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V.I.C. Interview Meet Koshie


What can I say about Koshie? He's one of the good guys and a great friend of almost two years. I'm new to this interviewing thing and I needed to interview someone who was receptive and communicative. He seemed the natural choice. His real name is Mark Clark. He loves building web sites (smart guy!) and he hates his job and his boss, "the Saban-loving basta...". You get the idea, right?

VE: Hey, Koshie! Thanks for interviewing with me. We'll start things off light. When did you first get into Voltron?

Koshie: Well, I first got into Voltron back in the 80's, during it's run on USA Network's Cartoon Express.

VE: Was Voltron the show that first got you interested in anime?

Koshie: Yes, I would have to say it was a major factor

VE: How so? More specifically, what about Voltron caused you to become interested in anime?

Koshie: Well, Voltron was one of the first Japanese animes I had seen It came to Toonami back in 1997, which was right at the time I had launched my Website, "Castle Control: Voltron Headquarters". As for "what about Voltron caused me to become more interested in anime..." - when I first saw it, I could tell that it was different than the American shows airing at the time (Animation wise). So, you could say that Voltron opened the door for me.

VE: Let's talk about Castle Control: Voltron Headquarters (CC:VHQ) a bit. Why did you decommission it after almost three years? It was an extremely popular Voltron fansite.

Koshie: There were many factors that lead to CC:VHQ's decommissioning. The main two reasons were that my interests in Voltron had faded and I had moved on. Anime Central Online and it's sister Website the Toonami Xperience were and still are requiring my full attention; leaving CC:VHQ to sit neglected like such sites as Lloyd's Completely Voltron Page and Planet Arus. That didn't seem right for a site with the history of CC:VHQ.

VE: Several other Voltron sites have fallen in the past several months, including Medchick's THE LAME VOLTRON SITE (also known as THE INCREDIBLY COOL VOLTRON SITE), Lady Romella's Castle and Excalibur. Do you think this will continue to happen over the next few months?

Koshie: I suppose that it could be possible. However, with the comic book, being done by Broken Glass Studio, on the horizon, it gives fans of both the classic Voltron and V:3D series something to look forward too and a reason to keep the remaining websites up.

VE: So, you don't think that more Voltron sites will go down over the next few months?

Koshie: I certainly hope not, but I cannot rule out the possibility that more sites may fall within the coming months.

VE: Any chance you would resurrect CC:VHQ in the future?

Koshie: To put it simply, all signs point to YES.

VE: Great! Any specific reasons why or any specific news on what we could see on a possible revamp of CC:VHQ?

Koshie: Well, once I get the expansion of the Toonami Xperience complete, I'm planning a whole lot of stuff for the 6th version. CC:VHQ would be far better organized, with brand new material and other goodies.

VE: What sort of goodies?

Koshie: Possibly picking up 4 NEW episodes of "Voltron Park", plus the finale to "Voltron Park".

VE: Oh? Are you going to let the people who are currently housing parts of V:P post these episodes as well?

Koshie: Yes indeed, They've all been so kind by keeping the series alive during CC:VHQ's "Hiatus", it seems like the least I can do.

VE: This seems like more than just a possibility. It sounds like you've been doing some serious work on the relaunch.

Koshie: Indeed, I have a lot of plans for the project, but it's going to take a lot of time to get everything put together.

VE: We'll be on the lookout! :)

VE: We worked on a site together in the spring of '99 called The Classic Voltron Preservation Society. The "CVPS webring" is extremely successful as Voltron web rings go but the site was not. Any thoughts on that?

Koshie: Well, the CVPS was and still is a good concept. I think perhaps the Website just needed more promotional work. After all, since most of us in the VIC are fans from back in the old days, it's only natural we would all want to preserve the show that has us still talking 15 years after it came to the US.

VE: You've created a lot of web sites over the years. In your mind, what is the ideal web site? Voltron Park by Koshie

Koshie: Hmm. a tough question. I've gone through so many re-designs on all of my websites, I don't believe I'll ever achieve the ideal Website. Once I get content with one, I soon find there is so much more to add to it, that it ends up getting re-done yet again.

VE: I can relate to that.

