This is a guide for use in promoting the Hell event at conventions that may not be familiar with the event or the concept or the equipment needs. Updated 8-2016
WHAT IS JAPANESE ANIME HELL?
Japanese Anime Hell is a free-form video presentation featuring short film clips, commercials, failed pilots, amateur films, found video, instructional and educational films, music videos, film trailers, and other miscellaneous material. Some of the material is Japanese animation, other material is not. The name "Japanese Anime Hell" is a misnomer, but one that has served well for years.
WHAT IS JAPANESE ANIME HELL *NOT*?
Japanese Anime Hell is NOT solely a screening of anime parodies. It is NOT solely an amateur film festival. It is NOT a showing of "the worst of Japanese anime." It is not a program of ultraviolent gore or porno. It is NOT a bring-your-own, all-request hour. It is NOT tightly scripted or scheduled. The spontaneous, "loose" nature of the event is part of the appeal.
WHO RUNS ANIME HELL?
Right now several people run HELL events at different conventions across the country. Until his recent passing Dan Baker ran HELL at AnimeFest, Ushicon, and A-Kon, and maintained the Anime Hell web blog. His duties have since been assumed by Dr. Mila. Ryan Gavigan handles Anime Central, and he and Jeff Tatarek run HELL at Ohayocon. Mike Toole does HELL at Anime Boston, Phil Lee has run HELL at Animazement, and Daryl Surat has run similar events in Florida. Dave Merrill thought the whole thing up and currently handles Anime HELL at Anime Weekend Atlanta and Anime North. In the past he did HELL at Animazement, Dragon Con, Sugoicon, Anime Central, and other shows.
The "clip show" event has been a part of entertainment for years and directors like Joe Dante and John Landis have worked in the field. The HELL participants share material and tips, and we reserve the usage of the term "ANIME HELL" for events that we collectively run, or at least have some way of knowing will not suck. Those wishing to run similar events at their own conventions should be prepared to offer me (Dave Merrill) airfare, hotel accommodations, and a generous per diem. Failing that, they should come up with their own crazy clip show event.
WHY SHOULD YOUR CONVENTION HOST JAPANESE ANIME HELL?
It probably shouldn't. It's 2016. Crowds of 1000+ have enjoyed HELL at conventions like Anime Central and Anime Weekend Atlanta, where it has become a popular late night Friday event. Requirements of staff and A/V equipment are small, and the returns are large. It's a fun evening that adds to the convention experience for many people, and a way to experience material that otherwise may never be seen.
WHY IS JAPANESE ANIME HELL ENTERTAINING?
We really don't know. Some of the material is amusing in and of itself; other material is amusing only because of its removal from its original context (classrooms, afternoon TV of the 1980s, European TV). Still other material is entertaining precisely because of its failure to entertain. The enjoyment level of the audience is a constantly changing factor that is always being monitored by the HELL "dj". Material that was funny one year might not be funny the next. Material that amuses in Atlanta may not amuse in Cincinnati. Every event is different.
WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR ANIME HELL?
Most anime conventions already have the basic ingredients: DVD players, video projectors, sound systems, meeting rooms. HELL is sometimes prerecorded, sometimes mixed live, sometimes a mixture of the two, and sometimes requires not only several video sources, but a switching system to switch between them. A microphone is necessary for explanation and commentary to the audience. Other requirements will vary according to who is handling the event. At least fifteen minutes setup time should be taken into account. Size of the room will vary according to how popular the event is at the host convention; if HELL is well known and anticipated, audiences of considerable size can be expected. A first-time HELL at an unfamiliar convention might not require the same space. The convention liaison should discuss requirements thoroughly with both the HELL organizer and the convention's AV department.
IS HELL OFFENSIVE OR DEROGATORY?
Usually. While HELL does not deliberately feature ultra-violent gore or pornography, some material that may be found offensive is sometimes included. This is why the event is usually held after 9:00pm in the evening. Other HELL material may include racist or fascist propaganda, disturbing industrial or training films, sexually oriented material, or religious programming that is either self-parodying or deliberately altered. For instance, a hentai anime title would itself not be considered for HELL programming, but a TV news report on hentai anime would definitely be HELL-worthy. It is understood that this material does not reflect the opinions or positions of HELL or of the convention as a whole. HELL feels that exposing this material to ridicule is a public service.