A Message from Our Fearless Leader, Spring of 2004

Every year the anime market continues to mature and grow, with publishers beginning to branch out into new mediums as the market expands to encompass more fans. By far the major growth area in 2003 was the graphic novel, which will be obvious as you check out the much larger selection in this book than even just last Fall.

When you mention comics to someone here in the US, they think of a small, thin, 32 page or so comic of their favorite action hero. But, to the Japanese, a manga is a thick, novel-sized book, often published in multiple volumes. In Japan, the comic book market is much different than here; it's a giant industry, with manga titles which range from titles for children to more adult fare - just as in the anime world, there is a wide variety of material. It's not at all unusual to see the average Japanese reading a manga on the subway, on the way to work or school, or even drawing their own. You can see some of the doujinshi, or fan comic, world in our newest release on DVD, Comic Party.

One feature of many of the manga being released today is their release in "authentic Japanese format" - that is, the manga is printed in the same style as it is in Japan. Since Japanese read from right to left, what we would see as the front of the book is actually the back of the book to them. In the past, the publishers have "flipped" these pages to make the books more familiar to American audiences.

As manga has become increasingly popular, multiple companies have announced plans to enter this market in the coming year, including Media Blasters and Del Rey, so the choices and variety of books will be extraordinary. In fact, the number of new releases in the graphic novel category is rapidly approaching the number of DVD releases each month!

As I write this, we've received some of the heaviest snow of the winter, with more than 15 inches today. I've just started a fire and I'm getting ready to check out the rough dub of our upcoming release of Shingu: Secret of the Stellar Wars. Coming this fall, this title, which is also known as Record of the School Wars: Muryou, is featured on this spring's catalog cover. Shingu features direction by Tatsuo Satou (Nadesico TV / Stellvia / Ninja Scroll TV), and beautiful character designs by Takahiro Yoshimatsu (Trigun / Slayers / Jubei-Chan). Our production department has been buzzing about how good this title is, so I'm really looking forward to taking a look. You'll see this title begin its release in the fall.

When you're buried in the snow, the last thing you want to think about is going to the store. Our on-line store is available to you 24 hours a day, and you can now utilize the coupons in the print catalog on-line. You also should check the site regularly for news of sales and special offers, as well as discounts on early ordering of new releases! And if you want to save additional money, join our Got Anime frequent buyers club!

Each and every customer we have is important both to myself and to our staff. It is your business that allows us to prosper and grow, and I certainly hope that we will be able to continue to serve you for many years to come.

Best Regards,

Shawne Kleckner
Shawne Kleckner
President and CEO