The Best and Worst of 1999
As we look back on the past year (arenít you glad I didnít say the past millennium?
I swear if I hear Y2K once more I'm going to slap a straight jacket on and check myself in.)
I decided to take a look at some of this yearís worst and best trends and events of 1999.
This is by no means a complete list, but these were the things that stood out in my mind.
"I am a Pioneer"
The SM Movies are Released in English
(I couldnít help thinking of the Opening song to the second Tenchi OVA series for the title
of this section.)
In 1999 Pioneer Animation surprised a lot of us by announcing it had
worked out a deal to obtain Dic's rights to the three SM movies. A few more of us were
even happier to find out the releases would include both English subtitled and dubbed
versions of the movies. The three subs came out in August, and the first of the dubs
is due in February. This might mean more good news down the road. Who knows? If
Pioneer makes enough profit from the movies, maybe they will seek out another deal
allowing it to release more episodes in English. This is about the only way I can
see SMS ever being dubbed. Dic has moved on to other projects and Pioneer wont have
to worry as much about censoring and cuts in SMS. They target the direct to video
market rather than the Television market. A deal like this will also keep English
fans who prefer the original happy because Pioneer usually releases both subtitled and
dubbed versions of each series
"Pika Pika Pik-a-chu Pi-Pik-a-chu"
Translation: Anime hits Mainstream North America
Thanks to shows like Pokemon, movies like Princess Mononoke, and Cartoon Networkís Toonami,
anime has grown out of it's cult status in North America and has entered into
the mainstream. This hopefully will mean easier access to anime with more companies buying
up titles and more stores regularly stocking anime. If anime continues to be popular
for an extended period, we may also see the prices of videos drop and more series may even
appear on TV.
Now everybody look at the little yellow electric rodent... give in to the cuteness... resistance is futile!
Fill it up!
Free Webspace Providers offer Unlimited Space
Last year, the major free webspace providers were going back and forth trying to top each
other with the amount of space they could give out. The arrival of XOOM and itís 10 MB saw
Tripod increase from 2MB to 11MB and eventually Geocities followed.
This year XOOM has gone to unlimited space, (even though they did add the ad bar thing),
and now Tripod also gives out unlimited space if you get over 100 hits a day.
Plus there are the nice new sub-domain addresses.
Then thereís Crosswinds, they have given out unlimited space for a while, and without ads!
However, people stayed away because of itís slow speed. They still are not super fast,
but they are getting faster all the time. I'd keep an eye on them. (Update: Crosswinds now has ads, and some annoying ones at that. As for XOOM, it's now closed, and Tripod's space is now set at 50 MB for everyone.)
Your Stuff is our Stuff at Yahoo!Geocities
The Yahoo Takeover of Geocities
I should mention, no free webspace provider is perfect and I understand they all have
to use advertising to survive. Hey they have to make money to pay employees and keep those
servers running some how. The problem with Geocities has always been their plans and ideas for
using advertising and how they never seem to consult their users. As a result, they have produced
some pretty annoying ad schemes for both the users and visitors of Geocities pages.
Well when Yahoo took over Geocities this past summer, things went from bad to worse.
The most notable thing to come out of the whole takeover was the wonderful new clause in the Terms
of Service which claimed that Yahoo owned all rights to a user's site content.
Yahoo finally caved in and dropped the clause after hundreds of users left, several Boycott groups
appeared, and their biggest rivals started taking full advantage of it.
On top of all that there was also another clause which increased the age people could sign up for
Geocities. This caused many younger users to lose their accounts, even if their parents had sent
Geocities a consent form before the take over. Toss in the annoyance of logging in over and over
while working on webpages, and how some long time users lost their user names because someone on
Yahoo had the same user name.
Since the takeover, things havenít improved too much. Geocities featured sites were once awarded
with a new, shorter address using their username rather than the huge, standard city/number
address. The addresses are still used, but are coordinated by a poor redirect system that
half the time says the page your looking for isnít available.
The icing on the cake is the recent addition of the new Yahoo!Geocities corner ad banner.
You thought pop-ups were bad? You thought the watermark thing was bad? Well Geocities topped
them all with this one. Not only is this thing harder to get rid of, it also often
covers up part of the most important section of any webpage... the title.
To the Highest Bidder
Online Auction Scams
1999 saw the rise of Online Auction Sites. Which of course gave rise to Online Auction
Scams. They say a sucker is born every minute, but at online auctions, I would say itís
more like seconds.
Some anime fans, including SM fans, are being ripped off by other fans who
use online auctions to sell copies of fansubs for profit. That is illegal because they
are making a profit off someone elseís work. Most fansubbers are hobbyists who follow two
unwritten rules to avoid prosecution. First, they do not sell for profit. Second, they
do not distribute a particular video once a professional company buys the rights to it.
Because of this, fansubs are either traded for other fansubs, or you only pay for the
cost of shipping and the purchasing of a VCR tape. You do not pay them for their work or the
material on the tape. Therefore, I would not buy from anyone selling fansubs through an online auction. Luckily companies like ebay have recognized this problem and often
shut down auctions with fansubs whenever itís reported.
In addition to fansubs, SM Merchandise is being sold for overly high prices at these auctions.
An Artbook for 100 bucks? Come on, you can order it from a store for much less. Heck if you
live in North America you can even get a friend in Canada to try and track down the French version of
the first Artbook and send it to you for around 20 bucks! To put it simple, buyer beware and
shop around. These auctions are really only good if the bidding starts low and stays low, or
the bidding is for a truly hard-to-get collectable item.
Have you heard the one about...
The Rumors of a Sixth Season
Itís been over two years since the last SM episode was shown and the last manga published.
However, just about all through 1999 there were false rumors floating around about a new
full series of SM being made. Part of this could be blamed on the SOS who reported late
last year Naoko Takeuchi was passing out leaflets to people at an anime convention which
said she was interested in doing a new series. Many are skeptical the story was ever
true. Then there is how the SOS made an announcement about the Musicals being adapted
into a manga series and then turned it into speculation Takeuchi might be returning to Kodansha
to produce an all new series. The SOS isnít the only one to blame for this rumor
though. Throughout the year, several web sites made up their own fantasy 6th season
or created fake news reports.
Maybe I Donít Know When to Leave Something Alone
I couldnít leave them out, could I? HentaiFREE has been around before 1999, but this
year people really started to notice them. HentaiFREE has cleaned things up a bit
since we discussed them back in July, but they still have their problems. They still
contain sites from anime/manga that are not suitable for children, but in their minds
thatís okay simply because they do not contain
X-rated material like tentacle sex or graphic sex scenes. Also consider how most
HentaiFREE members place their HentaiFREE banners on the bottom of the site. By the
time you scroll to it, you can already tell the site is free of hard-core sex
material, thus, HentaiFREE serves no logical purpose other than to create a paranoia
that every second anime site is going to contain hentai. If you want to rate your
site for your visitors, then seek out a proper, professional rating service, not a
group run by two people who determine by themselves what is right or wrong for your
visitors and donít really help anyone.
December 15th, 1999
As usual any comment made on this page is that of "The Amazoness
Quartet" or one of its members. Tripod has nothing to do with our opinions,