|Happy Birthday, Dear Si--iiiite!|
One year. 12 months. Three hundred and sixty five days. And I'm still going strong! Just wanted to take some time out to look back on the history of this fantastically successful little project I call Dragon Ball Z Uncensored, and look ahead to what's next. OK, OK, maybe the following essay is nothing but me tooting my own horn, but dammit, I deserve it don't I? It's my anniversary!
On Sunday, June 7th 1998 at precisely 3:00 am PDT, 6:00 EDT, I pressed the "activate" button on my web counter, thus "officially" giving birth to DBZ Uncensored. I forgot why I was awake at that obscene hour, but I was damned excited. All that hard work was about to pay off. I had registered my site with the search engines and the Anime Web Turnpike a few days earlier, and I checked back several times throughout that first day to see how many hits I was getting. Not many. Maybe 10, 20 by 9:00 pm. I checked my mail at around 10, and WHAT WAS THIS?? Someone had sent me a comment about my site! Wow! My first e-mail! I still have that letter now, it was from one Leon Yoshioka, thanking me for warning him about the dubbed versions of the movies. But my hits... I wanted more! "Oh well," I thought, "things will pick up tomorrow." And boy did they.
The next morning at around 6 am, I checked to see if my site was on the Turnpike yet. To my utter surprise, amazement, and sheer delight, not only was it there, but it was one of the coveted five "Picks of the Week." I couldn't believe it! My little piece of crap had achieved the highest honor for an anime-related site, on its second "official" day! And I was getting hits like crazy. By Tuesday morning, I had racked up a whopping 254, and I almost died of excitement. The hits dropped off quite a bit after that, but I was still doing well. The following week, they fell even lower as a new crop of sites hit the top five, and I hovered in the 50-200 range, slowly climbing my way back up, until November when I finally topped the Monday record.
One year later, I almost never get less than 600 hits per day, and the numbers continue to increase. I am now linked from over 100 sites (you guys are my heroes!), including Viz comics' own "official" page, and the word continues to spread. So what's the point of all this bragging?
Well, I don't think of it as bragging, because none of this success is really mine. What the HFIL am I without you guys? I created this site for you, and you made it a success. Sound like a cliche? Maybe, but it can't be said enough. Thank you. I don't give a damn who you are, if you are reading this editorial right now, I am thanking you personally. Yes, you, that person staring at the monitor with the stain on your shirt. You. Thank you.
And what good memories this experience has brought me! Of messages from people saying that my site has "opened their eyes" to things they'd never thought about before, people declaring that DBZ Uncensored "is the best DBZ site on the web, hands down," and the truly hardcore who come back every day hoping for an update. This kind of thing is what I live for, it is my purpose. And then there are "the faithful," a group of about 10 people who e-mail me regularly, sometimes TOO regularly, (ahem, I'm looking in MASTATHUG@aol.com's general direction) with news, advice, random thoughts, whatever. You guys are the best! I'd name you all right here, but I'm afraid I might forget someone.
I remember many things. Working my butt off to crank out the latest update on time, the excitement I felt when Peter Kelamis agreed to an interview, heck, I even enjoyed all my pathetic attempts to get Doc Harris to write back. I remember hunting through my Japanese dictionary attempting to translate the episode titles, the fun of writing the editorials, and of course, watching and comparing the episodes themselves. What a blast this has all been!
But now comes the hard part. I have to thank someone else, well a group of people actually. In preparing this editorial, I realized something that's really... kind of unsettling. I owe this site, this experience (one of the greatest in my life), to the very people that it is taking a stand against. "DBZ Uncensored" would have never existed without the censoring body, Saban, and most of all... gulp... FUNimation.
I insult them. I berate them. I call them "morons" and "talentless" and "butchers" and "bastards." (Well, wait a minute, I'm not sure I ever said "bastards," but...) I speak acid about their decisions and policies, and basically have been completely slandering their company for a year. But you know what? (Sigh. If I'm ever going to admit this, now is the time.) I need FUNimation, and I owe them a debt I'll never be able to repay. I have recently found myself mired in a weird internal conflict about the morality of bashing the people that have instigated the creation of this web site, one of the greatest experiences in my life. But if I hadn't felt the need to bash them, then the site wouldn't have been created, in which case I wouldn't owe them anything, in which case I'd have the right to bash them, in which case.... Well you get the idea. The situation is a big circle.
