Sempai News

January 14, 2004 — Tonbo stops hosting Friday Night Anime

An era comes to an end. After years of regularly meeting on Friday nights, our collective and shared anime viewing will now be returning to the irregular and unscheduled way it used to be before FNA.

Changes in the industry have led to a change in the social networking aspect of our hobby. The widespread availability of anime and manga in the modern market means we no longer have to "know someone who knows someone" to be able to obtain and enjoy our materials. This has made it easier for us all to be able to go our own ways and have more time for our respective lives, because one of the primary needs which FNA filled is being met more easily elsewhere. In testimony to this, FNA attendence has been dropping for years.

The friendships we have forged remain, and the development this last decade of all of these wonderful tools for communication mean they will be easier to maintain than ever in human history. We've been blessed with this group and will continue to be blessed by technology and each other's company.

Tonbo Talks:
"I wish to express my thanks to all the Sempai (and kohai) who have shared my homes over the years and I wish you all the best in all the many years to come!  I wouldn't have missed this last decade for all the tea in ... Japan?

February 15, 2003 — Dean & Meri tie the knot!

Check out the story and pictures on the Project A-Kon website, here.

July, 2002 — The Sempai Gang gets a new online home!

Though it has served us well for three years, it was finally time to retire Greenwood.  Kevin (aka St. Zero) has finished moving all of our files to the new server, Ashitaka, and we're up an running with only the most minor of tweakings.  Thanks, Kevin, for all your tireless devotion.  Sempai wouldn't be the same - heck, it wouldn't be - without you!

May 31, 2002 — Catnip Gets Engaged!

Well, he did it.  In front of a live audience, that evil - er, I mean, our good friend "Catnip" (aka Dean Davis) literally popped out of the woodwork and proposed to very surprised fellow Sempai Gang member Meri Hazlewood during the Opening Ceremonies at Project A-Kon 13.  Meri is known to many in Otakudom as the President of Phoenix Entertainment. It was quite the crowd pleaser and a moment no one who was there will ever forget!  There are still a couple of pictures of it up here.


September 11, 2001


June 20, 2001 — Tomo-no-miko's Anime Character Antenna Ball Page mentioned in The Edmonton Journal

Yesterday, the Sempai gang began receiving mail asking where the section on making anime characters out of Jack-in-the-Box "antenna balls."  Apparently, The Edmonton Journal mentioned us as a place where one can learn how to do it.  At first, this was a bit puzzling, since we have no such section on our site.  However, a quick look around located the page in question.

"Tomo no miko", a member of the group, has, as part of her Fushigi Yuugi site, a page illustrating how she turned a "Jack ball" into the character she speaks for ... Tomo!  Those interested in this fun and unique way of enjoying their favorite anime characters can use this page for inspiration and ideas.

Pertinent links:

Jan, 2001 — Comic Store Clerk Tried For Selling an "Obscene" Manga ... To An ADULT!

As reported in The Dallas Observer Online, Jesus Castillo, age 26, manager of Keith's Comics in Dallas TX was arrested in Septemer 2000 for selling a copy of Demon Beast Invasion to Dallas vice detective C.A. Reynerson.

CBLDF The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has been involved in the case from the beginning. A June 2000 report on this case can be found on their website, along with a November 2000 update.

The most disturbing news regarding this case, however, is contained in their December 13 report on this case, which reported on the "guilty" verdict returned by the jury on the first of two charges:

"Perhaps the most compelling of the several issues that will be brought to appeal was the jury's failure to apply a national standard to the question of the material's artistic and literary merit.  The Supreme Court has held that the standard for establishing artistic value is not a local one but national.  Furthermore, the high court has stated that a national standard of artistic worth is best determined by experts.  Jurors must be guided by expert testimony when it is given.  When experts disagree, the jury must decide between them.  But in the absence of conflicting testimony, the jury may not disregard the testimony of experts.  In other words, they cannot substitute their own views on artistic merit for the evidence presented in court.

"The prosecution presented no witnesses to contradict McCloud and Napier's assertion that the comic has artistic merit.  Therefore, as a matter of law, the jury could not find Demon Beast Invasion: The Fallen #2 obscene.  And yet that is what they did.  In essence, they could not accept the notion that comics are indeed art, and they are not always intended for children."

