Five Things from Ten Years Ago: The Philippine Anime Scene in 2000


Philippines Anime Convention 2000

It’s a slow news week so I’ll take this post to make more unsolicited observations on the local scene 🙂 I know that often, I moan about “the good old days” and complain that “these days it’s just not the same”. Au contraire, there are a few things that I do not miss from the scene ten years ago, and this is a quick and dirty little post about them.

Hugot Closet Cosplay

“Hugot-closet cosplay” (literally “grabbed from the closet”) is, for the unfamiliar, the act of recycling existing articles of clothing from one’s closet to approximate costumes. This includes — but is not limited to, costumes that are very easy to put together like characters from fighting games, contemporary manga, and slice-of-life anime. Although we still see this today, it’s become few and far between with local cosplay standards increasing quite a bit from ten years ago. This is possibly brought about by the lack of attention fellow cosplayers and photographers give to said hugot closet cosplayers in favor of more elaborate and attention-grabbing costumes.

Dial Up Internet and Slow Computers

Ten years ago, there was no way to stream, view, or file-share anime, manga, and other media on the internet. Download speeds are throttled at 56 KBPS, while computers operate at 512 megs of RAM. File sizes are also limited because the largest hard drives are at 60 MB — that’s the size of one full length BL drama these days. It’s like living in a goddamn cave, and I would never give up what we have today for what we had ten years ago.

Pretentious Anime Column Writers

Before the spread of the internet and the increase in number of blogs dealing with anime and similar topics, most people relied on print. Aside from specialty magazines, we also occasionally got anime-related topics on the entertainment section of local magazines. However, we also had to deal with their pretentious writers. I remember one incident when a bunch of friends found an article in a local paper, where the writer praised Rurouni Kenshin’s theme Heart of Sword as sung by “Yoake Mae”; what the writer was referring to of course was TM Revolution’s Heart of Sword ~ Yoake no Mae.

When said friends sent a letter to the author to make a correction, instead of acknowledging the oversight the writer ranted on the column about “know-it-alls” who had nothing better to do than diss the column, and that if that’s how people acted the anime-related sections of the column were going to be halted. We just lol-ed our asses off, and proceeded to get our news off Japanese websites instead — after all, those were way more recent and accurate than error-ridden second-hand articles written by neurotic writers.

Overpriced Manga in English

Back then the USD-PHP conversion was half of what we have today — USD 1: PHP 28, instead of the USD 1:PHP 48 circa 2010. However, graphic novels were priced at PhP 800 instead of the PhP 500 charged today at comic book stores and specialty bookstores. There was also a limited number of mostly kids books like Pokemon on sale, compared to what we have today — adult-oriented books like the classic works of Osamu Tezuka and Hagio Moto, as well as racier books like josei and BL manga, are within easy reach of today’s manga fans.

Fake “Experts”

Just as it is today, there were people then who liked passing themselves off as “experts”, industry insiders, or local movers-and-shakers to the new and mostly uninformed local community. But because neither Google nor Wikipedia were as widespread then as they are today, it was very difficult to separate fact from fiction, real from make-believe. Thanks to those two plus social networking sites such as Facebook, it’s now fairly easy to sniff out the fakes and pretenders, so it’s not as easy to be duped today as it was ten years ago.

Long and short? The scene wasn’t perfect then and it isn’t perfect now, but that doesn’t make me any less happy to be part of it. Sure, I’d diss is every it every now and then (okay, everyday :D) but that’s part of the love — I mean who else is willing to be as critical and acidic about the scene as someone who was neck deep in it? I rest my case >.>

17 Comments Add yours

  1. Kat says:

    Oh I remember those days. I remember the late 90s, I’d troop to Virramall after school just to see what’s new at C.A.T.S. Comic Alley was literally in a small alley on the 4th floor. I think I saved up a month or so allowance from just one Ranma 1/2 graphic novel. Most of the time, I borrow VHS tapes from my classmate.

    It was also quite difficult to write a paper on anime or manga back then. Books or articles about it weren’t that many. Thankfully, guys like Matt Thorn and Fred Schodt had email, while Japan Foundation was still able to send copies of articles via snail mail. Research was really research (insert Plurk rock emoticon here).


