-impossible to get a hold of.  In rare instances I do rely on stuff like Region 2/Japanese DVDs & the like, but due to their expensive nature I tend to not really buy those unless I feel I can get a good deal.  In extremely rare instances I have relied on bootleg, or HK/Hong Kong, DVDs, but I don't recommend that anyone do that; most of them have been ripped online, anyway.  Finally, some titles I've reviewed have, in fact, been licensed & released in North America on VHS, LD, DVD, or all of the above.  In these cases I do try to mention how much they cost to purchase now & if they are still in print or not (read: most of them aren't).

Essentially, the key is to look, look, look some more, keep looking, look around, and...  Eyeball.

9. You Sometimes Watch Stuff Without Subtitles...  How Do You Do It?  Is There Anything You Won't Review?
Ooh, a two-parter...  Sweet.  Anyway, I do review stuff without subtitles (a.k.a. "raw"), but I'm in no way fluent in Japanese.  In fact, my experience with the language is mostly through anime, though I have taken a semester of Japanese in college (still have my books, too!) and I do like to use places like Google Translate & Suteki.nu's Translator to help understand words I don't know.  That being said, neither can take the place of actual knowledge of the language, so when I do watch something raw I tend to stick to titles that don't go beyond my capabilities; also, I use the visuals & keywords to help deduce scenes if necessary.  For example, a series like Ring ni Kakero 1 is pretty easy to follow & understand "raw" due to it's focus on combat & visuals that help give context, while something like Seikimatsu Leader Gaiden Takeshi! is fine to watch without subs because the visuals do enough.  Now, to be fair, if there's something I don't fully understand & I think it is important then I will admit such; I review these titles simply because I want people to know about them.  Also, I'm just crazy enough to try it.

As for what I won't review, the only real 100% restriction is hentai.  I don't watch it in general, but I also just don't want this blog to involve porn.  Now if a title has sex in it & only approaches hentai-esque levels, like Violence Jack: Evil Town, it is fair game...  But I'd still want to review it, so no guarantees there.  My other main restriction is that I want to see all of something before reviewing it.  There are enough people out there who review something going only off of a portion of it, even only one episode, and I don't want to be like those people.  Sometimes a title does indeed get better, so I want to make sure that when I review something I've given it the full benefit of the doubt.  Admittedly, this restriction isn't set in stone like the hentai restriction, but in those cases I do give a reason behind those exceptions.

10. Who Are Your Influences?
While I can't exactly name any direct influences on my writing style, which is essentially a casual take on essay writing, I do have some influences on why I do what I do.  As mentioned before, people like James Rolfe, Mark Bussler, & Johnny Millenium showed me different ways of reviewing things: Rolfe showed me comedic causticity, Bussler showed me how to be fair to anything (i.e. even the worst stuff might have its moments), & Millenium showed me that people do in fact appreciate positivity & enthusiastic energy.  On the writing side the biggest influence on this blog is Justin Sevakis, founder of Anime News Network & author of Buried Treasure/Garbage (now called Pile of Shame).  Not only was Justin's writing style descriptive & informative, but he showed me that people really do enjoy reading about obscure stuff that few people had ever heard of.  Similarly, Jason Thompson, co-writer of House of 1000 Manga, is about as much of an influence as Justin through Jason's longer essay style.  Overall, those five people would probably be my biggest influences.

11. How Long Do You Plan On Doing This Blog?
Honestly, I have no idea.  I started doing this with the intent of making it to at least one year, and when I hit one year, and 50 reviews, I simply decided to keep on going.  Now, as of this sentence, I am at the beginning of my fourth year...  So I guess I'll just keep doing this until I run out of stuff to talk about (not likely), tire of doing this blog (small chance, but it could happen), or life results in me having to change priorities (most likely to happen).  I won't give any guesses as to how long this can last, but it should be a fun ride until the end.

12. Would You Accept Any Outside Articles, or Are You a Selfish Bastard(!!)?
Whoa, what's with the hostility?  Unlike Dark Schneider I'm no glory hog...  It's just that no one's ever asked.  While I do feel that this blog is "my creation", if someone has a title in mind that he/she feels no one has ever heard of before & wants to review then I have no problem with he/she asking to use this blog as a place to express him/herself.  The only thing I ask is that you ask me before doing the review (just in case it's a title I had wanted to cover myself, as I don't want multiple reviews for the same title on this blog) & try to supply some screencaps (2-4 would be ideal, depending on the length); my contact info is listed in my profile page.  GameSpot let my voice be (metaphorically) heard on their site, so I think it's only fair for me to do the same for other people.

I hope that this little section has helped you all come to understand where I come from a little more.  Now, see those years & months listed on the right of the page back at the top?  You have a lot of reading to catch up on.

3 comments:

  1. Hey there George! I just stumbled across your blog, and boy am I glad I did. 4 years and counting??? Astounding. I am even more astounded, however, by its complete lack of popularity! The quality posts should be enough to gather a following! I'll be looking through your posts - though I'm not all that familiar with any of the animes mentioned (obscure, right?). Anyways, keep up the good work!

    ReplyDelete
  2. 7. What Exactly Do You Look For When Watching/Reading/Playing Something?
    Quite simply, the most important thing to me is simple: Entertainment.

    Enough said.
    Ojigi...
    Bookmarked.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi, I have always wanted to know if you know anything about why Dragon Quest dai no daiboken anime got cancelled? The manga was very popular and continued, I have heard lots of rumors about it being cancelled for different reasons, but nothing conrete..

    Also, do you know what happened to the mangakas that did Dai no daiboken.. They were doing other manga, Beet the vandel buster, and then supposedly one of the authors became ill, and never continued.. Do you know anything else about this?

    ReplyDelete