iTSO: On your website, it says you’re a baseball player. Are you a professional or do you have another day job?
Hitoshi Doi: I wasn’t a professional baseball player. I would love to have been a pro, but I am just an amateur player. I still play now, almost every weekend. My position is mainly pitcher.
As for my day job, I have been a software engineer since 1987. My education background is as follows:
1985 University of Chicago, BS Applied Math
1987 University of Hawaii Manoa, MS Information and Computer Science
I used to write operating systems. Now I write search engines, and search related software.
iTSO: You’ve been interviewed and spotlighted on television (CBC’s Undercurrents), in conventions (Anime North 1999), and the web. How has your online stardom affected your offline life?
HD: I wouldn’t call just a few appearances as “stardom”. But I’ve made a lot of friends online, and have met many of these people offline too. When I went to the conventions in North America, I met various friends.
Also many of my online friends have come to Japan to meet up with me and go to various anime and seiyuu related events. I have met people from the USA, Canada, Mexico, England, France, Spain, Germany, Poland, Finland, Norway, Russia, Australia, Korea, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and probably a few others that I have forgotten. Some of my friends still come to Japan every year. Some have even moved to Japan and live here now.
iTSO: I think I speak for a lot of 90s kids when I say your website was one of our first stops for finding information on anime. Over the past 20 years, how has your fan base evolved? Do you think your website has contributed to the changing opinions of otaku and anime-fan culture?
HD: Back in the 90’s I was lucky enough to have access to the web and the resources to make a web site. Many people didn’t. There weren’t that many web sites overall, so my site stood out.
But now everyone has access and anyone can make a site, so my site is just one of the many. Also my site is pretty much the same as it was 20 years ago. It’s very plain and simple without much graphics or “cool” modern stuff.
Just realized that my site just passed the 20 year mark. I went public on June 10, 1994.
I don’t have anywhere near the number of accesses I had in the 90’s. I doubt I have many “new” fans. Most of the people who contact me recently are people like you, who say they discovered my site when they were younger.
Since the anime side of my site doesn’t have much information on any recent stuff, my site probably doesn’t attract the younger fans.
iTSO: What sparked your interest in anime, and particularly, in Sailor Moon?
HD: The anime that turned me into an otaku, from just a casual viewer, was Kimagure Orange Road in 1987. I watched it by accident when I was flipping channels. Ayukawa Madoka caught me, and since then I have been watching anime, mostly those with cute girls.
Sailor Moon was another one I watched by accident. I didn’t watch episode 1 in real time. I think I caught episode 8 or so. But I got hooked right away, and watched every episode since then. It was the cute (and funny) girls and the story that caught me.
iTSO: What do you enjoy about magical girl and shoujo series?
HD: Cute girls, in both appearance and personality. Most of the stories are pretty interesting too. I like that the stories take place in fairly “normal” situations and most of the characters are normal people. I don’t like “fantasy” worlds that much.
iTSO: How does Sailor Moon stand-out among the others?
HD: Sailor Moon is more of a good vs bad compared to other magical girls, but I think it had a good balance of everyday life and magical fighting.
I think there is a lot of analysis that can be done with Sailor Moon and other magical girl or shoujo anime, but I just want to turn my brain off and watch anime for fun. I don’t want to think to much when I watch anime.
iTSO: Your seiyuu database is rather impressive in its scope! What attracts you to the voice acting community?
HD: When I was starting out watching various anime, I noticed that some of the voices sounded familiar. Then I began to look at the credits at the end of the anime and saw the cast listings. After I while I started remembering the ones I liked, and started watching anime just to listen to the voices. Then I learned that the seiyuu even sing songs, have radio shows, and do lots of other things besides voices in anime. Being the information packrat that I am, I started gathering the various the information on seiyuu, and created the seiyuu database. Even the data that I have gathered is just the tip of the iceberg.
iTSO: From your standpoint, what makes a good voice actor?
HD: I don’t know if other seiyuu fans or the seiyuu themselves would agree with me, but I like seiyuu who can sing as well as act. For the singing, I like songs that are sung in the character voice.
Recently many opening and ending songs for the anime are sung by the seiyuu themselves. The first pressing of the CDs usually come with a DVD that contains a promo video of the song. So it’s a very nice bonus if the seiyuu are visually appealing.
iTSO: Whose voice acting work do you respect the most?
HD: Right now the seiyuu that I’m following are: Nanjou Yoshino, in my opinion the best singer. Hanazawa Kana, appears in a lot of anime, usually doing the main female character.
iTSO: Since I started researching Sailor Moon fansites, I’ve noticed that many of them are created and maintained by men. Why do you think the show has such a large male fanbase?
HD: As for the fan sites of the 90’s, I think most of the web sites for any topic were run by men because most of the Internet users were men. Back then computers were relatively expensive. Getting net access meant working in a science/math related job, or going to a university in a science related major. So there weren’t many females on the net back then.
As for Sailor Moon’s popularity with older men.. probably the cute girls.
iTSO: What do you think of the live-action adapations (Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon and SeraMyu musicals)?
HD: I didn’t watch any of the musicals, and I only watched the live-action once, without paying to much attention to it. I wasn’t too interested in them.
iTSO: What are your opinions of Sailor Moon Crystal so far? What are you most looking forward to?
HD: Since this seems to be basically the same story, I don’t know what there is to look forward to. I will probably watch it, but I don’t have any high hopes. I am very disappointed that they changed the seiyuu, but I’ll just try to enjoy one episode at a time.
iTSO: As the second anime adaptation (and second manga-based adaptation after the live-action), how do you think ‘Crystal’ can stand out from the original anime?
HD: Actually I am not a fan of the manga. I liked the Sailor Moon anime because it was a cute and fun story, unlike the manga. If it followed the manga too closely I don’t think the original Sailor Moon anime would have been a hit. It was all of the extra interaction among the girls, probably filler material if one was a purist, that was interesting.
iTSO: What are the future plans for your website?
HD: I will concentrate on the seiyuu database, and keep expanding that. I can add new information for a few hours every day, and I’ll still keep falling behind..
I don’t know if I’ll have any time to work on a new anime section, but right now I’ll spending most of my free time playing the Love Live School Idol Festival smartphone game. I made a section for that.
I’m also watching the Love Live 2nd Season anime, and I think it’s the best anime of all time. I just don’t have the time to make a good site for the Love Live anime, so I’m not going to try.
Also I’ve started a site that’s like a photo blog, called Snapshots in Akiba. Since I work in Akihabara, I walk around the streets with the anime and game shops, and take photos of what I see. There are many anime ads, billboards, store windows, and such.
There are even Sailor Moon dolls/figures and goods in the ufo catcher machines recently.
I also took a LOT of Love Live related photos. Love Live is the biggest thing among the otaku crowd in Akihabara.
iTSO: Which is your favorite Sailor Senshi?
HD: Sailor Mercury, cute, funny, and I like her personality. Also her voice is very nice.
iTSO: Out of all of the Sailor Moon songs, which is your favorite?
HD: Song.. I haven’t listened to any Sailor Moon song in years. Back then I liked Route Venus by Sailor Venus. Usually I prefer slower songs, but this one was very catchy and I liked it the first time I heard it.
Thank you Hitoshi for speaking to us all the way from Japan! We hope you’ve enjoyed #SailorWeek and all our special tributes and guests!