  2. eva_guy01 says:

    I remember having to find a reliable source that would provide rented VHS tapes of the latest raw anime (raw = no translation) from Japan. I would wait patiently for fansubbers to sub it at least 5 months later so i could understand the finer details of that particular anime.

    But it makes watching anime so much sweeter then, not like nowadays where it seemed like a dime a dozen.

    Information is very prolific today then what it was before, but it can be its own undoing when it comes to getting things in overdose.


  3. Hahaha 10 years ago, I’d be scrimping up cash in order to get myself an issue of Culture Crash. Wonder what happened to all of them.

    And yeah, the only source of anime back then was buying/renting VHS copies from CATS or other stores back then.

    Best Toys was still in a hidden nook in Virra Mall ground Floor… and their YF19 Yamato was 4k bucks… ngayon 9k na T_T (nagkatrabaho na, di pa rin mabili, wtf but I have a DSLR, and a VF25 Super, medyo damaged lang :P)


  4. lol something about anime being hard to get to back then made it much more fun, eh? 🙂


  5. Suzanne says:

    “But it makes watching anime so much sweeter then, not like nowadays where it seemed like a dime a dozen.”

    Oh yes, I totally agree with this. We rented VHS tapes from a local store, and hentai selections were off-limits, kasi bata pa raw kami, at babae pa.


  6. … hahahaha i remember our VHS suki — she was the one who recommended BRONZE to us 😀 she said, and i quote “maganda yan — love story” XDDDDDDD i will be forever thankful to her and her excellent taste ❤


  7. bomalabs says:

    Hay, I remember the Anime Screenings at the Ayala Lib and Powerbooks during the early 2000s, where everybody would just gather and watch the first few released episodes of Fruits Basket (or Furuba, for the hard-core fans)..and of course I remember Culture crash, and Questor and all those little manga magazines that followed. And trekking those Hard-to-Find Manga sellers sa Makati Cinema tsaka sa isang Building na tapat ng Ateneo..okay ang daldal ko na. hahaXD


  8. i miss the guys from ANIMA ANIME too — except maybe for their skeeviest former member who for some reason is still around instead of buried six feet under (zzzzzzzzombie braaaaaaains) x.X;;


  9. kathleen says:

    The nearest possible collection I could make then are the cheap card games called ‘teks’ (is this spelling correct?), and I would even spend my ten-pesos baon just to buy Fushigi Yuugi and Flame of Recca cards from my classmates collections. Questor magazines is pretty expensive for an elementary stude like me, so I borrow from my classmates and photocopy some of my favorite pages there.

    About the self-proclaimed otaku expert writer, can I have any clue as to what’s the name of the paper? I’m not sure if the magazine I’m thinking is correct…XD


  10. lol from what i vaguely recall about that conversation, it was either a local celebrity magazine — one of the more “high brow” ones (i.e. less trashy) back then like MOD and GLITTER, or one of the two major dailies INQ and STAR. it could be both though — maybe i should SMS the aforementioned letter-writing pals to confirm 😀


  11. OOOh OOHHH right, CCHQ was big in Katipunan back then. Tambayan for comic book/manga/graphic novel/cards/artbooks++ collection


  12. Kat says:

    “Information is very prolific today then what it was before, but it can be its own undoing when it comes to getting things in overdose.”

    True. I remember having to save up just to buy one issue of Animerica just so I’d be “in the know.” Then again, I was one of the five people in my school who liked anime, so it didn’t matter if I knew a lot or not. Now… meh.


  13. Shabby says:

    I watched The Proposal this morning and that’s when, after so many years, have I heard again the sound of dial-up. *lol* I remember that the video format back then was rm because of dial-up limitations. Not to mention, the small hard drives. ^^;;;

    I suddenly realize how long I’ve been using the internet. D:


  14. JEFusion says:

    You forgot, Questor: The Ultimate Anime Magazine. 😀


  15. loooooooooool “ultimate” would be stretching the truth by a mile; they used to lift articles straight off of wikipedia and other personal sites >.>


  16. Ang pinanghihinayangan ko lang eh dati may comics pa sa comic alley…ngayon nasaan na? la na. :/


  17. ironic isn’t it?! they should change the name to “bootleg anime merchandise shop” or something more appropriate >.>


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