Circle: The Unofficial History of MixxZine
By Adam "OMEGA"
Part Two: "Entertainment
For The New Millennium"
A Sign of Things To Come
Mixx-Zine 2-1 (August/September 1998),
the biggest and greatest issue of Mixx-Zine ever, proved
what the magazine was capable of with the help of new Creative
Director, Toyo Asakawa. The issue introduced the mouth-watering
Anime Sneak Peeks section of upcoming series and movies, the EGM-like
point-scale review columns: Anime X-Review and Web X-Review, a
music and soundtrack info section called On Trax, domestic and
import game oriented Player's Klub, and more of the standard Mixx
articles as well as another installment of Atom Girl. But,
what made the issue so radically different were the computer-generated
backgrounds, many of which were distorted in some printings.
Address' served as a retrospective talk to the readers as Stu
Levy and Ronald Scovil, Jr. took a quick look at the first year
of Mixx-Zine and touched on what the advancements had been
in that year, before the address goes into a full announcement of
the soon-to-be-release Smile magazine. The biggest hint
for Sailor Moon's future came in the statement: "The
first Smile will go on sale at the end of October, and
most exiting of all, Smile will feature Sailor Moon!!!
Better yet, the Sailor Moon story will begin after Sailor
Moon S, so that everyone can see what happens later on."
Full subscription information came in the "Smile with
us from the first issue!!!" info box that concluded the
Besides sporting all five of the
manga series that had brought the magazine to this point, the
issue also played host to the Anime Expo 1998: The
International Animation & Manga Exposition Program Guide,
a 14 page, flip-side, SPJA guide of the convention, events,
guest, and much more. Undoubtably, Mixx-Zine's hosting of
the program guide instantly put the hottest manga and reviews in
the hands of convention attendees and helped to ensure the
magazine's continued success in what was to come in the coming
The Eventful Otakon
98 Part I: Spring & Chaos
After the MixxGames release of
Graduation it was uncertain wether Mixx Entertainment would
branch out again. Undoubtedly, it came as a complete shock when
Mixx Entertainment announced that they had acquired the rights to
the obscure Shoji Kawamori TV Special, Kenji's Spring and
plan to release it under the new label MixxTV. On the inital
release, the computer-generated anime was made to celebrate the
100th birthday of much-loved Japanese writer and poet Kenji
The dubbed version of the film,
for which the production was supervised by Shoji Kawamori
himself, was shown at several American conventions and a
subtitled version was also made. However, one such showing of Kenji's
Spring, renamed Spring & Chaos: The Story of Kenji
Miyazawa at the 1998 Otakon reviled that it "went over
so poorly that an additional showing was canceled. "There
was some amount of unrest," was how one convention-goer
described its reception." Likewise, director Shoji Kawamori
(Macross Plus and Vision of Escaflowne) who
appeared as Mixx's guest "was so well-received that his Q
& A had to be moved to a larger room (ANN: 8-15-98: Otakon special report)."
After this showing the film
disappeared in the US and made its way to Japan where it served
as a supplemental English teaching aid for students. Later issues
of TokyoPop advertised that Spring & Chaos was
forthcoming to the tokyopop.com website as a web premiere video
stream, but the plan has since been revised for the film to be
released as an exclusive TokyoPop.com DVD.
The Eventful Otakon
98 Part II: The Big Shake-Up
Previews Vol. VIII, No. 7 (July
1998) featured the solicitation for the upcoming Mixx-Zine
2-2 which read; "This issue of MixxZine
spotlights Anime/Manga in American Entertainment! Still offering
the best manga aroundSailor Moon, Magic Knight
Rayearth, Parasyte, Ice Blade, and Harlem
BeatMixxZine recaps Sailor Moon creator Naoko
Takeuchi's historic visit to the San Diego Comic-Con
International 98!" A similar entry also ran in Wizard #86.
However, word of a completely
different kind came from a Otakon 98 panel discussion with
Mixx Entertainment on August 7, 1998. Stuart Levy gave word that
some heat had been received from parents that Parasyte,
which already had excess blood edited out, was too violent to be
in the same magazine with the shoujo manga Sailor Moon and
the two would be published in separate magazines. Though this was
not anything new for those keeping up with the magazine's
announcements, the uncertain future of the conclusion of the Dark
Kingdom storyline through the Sailor Moon S series had yet
to be clarified. To this effect, Stuart gave word that "a
separate Sailor Moon series will follow from Mixx."