It all comes down to this. FUNimation, if any of you are reading this, I need to say something. As much as it kills me to admit it, I love you more than I hate you. Anger is only one of the emotions I feel, the one I mostly express through this site. But there's also appreciation, respect, amusement, rivalry, and more than anything else, gratitude. You're the Jerry to my Tom, the Tweety to my Sylvester, the innocently dumb Goku to my maniacal Vegeta. Without you and your wacky antics, I have no motivation. When I say that Season 3 sucks, I'm not crying for blood, I just want IMPROVEMENT. (That editorial was written in a fit of passion, by the way. I've cooled off quite a bit since then.) And I wouldn't bother bitching about it if I didn't think you could do better. I've SEEN you do better, and I'm hoping against hope that you will. I wouldn't have done this page if I didn't think there was a chance you'd get it right at some point. And there's many a kind word directed at you throughout this site, and you don't need to look that hard to find them. So next time I start railing on you about how much you "suck" at this or that, know that I do the same thing to my best friends. And I do it because I care.
Alright, enough of that tripe. Let's talk about the future!
First, the site itself. What are my plans? Before anything else, I should mention that (like I was saying to FUNimation up there) my last editorial was written in a fit of passion, and I said some things about giving up on this whole website thing. Um... well, I won't be doing that. Sorry for the false alarm, Kuririn's new voice drove me temporarily insane. As a matter of fact, the worse these episodes are, the better fodder they will be for my smart ass remarks. So you're all stuck with me for the long haul.
Also worth mentioning: At several points during the past year, I have been attacked by an irrepressible urge to completely redesign the site from the ground up. Those of you who have been around the whole time know that the "look" has remained almost exactly the same since I opened, and I'm sure that many would like to see a change. It was one of the things I considered doing for the anniversary. But this is a BIG hunk of HTML I've got here, and it just keeps on a-growing, so I'm not sure that it would be worth all the time and effort. And besides, everyone seems to like it pretty well as it is. Why mess with a good thing? But then I look at people like VegettoEX, who is continuously redesigning his site, improving it each time, and I get a little uncomfortable. Little bastard. I'm going to have to break his fingers if he gets any better. Oh well, the redesign thing is on the back burner for now.
And finally, that exciting announcement I promised. I've been trying to come up with ideas to keep the site alive until the new episodes are aired on Cartoon Network, and about two weeks ago the solution was literally handed to me. A video capture card! My eyes lit up as I realized what fate had decided: a brand new section of DBZ Uncensored.
I call it "The Stuff They Didn't Show You: A Photo Collection," being, as the title suggests, a collection of screencaptures of the cuts and censors from the US version. It's not just text anymore, people! Now you'll see the proof! And if there has been one consistently recurring request as to what I should do to improve the site, it has been for something like this. Here's the best part: it will be updated frequently! You DBZ Uncensored newbies may find this hard to believe, but I used to update this site every week with five new episode comparisons, and often other stuff, too. Those of you who have been with me for the long haul probably remember those days fondly, since now I'm lucky if I can churn out a halfway decent update in a month. It's kind of funny that I was working my very hardest on this thing back when my audience was only a fraction of the size it is now. To be honest, I don't think I can ever get to that point of sheer, unadulterated effort again, but I wanted to honor tradition and return to my "once a week" roots for at least a little while. So, "The Stuff They Didn't Show You" will be updated with one or two new photo galleries every Sunday, starting next week. You old timers will notice the welcome return of the "Next Update" blurb on the front page. It's back! Yay!
Aside from that, I have a few other goodies in store until fall rolls around, including more interviews, more editorials, and who knows what else? Whenever I think I'm running out of steam, something comes along to liven things up again.
So stick around, I'm not done yet. And thanks again for a first year that went way beyond my expectations, I can't wait to see what happens in the next.
Ready to check out the new section? Good! Ladies and gentlemen, I now ever-so-proudly present, in the grand DBZ Uncensored tradition: The Stuff They Didn't Show You!