Sunday, 31 August 2014
My own recollections Of EastCon'90 are of the late night screenings that had seen the 'word' spread, so much so that there was standing room only. So many wide-eyed people were willing to watch this fresh animation from Japan without narration, or sub-tiles, it was intoxicating!
Film cinematography's camera techniques are liberally used, the long shot, the panning & tilting shots, Dolly & tracking shots, and the close-up, as well as camera\video special effects of split screen, and circling shots that just blew people away and all well before the matrix had an array of cameras to do its time-slice photography of circling around a person (all done by hand with hand-painted cels numbering from 10 to 24 0r 25 or sometime 30 frames per second)!
There was disbelief also that the humble cartoon could display depictions of violence in a realistic manner (NO more of the ubiquitous Tom & Jerry frying-pan in the face, that you just shrugged off), and in horrific detail that would rival any live-action horror movie that went before!
[Note: I do vividly remember people so shocked and ill at ease that they left the auditorium in one of the very late-night adult showings of an episode of “Wondering kid” (you may know the edited together and cut film, under the title “Urotsukidōji”) in it's now legendary tentacle scene.]
In contrast Japanese Animation had a “U” certificate, as Kids Cartoons straight to video in the UK, and the MY-TV label did turn up a t EastCon'90, - recently Helen McCarthy was able to fill me on the details surrounding this company's appearance at the convention.
“MY-TV was a label part-owned by one of the directors at the music and video company I worked for at the time. They re-badged and distributed US material, mostly from Harmony Gold, which is how the UK got releases of some great Anime like Birth and Crushers so early on - short-lived but still there.
I just told my boss about the event and he decided they should show up and try to sell a few tapes.
He had no idea there was a market for "this Japanese kids' stuff" outside the children's market.
Of course this was before Island world/Manga Entertainment started the fifteening of the industry.”
[Note: INTERVISION VIDEO LIMITED was the parent company of MY-TV, the Editing, rewriting\dubbing, and renaming had been done by US company Harmony Gold, and I think video (VHS) distribution licensed though Streamline Pictures. ]
Once Upon a Time (VHS release 1987,1988,1989)
Original Title 'Windaria' (1986)
Crushers (VHS release1987,1988,1989)
Original Title 'Crusher Joe: The Movie' (1983)
Original Title 'X-Bomber' (1980)
[UK DVD Box-Set released in 2009]
[NOTE: World of the Talisman (VHS release1987,1988,1989) Original Title ' Birth' (1985)]
To be continued..........
Sunday, 17 August 2014
A look back at EastCon '90. (the Pen-Pals network meets up),
The content that forms this page is not just my own recollections but excerpts from a smattering of surviving letters from fellow UK Anime fans that have survived from around that time both pre and post Convention, and that of my own memories of that time.
As I write, I am finding it difficult to convey the newness and excitement of a medium of animation from Japan that was not just Kids' Saturday morning cartoon shows, that was free to aim at many different age groups for its audience, as well as the masses of genres that live-action film and TV used, it was so astonishing (in modern language it was “F*?%ing Awesome”).
I had only known of others' existence by writing into Canadian & American Magazines, Ads in Comic-books, and JapAnimation fan Clubs, and by joining these Fan Clubs you got to find other fans with new and exciting interest in your country and the more established fans from Canada & America and those outside the US.
By April 1990 I was only in contact with a few (about Six) UK fans by post.
And so for many this was the First meeting of Japanese Animation Fans, that up until that point had only been Pen-pals, or thought that they were alone in their interest!
EastCon '90 (April 14th & 15th 1990) was my first Convention, my first Science Fiction Convention and my first introduction to Con-going. The Registration was the princely sum of £25, and after you registered, a hotel booking form was sent out (by post), you of course were free to choose any accommodation in Liverpool, and the more Anime fans that booked and informed the organisers that it was Anime that drew you to the Con the more time was allotted to the media section and the showing of more Anime (as of mid February it was almost half the entire slot for TV/Films for the weekend of the Convention).
Only months later I would find out that two of the members of Anime Hasshin (an American Anime & manga fan-club) had contributed almost 50 hours to the library of Anime that was shown. At the time I did put out flyers for Anime Hasshin at EastCon 90, and proudly wore the tin badge of Anime Hasshin at the Convention hoping to boost the Fandom and bring people together!
Many fans had sought out Anime (then widely known as Japanimation) from a multitude of interests, the depiction of Power-Armour battle suits and giant robot war machines in science Fiction (fanned from the craze of Robot model kits in the mid1980's), from the heritage of dubbed popular cartoon shows shown in the 70's ('Kimba the white Lion', 'Marine Boy', 'Speed racer'), people wanted to find more.
More fans at that time had a keen interest in Japanese culture even their Business practises and acumen, as well as their social structure and etiquette, their religions, beliefs of Shinto and Buddhism and how they fitted in to daily life, the Japanese school system which helped to produce such a high national literary rate, and a few of us were transfixed with the fascination of the Samurai and the historical period of the Shogunate! Dipping in to Japanese popular culture you could not fail to notice that Manga was every where, and read by Children, Teenagers, and Adults alike!
