Japanese anime fandom in the United States was built by tape-swapping video freaks, obsessed with capturing cartoons and inflicting the resultant confusion on captive audiences. Plunging head first into the inexplicable pop culture of a foreign nation, anime fans saw every T-120 as a potential gold mine of strangeness that typical America did not understand, and at times was actively opposed to. Regardless, anime fandom flourished through a network of clubs and tape traders filling the US Mail with an ever-circulating video supply delivering alternative entertainment across the nation.
Combine that whole mess with the culture-jamming antics of basic cable's Night Flight and early MTV, the DIY filmmaking of "Bambi Vs Godzilla" and "Hardware Wars" and the camp value of thousands of hours of bad old commercials and educational films, mix with the expanded home video capabilities of fifty thousand home entertainment centers controlled by legions of daisy-chaining tapeheads obsessed with crazy Japanese cartoons, and you get a room full of nerds laughing their heads off at two AM in a smelly convention video room somewhere in the Southeast. That's Japanese Anime Hell.
Japanese animation is now established as a legitimate American entertainment niche, available to all, no longer gatekept by self-appointed Tape Gods. But through Anime Hell we can still indulge our passion to seek out the strange and the forgotten and the non-commercial, to highlight the weird and the failed and the crazy that no corporate entity in its right mind would try to make a profit from.
Since 1996 Anime Hell has been delivering un-coordinated entertainment to audiences across America and parts of Canada, limited not by popular taste, commercial appeal or modern trends, but only by what its curators find funny or entertaining or liable to stun convention crowds in the wee hours.
Updated August 2016 by Dave Merrill