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Anime and Relevancy: The Test Of Time
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Posted 6/23/12


Why is it that whenever new anime(s) come up, they find it so hard to remain relevant to the public?
Critically acclaimed shows like Steins;Gate and Usagi Drop seem to have been forgotten already.

Yet why do we have iconic and critically acclaimed shows like One Piece, Cowboy Bebop, Fullmetal Alchemist and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, and a lot others, who stood the test of time and remained known years afters their release?

Do sales and promotion play a huge part in this?If so, then why is another fading gem Angel Beats! struggling to stay relevant, when it sold more than it probably should and got every anime fan from when it was released talking about it in internet forums? I mean, I hardly see anyone talking about it anymore. When the topic is about drama or tearjerker anime, shows like Clannad and the new popular show AnoHana always get the first mention. Why is this? Is quality no longer a deciding factor?

Though there are some shows in recent years that do manage to make an impact on the anime industry (including the fans) And in my opinion, they are:

Durarara!! - Not better than its brother Baccano! but it's undoubtedly more well-known.
Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica - With promotion that almost rivaled that of K-ON!'s and TMO Haruhi Suzumiya's, there's no doubt this shoujo-suspense anime carved its name onto our minds. I can't believe how it overshadowed a better anime of the same genre, Steins;Gate, like it didn't require much effort. Awards, Sales, Promotions. Madoka had it all.
Bakemonogatari / Nisemonogatari - Now some of you might not agree with this but in my opinion this is Shaft's most important and popular show after Madoka.

I'm sure there are more but this list will do.

My question:
What does an anime need to make an impact on the anime industry?
How can it remain relevant for years? Or decades?

Discuss.


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Posted 6/23/12 , edited 6/23/12
Hmm tough question but I'll give some thought to this.

Imo, here's what I think an anime can do or has done that has made an impact on the anime industry that still lives today:

First of all, I think characters are quite important. Characters in the Western culture like Clark Kent from Superman, Spiderman, Batman, etc are very well known and have made impacts in films, tv series, and other merchandise since its birth. Then, there are the classic characters like Vegeta from DBZ, Spongebob Squarepants, etc that are well known in anime/cartoons. With an iconic character, a series becomes moved and can make an impact.

Plot - This is actually my most important factor when deciding to watch series nowadays (wasn't used to when I first started watching series). Basically, if a plot goes to hell, I drop the series or put on-hold (more of the latter lately although I might have to adjust that with the increasing amount of ongoing series I'm watching). A plot needs to be unique, moving, creative, realistic (not always), and and has style that people and fans alike can remember. It can also be complicated that makes fans form theories such as the Higurashi that became a big hit years ago and the recent Another (on viral). This also applies to some series with beginning episodes where the first episode needs to make an impact. Series like Steins;Gate and Baccano! had weak beginning episodes imo but ultimately became blockbusters and has gained international praise with both of them well known in anime communities.

Marketing - another important part of the anime category although nowadays, there are so many ways to download, watch through stream, etc that some fans refrain from spending money on pricy goods. Most times these days from what I can see, fans like myself often watch through a series first (or at least read comments/reviews) after they've seen the series before purchasing the product. Additionally, the specific audiences in various countries needs to be concerned as for DVD and Blu-ray that have yet to reach other places across the globe may drop the relevance of a series if they remain fixed in a single demography. That actually reminds me now LOL, I should consider buying the BD version of soon Fate/Zero soon to see some of the extra features in the volumes.

Audience - I'd say that this is pretty important when reaching out what the demographic is being aimed at. For the general audience, it would try through promotions and advertising in attempts to reach out to the right demographic. If successful like some series, the anime can remain quite popular for years to come.

Series like Elfen Lied, LOGH, Cowboy Bebop, One Piece, and others remain popular as they have reached out the audiences that they were aimed at. In recent years, there have been successful series that have done so as well as mentioned in the thread such as Madoka.

Also, animation imo does not seem to be one of the major factors that that makes a series relevant anymore. An example is A Dark Rabbit Has Nine Lives. It has excellent animation (also from what I've heard, cost a heavy budget to fund) and was one of the first reasons I decided to watch. But as the episodes progressed, I felt like I was watching shit despite the production quality. In the end, I didn't even bother commenting on the series.