Koshie: I'm quite sure you can

VE: Let's talk about VoltronForce.com. What would YOU do if you were all of a sudden given control of that site?

Koshie: I would like to get everything WEP promised us in the beginning - the fan club, more contests... I'd add more content such as lots of information, images, and multimedia about the Voltron series' (past and present).

VE: How much imput do you think the fans should really have over the content featured on VoltronForce.com?

Koshie: I think the fans should have some say about what goes into the Website. Someone once told me that the way for a Website to be successful is to have content that will keep the fans coming back over and over again to see when and if it's been update with more stuff. VoltronForce.com, although a well designed site, seems to be lacking in content, and most importantly, communication with the fans. They just don't seem to be as "open" with the fans.

VE: So you don't believe it when the webmaster posted, sometime last fall, that VoltronForce.com gets over one million hits a day?

Koshie: No, I'm disputing that fact. VoltronForce.com, being the official Website behind a popular show like Voltron, I wouldn't doubt that it could be receiving that many hits a day. However, now that the site is older and hasn't changed much since it was originally launched, I find it unlikely that it's maintaining that high of traffic flow.

VE: Outside of VoltronForce.com, how receptive do you think WEP is to Voltron fans?

Koshie: Although I know for a fact that WEP does keep an eye on the Voltron websites (especially the major ones)... I cannot comment on just how receptive they are towards everyone outside of the VoltronForce.com sphere.

VE: Sure you can! [grins]

Koshie: Define receptive.

VE: Do you think WEP listens to us? Do you think they care a great deal about our opinions? Do you think they do a good job of meeting our needs and desires?

Koshie: I'm sure they pay attention to what we're saying, but they seem to have their own agenda as of late. Note the great lack of presence on the board by WEP employees, or our friends at Netter, TM (Trendmasters Toys), and MYP (Mike Young Productions).

VE: Is the VIC too demanding at times?

Koshie: I think a lot of what the VIC asks is reasonable. The Vehicle Voltron T-shirt sale and putting the little sub page for VV up on the domain are minor things. The VIC supports the VV series overwhelmingly, though there is not enough interest in it on WEP's part despite these contributions. This is just one example of what I am talking about.

VE: You think they could do more?

Koshie: Yes! More VV videos in the store and a cameo for a VV character or two in V3D would be nice.

VE: Are you sure that a lot of the VIC supports Vehicle Voltron or just that Vehicle Voltron has a few extremely vocal fans?

Koshie: From what I can tell, VV does seem to have A LOT of support from the community, not just a few vocal fans.

VE: Do you think that the relationship between the VIC and WEP is fairly positive?

Koshie: For the most part, yes. My only complaint would be WEP not getting involved with the VIC more, like they use to in the earlier days.

VE: So, just what makes the VIC "the VIC"?

Koshie: The fans make the VIC. The VIC is... how do I put this? Similar to a "family".

VE: Aww... [grins] What is it that compels or repels you toward or away from the VIC at times?

Koshie: I like the people. The Voltron boardroom keeps me coming back for interesting discussions with the other fans.

VE: Do you agree with some fans that there seems to be a lull in the VIC or that moral appears to be down a bit?

Koshie: To a degree, yes.

VE: Explain that and do you think that has something to do with the loss of 5 Voltron related web sites in the past 6 weeks and what do you think contributes to this lull?

Koshie: That's a tough one... Now that I think about it. the loss of 5 websites in such a short amount of time could be a sign of the VIC's decline, but that's just too pessimistic.

VE: You think? [laughs]

Koshie: Honestly, the VIC's Website presence seems to have increased 10 fold since back in the days when I started CC:VHQ...

VE: That's true. I think I was in on the great Voltron web site building spree of 1998. :) Do you think that a possible lull in the VIC or low moral is the fault of World Events Productions, VOLTRON: THE THIRD DIMENSION, or the VIC?

Koshie: All of the Above. However, Broken Glass Studios' Voltron comic in the works, targeting a July/August release date, seems to have ignited a new spark in the VIC.

VE: A fan told me that "some sites and some people do well in the VIC because it is so cliquey". Do you agree that some members get more notoriety than others?

