Leiji Matsumoto's Influence
It's a pleasure to finally be able to share my participation in Helen McCarthy and Darren-Jon Ashmore's recent publication on Leiji Matsumoto. Uchu Senkan Yamato was one of the first stories that really moved me as a child. I remember watching cartoons that seemed to be on an endless loop like Bugs Bunny or Tom and Jerry. Uchu Senkan Yamato (Star Blazers) was the story of a starship full of travelers going on some journey through our solar system and beyond. It was a story with a start, middle, and end which somehow disappeared as soon as I had found it. For my 8 year old mind, I never really understood what happened to that magical show that I'd sneak down to the TV Saturday mornings to watch. Little could I imagine that I would be writing on the influences of its creator some 40 years later. My submission for the book deals with the early days of anime culture in Japan. From the 1970's to 80's this fandom was growing with early doujinshi gatherings such as Comic Market or Comitia. Pop culture magazines were becoming increasingly popular during the 70's as well and with the development of anime magazines such as Out, MyAnime and Fanroad, animation studios had a forum to introduce new products and fans had a venue to share their own activities. It was during the late 70's that Leiji Matsumoto's first big hit, Uchu Senkan Yamato began to grow in popularity. It wasn't an immediate hit but it's popularity gathered momentum over time. The title reached peak momentum due in part to the advent of anime magazines. Each edition had more information on the titles that fans could not get enough of and youth could share their own stories at local doujinshi events or sharing their own fan art. Cosplay also grew in popularity during these times and youth dressing up as their favorite characters from Leiji Matsumoto's work was a part of the great mix of youth culture that was developing during these times.