^
Now both of those series are quite big hits (I haven't seen LOGH yet though sadly :mellow:) that continues to influence the anime world today to series like Sound of the Sky, Death Note, Code Geass, and among others.

Also, I forgot to mention this but past studios and works that other companies, authors, producers have worked on which are praised are also brings relevance to a series of their next generation products. I'm assuming Nitroplus and Key would be two examples of this as the hype has already began surrounding the upcoming Robotics; Notes and Little Busters! respectively. (latest example would be ufotable's Fate/Zero that has become imo somewhat overrated now and a bit too popular as result of their previous works like FSN and Garden of Sinners)

Anyways, I'm exactly not sure what direction the anime industry is going right now or how an anime can stay relevant compared to classic and blockbuster series of the past, but hopefully, we'll see some of those soon or hope that epic series like Angel Beats! or Steins;Gate will have influence on series in the future and remain relevant.

P.S. Going to watch Steins;Gate movie soon and considering re-watching it this summer
Posted 6/23/12 , edited 6/23/12

What does an anime need to make an impact on the anime industry?
How can it remain relevant for years? Or decades?


The year the anime is introduced is perhaps one of the most important factors here in North America. A score ago, we were severely limited as to how we could obtain anime - there were few available titles to convince people to watch anime. These are people's childhood anime or introductory series. Majority of people have watched these shows so they've stuck with them and have been introduced to the generation after.

Now, we live in an age where communication is much easier. We have greater access to anime than the past. People are introduced to anime through not the animes of the past but newer titles. I didn't begin watching anime because of past titles (cowboy Bebop, Voltron, Astro Boy, Outlaw Star etc.*) but more recent stuff - Code Geass being what really brought me into anime. The time we live in is a great factor due to the accessibility to current anime in Japan.

*These said titles had a significant affect on the viewers of that time which brought forth more viewers.

Will post more once my head clears up.
The Wise Wizard
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Posted 6/23/12
I think exposure has a lot to do with it. Note that One Piece, Cowboy Bebop, Fullmetal Alchemist and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya have all seen releases with dubs on DVD, and with the exception of TMoHS, at least partial broadcast.

By contrast for example, Steins;Gate has yet to even see its U.S. release on physical media.

There is also the factor of conversation generation to be considered. You could have two anime that you judge to be of similar quality, but if one generates more discourse due to elements in the story, it is easy to guess which one will become more popular.
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Posted 6/23/12
Everything Stark said is true (besides Steins'Gate having weak first episodes. I could feel and sense the gradual buildup. Plot is the most important thing for me. Bad plot, lost viewer . ) Marketing does play a factor.

1. This is not even meant to be humorous. But I think one of the factors is it ability to capture the fans interest for fanvids or fanfics. If a show has enough material to ship people together, slash or not, or to easily to create their own version of it, than it will get an almost cult like following. As long as a show can keep people voluntarily writing and making stuff for YEARS about it, it's interest among fans will not fade. And doujinshi's are also a way to keep interest going.

2. Have an excellent show with a terrible ending or an open ending. It will leave fans blindly clinging to the hope it is not over. Open discussion for what the ending meant will have people debating about it for years (Code Geass, Bebop to name a few.) Also by making a fan think there is a sequel they'll keep track of the series. And unless it's a looong ongoing show like FMA, good perfect endings quickly leave fans minds. "It's a wrap" complete, they feel content at the series and move on.

3. And of course a huge market audience. Steins; Gate is my favorite anime of ALL time. It beat Cowboy Bebop and even FMA and Skip as being my favorites of all time (including manga). Sadly it doesn't matter how good a show is on how well it will do. It needs to capture the interest of several demographics, because the more people that like a show, the longer it'll take for it to fade, if ever.
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Woah @ all the Stein's Gate love in this thread, guess I should keep watching it?

It's pretty simple actually, animes that withstand the test of time appeal to a wide audience range. From kids to adults, and the main characters are easily relatable. The plot also has to move pretty fast and be easy to understand AND YET be original and exciting.