(Scott McCloud is the author of Understanding Comics.  Dr. Susan Napier is a professor from the University of Texas.)
Many members of Sempai shop for our anime & manga at Keith's Comics (aka Atomic Age), and while none of us are directly involved in this case, our hearts go out to Jesus, Keith and all the employees that do so much for us.  We know this must be a difficult time for them.

You do not have to be a Dallas resident to speak at a Dallas City Council meeting, so we assume letters from outside Dallas will be read (though, of course, they won't carry as much weight).  If you want to write a letter (letters are much more effective than sending email) to Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk or any Dallas City Council members, the address is:

Mayor Ron Kirk   Council Member [Name]
City of Dallas City of Dallas
1500 Marilla Street 1500 Marilla Street
Dallas TX 75201 Dallas TX 75201

For a list of Council members, go to

Keith Colvin, owner of Keith's Comics, is raising money to pay Jesus' $4,000 fine (and if the conviction is overturned, he will donate the money to the Comic Books Legal Defense Fund).  If you are interested in helping Jesus or Keith, just write the check to "Keith's Comics" and put a note in the corner saying "for Jesus Castillo's legal defense."

CBLDF Please mail contributions to:
Keith's Comics
5736 E. Mockingbird Ln.
Dallas TX 75206

Sep, 2000 — Kestrel posts more music videos!

So now, Kestrel has (pant!) twelve music videos converted to digital format and posted to her page at

They can also be found on the Sempai Music Videos page at

May 29, 2000 — MegaTokyo, the Comic goes online!

It's up!  Largo & Fred over at MegaTokyo have put up the first of their new comic about and for gamers.  The URL is

May 4, 2000 — Sempai!  The Comic Strip! gets published in Animerica magazine!

It's out!  Sempai!  The Comic Strip! makes its print debut in the current issue of Animerica magazine!  Vol. 8, Issue 4 has hit the stands, and on the Editor's Page, to boot!  WAI!

When Marc Hairston was asked to review the TV show, Fushigi No Umi No Nadia, for Animerica, he showed them the comic strip where his character, Jean, did exactly that.  They loved it so much, they asked if they could print the strip.  Tonbo was proud to give his permission, and the result is now available on newstands and in comic stores.  Look for it, ask for it, or surf over to the website and order it there.

May 4, 2000 — Marc Hairston reviews the TV show Fushigi No Umi No Nadia in Animerica magazine!

In Vol. 8, Issue 4 of Animerica, Dr. Hairston gives an overview and critique of one of the most popular shows to come out of Studio Gainax, including information on where the ideas for the show came from, how Anno came to be director, inside jokes in the series and much more.  His articles begin on page 23, so go buy a copy and check it out.

(In fact, he reviewed it twice.  See the headline immediately above for the story.)

Apr. 10, 2000 — Marc Hairston Gets a Credit On Vol. 1 Of the Nadia Pro-Sub

ADV's new professionally subtitled version of Fushigi No Umi No Nadia is now out, and Dr. Marc has reached new heights as networking expert on all things anime by earning a credit on the first volume.  He earned this by helping the translator, Bill "Roadbuster" McBee, with some questions he had.  The first question was the correct spelling of Jean's name and the second concerned the correct usage of the Japanese word used to refer to Electra.  Marc passed these questions on to one of his contacts in Japan, a man by the name of Nobutoshi, and both Marc and Nobutoshi received a "Special Thanks" credit on volume one.

Mar. 28, 2000 — Ryoma gets the rest of his videos online!

We posted the Sempai Music Videos page with only a partial list of the music videos that had been done by Sempai people.  The rest were not ready for posting, but we felt we had enough to go on and put up what was available.

It took a while, but now Ryoma has finished posting all of his music videos!  They've been added to his own page at

You can also see them along with all the others done by Sempai folk at

Mar. 25, 2000 — Marc Hairston quoted in the Dallas Morning News!

Wow!  Marc Hairston continues to impress as he is seen in print for the second time this month!

In an article by Nancy Churnin for the Dallas Morning News, Dr. Hairston comments on how animated features get no respect from the Motion Picture Academy.  He also gives his vote for the best animated feature of 1999.  (Actually, he gives that distinction to Mononoke Hime, but had to keep it to G rated releases, since the article was specifically about the best kid's movies.)

Read the article at

Mar. 14, 2000 — Marc Hairston gets published ... again!

Dr. Hairston has been published ... again. This time it's an essay that's only in the online version of Animerica.  You can see it by going to their main site at and scrolling down the page to the link, "A Cel for Angie" or you can link straight to it at

Mar. 9, 2000 — The Sempai Music Videos are online!

