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|Title:||Interview with Kabuki UK editor|
|Published:||Sat, 24 Apr 2004|
Since Manga Max was discontinued around 5 years ago, the UK hasn't had an anime magazine to call it's own. David E Rault is a man on a mission to change this, and with his fledgling publication 'Kabuki UK' almost ready for launch, you wouldn't bet against him.
Announced to the UK community late last year, many of us are eagerly anticipating the apparance of Kabuki UK this summer and just hoping it'll be worth the wait.
I've been able to catch up with the editor of Kabuki, David E Rault, and ask him a few questions about the magazine and where he hopes to go with it.
Paul: What makes you think that Kabuki UK can succeed in the UK?
David: The main factors have got to be the ever increasing anime/manga fan base in the UK, and the fact that an anime magazine hasn't been on the shelves since the untimely demise of Manga Max around 5 years ago. A lot of people that I've spoken to seem very enthusiastic about the project, and we've had some support from companies such as O.D.D and ADV, so it's all helping to bring everything together. Plus there's the price - we're going to be charging £3.99, which is cheaper than the American import magazines and it's all based around the UK anime scene.
Paul: What kind of content can we expect to read? Will it be heavily opinionated or more on the neutral side?
David: The content is something that I'm seriously concerned with. What I don't want to do to have Kabuki UK end up as a NewType or Animerica clone. As such, we aren't solely concentrating on Anime and Manga releases. My aim with Kabuki is to fully integrate everything that is Japanese with everything that is Anime. I feel that the magazines that are currently available tend to be very much inclined towards reviewing DVD's and getting interviews of the people involved, whereas I would like to give some time and credence to both the culture and philosophy that has spawned Anime. Everything that has happened in Japan in the past hundred years, if not more, has had some sort of affect on Anime, and I would like people to be aware of this. Essentially, we're trying to give Anime a bit more depth than it already has.
With regards to whether or not the articles are going to be opinionated, then I can only answer that with yes - I actively encourage all of my staff to voice their own opinions. If they don't like an anime/manga then I want them to say so, but I also want them to say why. Whether or not the readers agree or disagree is up to them, so long as they have the reasons for our opinions available to them. That's not to say, however, that we're going to be heavily biased towards a particular type of anime. All of us at Kabuki UK are anime lovers, and all we want is to be able to have our say and give people the chance to look at things from a slightly different angle than they may have done before.
Paul: How do you plan to get Kabuki UK noticed? Is one of you're eventual goals to get it sold in high street stores?
David: The most difficult thing is to get the magazine noticed by everybody. There's of course the website, but that's not going to be enough if we expect to meet the sales targets and earn enough to be able to keep the project rolling. Throughout May and June I'm going to be instigating a poster campaign in various comic shops throughout the country and also providing promotional material to external websites and anime societies. I also encourage the team to attend the LAC, where we hand out flyers and chat to people about the state of Kabuki UK, what they can expect from the magazine, and how they can get actively involved if they so wish.
Of course, I would very much like for the magazine to be sold in high street stores, and there is a possibility that the first issue may be available in a well-known chain of comic stores, although I won't mention who as this has not be finalised as yet. There is also the chance that we can sell through the Menzies and WH Smiths distribution chains, although a few issues have to be released beforehand and we have to show them why it's going to be viable for them to sell the magazine.
And then there's the interviews :)
Paul: Is this the first time you've been involved in a project like this?
David: In terms of management and editorial control, then yes this is the first time I've embarked on such a project. The magazine itself is published by my own company called ESP (Electric Sheep Publications), with the printing being outsourced, and the hope is that we will be able to make enough money from Kabuki UK to be able to expand into comics, novels and the like.
In terms of writing, then Kabuki UK is quite a way down my list of experience. I've completed two novels and was looking to get them published through an already established agency. However, due to the cost of things such as agent fees, and the complications of copyright, I decided that it would be a better idea for me to publish my own work myself so that I could have direct control over ownership, marketing and distribution.
Paul: What problems are you facing with issue #1 edging closer to release?
David: I think the main problem is an obscene lack of sleep. I've had to learn a lot about corporate and employment law, along with the financial aspects of running a business and performing all of the DTP myself for the first issue, along with holding down a 9 to 5 job in the week and trying to run a household (you can imagine what it's like). Fortunately, I've got a lot of good people behind me who've been providing the content for Issue 1, which has taken the edge of the situation.
Paul: What do you think of the UK anime 'scene'\community? Do you think it's growing?
David: Like I said before, I feel that the UK Anime community is now steadily increasing. The release of things such as manga-style computer games, like Final Fantasy, and cartoons like Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon, is making the general public become aware that anime is not just scantily clad young women being raped by tentacled-demons. I fear that that's been quite a major misconception ever since Anime arrived on my shores. People are beginning to realise that cartoons aren't just for kids and that they are a whole new art form in their own right, much like comic book art, which I have a great deal of interest in and respect for.
Now I feel we have reached a stage where there is enough people who are interested in Anime to warrant a UK magazine, and that it could well be a success, even if not a great one.
Paul: Finally, what's your favourite anime and how long have you been a fan? :)
David: It's got to be Fooly Cooly - that series is utter genius. I'm quite a fan of surrealism (loved Monty Python), and FLCL I found to be one of the few things I've ever watched and, afterwards, been left with a quietly stunned mind. Absolutely superb. When are they releasing that Fire Starter game?
You can visit the official Kabuki UK website [HERE]. A big thanks go out to David for taking the time to answer our questions!
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