Drawn That Way

AniZona 01: Watch line drawings of teenaged martial arts masters kicking heck out of demonic entities

NT: What would happen to you if we took your anime away?

Carlos: I have so many different interests. Like bird watching. People look at me funny when I say that I volunteer for the Audubon Society, because it's not normal. But there's an estimate from the Fish and Wildlife Service that one fourth of the population of the U.S. has indulged in bird watching at some point in time.

NT: Does that include glancing at the sparrows in my backyard while I'm grinding coffee in the morning?

Christina and Carlos Ross are Bambi-eyed over anime.
Emily Piraino
Christina and Carlos Ross are Bambi-eyed over anime.

Carlos: It means driving miles out of your way to see a rare bird. I actually keep a list of the birds I've seen. Because anime is not a hobby that everyone can go into full time. But there's at least one show somewhere out there that you'll like.

NT: Is there a rule that denouncing everything Western and championing everything Japanese is an essential part of being an anime fan?

Christina: Oh, God. A lot of the new anime fans are using it as a means of establishing an identity. They think if they watch anime dubbed in English, it's not pure.

Carlos: I think it's hilarious to be holier-than-thou about being geeky. It's a hobby! Some people get snobby about it.

NT: Isn't there a hierarchy among anime fans?

Carlos: Every social group has a hierarchy. And everyone wants to bag on people who are lower than them. That's hogwash. I like to say, "Hey, I've got this cool thing here that I want to share with you. Watch Samurai Champloo with me."

Christina: The drawback is you get people who actually believe that if they learn Japanese and go to Japan, they'll be accepted there because they watch these cartoons. It's not healthy. There's a small percentage of fans who take it too far.

Carlos: There's a small percentage who are very loud and vocal and obnoxious. There's always a fringe in every group that takes itself too seriously, that goes too far. You actually get people who believe they are anime characters. "I'm the reincarnation of Inu Yasha!" Never once thinking that maybe it would be a little strange to be the reincarnation of a fictional character whose creator is still extant. That's sort of bizarre. There are people who think that way, but they're a little bit funny in the head. And you can't really blame a hobby for someone being socially inept.

NT: Did you have an anime wedding?

Carlos: We tried to keep it traditional. But we played a song for the recessional that was from an anime.

Christina: It was a love song from an anime show about going into a fantasy together.

NT: Tell me about the anime convention. What will happen there?

Carlos: We'll have a lot of voice actors there, the people who do the dub work for the American releases of anime.

Christina: It's a good place for anime fans to get together, dress up, play games.

NT: If there was an anime planet, would you go live there?

Carlos: I'd visit. It would be a little too much to live there.

Christina: There's such a thing as too much of a good thing. If anime became my life, then it wouldn't be my fun little hobby anymore.

AniZona 01 takes place Friday, March 25, through Sunday, March 27, at the Embassy Suites Hotel, 2577 West Greenway Road. Call 602-375-1777.

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