These are great times to be an anime fan. Tons of content is being produced overseas and exported to the states through companies like Funimation and CrunchyRoll, s
o it's only natural that the audience for it would be growing, even if you only end up liking one particular show. In Utah, thousands flock to Anime Banzai every year, and cosplay as their favorites at every geeky convention in town. One of the latest fan appreciation endeavors to come out of Utah is the Anime Happy Hour
, a podcast dedicated to watching anime and giving you the latest news, both from your favorites and from new stuff you've never heard of before. Today we chat with the four hosts of the program about recording episodes about their animated love. (All photos provided courtesy of Anime Happy Hour.
Breanne Evans, Lindsay Starke, Brittany Evans, and John Evans
Anime Happy Hour on Facebook
Gavin: Hey everyone! First thing, tell us a little bit about yourselves.
The four of us are John "Fragglepuss" Evans, Brittany Evans, Lindsay Starke and Breanne Evans. Together we are Anime Happy Hour
, a podcast dedicated to spreading our love of anime to one and all.
How did each of you get exposed to anime and come to love and appreciate it?
My first experience was growing up with the Pokémon
TV series before I had to catch the bus to go to school. I had to leave before the episodes ended, so I would record the end of the episode on a VHS tape to finish watching after school. At the time, I didn’t even realize it was anime, but I knew I loved it.
The first show I watched that I realized was anime was Princess Mononoke
. I loved the complexity of the story, as well as the blurred line between right and wrong. I’ve enjoyed anime ever since.
I was looking for something new to watch and was told to try Berserk
at my local Blockbuster. It blew my mind! I wanted to find more interesting stories, and soon found myself looking for more anime.
My first exposure to anime was through a close friend. We watched Ninja Scroll
and Neon Genesis Evangelion
and I was hooked. I was soon scouring Hollywood Video, the library, and Tower Theater for any anime I could find.
What are some of your favorite shows you've enjoyed over the years?
There’s so many it’s hard to name just a few. Anime in Japan is like TV over here; there’s always new shows coming out. I’ll do my best to limit it to a few of our favorites, though.
If we’re referring to series: Berserk
, Cowboy Bebop
, One Punch Man
, Fullmetal Alchemist
, Kill La Kill
, Himouto Umaru-chan
, Attack on Titan
, Death Note
, Fruits Basket
, Usagi Drop
, Deadman Wonderland, Your Lie in April
, Psycho Pass
, Tokyo Ghoul
, Vampire Knight
, Madoka Magica
If we’re talking movies: Ghost in the Shell
, Boy and the Beast
, Summer Wars
and anything by Studio Ghibli. Ghibli has made some of most well-known anime, such as My Neighbor Totoro
, Spirited Away
, Howl’s Moving Castle
and Princess Mononoke
What eventually brought the four of you together?
We had no choice. Brittany and Lindsay are my sisters, and Breanne married me. Luckily, the family that nerds together stays together, because our mutual love of all things geeky has helped us stay close over the years.
How did the concept of starting a podcast come about?
One fateful evening, on a night like any other, we were chatting anime and being hilarious. We figured we should start recording. I should add, we’re probably not hilarious to anyone else, but we think we’re funny. We are always looking for reasons to talk anime and a podcast gives us a perfect excuse to do so.
How did you go about getting all the equipment needed to form your own studio?
We were lucky in that regard. My boyfriend Scott Selfridge has worked in recording and already had all the necessary equipment available. In addition to the equipment, he was also helpful in teaching me proper editing.
Did you do any test episodes at the start or did you just dive in immediately?
We just dove in, and it shows. We thought we knew what we were doing, but clearly had a lot to learn. I feel like each episode gets better as we learn from trial and error.
What's the process for you in compiling news and deciding what to talk about each episode?
We present panels at various geek conventions over the year, providing a decent amount of material to cover. Our classic panel is based on the latest and greatest in anime, where we cover new shows from the past year. We’ll podcast about shows we’ve been watching for upcoming panels, and what we recommend. We’ll also occasionally use anime news as our topic, which is considerably easy to keep up with in this day and age. However, the topic usually comes from a normal anime conversation that ends with, “Hey, we should talk about that next episode.”
What was the response like during the first year of the show?
It was a slow start but promising start. We do the podcast in addition to everything else in our crazy lives, so we haven’t been able to promote as much as we would like. Our hope is to keep doing what we’re doing and continue to show how fantastic anime is.
How was it for all of you getting involved with Anime Banzai and the anime communities in Utah?
Breanne and I first discovered Anime Banzai six years ago. We went to the convention on a Saturday and were amazed. I had no idea that many people loved anime! From that point on we became involved with the anime community in Utah. The four of us at Anime Happy Hour have been presenting panels at Anime Banzai since 2013 and Salt Lake Comic Con since its first event.
In 2013 we wanted to find a local anime group we could meet up with to chat anime, maybe get suggestions on new shows to watch. Our search came up empty so we started our own group, SLC Anime, where we meet up monthly to discuss an anime. It’s like a geeky book club. We’ve been meeting for more than three years, and it’s a lot of fun. We invite anyone looking to join us. You can find SLC Anime
on Facebook. You can even join the group just to participate in the online community. It’s a fantastic place to ask for anime recommendations.
I should mention my anime review site, Fragglepuss.com. I’ve been posting weekly anime reviews for a few years on the website as well as convention reviews. I started it partially as a way to help the anime community grow in Utah. It’s a good site to go to if you’re looking for an anime suggestion.
Where do you hope to take the show as you continue to grow?
Right now our goal is to get back into bi-weekly posting. We were on hiatus for a bit, but we’re back at it and podcasting again. We hope to invite more local guests on the show and help build bridges between fandoms and communities. We are also looking into presenting panels at more conventions and producing live podcasts at said conventions.
What can we expect from all of you and the show going into next year?
We recently reworked the podcast structure to provide more episodes. You can expect shorter episodes coming out at a faster rate. You can also expect us to present more panel topics at Salt Lake Comic Con and Anime Banzai next year!
I just want to say thanks, it’s been a great time! We’re always looking for a reason to chat anime, so we appreciate the opportunity for the interview. For anyone looking to find us, Anime Happy Hour
can be found in all the usual places: YouTube
, etc. We invite you to join our anime meetup group, SLC Anime, which can be found on Facebook. Last but not least, you can find my weekly anime reviews at Fragglepuss.com