Otakuzine: The 21st Century Anime Magazine

If you’re new to this website, my first post is about a 21st century look into Questor: The “Ultimate” Anime Magazine and how it fared as the first anime magazine. Several years passed and another contender came into the scene and it’s name is Otakuzine or Ozine for short.

Ozine came at a time when anime on Philippine TV was in a slump, the internet slowly became the number one source for anime news, and with the aforementioned Questor being dead in 2004 a year after LC Questor sold the publishing rights to ABS-CBN publishing.

With the first issue being released on the tail end of 2005, Ozine has become the gateway for weeaboos with no stable internet connection to be up to date with the latest news in the world of anime as well as stuff that isn’t covered by the two major TV stations and local cable channels at the time such as Fate: Stay Night, Shuffle, and others.

Unlike Questor before it, the big two TV stations have no ownership stake in Otakuzine so Dennis Uy and the Ozine staff have free reign on what anime will they cover and how will they review and present it to their audience.

The name has also become synonymous with cosplay events with their annual Ozine Fests becoming a Christmas tradition among Filipno anime fans, sort of being the Starrcade/Summer Action Series to Cosplay.PH’s WrestleMania/Wrestle Kingdom what have you. It has gone through a lot of changes throughout the years from shortening their name from Otakuzine to Ozine, to leaving their original publisher PSICOM publishing.

We’ll be looking on Ozine’s revival in 2020 (because that’s the one I have and my copy from Ozine’s first run has been lost to time.)

With that out of the way, let’s see if Ozine still holds up today (or at least their 2020 revival does.)

The Content

As I’ve read through the contents of this version of Ozine, the meat and potatoes still remain the same: featured anime, quick anime reviews, anime-related video games, J-pop and the illustration corner.

The newer additions to this revival were “Leny’s Unboxing Corner” where we get reviews on anime merchandise and memorabilia, an extended look on artists and cosplayers (not sure about the cosplayer thing because it might be something that’s included with the first run) and a separate section for boomer anime called “Throwback”.

Old Ozine would mix the old anime reviews with the new ones so that’s a welcoming change. The video game reviews are still there but for some reason, did they really need to have separate sections for mobile games and non-mobile games? We’ll talk about that later.

Comparing it with it’s late 1990s predecessor from another publisher, Ozine is much less into things that you can find in anime and manga and much more into anime and manga itself. They’re also very much into the Philippine cosplay scene that they dedicate a section of their magazine into cosplayers, artists, and musical acts like Do’Ahou and CH4U.

The anime reviews are short and sweet and it gives out the information needed to know on what the anime is all about and that also spills out to the main feature. The only difference is that the main feature will devote extra pages for character profiles and such. In my opinion, these short reviews are fine by me but there could be a tendency to make something so short that what they get is just the bare minimum and some of what the anime is about might be lost in transition.

Presentation

I think this is where Ozine shines and stands out from the rest of it’s contemporaries, presentation.

The layout team at Ozine goes all out on making their magazine marketable and presentable to weeaboos with every chance they get and this would sometimes result into things like this.

I, for one, really like a great presentation for it’s creativity but sometimes too much creativity can lead to misplaced executions. Unless this is a poster, I don’t see the need to have this page to be presented like this and it’s one of the featured anime no less.

I also liked how they broke magazine tradition and went straight ahead with the featured anime on the first four pages of the magazine sans the editor’s letter and the table of contents.

I think that has it’s own ups and downs, with reader retention for one. It’s great for the reader that we get to the main course but it might be hard to make them stay for more when the meals after that are subpar compared to the main feature.

I would also notice that the magazine has no set layout in place in terms of theming the pages but lets the topic choose the the visual theme of the page.

Take this CH4U community feature for instance (sorry for the low quality of the image, I also bought a portable scanner with it and I am still practicing on it), the borders on the page spread really invokes the idol feel as it borrows visual elements from the AKB48 logo, right down to how the font almost looks like the same font AKS/Vernalossom uses for their 48g logos.

The artist/cosplayer featurettes are also a great example of a clean design and layout for this magazine.

There’s no need to put any more designs on the background as the cosplayer/artist portfolio already provides the design for the page.

I also liked the flags at the top right corner of the first page of each cosplayer profile to denote which country said coser came from. It’s a neat way to mention their nationality and I wish this is something that can be seen on artist profiles as well.

These might be fixed in the subsequent issues but what I didn’t like with this magazine is that there seems to be a lack of proofreading in the articles and I am not just talking about typos. The Kimetsu no Yaiba feature, for instance, had Inosuke’s character description for Giyuu Tomioka and I don’t even watch the show to know that Inosuke and Giyuu are two different characters.

Still on the subject of proofreading or lack thereof, this might be more of a nitpick than actual criticism but on the unboxing corner, there seems to be little consistency on using either the US or Japanese versions of Pokemon names.

I really liked how the magazine still retains it’s 8.1 x 5.1-ish size. It reminds me on how I viewed Otakuzine as this anime-centric version of K-Zone that’s geared specifically towards the seinen crowd because it has these anime that no elementary schooler should watch without parents’ permission or something.

Overall

Basing on what I’ve seen here, Otakuzine or Ozine is geared towards the modern otaku in mind and with that said, they do a great job of providing content for that audience. This version of Ozine though might need to fix some things once the pandemic rolls over because as a reader during their PSICOM era days, I know that the group can do better than this.

I also welcome the featurettes that delve outside the realm of anime and cosplay. Merchandise reviews are also a great way to sell copies because they can be the first one to take a sneak peek at newly released merchandise, and if it’s bad, they can look at it and examine it so that the weebs won’t have to (and waste money in the process).

I hope Ozine will continue to deliver great quality content even in this day and age where everything is on the internet.

3 thoughts on “Otakuzine: The 21st Century Anime Magazine

  1. I think for Ozine to stay afloat and competitive, they should also have their magazine in digital print with a reduced prize. I think that would be the best logical step in this age of advanced technology and the internet.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s