At the same time, it was announced that MixxZine would add the
series Mobile Suit Gundam: Blue Destiny and Bakuretsu
Hunter, which Stuart announced would be renamed Sorcerer
Hunters after the A.D. Vision release (A Fan's View: Otakon Highlights).
On a different note, the Fan's
View web site reported a rather ironic (considering the rise of
the anthology magazine) discussion concerning the U.S. market in
regards to manga; "MixxZine has come as close as any U.S.
publication to matching the large monthly and weekly manga which
contain hundreds of pages. Those massive anthologies won't work
in the U.S., Levy said, because dealers don't know how to handle
anything other than the typical 48-page monthly comic. MixxZine
is an expensive proposition for Mixx, but it's worth the effort
to bring new titles to the public which can be spun off into
their own monthly series, he said."
August 13-16, 1998: The days that will live
in infamy for those who meet and mingled with Sailor Moon
creator Naoko Takeuchi at the San Diego Comic-Con International
98. Stuart Levy and the Mixx Entertainment crew served as
Naoko's personal gateway to the fans. And to commemorate the
event, Mixx Entertainment released the continuation of the Dark
Kingdom/Negaverse storyline of Sailor Moon in the stand
alone 48-page comic book.
Convention attendees got the first chance to pick up
this book in the sought-after Sailor Moon #1: San Diego Comic-Con
special edition featuring the eye-catching Sailor Moon
crescent with a star on a hot pink background cover. There was
only one problem, the direct market would have to wait until
November to even get a chance to order the standard edition of
the book as the second issue was shipping. But, the book did crop
up at several conventions just a week after the San Diego release.
Yet, the Sailor Moon comic went on to kept a semi-regular
release to the direct market for months there-after.
MixxZine Side Story
0098: Premonition of Battle
The Internet is an immensely
powerful tool that can influence with but a few words. For this
reason, it became apparent early on that the readers of Mixx-Zine
took several stances on the changes the magazine was going
through. Each of these stances would soon play important rolls in
on of the most monumental public relations fiascos in the history
of the anime and manga industry.
It is important to mention that
editor-in-chief, Ronald Scovil Jr., concluded his tenure with
Mixx Entertainment near the end of July, around the time Mixx-Zine
2-1 was being released. Due to the sensitive nature of this
topic, it is important to realize that the true reasons for Ron's
departure are not important, nor are they clear . However, it is
essential to note that Ron made a lot of friends on the
MixxOnline Web Board and his girlfriend soon picked up a campaign
to show the Internet what exactly Mixx's true intentions'
were. This campaign became known as Eye on Mixx.
September 12, 1998 the Anime News Network
announced that Mixx "has pulled the message board from its
"Mixx-Online" web site. The move follows months of
complaints from fans about the Sailor Moon manga being
moved to a new publication, " Smile," which was
announced just after renewals for charter subscribers were due.
Mixx formally announced that the closure was due to fans'
misbehavior on the boards. (ANN: Mixx Pulls Online Message Boards)"
However, the actual situation runs
much deeper than even ANN thought. One member of CompuServe's
Anime/Manga Forum summarized the situation best when she said,
"There are a lot of accusations flying around on raa, but
Mixx's statement about why they closed the board was along the
lines of that the board was being "abused". Fan
response is that Mixx didn't like people commenting and
complaining about some of Mixx's recent editorial decisions. Fans
are also saying that there are documented cases of people who
complained suddenly finding their accounts on Mixx's board
deleted, and some are voicing suspicions of Mixx deleting or
modifying messages posted to their board. At least one vendor (although
a minor one -- White Lightning Productions) has publicly posted
that they are boycotting Mixx products over their treatment of
A little over a week later a legal
war broke out between the fansubber Kodocha Anime and Mixx
Entertainment that had started over a misunderstanding that Mixx
owned the international distribution rights to Kenji's Spring (ANN: Fansubber update). Just a day later on September 22, 1998,
Kodocha Anime received the promised Cease and Desist letter from
Mixx Entertainment's lawyer and the fansubber quickly formulated
a reply. The reply touched on the fact that information they had
received from Bandai Visual Co., Ltd. was inconsistent with the
information received from Mixx, but the company did agree to pull
Kenji's Spring from circulation immediately, while resuming
investigation to discover the true owner of the property rights.