Koshie: Hmm... Cliquey? I've not witnessed anything you could define as Cliquey... But yes I agree that some members DO get more notoriety than others

VE: Why do you think that is and do you think you are one of those members?

Koshie: Why? I can't really say. The people who seem to get a lot of notoriety have contributed a lot to the VIC in the past and it seems well deserved. As for myself...? After a 35 month run with CC:VHQ, which went out with the highest traffic count in the VIC, (due mostly to V-Park in my opinion...) I'd have to say I'm hard to miss. [grins] Voltron Park by Koshie

VE: You mentioned the success of CC:VHQ. Were you surprised when it didn't get nominated in last year's "WEP Web Site Contest"?

Koshie: A little disappointed, yes. But there were many other worthy websites out there at the time that deserved the nomination as much as I would have liked it.

VE: You also mentioned the upcoming comic book deal. Some fans are skeptical... Do you think this is a good or a bad thing for Voltron?

Koshie: At first, I was skeptical too. I was concerned whether or not Voltron had a strong enough fan base that would make a comic book a worthy investment that could turn a profit. But after re-evaluating the comic from a fan's point of view. I have high hopes for the comic and look forward to seeing it.

VE: The comic book people, Jamie, Sean, Mark and Keith seem interested in our input, no?

Koshie: Very! They want to know what we want. They even want the fans to be involved with the making of the comic, such as giving them ideas for Robeasts and such. I'm really impressed and grateful that Broken Glass is getting so involved with the fans.

VE: Yes, Jamie's been surfing all our fansites. :)

Koshie: I know. I've been talking to her in #vdotu the last 2 hours.

VE: Jamie is a her?

Koshie: Um. I think so

VE: Ask. I don't want to possibly make a fool of myself someday. >_<

Koshie: No way!

VE: [laughs] *NOTE: Jamie is a "he", people!*

VE: What if the fans had a REAL opportunity to do something significant for Voltron, writing an episode of V3D or contribute story lines to either the comic or the series or maintain a portion of VoltronForce.com? What would you like to see the fans do?

Koshie: I'd just like the fans to have more of a voice when it comes to V3D. V3D has changed drastically from the DOTU (Defender of the Universe) in story line as well as staying on the same history DOTU set.

VE: Do you think V3D is an adequate successor to V:DOTU?

Koshie: I've only seen the first 13 episodes, it wouldn't be fair to judge it.

VE: Take some time to tell us about your Anime Central Online (ACO) and Toonami Xperience (TX) web sites.

Koshie: Anime Central Online was first thought up last summer between a friend and myself but we were both to busy so it was put on hold. Well, In January I re-started the project and began working on it until it was complete, At the same time, my interest in Toonami, (after talking to my good friend Jeff Harris from CNX) spawned what was ACO's little Toonami sub page into it's own Website. They both have taken off from there, each one going through 3 redesigns.

VE: Anime Central Online got you a job reviewing anime. How did that come about?

Koshie: That happened 2 weeks after opening the Website, I managed to get ACO up on the Turnpike, and just a day later, I received an e-mail from New Generation Pictures. They handle the bulk of the subtitling work for Pioneer, and had just done their first dub, which was Nazca: Blades of Fate. Pioneer had authorized them to seek out promising review websites. Surprisingly, they dropped me a line and it went from there...

VE: They came to you? Did they beg? [grins]

Koshie: They came to me but no, they did not beg [laughs] After all, I just opened the site.

VE: How much influence do you really think fan run web sites like ACO have?

Koshie: If they put out good content and are kept updated regularly, with the proper advertising, they can gain as much influence as sites like Anime Fan, or Anime of DVD etc.

VE: How much of a future is there for you reviewing anime?

Koshie: If things continue on the current trend, ACO has no place to go but up. For a Website that has been open only 4 months, on a freebie domain like Geocities, and to already have caught the attention of Pioneer, Urban Vision, Viz, and ADV Films, it all seems quite surprising to me.

VE: Are you putting ACO up on a server soon?

Koshie: Yes, I am planning to do that.

VE: What are the best and worst animes you have ever reviewed?

