Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Brief History of OWARI

OWARI was one of a number of fanzines centered around Japanese monster movies that sprang up in the 1990s. Its name (the Japanese word for "the end") was originally an inside joke and was the first clue that OWARI intended to take a less than sober look at its chosen fandom. OWARI lasted for three issues as "The Fanzine For People Entirely Too Interested In Japanese Sci-Fi." Though it had its moments, it was mostly a Grade Z operation.

OWARI #4 was published in 1999 and marked the beginning of a new era for the fanzine. OWARI transformed into a newsletter, but the contents grew more diverse as the fanzine itself shrank. Everything was fair game, and some odd articles appeared in the 'zine's pages. 1999-2000 was the high point for OWARI in terms of both quality and quantity.

OWARI is probably best remembered, if at all, for featuring the debut of the Return of Jetman fanfiction series (currently featured on its own site) and articles on the actors and actresses that appeared in Japanese science-fiction films. It also was ahead of its time in discussing the mythological background of the monster King Seesar, and in linking the comedy WHAT'S UP TIGER LILY? to the Japanese monster genre. OWARI gave considerable coverage to Big Bang Comics and other lesser-known aspects of comic book fandom. Finally, OWARI provided an outlet for several regular contributors - Lewis Smith, Ronnie Burton, and Tara DeVeau. There's also the matter of erstwhile mascot and devil-may-care bon vivant El Beardo, but we won't discuss him right now...

OWARI effectively ceased publication in 2002. A special 10th Anniversary final issue, complete with full color front and back covers, was released in 2005, but garnered little notice. Now, the spirit of OWARI continues with this blog. Who knows what the future holds?

OWARI checklist - Do you have every issue?
  • OWARI #1 (October/November 1995)
  • OWARI #2 (May 1996)
  • OWARI #3 (November 1996)
  • OWARI #4 (April 1999)
  • OWARI #5 (July 1999)
  • OWARI #6 (October 1999)
  • OWARI #7 (March 2000)
  • OWARI #8 (September 2000)
  • OWARI #9 (December 2000)
  • OWARI #10 (March 2001)
  • OWARI #11 (August 2002)
  • OWARI #12 (Oct.-Nov. 2005)

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