||Courtesy of sensei one of our pillars and most loved members in the community
Anime-Beta, an online forum for anime art collectors, was created in April 2002 by the late David Pierpoint ("Sith-Krillin"), a Colorado PC technician and anime fan. Today, it continues as a well-visited virtual community of "Betarians" (as we call ourselves) a lively bunch of people who are passionate about anime but respectful to each other and to newcomers.
The core community became acquainted through a short-lived forum called Anime-Alpha, which went live in 2001. The discussions were primarily centered around art from the series Dragon Ball Z, and then grew to include other series like Sailor Moon that were gaining popularity among youngsters through syndication on the Cartoon Network channel. Unfortunately, this community proved unstable, and a breakaway group formed Anime-Beta in May 2002 as an alternative. The newly coalesced group grew quickly, and it has become the chosen meeting place for enthusiasts in this field: "Simply put, this forum is THE place to discuss and learn about anime production art," member Macron One commented.
Who are we? Most of us join Anime-Beta during our mid-to-late 20s, with a significant number being 30 and up. Some members attend college or hold entry-level positions in customer service, waitressing, and factory work, but most of us hold professional occupations that require higher education, such as financial brokerage or medicine. New members often comment on the maturity and sophistication of the group. One recently said, "I continue visiting Beta because there are a lot of really experienced collectors there so I continually learn things and if I have any questions there is usually at least one person there who can give me some insight."
Why do we hang out together? One answer is the hobby-specific information that is regularly shared in discussions, particularly announcements of sales and warnings about deceptive sellers. Members ask technical questions about the fine points of anime art and how to take care of it. Such contacts develop into long-lasting friendships. "I have been able to meet many nice people that I still keep in contact to this day from 2003," member star-phoenix comments. Member Blueheaven adds, "I figure if [old friends] can find the time to drop a thought every so often, then so can I."
Another member, pixie_princess, added, "It may sound sort of goofy, but in most cases there exists a certain amount of comradery between groups of users. We have common interests in so far as series that we enjoy (at times) or anime genres as well as the shared interest in animation art. It's such a small community and most of the time there is at least something interesting being discussed."
So Betarians share a common passion for what we collect and for the larger body of information that give it meaning. Our involvement in anime draws us together, but we also share an identity as members of Anime-Beta: a group that holds in common values, beliefs, and background knowledge and gives chatty "regulars," curious "occasional" and invisible "lurkers" a strongly felt identity.
One of the forum's moderators admits that her interests have changed to such an extent that she now rarely watches anime and no longer collects the art. If she were no more than a regular member, she concedes, she would probably no longer visit the site. As one of the "owners" of the forum, however, she feels a stronger obligation, stating: "I visit the site and help maintain it for the members. As long as someone is there, using its resources and posting in its threads, I will keep the board running."
But why? "The people," she simply replied.
Summarized from Bill Ellis, "Love and War and Anime Art," forthcoming in Folk Culture in the Digital Age (Utah State University Press)
THANK YOU SO MUCH sensei for creating the about page for the Beta gallery!!
You can visit sensei's amazing gallery here