Koshie: The worst would have to be U.S. Manga Corp's Odin: Photon Space Sailor Starlight. As for the best, I can't really pick a "best" per say... Among my favorites were the Record of Lodoss War OVA series, Macross Plus, Neon Geneisis Evangelion and my upcoming reviews of Spell Wars: Sorcerer Hunters Revenge and Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040.

VE: Are you considering branching ACO out to review other things like manga, North American comics, video games, etc.?

Koshie: I've considered doing Manga. I don't think I have enough to constitute a manga review section. The only Manga I really collect is Konsuke Fujishima's Oh My Goddess! put out by Dark Horse.

VE: Okay, so I am some newbie wannabe anime type person. [laughs] What would you recommend for the beginner to watch?

Koshie: Well, if you were a younger fan, I'd recommend Kiki's Delivery Service. But for an anime newbie, it all depends on what genre you like.

VE: Hmm... I enjoy science fiction, to a degree.

Koshie: Hmm. I'd have to say the Top Gun of anime, Macross Plus.

VE: What about for the fantasy junkie?

Koshie: Sorcerer Hunters, or the Record of Lodoss War OVA series for that one.

VE: If you could pick any anime to be dubbed for tv, which anime would it be and who would you pick to dub it?

Koshie: Well, I'd like to see the Macross 7 series come to America dubbed by Manga, and when it finishes production in Japan, the Oh My Goddess! movie dubbed by AnimEigo

VE: Who would you get to air them?

Koshie: Cartoon Network! They seem to have a good understanding of anime and what fans of anime want.

VE: Oh? You don't think that FOXX Kids (Digimon), Kids WB (Pokemon and CardCaptors) or BKN (Monster Rancher) would be just as good? Let's face it! With the exception of uncut Gundam Wing, CN is showing HEAVILY edited Dragon Ball Z and Sailor Moon. Those two aren't exactly on anime's "A List".

Koshie: I think a lot of that has to do with DiC and it's dreadful job they did on Sailor Moon, plus Funimation's work on DBZ. Since these are all shown at peak viewing hours as kids are getting out of school. They have to have it as edited as they do so they don't upset over-protective parents who feel their children should be sheltered from such things as violence and such.

VE: So, you don't thin that the Cartoon network would not "over edit" Macross 7 or "Oh My Goddess! for the same reasons and the other networks would?

Koshie: Oh, I'm sure they would have to edit Macross 7 heavily. Take a look at Tenchi. CN is having to editing the heck out of it to get it acceptable for daytime airing. On Toonami's Midnight Run edition, it's going to have a higher age rating but there are still things that have to be edited out cause as Mr. Atkins stated "Ya can't show nudity". Oh My Goddess, however, is a tame OVA series and I surmise the upcoming movie will be the same.

VE: How do you feel about Tenchi Muyo coming to the Cartoon Network in July? Any reservations about it knowing that the editing will be heavy?

Koshie: I'm disappointed that it's going to be edited as heavily as it will, but considering that you wouldn't want children witnessing any nudity, suggestive adult themes or content, I can understand it. The midnight run, however, aside from editing out the nudity, should remain as it was. (I'll probably end up going out and buying it all on DVD anyway) [laughs]

VE: What do you think is the better thing for anime in America? Dubs or subs?

Koshie: Aww, the dub verses sub question, I prefer to stay in the middle on that one and say I enjoy both version. Personally, I'd rather watch the dub before the sub, as I find having to read an entire movie distracting from the picture.

VE: Yes, I had similar experiences with eye strain when I use to go see a lot of opera. [laughs]

Koshie: Indeed, subs are enjoyable because they are the original, but kinda a pain to follow. Voltron Park by Koshie

VE: Just one more question... What is the best thing going on in your life right now?

Koshie: Having the privilege and the honor to be doing what I am with ACO and the Xperience, along with my past achievements with CC:VHQ and a screwy little fanfic series called V-Park. And of coarse, chatting here with you about the VIC and stuff [grins]

VE: Awww....... Thanks for the time, Koshie. *snugs* Good luck with everything! :)

Koshie: Merci Beaucoup! No problem, and HI VIC!

-SC