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Sunday 17 August 2014

April 1990 Pt.1b UK Anime Fandom.

A look back at EastCon '90. (the Pen-Pals network meets up),

The content that forms this page is not just my own recollections but excerpts from a smattering of surviving letters from fellow UK Anime fans that have survived from around that time both pre and post Convention, and that of my own memories of that time.

As I write, I am finding it difficult to convey the newness and excitement of a medium of animation from Japan that was not just Kids' Saturday morning cartoon shows, that was free to aim at many different age groups for its audience, as well as the masses of genres that live-action film and TV used, it was so astonishing (in modern language it was “F*?%ing Awesome”).

I had only known of others' existence by writing into Canadian & American Magazines, Ads in Comic-books, and JapAnimation fan Clubs, and by joining these Fan Clubs you got to find other fans with new and exciting interest in your country and the more established fans from Canada & America and those outside the US.

By April 1990 I was only in contact with a few (about Six) UK fans by post.

And so for many this was the First meeting of Japanese Animation Fans, that up until that point had only been Pen-pals, or thought that they were alone in their interest!

EastCon '90 (April 14th & 15th 1990) was my first Convention, my first Science Fiction Convention and my first introduction to Con-going. The Registration was the princely sum of £25, and after you registered, a hotel booking form was sent out (by post), you of course were free to choose any accommodation in Liverpool, and the more Anime fans that booked and informed the organisers that it was Anime that drew you to the Con the more time was allotted to the media section and the showing of more Anime (as of mid February it was almost half the entire slot for TV/Films for the weekend of the Convention).

Only months later I would find out that two of the members of Anime Hasshin (an American Anime & manga fan-club) had contributed almost 50 hours to the library of Anime that was shown. At the time I did put out flyers for Anime Hasshin at EastCon 90, and proudly wore the tin badge of Anime Hasshin at the Convention hoping to boost the Fandom and bring people together!

Many fans had sought out Anime (then widely known as Japanimation) from a multitude of interests, the depiction of Power-Armour battle suits and giant robot war machines in science Fiction (fanned from the craze of Robot model kits in the mid1980's), from the heritage of dubbed popular cartoon shows shown in the 70's ('Kimba the white Lion', 'Marine Boy', 'Speed racer'), people wanted to find more.
More fans at that time had a keen interest in Japanese culture even their Business practises and acumen, as well as their social structure and etiquette, their religions, beliefs of Shinto and Buddhism and how they fitted in to daily life, the Japanese school system which helped to produce such a high national literary rate, and a few of us were transfixed with the fascination of the Samurai and the historical period of the Shogunate! Dipping in to Japanese popular culture you could not fail to notice that Manga was every where, and read by Children, Teenagers, and Adults alike!

NOTE: Con booklet, and paperwork provided by P. Davison (Feb 2021).

NOTE: Con booklet articles written by Helen McCarthy, Harry Payne, and information by EastCon committee members, Anime (robots) Artworks by Steve Kyte.

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