The reply went on to give a list of organizations that the
correspondence would be released to if it was found Mixx did not
own the rights (ANN: Mixx to Kodocha). It has become apparent that Mixx
Entertainment does in fact own these rights because the informant
has since retracted the statement concerning Mixx's ownership of
When Mixx-Zine 2-2 (October/November
1998) was finally released it was clear by the huge Gundam
head-shot cover and the sudden lack of thickness that something
was radically different about the magazine. Cracking open the
magazine reviles an assortment of articles on underground bands
and CDs, the host of regular articles that premiered in the
previous issues, and manga that was printed side-ways with two
pages of manga per magazine page. This kind of rushed cursory
glance at the magazine, while it was on the newsstands, caused
many to leave the magazine on the racks and rush home to complain
on the Internet. Unfortunately, for many, the Internet was not an
option for getting the latest news. For this one would have to
take a closer look at the magazine's hip From The Editor'
letter from Stu Levy to discover the reason behind the change;
"[...] What I'm basically trying to say here is that the
ever-improving (we hope) new MixxZineŽ is now bringing
you tons of fresh info with our huge dose or manga. Please notice
(and I'm sure you can't ignore) our new 2-page-on-1 layout for
the manga (yes, it means comics or motionless picture
entertainment, and no, it's not pronounced "mayn-go"!).
It's true that the manga is smaller this way (about the size of
the Pocket Manga), but we're really proud of what we've been able
to accomplish: bringing you WAY MORE manga than we'd ever be able
to, while delivering fresh, edgy editorial content in the same
package. This is just the first step we're taking here at Mixx to
turn MixxZineŽ into the primary entertainment and
lifestyle magazine for our generation.
When you get MixxZineŽ from now on, you'll notice new
manga quite often. Sometimes we'll continue a story for a while,
sometimes we'll give you a chapter or two and rotate it out. Our
goal is to give you as manga flavors as possible. Each story will
become available as a separate Pocket Manga book, so you can
collect whichever you like."
On the other hand, Gundam's
future in the American market was just picking up. Bandai had
just unveiled it's AnimeVillage.com and would start releasing the
many Gundam series in English for the first time to
commemorate its 20th Anniversary. Likewise, Mixx-Zine
responded with the first chapter of the Mobile Suit Gundam:
Blue Destiny manga by Mizuho Takayama, Hajime Yadate, and
As for Sailor Moon's
future, there are few answers given in the magazine. On page 45 a
subscription ad appears for Smile with an announcement that
reads; "Listen up scouts! Sailor Moon's got her own
manga mag. Beginning after the Sailor Moon S series, for
her devoted fans. SMILE brings you the coolest shoujo
manga on the market starting Oct/Nov 1998. Subscribe now and get
ready for a future full of fun and adventure with Sailor [Moon]
and more delivered to your door."
The only other hints of Miss
Moon's future come from replies to reader letters on the Mixx
Letters page. The first concerns the adult themes of the later
issues of Sailor Moon, "[...], you'll have to wait
and see what happens between Neptune and Uranus, But keep in mind
that from now on you'll have to read SMILE to follow the
adventures of the Sailor Scouts" and the other hint comes
from a letter that hopes that MixxZine will do each and
every episode of Sailor Moon, "[...], That's exactly
what we intend to do, although we'll be jumping ahead a little
when Sailor Moon starts in SMILE this September so
that the fanz can see what the Sailor Scouts are doing later on.
And we'll continue to publish the pocket manga adventures for
some time to come."
MixxZine Side Story
0098: Internet Clash
Things could only get worse, and
they did. In less than a few hours after the direct market
received the fateful Mixx-Zine 2-2, the MixxOnline web
site was hacked and a large X-rated picture of Sailor Moon
lifting her shirt with a caption of Got Milk?' was placed
on the USA and Japanese main pages. An exceedingly blunt, yet
puzzling, message followed the picture which read:
Why are you here?
