Anime Insider

This ran from 2001-09. It was originally titled "Anime Invasion," until 2003. The first time I ever heard of it was when I saw issue 18 (January 2005) in a store, bought it, and fell in love with it. I probably bought a few more issues in stores before subscribing, but I can't remember for sure. In any event, it wasn't long before I subscribed, and I continued doing so until the magazine was abruptly shut down after issue 67 (April 2009). The end was so abrupt that the final issue included, as usual, an advertisement for the next issue (#68), which was never published. I think, also, that this wasn't very far into my latest renewal of my subscription, and I never got any money back, or anything, but... that's fine. But for the four years or so that I collected the magazine, it was my favorite magazine. It remains my favorite magazine ever. (Though to be fair, AI only narrowly edges out EW for that honor.) There have been other anime magazines (like Animerica, with which I'm barely familiar; and Otaku USA, which is reasonably cool; and Newtype, which I always wanted to check out but never did and now it's defunct, too), but AI, as far as I'm concerned, was as good as it gets. (And of course, I still have every issue I've ever owned. Maybe someday I'll look into buying backissues from before I discovered the magazine's existence.)

Um... I have pages devoted to a couple of the magazine's segments, "Casting Call" and "If It Were Anime," in the Otakuphrenia section of my website. But there was so much more than that. It had an awesome letters column. (I don't even remember off the top of my head if I ever had a letter published, I'd have to skim through old issues to find out. But it's cool either way.) It had interesting and informative news and reviews of all aspects of otaku culture (Japanese anime, manga, music, games, toys, cons, etc.) Plus humor throughout the magazine, in too many features and sidebars for me to mention, plus just totally random stuff. And it would teach you Japanese words. And there'd be little travel guides and stuff like that. And while there would always be interesting major articles in addition to the shorter features, humor, and reviews/previews, there would occasionally be special features of various types (such as rating the best anime series ever). Man, I don't know what to tell you, there was just so much stuff and it was all awesome and I loved it. And um... at some point they started doing a caption contest where readers could... well, you know how caption contests work. I won that once (though for some reason my caption never appeared in the magazine, as other winners did). I got a free DVD of SoltyRei volume 1 out of the deal, along with some other things. (But I've still never watched the DVD, because I don't know when I'd be able to buy more of the series.) And... for awhile I participated on the magazine's message board (as did lots of other fans as well as the magazine's awesome staff). So that was fun. And I just cannot overemphasize how much I adored this magazine.

Oh yes, I should say the editor, Rob Bricken, has done other cool stuff since even before AI ended. (He was replaced by Summer Mullins, who had been an associate editor at least as long as I had been reading the magazine.) But Rob (and maybe other AI staffers) worked on Topless Robot, an awesome entertainment blog that I've always meant to start following, but somehow never have. And I guess he no longer works on that, anyway. But he went on to be a senior editor of another awesome blog, io9 (which I've also meant to start following, but somehow never have). And... I'm afraid I've no idea what Summer's been up to since AI was cancelled, but since she's just as cool as Rob, I assume she's continuing to do cool things. I hope. And um... I dunno what else to say about the magazine or anyone who worked on it. But I miss it So. Much. (Hmmm, maybe someday I'll scan all the covers and make a special AI gallery....)

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