Wednesday, May 29, 2002

As I kill time waiting for my ride to arrive, maybe I should narrate at how the entire Pinoy Otaku "franchise" started.

It started with the students of my high school, Xavier. I wish it began with me but it didn't. It was the creation of two upperclassmen, Justin Kho and Ulysses Ang. I didn't really know Justin and I only saw Ulysses' name in the features section of our school paper, the Stallion. He did an anime article when I was a freshman. That's all I knew about him. Anyway, they set up a web ring back in May 4 of 1997 (source: The Pinoy Otaku Webring). It proved to be quite popular as a lot of Filipinos with internet access and had an interest in video games, anime, and manga flocked to it.

Later on, Spencer Chang and Les (I forgot her last name) asked Uly's permission (I lost track of Justin and don't know what happened to him) to set up a mailing list using the Pinoy Otaku name. He agreed and a mailing list was born in the now defunct coollist.

As it happened, I met one of Pinoy Otaku's member, Mars, during our Sophomore's Night. That was in January of 1998 and I didn't realize Pinoy Otaku existed back then. Anyway, we talked and I found out about the mailing list. I subscribed and later found out that there's a chatroom in Skyinet. It wasn't official but things were going to change.

I frequented the anime chatrooms in Dalnet since Skyinet didn't prove as interesting. However, Filipino anime fans were chatting at Skyinet and they were trying to approve the Pinoy Otaku channel. Chev and company was trying to get the support of ten or more people. At first I suggested trying to set it up at Dalnet since making a channel official is a command away but some people were having difficulty connecting. Anyway, I gave them my support and along with Mars and her friends, #Pinoy Otaku became a mainstay in Skyinet.

A year or so later, Egroups would come into the picture and the mailing list was relocated. Soon, anyone familiar with the webring would know about the mailing list and anyone in the mailing list would know about the chatroom. The chatroom had around a dozen regular members, a mixed influx of old and new chatters.

A few months later, the original creators found themselves busy with reality. Ulysses, Spencer and Les would find themselves busy with college at the very least. Since I was quite an active member in the mailing list, I (stupidly) volunteered to be moderator. Spencer gave the reins to me and soon disappeared into the mist.

Some time later, Mia came up with an idea to make a fanfiction mailing list. It was to be part of PO but independent from the mailing list as to not flood it. It was named fildoujin and was one of the first spinoffs from Pinoy Otaku.

Sometime in between, another Filipino anime-related mailing list was born: mechapinoy. It originated from the Gundam ML and some of its members realized that there were several Filipinos on the list. They also reverted to using Filipino from time to time and earned the ire of some. Thus, Richie Ramos decided to create his own mailing list. Pinoy Otaku and Mechapinoy revealed each other's presence and both mailing list expanded its roster. Pinoy Otaku was blessed with the likes of Richie, Garr, and Fed, who contributed to the discussions in the mailing list and similarly, Mechapinoy gained notable members, especially some of the female gender.

After a while, Pinoy Otaku was having discussions from various topics such as J-rock and Yaoi. AD (whose real name I cannot reveal) set up Pinoy Yaoi to counter some anti-yaoi sentiments from the mailing list and Michelle Gacusan followed suit with Pinoy J-rock. On a slightly related note, Pinoy Comic Art popped up at around this point, although its origins are not explicitly linked with Pinoy Otaku.

Uly would pass on the mantle of the Pinoy Otaku webring only to regain it a year later. Also, in light of Yu Yu Hakusho getting the primetime slot on GMA 7, a "successful" anime convention was held in November of 2000. An anime convention was attempted back in '98 or '99 by Sterling Animation and named it an "Otaku Rave Party". While some people attended, it pales in comparison to the attention Anime Explosion 2000 garnered. A number of people cosplayed during the event (and Yu Watase judged the event) and these cosplayers banded together and called themselves OAV (I forgot what the acronym stands for). They again set up a mailing list and later on, one of its members, Noelle de Guzman, set up a cosplay-related mailing list that was less exclusive: Pinoy Cosplay.

So far, the Philippines has had five anime conventions ever since and a lot of other mailing lists have popped up such as Anime PH, Anime-Club (which is tied to Telesuccess), AEC, and the like. Pinoy Otaku's mailing list dicussion has dropped ever since but smaller anime cliques are beginning to spring up. Spencer has resurfaced and started an anime trading chatroom last I heard. As for me, I'm content writing in this BLOG.


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