Aboot Alexander Doenau

Me with Tim Anderson, president of Madman Entertainment, at the premiere of Innocence in 2004

I am an Australian student, born in 1985. My passions include watching anime, going to the cinema and writing things without worrying if I actually have an audience for my work.

All throughout my childhood I had loved animation, and was particularly taken with such offerings as Robotech, Samurai Pizza Cats, Bob in a Bottle, Sailor Moon and even Bumpety Boo.
Bumpety Boo was actually a watershed moment for me; watching the series at the tender age of nine, I generally thought “this is stupid; it’s a talking yellow car”. Then, in the last episode, Bumpety Boo went away.
I literally cried myself to sleep that night, having promised myself that morning that I wouldn’t cry.

I became an anime enthusiast upon entering high school in 1998. It started with Pokémon, which is actually a great anime to teach the “rules” of comedy (although, sadly, as the budget increased, the hilarious animation waned because the directors could suddenly afford to animate the show “properly”).
My love grew in large part thanks to the efforts of SBS, which showed Evangelion in its entirety twice, along with gems such as Porco Rosso, Castle of Cagliostro and Gunsmith Cats.
SBS also had the decency to show Goku: Midnight Eye, as if to show us that the goodness of anime is not inherent.

I started watching anime “full time” in 2000, with the advent of DVD in Australia. My first anime DVD was Slayers “The Motion Picture”, quickly followed by Sakura Wars and Legend of Crystania.
My first mistake purchase was Burn Up W, which featured only the English dub on its Australian release. The local releases began to pick up, and so I came to acquire several series such as Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040, Nadesico and Serial Experiments Lain. I loved them at the time, but now, having done more “hard research”, I feel uneasy about 2040.

As the years progressed, anime became more popular in Australia and more titles became available. I tried to put my hands on everything I wanted, but I learned to be selective; in the early days we received fairly premium titles, but an expanded market means more junk, naturally.

As the market began to burst, I finished high school and got a job. That was the beginning of the end for me; I could buy anything I wanted locally, so I went to the forbidden land: The Right Stuf Incorporated.
It started slow, with me picking titles that would likely never see the light of day on my fair shores. Then it grew into a debilitating illness that meant I spent tens of thousands of dollars on anime DVDs, many of which I have yet to watch.

All throughout my anime “career”, I had an allergy to fansubs. In the same year as I was kicking through the DVDs, the digisub scene became big. I took it as a matter of “morality” – because you can take an anime fan larva and find that it either has a strong sense of righteousness or a laissez-faire “eff the industry, I’ll download everything” mentality – and didn’t watch them, but a large factor was that I simply didn’t like watching things on my computer. Then it became a matter of “I’ve got so many DVDs, where am I going to find the time for subs?”

Then Emma came out last year and my interest was piqued. So I watched it. And then I saw Honey and Clover was on the cards. My DVD collection accumulates, but so too do the downloads. As long as it’s not licenced, I’m fine with it.

The modern schedule does not look that interesting to me; I’ve got my DVDs to fall back on, but I simply don’t know how to find the time for them. I think that, if people lament the state of anime today, they should simply look back and discover that which they have not seen.
Delve into the past, fellow anime fans: our roots are important. Plus they did some things better back then.

Aboot Anime Pilgrimage D/R

Anime Pilgrimage D/R is, at a glance, my third anime blog, and the third iteration of my blog “Anime Pilgrimage”.

I started Anime Pilgrimage D/R in March 2004 to fight off the intellectual starvation I was suffering due to work. I figured that I should keep a log of all of the anime that I had been watching, to express my opinions and keep myself somewhat sharp.

It was actually initially called “Culture!”, a reference to one of my perennial favourites Macross. I changed it to “Anime Pilgrimage” within three weeks: a combination of the fact that I had just seen Noir and that I had begun to liken each series of anime as a journey: every series a pilgrimage to the end, to new and great discoveries. Each entry on the site was like a sign post.

You can see that the site was originally simply for my own benefit; I gave very little detail, and wrote perfunctory notes on what I did and didn’t like about any given set of episodes. The number of episodes I covered became arbitrary, but I started structuring each entry as if I wanted a coherent piece of work that could be read by just about anyone in order to provide a feeling of any given anime series’ worthiness.

Around the start of 2005 I suffered some severe block, a mixture of trying to write entire series reviews at once, covering too many episodes at once, or having covered so many episodes before that I was running out of things to say.
This problem was exacerbated that, in the early months of 2005, I had watched some anime that had, politely speaking, “exploded my brain”.

The revitalising blow was my discovery of fansubs as a viable field to write in. The coverage was less arbitrary and the form had become popular. Ages before I had even thought of watching fansubs myself, I was always checking out Nowhere.
(I have previously credited Jeff Lawson as part of my anime blogging inspiration; I have no idea why, as in a previous incarnation for both of us we were contemporaries).

And so, Batrock.net was bought so I could maximise presentation. I’m still having some difficulties, but generally I like to think that I provide some insight into modern anime. I would like to grow more of my own community but, seeing as I suck so much at contributing to the rest of the community, I don’t mind so much if it doesn’t happen soon.

Bonus Fact: I added the “DX” after I restored the site following a terrible crash. I believe DX is short for “deluxe”, and the games Super Mario Bros. DX and Link’s Awakening DX had heavy impact on me from their names alone.

The “D/R” of the present site stems from “Death and Rebirth”, when I had to delete and reinstall the entire system due to an incompatibility with the rest of the internet. It was a tough time, but justice prevailed.

The prehistory of Anime Pilgrimage D/R

I used to be quite an obsessive fiend, so my first blog was called “Alex’s Room”, taken from Perfect Blue. It was created at the end of 2001, and I think that, given that name, I was stalking myself.
As a larval anime fan, I was heavily into the “dubs suck!” and “Robotech sucks!” side of things: because when you’re a fledgling anime fan, it’s apparently your job to become vitriolic and focus on that which you hate to the point of ignoring that which you love.

“Alex’s Room” folded in three months and was replaced by the mildly more professional “Goddess Relief Agency”. Angry hyperbole was replaced with love for all things good. The GRA, as I came to know it, served also as a weird sort of personal blog and general reviews of other movies as well.

I quite liked the GRA. Its highlights included my takes on the Sailor Moon dub, wherein I mercilessly mocked everything that happened until the pain grew too much for me, and my surprisingly comprehensive guide to the characters and themes of Digimon Frontier.

The GRA switched across to a friend’s domain in August of 2003, but sadly died in October when the site was hijacked by terrorists. No, seriously. Internet Terrorists.
I gave up after that, keeping only my journal.

I think it’s for the best, because Anime Pilgrimage allowed me to evolve a new writing style. I get very little feedback, so I’ve got no idea if it’s generally liked, but I’ll keep on trucking!

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