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Wednesday 26 July 2017

June 1990 Pt.5 Anime Pen-Pals & Video Game Consoles & Cancer

By June of 1990 the UK Anime Pen-Pal network was growing, most people only knew of 3 to 5 people that they had contacted and this included local friends too, at this time I was corresponding with about 15 or more Anime\Manga fans, all very time consuming for a Dyslexic, even with the support of my Mother using a manual typewriter for typing-up my badly spelt and grammatically incorrect scribbling in English, as well as my health.

From late in 1989 the American Fan club the E.D.C had a list of members and correspondence, and inquiring persons of 8 UK fans and 3 overseas (outside of the USA & Canada), *
You could also find UK Fans via the American Anime & manga Fan Club Anime Hasshin.

The odd UK Pen-Pal that knew about Anime could be found in imported American Robotech comic-books, but when writing a letter to a comic-book publisher overseas it could take up to 2 months before your details appeared in the Pen-Pal section of its comic-book, and another month (if you were lucky) to receive any letters back!

Those Fans that either went to EastCon '90 (UK's Science fiction Convention) or had shown an interest would receive the “Anime contact list” (that was attached to the First News-sheet for Anime Fans in the UK (the proto Anime UK Newsletter) put together by Helen McCarthy, and Steve Kyte this had contact details of 31 UK fans & 7 overseas fans, and was a Hub and a Nexus to many finding the new World of Anime.

On Saturday 23th. (June) I went to Nottingham, and found a shop that Imported Japanese video game consoles, called 'Supervision Electronics' run by a Mr. Wong, on Mansfield Road, and the two consoles that stood out where the Japanese new SEGA 'Megadrive' that cost £165 to £220, and the compacted Japanese 'PC Engine' that cost £160 (the equivalent of £365 in today's money). These imported Japanese electronics were known as Gray-imports. **

It was I believe that in this shop it was when I first pick up a copy of 'Console ma'zine', produced and edited by Onn Lee. Another NEW frontier running parallel to the underground fan base of Anime and Manga, was of 8-Bit and 16-bit gaming consoles from Japan, for 2 or more players, that's right you got yours friends to come to your house to play games, and in the days when you had NO saves, only Lives, and Credits! There were a few games that came from Manga\Anime that were not all text heavy RPG's one caught my eye it was a 'City Hunter' game for the PC Engine console.

City Hunter

Sometime before the end of June My weekly radiotherapy treatment for Cancer was stopped, as it was not effective enough, and so I was quickly booked in to Hospital from the 8th. to the 13th.of July, for surgery to remove the Cancer from my tongue, I was just 23 years old, and the dogma the the NHS Doctors & Surgeons for talking to their patients was very different in 1990 from today.
My new found interests kept me going at this time (and starting a Local Anime Club), as well as the support from my family and friends, and the Anime pen-pals letters of encouragement.

That was My June of 1990 I remember.....!

*[NOTE: 7 of the 8 UK fans listed in American Anime fan Clubs would find their way on to Helen McCarthy's list of UK Fans.]

**[NOTE:A grey import is equipment that has been supplied by a manufacturer in a different part of the world, that ends up being sold on to you in the UK. The key point is that the manufacturer has sold it into a different (not UK or EU) geographic market, and someone else is then importing it into the UK. Different power supplies and fittings\plugs, will be an issue, as well as No manufacturer warranty, but you do get the new technology months or years ahead of the normal UK market, and sometimes the equipment\technology was never exported outside of the original manufacturer's country (Japanese 'PC Engine' games console\s).]

[NOTE: After 27 years (1990 -2017) have gone bye, hoarding letters and Zines does help fill in the gaps in my memory.]


  1. Hi Carlo, how are you now? I hope to get your news sooner or later, best wishes! I'm your Italian friend ;)

    1. Hello, e-mail me when you can, it should be faster then 6 months.