Interview number 6 and we can keep going for a long time. I am bad at timing things, but it’s time for a newer perspective on our current blogosphere.
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To shake things up a bit, today we look at a mecha podcaster and posts really solid and thorough threads on mecha. His latest, as time of scheduling, are his cool twitter threads on Gundam Wing. Lets learn more about Stephen Hero.
What is your name, the kind of content you create on the internet, and the name of that or those pieces of media?
My name’s Stephen Hero. I co-host a mecha re-watch podcast called Mechinations with my two close friends, pmcTRILOGY and Ignismadax. We’ve covered a bunch of big name mecha titles—Gunbuster, Code Geass, Gundam Wing, etc.—and have had a blast thus far. In addition, I’ve gotten back into writing this year and have published pieces on some of the works we’ve covered on the pod, such as Patlabor: The Movie and Gurren Lagann.
When did you first start enjoying the media of which you provide a voice for online?
I’ve cultivated a deep love for the mecha genre since I was a teenager. Not unlike many impressionable thirteen years at the turn of the millennium, Hideaki Anno’s Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995-96) really lit a spark and from then on, I avidly sought out and voraciously consumed all things giant robot.
What made you choose the media that you communicate your thoughts online?
As my twenties were slipping away (I’m almost 32 now) I was feeling especially isolated and nostalgic for the dog days of my college years when I felt like I was part of a larger conversation. My once unified friend groups had by this point eroded. No longer could I swing by my buddy’s place after a shift at the movie theater to shoot the breeze about the latest video game or the hottest television show. The rigors of “real life” were setting in, and it was discouraging. As a result, in order turn back the clock, I decided to reconnect with two childhood friends whom I approached with a podcast idea. What I envisioned as a Gundam Wing rewatch podcast under the clever name “Just Communicating” eventually morphed into “Mechinations,” a fully-fledged mecha rewatch podcast. And the rest is, as they say, history.
Has it been difficult to find a voice in the online fandom?
Surprisingly, no. Well, what I mean is that the fandom spaces I inhabit and gravitate toward have been very welcoming. All the editors I’ve worked with on my pieces have been kind, patient, and helpful. We’ve met some really awesome people who’ve guested on the podcast—Miss Macross, Anthony Gramuglia, Caitlin Moore, and Andy (EnginVIR)—and it has been an absolute privilege getting to talk to them. Our fans have been nothing but polite and it’s a real treat interacting with them.
When did you start gathering an audience? (Even a small amount of views or subscribers is an audience.)
We began our podcasting journey with a small but dedicated group of listeners whom we’ve been releasing episodes to (roughly one a week) for the last year and a half. However, we saw our numbers begin to climb this summer, which has been super encouraging. Speaking about my own work, the positive response to my writing, as well as my Gundam Wing History panel for Otakon, has been incredibly gratifying.
How do handle the online discourse of anything? Media/Social Justice/Fandoms/ETC
The “discourse,” especially when filtered through the dominant social medium platforms, can be especially disheartening. All too often bad faith actors dominate the conversation with truly simplistic, odious, and just plain bad takes. I aim to combat this as best I can by employing a progressive and empathetic critical lens to analyze shows in fun, engaging, and productive ways. My cohosts and I are all committed leftists and we seek to challenge oppressive power structures.
What are two posts/podcast episodes/pieces of art/etc that you are very proud of?
I’m particularly proud of an essay I wrote about the revolutionary politics of Gurren Lagann titled “Why the Hell Do You Think We Are?,” which Anime Feminist graciously published. Here’s the link: https://www.animefeminist.com/who-the-hell-do-you-think-we-are-gurren-laganns-blunted-message-of-liberation/?utm_campaign=shareaholic&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=socialnetwork
Podcast-wise, I’m really happy with all our episodes, but especially eps. 40, 45, and 59, which I’ll dub the “GAINAX trilogy.” We dive deep into the production history of Gunbuster, Gurren Lagann, and Promare, tracking GAINAX from its origins all the way up to the founding of Studio Trigger. You can find our episode list here: https://anchor.fm/mechinations
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions!
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to promote my work! It’s a real privilege!
Where can people find you online? (Twitter @/Facebook group/Blog Link/Place to find your podcasts/Patreon/Other Things?)
A very big thank you to a podcaster that I need to definitely listen to more from, Stephen Hero from Mechinations. Thank you for showing up and I look forward to listening to a lot more of your content myself. I’ve been slacking, so I’m sorry.
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