To be continued..........
Thursday, 7 August 2014
April 1990 was to be an important time as the word had spread from 'MekTek' Issue #3 telling us about one up and coming Science fiction Convention over the Easter weekend (April 14th & 15th 1990) EastCon '90 showing Japanese Animation (well that's how I got to know! Thank you Ashley.), and as I've later found out another Convention held over the Easter weekend in April of 1990 was Elydore, a media Convention held at Shepperton, that also had a showing of Japanese Animation in one of its Video rooms, run by Miss J. Felton (No futher details of this as yet).
[Note: This will be ground Zero for the UK Anime Fandom as I would know it.]
After over 20 years its not all that easy to remember the details, or that easy not to start embellishing with hindsight those events luckily for me I had written a Con-Report that was published in American Anime club's magazine Anime Hasshin's “The Rose” Issue #22 July 1990.
So here I am quoting myself word for word.
By Carlo Bernhardi
Friday the 13th! It certainly wasn't unlucky for me! It was my first chance to see Anime shown at EastCon '90 (the National British SF Convention) in Liverpool – the first time ever for Anime in the United Kingdom.
As the Con was SF in general, the Anime seemed to be in the nature of a filler with time slots from midnight to 4:30am and then from 8:00am to mid-day.
Helen McCarthy organised the Anime and it was very good indeed, mostly action and adventure.
AKIRA drew the greatest audience and 'Wandering Kids' and 'Cream Lemon' filled the room to capacity. My first taste of original Anime was 'Galactic Patrol Lensman'.
I was please to meet three 'Robotech' fans, you could hardly miss them wearing their home-made Zentraedi badges, posing as the three spies to find out as much as they could about Anime. We've kept in touch ever since.
So it was a very small percentage of the whole Con that constituted Anime fans. But the programme was a great success and it brought us all together. Eveyone I met declared that they loved every minute of it! Even when they couldn't understand a word of it!
The Anime shown at the Con:
'Southern Cross', 'Gundam', 'Five Star Stories', 'Crusher Joe' (English), 'Iczer-1', 'Hokuto no Ken', 'Space Cobra', ' Dunbine', 'Black magic', 'City Hunter', 'Robot Carnival', 'Akira', 'Megazone 23 Part 2', 'Lupin III', 'Orguss', 'Windaria' (English), 'Macross', 'Wandering Kids', 'Cream Lemon', 'Digital Target Grey', 'Project A-KO', 'Dirty Pair', and 'Dr. Slump'.
With the explosion of Anime now being heard across this country, the nucleus of which was created at the end of the Con by a few people, a national fanzine is being formed and small local clubs have appeared whose founding members keep in touch by mail with small amounts of info on Manga and Anime flying around.
Carlo Bernhardi 1990 ©
[Note: With hindsight I can up-date and elaborate on some of the Anime titles that were shown: the 2 English dubs shown as 'Crusher Joe' & 'Windaria' were in fact from a kids cartoon Video label called “My TV” respectively renamed 'Crushers' and 'Once upon a Time'. 'Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross', 'Fight – Iczer-1', 'Fist of The North Star', 'Space adventure Cobra', 'Aura Battler Dunbine', 'Black Magic marionette M-66 ', 'Super Dimension Century Orguss', 'Macross: Do You Remember Love?', and 'Wandering Kid' a 3 part OVA that was edited and cut in Japan into a film, this film was then futher cut for BBFC 18 ratting in the UK and is better known as “Urotsukidōji”.]
[Note: You can compare the Video room showings from the 'San Diego ComicCon' 1989 &1990 at
[Note: The kids cartoon Video label called “My TV” was at the Convention at Helen McCarthy's request.]
[Note: To quote Steve Kyte "So get ready for UK Anime Fandom - EASTCON 90 is just the beginning!" (Source - Heavy Metal Heaven (the robot in Japanese Animation) by Steve Kyte 1990.© ]
We still had a few on-going Manga comic-books and Anime based comic-books that could be still found “On the racks” in March of 1990, such as:-
#15 of Outlanders.
from Dark Horse Comics.
#5 of Appleseed: Book3, (End of Book3)
#6 of 'Cyber 7: Book Two',
#5 of Dirty Pair II, (End of DP II)
#4 of Dominion.
from Eclipse Comics.
#2 of Lensman
#4 of 'Leiji Matsumoto's Captain Harlock',
#15 of 'Robotech II – The Sentinals Book One'
from Eternity Comics.
#2 of COBRA
#6 of Crying Freeman: Part One
#4 of 'Baoh',
#1 of HOROBI: Part One
from Viz Comics.
GRAPHIC-NOVELS ON SALE IN THIS MONTH:
from Eclipse Comics
[Note: You still had some of the issues of 'Lone Wolf and Cub' from First comics, and 'AKIRA' from Epic Comics, on the shelves as the printing and overseas delivery were not always every month.]