Wow!  It looks so cool!  Catnip, Kestrel, Ryoma & Tonbo have gotten a LOT of videos posted!  You can go check them all out, organized by creator or song title.

This is not all of the Sempai videos that exist, though.  Pat-o-chan & Tonbo have one more that needs to be made computer ready, Ryoma is still working on converting several of his for posting, Shogundum hasn't gotten to his yet, and we're still trying to convince Jean about this whole online deal (^_^).  And, of course, there are still more videos to be made!  So, stay tuned and be sure to check back occasionally to see if more have been added.

You can go see the videos at, and the indivdual creators also have their own videos showcased on their personal pages.

Mar. 2, 2000 — Tonbo has posted two of his music videos!

It took a while, but they're finally up.  Kestrel put them in Quicktime format for posting, and they can be downloaded from his page at

Jan. 28, 2000 — is now hosting!

Greenwood is the new physical home of

A short time back, Meri Hazelwood, Chair of Project A-kon and a Sempai group member for some time now, asked if Greenwood had the resources and Sempai the time/energy to begin hosting her domain, since she was having to move it from where it has been for some years now.  Natrually, many of us were delighted.

So, arrangements were made with Mike Battle, the A-kon site Webmaster, and everything has now been successfully moved over to our server.  You can see the site at

Meri, it's an honor.  Thanks for asking, and we're glad to do it!

Jan. 6, 2000 — Dr. Hairston's article and Kestrel's artwork are published in the new Animerica!

The new Animerica (issue 12, vol 7, with Princess Mononke on the cover) just came out today.  Marc's article is on p. 64, and Kestrel's Totoro mugshot artwork is on p. 5!!

Also, now that the article is out, that means Marc's website about the UTD Nausicaa class is officially on-line.  Check it out at

Dec. 13, 1999 — Kestrel gets her music videos online!

She currently has six videos up, but at the rate she makes them, who knows how many she'll have this time next week...  (^_-) They are quicktime files, so you will need Quicktime 3.0 or higher to view them.

You can download them at

Nov. 26, 1999 — Catnip becomes the first of the Sempai Gang to actually get his music videos online!

He has three, Jackyl's "Dirty Little Mind" to Ranma 1/2, Aerosmith's "Taste Of India" to 3x3 Eyes and Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit" to Tenshi Ni Narumon.

You can download them from his page at

Nov. 10, 1999 — Kestrel makes UTD's "Natual Wonders" flier

Yea!!!  Thanks to Heidi, the University of Texas at Dallas now has the flier to put up all over UTD campus about Dr. Gossen's course next semester.  If you wnat to see it, go to

For her excellent work (and patience with Marc as he kept asking for changes so UTD's @#$#%#& Compaq/Epson printer combo would actually print it) Heidi has now officially had bestowed upon her the rank of "Art Goddess, First Class."

For information about UTD's class, taught by Dr. Pamela Gossin, go to

Nov. 1, 1999 — Sempai, the Comic Strip premieres

It's live!  The first strip has been posted, and no one is safe anymore.  Tonbo plans on making this a daily comic strip, running for as long as he can stand it.  Check it out at

Tonbo has the first couple of arcs already planned, and is even now perusing the ML archives for remembrances of "how it all used to be." But, don't let that stop you from sending in your ideas for a strip or three!  Tonbo can use all the creative and inspirational help he can get!  Mail him at

Oct. 29, 1999 — Sempai, the Comic Strip preview #2 goes up

With the final clock counting down toward the intended Nov. 1 launch date, the second of two previews is now available for viewing.  See it at

Oct. 26, 1999 — Sempai, the Comic Strip preview goes online

While the final preparations for Sempai, the Comic Strip are underway, the first of two previews is now available for viewing.  Check it out at

Oct. 3, 1999 — Greenwood goes online

After a long grueling period of setup, we finally got the dang thing finished! Thanks go to all those who lent a hand (or a part) to make this available to all Sempai members.

Oct. 1, 1999 — Dr. Hairston interviewed for AnimeCraze

Our own Marc Hairston was interviewed this summer about his UTD Nausicaa class for an anime webzine called "Anime Craze."  Their October issue is now online with the interview if you'd like to see it at

Also they're running an editorial he wrote for them that mentions Mononoke.  If you can't find the link to it on the main page (and I missed it at first) Look for "Anime and Academia, dated 10.02.1999, at