Also shows that pioneer in a new plot or type of anime or characters eg. The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi get a lot more attention. If I recall there was no other show like TMOSH at the time.

The problem with new anime these days is it's way too specialized. Each anime is specifically catered to a certain group of people and the way it is created is not subtle at all. You can TELL what the animators are trying to do. There is no art left in creating original characters and letting the plot flow anymore. At least in my opinion. You'll never lose fans with adventure flicks with shounen heroes and a good solid plot, but now they want to add all sorts of subtlety and weirdness in the characters and crap like that and quite frankly I have no idea WHO they're trying to appeal to.

Give me more action, fun and fast moving plots like Tiger and Bunny and I'm sold. Although even that one was specifically aimed at a Superhero, yaoi loving audience. I find the quality of anime going downhill. Perhaps I'm losing interest in anime, perhaps the anime industry is geared towards a new type of demographic and I am not in it but whatever it is it's getting really lame and boring.
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Posted 6/23/12








So basically, exposure / marketing and wide audience demographic do the trick.
It's a bit sad, but true. In this day and age, promotion does wonders.
And you can't really make a big hit out of an anime intended towards a small audience range anymore.

Will there never be another Cowboy Bebop? Or Neon Genesis Evangelion?








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1. Anime sci-fi is dead. At very least, it no longer moves the industry. When I came into the hobby, nearly everything I watched was sci-fi: Robotech, Macross '84, Akira, Megazone 23, Robot Carnival, Dirty Pair, Bubblegum Crisis, Wings of Honneamise, Captain Harlock...the list goes on and on. Sci-fi got mixed into comedy (Urusei Yatsura) and horror films (Vampire Hunter D and Wicked City). There were obvious exceptions like Area 88, Lupin III, Ninja Scroll, and City Hunter, but they were action oriented. And that was the way I liked it. I loved and still love sci-fi.

Compare that with what's popular today. I can enjoy slice-of-life rom-coms and sports dramas and what not. Many of my favorite anime aren't in any way related to science fiction. But twenty years ago, science fiction anime was ground-breaking. Nobody had seen anything remotely like it, animated or not. I could be passionate about it. These days, while there are still a few good science fiction pieces being made, Japan is no longer the go-to place to find great sci-fi.

2. The crowd is younger. Twenty years ago, anime and manga were the domain of a much older audience on both sides of the Pacific. At its peak, nearly 50% of Japan was reading manga on a regular basis. It was never the most socially acceptable thing, but there was no shame in it either. There was a growing audience for seinen and josei alongside shoujo and shonen. In the US, anime skewed older because it was promoted at colleges, cost a lot of money, and required connections to even obtain. I was the young guy at anime clubs.

Now I'm the old guy. In fact, I'm the very old guy. The average anime convention attendee could be my son or daughter. Popular anime has always been aimed at a teen audience, but now, that's the core audience in America. And for various reasons, it's truer in Japan than before too. The marketing model there now creates anime to appeal to small niches of people who will spend a lot of money to obtain that which they love. Surprisingly enough, it excludes much of the massive middle. It's intentional. Create something that might appeal to everyone and you could have a huge flop if it doesn't work. Create something you know a small but loyal group of people love, and you'll make a small but tidy profit. This marketing model is aimed at folks with low obligations and high amounts of disposable income - teens and early 20s.

Long and short of that is, shows aren't made to appeal to me anymore. As I get older, there will be less and less that are.

3. It's all TV shows, all the time. I understand why TV is important to anime. You can tell ongoing stories. You can weave intricate tapestries that you simply don't have time for in film. Done well, TV anime can be great. The problem is, there's nothing else on the landscape. Other than the rare treat and the occasional Ghibli event, films are rare and OVAs are dead.

Since I was a kid, I've loved the movies, and I still follow the news about what's coming out. Anime films were my passion. Akira, Wings of Honneamise, Only Yesterday, Grave of the Fireflies...those are not just among the best animated films ever made, they are among the best films ever made. Truthfully, I even enjoyed the B-grade stuff. Give me the original Silent Mobius or Vampire Hunter D and I'm a happy man.

