Interviewing Anime and Manga Industry Insiders
Segment production and public relations for a trend-setting anime podcast
The addition of a regular interview segment transforms an online retailer’s anime podcast into a newsworthy gamechanger.
- Gave fans unprecedented, behind-the-scenes access to the broad array of professionals who are and were part of the English-speaking anime and manga ecosystem.
- Started a trend for anime podcasts. Few podcasts of that era made interviews a regular part of their format, had access to high-profile guests, and went out of their way to feature all corners of the English-speaking anime and manga world. As other podcasters saw the fans’ response to the Anime Today interviews, more started to incorporate these elements.
- A multi-generational interview mix. In addition to chats with individuals behind the latest releases, Anime Today intentionally pursued on-air guests who could provide listeners with historical perspective and help them trace how the English-language anime market evolved from its black-and-white TV beginnings to present day.
- Raised the ecommerce site’s visibility and street cred across fan demographics and contributed to increased traffic and sales volume.
The anime podcast with insider access
The Anime Today podcast started a year before I arrived at Right Stuf and featured a mix of store and production news.
After settling in, I was charged with introducing industry interviews to the show’s format. The first segment hit podcast and iTunes feeds in November 2006.
As the segment producer for each interview, I was responsible for:
- Lining up and scheduling interview subjects;
- Conducting research (and occasionally pre-interviews);
- Obtaining photo and web assets from the guests, for inclusion in the podcast and its liner notes;
- Creating background briefs and interview questions for on-air talent;
- Serving as on-air talent during most interviews;
- Handling public relations and social media to promote each new episode; and
- Following up with interview guests (post-release) and coordinating cross-promotion efforts.
The podcast’s legacy
Anime Today was one of the first anime podcasts to have a regular, feature interview segment.
I capitalized on the company’s status as a leading retailer and longtime industry member to gain access to high-profile interviewees. This made it possible for fans to hear from guests who previously limited their public appearances to major conventions.
Interview subjects ranged from the legendary figures who introduced anime to North America to working editors, translators, voice actors, directors, production teams, authors, journalists, and industry insiders.
By the time the program retired in 2011, multiple news organizations had successfully incorporated similar interviews into their formats.
Right Stuf has since re-released some of these interviews via their YouTube channel.
Some favorite interviews and guests — including a few legends.
- Fred Ladd (U.S. writer and producer responsible for bringing Astro Boy, Kimba the White Lion, Gigantor, and more to American TV in the 1960s.)
- Peter Fernandez (Writer, director, and voice of Speed Racer)
- Carl Macek (Producer of Robotech)
Respected translators and authors:
- Frederik L. Schodt (Writer, interpreter, and translator; author of The Astro Boy Essays: Osamu Tezuka, Mighty Atom and the Manga/Anime Revolution; translator for both the Astro Boy and Phoenix manga series)
- Frederik L. Schodt and Jared Cook (Co-translators for Viz Media’s release of Naoki Urasawa’s Pluto manga)
- Neil Nadelman (Anime translator for The Irresponsible Captain Tylor and Mobile Suit Gundam)
Writers and observers of pop culture, fandom, folklore, and history:
- Helen McCarthy (Anime Encyclopedia, The Art of Osamu Tezuka: God of Manga)
- Jonathan Clements (Anime Encyclopedia, Schoolgirl Milky Crisis)
- Hiroko Yoda and Matt Alt (Ninja Atttack!)
- Patrick W. Galbraith (The Otaku Encyclopedia)
Voice actors and directors:
- Greg Ayres (Negima!, BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad)
- Crispin Freeman (Hellsing, Revolutionary Girl Utena)
- Michael Sinterniklaas (Founder NYAV Post, The Venture Brothers)
- Stephanie Sheh (Eureka Seven, Bleach, Paradise Kiss)