Wanted ’99: Anime Through The Year 2000

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Remember once upon a time, back before Netflix and Crunchyroll, before Facebook and Wikipedia, back when there were few ways to find out about anime beyond obscure internet fora or trawling your local video store?

When I was a kid, it was a difficult–and expensive–proposition to find new anime. In west Cobb county, we didn’t have access to a hearty VHS sharing community, and the nearest Japanese shops were 30+ miles away in Gwinnett County. We did, however, have Hollywood Video on Dallas Highway and Suncoast Motion Picture Company at Town Center Mall!

Hollywood Video did manage to have a decent selection of anime for a video store in suburban Georgia in the 1990s–Macross, Fist of the North Star, and Ranma 1/2 to name but a few. Mostly older titles at the time, but it was a great introduction to the classics. Suncoast, being a retail store, stocked the latest titles being released by Bandai and Pioneer–they just happened to cost around $25 per VHS tape (a veritable fortune, considering only 2 episodes per tape). A series might cost someone upwards of $150, and you have no way to preview it!

To help sell these outrageously priced VHS tapes, Suncoast occasionally published a catalogue of upcoming titles to generate buzz. I grabbed one of these one afternoon while I was at the mall and, for some reason, held onto it these last 17 years or so. Obviously, I’ve seen a few of these titles in the intervening years, but I thought it fun to use it as a springboard to get back into anime as I haven’t really paid much attention to it since giant robots faded into obscurity. Keep an eye on this space; I’ll review each of these titles as I watch them and maybe get a little insight and reminisce about a bygone era in animation.

A Nine Inch Nail Bomb at the Atlanta Olympics

Remember when Barney the Dinosaur planted a bomb during the Atlanta Olympics? Remember the Atlanta Olympics? Remember a time when we dealt with tragedy through humor instead of social-media slacktivism offering empty “thoughts and prayers”? Those were good times. Let’s bring back those times.

This is a novelty piece in the old “break-in” style pioneered by Dickie Goodman and Bill Buchanan where song clips replace soundbytes from interviews or dialogue.I downloaded this from AOL in the mid-1990’s, and I don’t recall who uploaded it originally.If you or someone you know created this, please let me know so that I may give proper credit.Thanks!

Rocket Slides and Monkey Bars: Chasing the Vanishing Playgrounds of Our Youth

I remember, when I was a kid, playing on the playground at the McDonald’s on Whitlock Avenue in Marietta–before they replaced it with the “McNASA Shuttle”–when it was a haven of steel effigies molded after the principle characters in the Ronald McDonald universe. It was fantastic, and–in the summertime–hot enough to burn your skin.

I remember the “big slide” at Still Elementary School that took a solid 3 minutes to climb. The one that you could plainly see the entire roof of the school building from the top of. The one that launched you twelve feet off the end if you had a good tailwind (we used to compete for the best distance). I remember the parallel bars, the wooden climbing wall, and the old “spaceship” jungle gym that sat up on the hill.

I remember the playscape at McEachern church with its humongous cedar beams shaded beneath the oaks behind the fellowship hall. I remember the nooks and crannies beneath its towers that we would vehemently defend and the rickety cable bridge we would bounce on in efforts to knock each other down.

I remember the crow’s nest at Glover Park on the Marietta Square, and the oversized fireman’s pole that we used to burn our arms with from the friction of sliding down. I remember the model steam locomotive that we used to pretend to drive, chasing renegade locomotive thieves on and off the tracks–depending on the narrative of the day.

I remember the feeling of shock, betrayal, and horror when I had found that they were suddenly and unceremoniously removed in favor of “safer” equipment. Plastic equipment that generated enough static electricity to power a city block when you touched it. Brightly colored monstrosities that looked entirely alien and invited smaller children to clog their dirty, cramped tunnels and get in the way of real, rambunctious, childhood fun. Some of these playscapes were lost altogether, replaced with new buildings–a sign of “progress”, I suppose. The locomotive in Marietta was replaced thanks to public outcry, but the rest are lost to the annals of history.

In the spirit of honesty, though, the zip line on the newer Still Elementary playscapes was pretty cool, but I suppose even that is probably welded in place now.

Source: Rocket Slides and Monkey Bars: Chasing the Vanishing Playgrounds of Our Youth | Collectors Weekly

Battle Chess


I drew this sometime back in the mid-1990s, my interpretation of the cover art for Interplay’s Battle Chess. For some reason, I found the Queen quite…inspirational. For comparison, here is the original:1069577527-00

Well, the artist is granted some creative license when creating a reproduction, right?

1st American Rental: “$1 A Day” (circa 1992)

Want it? Rent it! Get it!

Apparently, business was booming in the late 1980s and early 1990s, because they had 17 metro Atlanta locations AND a 24-hour manned telephone line! Who bought furniture, electronics, or appliances–sight-unseen–over the phone, we may never know. These RTO commercials (1st American, Easy Rental, Remco, etc.) were a staple of Atlanta television’s advertising revenue during my childhood, and were probably indicative of the socioeconomic climate of the time (“Having trouble keeping up with the Joneses?” and “Can’t afford it? Don’t buy; rent!”)