That isn't to say that I don't enjoy new anime films. I got a kick out of Redline and Summer Wars, and I am eager to see the new EVA installments and the Berserk series. While it's not quite my thing, I have even enjoyed Garden of Sinners. But these are few and far between, and there aren't many more new cinematic anime treasures for me to discover.

From a reviewer's perspective, TV is a very different beast. The best shows have clunky episodes; the worst shows have a bright spot or two. However, there's no telling where they will wind up. Recently, I watched Durarara!!, which started off as one of the brightest lights in recent memory only to shoot itself in the foot and struggle to a conclusion. While FMA: Brotherhood worked its way into something decent, I struggled to make my way through it. It can take a while to figure out if a show is going to get good (or bad).

That leads into another thought...TV shows require a lot of your time. To watch a thirteen-episode series requires a commitment of at least five and a half hours. More content means more to analyze. That tends to lengthen the time it takes to write a fair review of a series. For a twenty-six episode series, double the commitment to at least ten hours.

For teenagers with lots of time on their hands, this will seem like a stupid argument. If you're not busy with after-school stuff like band or sports, you might be able to find six hours between the time you get home from school and the time you go to bed and still find time for dinner and two hours of homework. From reading some of you out there, I know you do this. You can clear a couple of series a week easily. But for an adult, unless you are paid to review anime as your job, this can become a real problem.

4. There is no sense of scarcity or cost. You can pretty much watch whatever anime you want whenever you want. The legal streaming outlets alone carry more anime than any one person could watch in a month. Very little is truly impossible to find except items that are of interest only to archivists and obsessive collectors. The vast majority of it is totally free. Even if you upgrade your accounts at Crunchyroll and Hulu, you'll spend less on anime in a month than what a DVD with one movie or five episodes cost not five years ago.

If you ask me, the availability and cost of anime is pretty awesome. I'm glad that a serious fan can see tons of anime at little personal cost and (if you stick with legal channels) no ethical issues. But that also reduces the need for anime review sites from a value perspective. You can watch the first few episodes of almost any anime series at no cost but your time. If you don't like it, all you've lost is an hour or so, not $25. An anime review site may save you from wasting your time on an awful movie and can steer you towards something great. But likelihood is, you're going to trust your friends' opinions on the latest anime series more than mine.

Anime reviewing is now about a very different purpose - starting a conversation. It's not about saving your cash. It's about figuring out your interests and talking with other like-minded people. That's not a bad goal, but it means that crowd-sourced sites like MyAnimeList may be better suited to it. On a site like that, you can find folks with similar interests and see what they like. Others, like THEMAnime, offer forums where you can discuss the reviews. That too is a good thing.

Realistically, though, reviews no longer serve many of the higher purposes they did when seeing any anime at all was an investment, often in something you might not even like.

5. There's no personal stake in reviewing for me any more. When I started updating The Anime Review regularly, DVD was nascent, and no one was sure it would take off. I became an early adopter because I saw the fantastic possibilities - subs and dubs on the same disc, the possibility of having 6 discs for a series as opposed to 13 videocassettes, better price points, and so on. All of us who were anime fans at the time wanted and needed DVD to succeed. While the industry fell apart spectacularly after an all-too-brief heyday, there is no going back.

Anime is everywhere. It's referenced in American shows consciously and subconsciously. We might be disappointed it never went mainstream, but these days, what is mainstream, anyway? The reality is, there's nothing further to be done in terms of making anime understood and accepted by the portion of the American population that ever would buy into it. New reviews still promote better anime and steer those on the fence away from the crap, but it's not going to help the overall state of anime in the US.

And for me, I realize that the recognition of beloved older shows isn't going to do much for their release in the US. Of my "top ten desert island anime," three are still unavailable on disc in the US, though only one (Only Yesterday) has never had a release of any sort. Of my extended thirteen "honorary mentions," only one has had no US release (Arion), and the rest are on disc. On one hand, I'm glad that so many of them can be purchased easily. On the other, there's no doubt in my mind that the others have no hope of an official American DVD or Blu-Ray release. Nothing I can do will change that. My work was once a tiny sub-current in the wave that helped get anime released en masse in the West. But that's over.