Stu Levy, president of Mixx Entertainment is
A MONEY GRUBBING LIAR.
His sole purpose is to remove you from your money.
Why don't you try one of these links:
The USA main page was quickly
fixed by the Mixx staff, but it was hacked again, and then fixed
again. The Japanese main page was later fixed as well. It is
important to note that contrary to the ANN article MixxOnline Hacked, the unconfirmed report that the page
contained a sexual reference to Mixx C.E.O. Stuart Levy' is
On September 26, 1998, just three
days after the direct market release of Mixx-Zine 2-2, Stu
Levy, on behalf of the entire Mixx Entertainment staff, posted on
the MixxOnline Website a seven page announcement concerning the
recent controversy concerning MixxZine and Stuart Levy.
The letter itself addressed the Sailor Moon, Smile,
and Mixx-Zine 2-2 controversies, as well as the San Diego
Comic-Con 98, the production of Spring and Chaos,
the PR problems and the MixxOnline hecking. But, it also did a
lot of finger-pointing which just furthered the controversy.
Several comments have been made on these letters, two of which
can be read at the following address: ANN: The Mixx Letters which features Ron Scovil's rebuttal and SOS: Stu Levy's Letter and Our Reply which features Save Our Sailors comments.
MixxZine Side Story
0098: Eye On Mixx & Anime News Network
As MixxZine's reader base
steadily grew more disgruntled at how they were being treated, it
became apparent that the MixxOnline Web Board was the only outlet
to get answers. But, when it was pulled offline at the height of
the controversy another uncensored web board cropped up on a site
dedicated on keeping the reader informed. This page was the Eye
On Mixx watchdog page which had its base of operations on
the Tripod web page hosting service.
The first hitch came just after
Ronald Scovil's reply to Stuart Levy's letter, the Eye On Mixx
site was removed from Tripod due to the offensive logo that
featured the X's in Mixx' being replaced with swastikas.
Though the swastikas were "meant to compare Mr. Levy's
tactics to those of a Nazi," they were not intended to have
a racial meaning (ANN: Eye On Mixx watchdog page removed from
The Eye On Mixx watchdog page was
quickly moved to the, now defunct, server Anime-Manga.net where
the logo was changed to feature a less offensive title image. At
the same time, other Mixx-Zine readers began to create
sites similar to the Eye on Mixx one. In fact there were a number
of lesser known Mixx-Zine petitions which have since
disappeared from the web. But, without a doubt, the Eye On Mixx
web site was the most monumental of them all.
The Eye On Mixx's main page began
with the Mixx Petition' which includes details of the
problems: Bad Mixx,' Moving the Moon,'and ...falling
on deaf ears' with an answer/compromise to solve the problem.
After that appeared a series of links with insightful articles
including; Bogus math in Cheaper This Way,' The Case Of The
Disappearing Manga, The Internship Experience (At Mixx), A 20
Question Ultimatum, Case of the Missing Posts, Stores Fed Up Too,
MixxZine 2-2 Reviews, What's Truly At Stake, Math: The
Universal Truth, Advertisers List, and many more. In fact there
is so much information to prove Eye On Mixx's point that if one
were to print out all the information, it would take a half a
ream of paper to get it all.
Through it all, the Anime News Network was
slowly finding its niche in the anime online culture. The network
hit the big time by making a name for itself by breaking the MixxZine
stories as they happened. But, it was clear the network was one
sided in its initial stories against Mixx and later changed to a
semi-middle ground stance. In the end, the Anime News Network
used the Mixx Controversy as a launch piece on October 1, 1998 as
their cover story featured interviews with all the major players
in the unfolding drama (A Special Report: The Mixx Controversy).
The flaming of Mixx was not an
isolated incident, in fact the whole anime industry came under
fire from the fans as dormant topics like poor tape quality, the
high price of subs, and charging per minute of tape were brought
to the surface. Tensions mounted all across the Internet as
mailing list and newsgroups filled with messages slinging mud at
the companies they once adored. It was apparent that the
situation had reached a Bubblegum Crisis situation and was just
waiting for the bubble to pop.
Next Chapter: For The
Next-Gen Girl -->