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|Title:||Interview with MAMEzine editor|
|Published:||Mon, 20 Sep 2004|
With the general lack of a real anime and manga publication in the UK; it’s often left up to dedicated fans to fill this editorial void - and so what we then get is a ‘FanZine’; a good example of which is M.A.M.E. In short, the MAME FanZine is a sizable (paper based) fanzine aimed at the UK's anime & manga fanbase.
With such burgeoning publications in mind, I had a chance to fire off a few questions to Rhoda “voxie” Villegas (MAMEs founder) who was kind enough to answer them for us.
Jamie: For those who don’t already know could you give us an overview of your role and what M.A.M.E is?
Voxie: I'm the zine's editor, and the founder of MAME, a UK fanzine. MAME stands for Manga & Anime's Modern Enthusiasts, basically a posher way of saying "anime/manga fan", and it's the title of the fanzine for people just like ourselves. We don't just focus on anime and manga, but also things around it like music and videogames. We also look into other things fans might like, Japanese food for example. As a fanzine, MAME is there to absorb fans' news and views, and redirect it to other fans out there!
Jamie: How did the idea of making a Manga/Anime Fanzine first come about?
Voxie: It started a while a go, in mid '98 I think... I read a small section in Anime FX, which was the UK's first anime magazine. The section commented on a couple of fanzines, then there was 'the fanzine awards' or something... I looked at it so briefly I vaguely remember, but it was enough to spark my interest into making my own. What grabbed me was that the people running these fanzines were totally unprofessional, yet the content was genuinely good. I saw that if I made my own I'd be able to flex my creative-muscles and get feedback on what I can do. I talked to some friends about it, some who were also aspiring artists and writers... they leaped at the chance to get something of theirs seen!
Around then is when I realised that there was a lot more untapped talent out there, and I moulded the fanzine project to become something of an opportunity for everyone to strut their stuff and hone their talents, and not just a showcase.
Jamie: Creating a Fanzine this size must be demanding, what problems have you endured through making MAME?
Voxie: Well, with juggling the zine, studying, working part-time and other stuff, things did get a little extreme. But working on the zine never gets too much, because I'm always having fun while doing it. In fact the only bit that feels like 'work' is when it comes to fulfilling the deadline for an issue's release! Our first two issues both had problems there. It gets difficult if you end up not having enough material to put in an issue. You end up having to do an amount of chasing for articles and such, then if all else fails, I'd have to find someone to fill the void, or replace with something else completely. The second issue was delayed pretty much thanks to that, and life really! But I'm confident that it won't stay that way - I'm learning as I go along, changing my tactics, trying new things... I'm hoping that as the zine gets more popular there will be a lesser workload, so then I can focus on publicity and making sure issues are out dead on time!
Jamie: What are you’re thoughts on the Manga and Anime scenes in the UK?
Voxie: I think anime really has it good now. With anime on both terrestrial and cable TV channels, and safer addictions like Yu Gi Oh! having playgrounds in a whirlwind, I'm loving the attention anime is getting. Even before Yu Gi Oh!, there was Pokemon and Beyblade, which I believe are all toy franchises in their own right, both were huge and had their own Christmas usherings. With that, I think with the kids at least, anime is here to stay, and as they grow, the anime genre could very well continue to grow with them. That's just the mainstream. Of course there's us aswell! There is such a fusion with creativity among anime fans, be it a news website, a fanzine, a comic or a music video. There's also a huge part of new animation in the West that is influenced, if not directly funded, by anime. I'm really pleased with how far anime's come - that itsy bitsy corner of tried and tested anime you used to see in a few video outlets has now expanded to an aisle full in most high street entertainment media stores..! *Hums tune "Things Can Only Get Better!"*
Manga on the other hand has had it differently. Despite being around for years, UK-wise I think manga has only recently been noticed by people other than anime fans. I particularly like what Tokyo Pop have done. There's a nice library of books to dig into now, brilliant stories, an array of different genres for different ages, well translated and all packaged into small, freshly designed covers that look all cute and collectible-looking! :3 At the moment, it might be too early to predict how it'll go, but with it's recent success in the US, it's apparent that it could do it similarly over here, so fingers crossed.
Jamie: Obviously MAME is made by fans for fans but what are the goals for it to achieve aside from making Manga/Anime fans happy?
Voxie: Apart from just providing people with something innovative and interesting to read, the other goal with MAME is giving fans alike inspiration to write, design and create something, as well as providing the epitome for your work to be seen on, by either fans and non-fans.
Jamie: Is there anything that you feel is missing from the two current issues that we can look forward to in the near future?
Voxie: Some colour hopefully!^^ It's been just two issues, and I've learnt a heck of a lot during both of them. Our creative tactics are constantly changing and improving, and as each issue unfolds, things will turn out to be bigger and better. I already have some surprises in mind for the next 12 months...! Rest assured, each issue will be worth waiting for!
Jamie: I would like to thank Rhoda “voxie” Villegas for answering our questions and wish the best of luck to the future of M.A.M.E.
The website for M.A.M.E; where you can find everything you need to know about the FanZine, can be viewed [here].
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