Taken from http://theanimereview.com/
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Posted 6/23/12

kufirst wrote:

1. Anime sci-fi is dead. At very least, it no longer moves the industry. When I came into the hobby, nearly everything I watched was sci-fi: Robotech, Macross '84, Akira, Megazone 23, Robot Carnival, Dirty Pair, Bubblegum Crisis, Wings of Honneamise, Captain Harlock...the list goes on and on. Sci-fi got mixed into comedy (Urusei Yatsura) and horror films (Vampire Hunter D and Wicked City). There were obvious exceptions like Area 88, Lupin III, Ninja Scroll, and City Hunter, but they were action oriented. And that was the way I liked it. I loved and still love sci-fi.

Compare that with what's popular today. I can enjoy slice-of-life rom-coms and sports dramas and what not. Many of my favorite anime aren't in any way related to science fiction. But twenty years ago, science fiction anime was ground-breaking. Nobody had seen anything remotely like it, animated or not. I could be passionate about it. These days, while there are still a few good science fiction pieces being made, Japan is no longer the go-to place to find great sci-fi.



Ah...the decline of sci-fi. Some of the best series have been sci-fi because when a team decides to do it, if they don't handle it right a science fiction plot can break a story. Creators today have become too lazy. I mean we live in the technologically advanced world they wrote futuristic tales about. I think they perhaps at a block as to what to show now.

The reason why magic, super powers, super strength, sports, etc are so prevalent and revelant is that there is no cerebal explanation behind it. No one questions or ponders why people have these powers or skills, they just do, and the viewer is happy to just be entertained by it. Sci-fi does not get that grace. Even good sci-fis are under heavy scrutiny and discussion, dissected until every flaw and impossiblity is brought to the fore. It's a challenge that many creators aren't willing to make, and even when they do today, it easily results in failure.

Even Steins;Gate was under deep scruntiy for improbabilty factors. And actually I'd go so far as to say that sci-fi is not relevant to many viewers today because they too feel like they live in a science fiction present.

And age...yeah...I'm considered old too But as long as an anime is plot/story driven I will enjoy it. Random fluffs of fun, sitcom types (I do not particularly like sit-coms, plot-less) will probably not interest for me in the long run.
Posted 6/24/12
There's not enough cowbell in today's anime.
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Posted 6/24/12 , edited 6/24/12
Okay well since I haven't seen it here I think I will play Devils Advocate for a bit (also known as stating a varying opinion to add to the argument and then watching what unfolds .. if anything)

Why does this even matter?

Not on a business scale but a personal one. But since we are talking about business .... You could say that if more people bought and watched and talked about a certain series, then the anime industry would be more inclined to make more of that sort of anime. The problem with that argument is that Angel Beats!, was a wildly successful title that has loyal and devote followers. An anime (from my limited understanding) is made by an anime company (for EX: Key). That anime made the company a descent profit and thus they were able to make more great anime. EX: Without Angel Beats! - no Little Busters. Not only that but I haven't really seen any real sales figures or any tangible proof of success but rather, just a discussion on popularity. Is there no such things as cult classics in the anime world? Wouldn't a loyal following eventually turn into sales figures over time? I always like to use the Fight Club example for movies since that was a box office flop that now almost everyone has heard of or seen. The best anime example I can think of for this would be Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei which has been spread through word of mouth to me from some of it's followers and while it certainly wasn't a success over here, it did seem to make a bit of a splash in Japan from what I can tell. So isn't the main problem (outside of US anime business industry) is "do these animes have followers?" Not only that but, as others have pointed out, isn't the most important thing in an anime the plot and characters? If that is true then why can't they make a great anime on a low budget?

Okay now that that is over time to go to a personal level.
The wonderful, great, amazing, awesome, thing about CR is that I have FINALLY met a couple of people who share almost the exact same tastes in anime as I do. They know who they are and all my other peeps know I <3 them for different reasons (that last part is for the insecure ones that are also great) -moving on- One of the series that we have in common is Lucky Star. I don't see a lot of Lucky Star discussion and love nowadays outside of our discussions in private or GB. I don't see anything wrong with that since it is such a niche anime to love. The thing about it being such a hidden gem (to me) is that now it is part of this special group that only makes me like it more when people don't "get it" or even hate it. Would I like more people to love it? Sure, of course I would but then I would have to deal with the problems that come with that. For EX: I love Naruto but since it is SO popular I have to deal with all the idiots that also watch it claiming it is the best anime ever or giving away spoilers so badly that I can't even talk about it with other Naruto lovers. You could argue that Lucky Star doesn't deserve more fans. Ok well I disagree with you but what about Gintama? That anime was one of the most popular things around on CR behind Naruto and Bleach but looking at the forums nowadays you would hardly know it even though it is so critically acclaimed and loved. What happens if THAT fades into the background of time? As long as my friends and I know it is the funniest anime ever made then who cares? Gankutsuou is one of the most beautiful, well told, original adaptations of The Count of Monte Cristo ever told on the planet and it has, for sure, been mostly long forgotten. All that means to me is that if someone else likes it like I did we would have something to talk about.
As for Steins;Gate, I have been recommended to it by 4 people so far and that alone shows that there is still a loyal and devout following to that series.

The only real main problem that this argument brings up for me is legal availability. Usagi Drop - On CR. Angel;Beats - On Netflix or TheAnimeNetwork - Steins;Gate -????Edit - CR had it at one point and then Funimation has it now - it has yet to show up on Hulu or the funimation website. Looks like there is going to be a DVD release - You can thank the Ancient one for the correction


and now I am done playing Devils Advocate
and since what I am about to say basically contradicts everything I said above imma spoiler it
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Posted 6/24/12

funnyginsan wrote:



I'm sure many will agree on the why does it matter part of your post, but Chrome is literally asking why do some series stand the test of time and others don't from an objective viewpoint. And who knows? Maybe Naruto and Bleach won't stand the test of time, too recent and still ongoing for that to be a current factor.

But I don't think a show needs to be mega popular to be labled relevant. To compare both sides of popularity spectrum, Code Geass and Death Note are two highly recommended animes. They so far have stood the test of time. I was strictly reading manga when Darker Than Black came out, so I don't know how it was marketed or receive, but I don't see the same type of following, but I'd still say it has equal relevance as those.

Which again for me, is going to boil down to being able to reach multiple demographics. Because as Chrome stated in first post shows that weren't wildly marketed still have present relevance. And Steins;Gate may not be mega popular right now, but I can almost guarantee that YEARS from now it will still be one of the best animes ever.
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Posted 6/24/12
While exposure and wide audience demographic are indeed factors to be considered, I think it's really the novelty factor that is most important from the rest. There are tons of anime tropes and archetypes being reused every time, but it's more of how an anime can bring all those ideas together and present something new and memorable. Because while there are satisfying animes, they will only be remembered if it had a standout factor. The animes that were mentioned all had that standout factors. It might come from the characters, plot or even controversial endings.
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Posted 6/24/12

funnyginsan wrote:
Steins;Gate -???? CR tried to get it and it fell through - there is also no real DVD's to buy with subs or dubs

CR did have it, but like any of the Kadokawa series, it was removed some time after it was licensed by Funimation. It will reappear at their site at some point in the future, with DVD and possibly BD to follow.


HOLY CRAP! Lazarus (firefox extension) just saved my ass.

Nothing like having a lot of text you've typed in go up in smoke because you accidentally closed a tab, opened a new page on the same tab, etc.

I was doing a rather involved edit and update on one of the seasonal anime topics earlier this year, only to have something go wrong when I hit Ctrl-F to skip to the find dialog, and instead I hit something else, opening a search page on the current tab and obliterating about 1.5 hours of work.

I remembered there was a Firefox extension that saved text entered into edit boxes, but I couldn't remember what it was, or if it was being kept updated, so I just took to copying and pasting any involved work to Notepad and saving it occasionally.

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It's like pulp novels in the 20's-70's US.

In the volume, in the quick, often sloppy writing, in the fact that there'll be a few standout gems (Tarzan is still popular, and it's nearly 100)
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