Anime Web Turnpike

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Website
Name: Anime Web Turnpike
Owner/Maintainer: Jay "Jei" Fulber Harvey, Anime Broadcasting Network, Inc.
Dates: August 1995 to present
Type: portal
Fandom: anime and manga
URL: http://www.anipike.com/
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In the mid to late 90s, the Anime Web Turnpike, also known as "Anipike", was the premier source of information about online (and frequently offline) anime and manga fandom in the English-speaking world. The site is a collection of links relating to these media, fansubs, scanlations, fanfiction, webrings, episode guides, and other similar material of interest to these fandoms. Though slightly less influential today, it is still an important source of information, particularly for new fans.

The site also contains a web magazine with articles on anime, fan culture, and Japan.

History

Anipike was founded on August 16, 1995[1] by Jay "Jei" Fubler Harvey[2]. It was created as a "hub", a site which collected links of a particular type. Links were submitted by users and added to various categories on the site, connecting together animanga fandom in a way early search engines failed to do.

Users could create personal accounts to join the forums, chat on IRC, or submit links. Links were manually checked, mostly by Jei himself.[3] This was common for many non-professional hubs, as few had the resources or code to use databases, or the staff to have dedicated link reviewers.

Context

In the mid-90s, U.S. and European companies began acquiring the rights and translating manga and anime titles in bulk for the first time (though not always the same titles across regions/languages). This encouraged a wave of new fans, many of whom had internet access, and small fan communities quickly sprang up on the available platforms of the day.

During Anipike's heyday, the technical constraints on animanga fandom tended to cause fragmentation. Blogs and journaling sites came into being at the end of the 90s, but many of these didn't allow comments, and none had tracking. Centralized archives for art, vids, and fics did not exist or were not popular yet. Fans tended to interact in forums, especially fandom-specific ones, and on newsgroups and mailing lists (which in many cases did not give the public access to their records). Fans often posted their fanworks to personal websites, popular free sites (such as Geocities, Fortunecity, and Angelfire), mailing lists, newsgroups, and/or fandom-specific archives. Search engines were in their infancy and often relied on web directories, limiting their usefulness.

Anipike was one of many sites that sprang up to bridge the link gap between fan resources, and it quickly became the dominant source for a large segment of the English-speaking population. It focused on being a one-stop shop for all English-language animanga fandom's needs. Its Classic Main Page shows the variety of material available on the site at that time.

Acquisition

Anime Broadcasting Network, Inc. acquired Anipike in 2000.[4] It had planned some enhancements for the site, but those did not materialize until 2003.

Many ISP's and free host providers are either gone or have changed their policies, causing many sites to go offline. Caught in the middle of all of this is Anipike. When we were starting to get into a good groove, we were hit by six viruses in a row (thanks to some of the user emails), along with three back-to-back machine failures courtesy of IBM.[4]

2003 and Beyond

The site began moving to a database and search engine in early 2003[5], partially in response to the high number of dead links staff had to weed through.

The rate at which some of these sites turn up dead is amusing. We now weed out even the newly reported links! From Friday to Monday, 1-2% of the new link submissions show up as dead sites. It's becoming absurd. This is one of the events that have forced us to seek new tools.[4]

The advent of improved general search engines, movement of many fans to blogging or journaling sites with more internal links, and rise in popularity of animemusicvideos.org, fanfiction.net, deviantArt and other multi-fandom archives have affected Anipike's traffic. However, it was still seeing 1.76 million unique visitors per month before switching to a database structure.[4]

Due to the deletion of most of Geocities and Fortunecity, as well as the general movement of personal webpages, many links on the classic version of the Turnpike are now broken. However, many do remain active or redirect to currently active pages. Link checks were performed up through 2003, and some of the dead links are marked.

The move to a database system automated this process. In 2008, the site boasted over 62,000 active links in its database form.[6]

Trixie Turnpike

Trixie Turnpike

Trixie is Anipike's logo, found at the top left of the classic site's pages. She has several different appearances based on seasons and specific anime/manga.[7]

Trixie originally was an animated gif created by Hans Raillard and adopted by Jei after he saw her on Hans's page.[8] In her basic form, Trixie is a pink-haired chibi with closed eyes, a triangular mouth, and a blue sailor-style school uniform. She holds a sign that says "Anime Web Turnpike" in her left hand and holds her right arm out in the American hitchhiking gesture, thumb up. Her Summer and Winter forms are similar, but her series-specific forms tend to not carry the sign and hold a jack-o-lantern style Halloween candy bucket in her right hand instead, indicating these are Halloween costumes for Trixie.

When I created her, she had no name, and she was not yet animated. The name Trixie was suggested to Jei by another person, and a simple cut-rotate-paste animated GIF was created by Tim Neams, which inspired me to make an official two-drawing animated GIF." ~Hans Raillard[8]

In 2003-2004, guest artists were featured drawing their own variations of Trixie. Some of these varations can still be seen at Backstage, but many were lost during the server crashes.[8]

In 2006-2007, Trixie was re-illustrated in a new style by Viviane and became an icon for database version site posts.[9]

References

  1. Classic Main Page, creation date at the bottom. Accessed Nov. 16 2012.
  2. About the Turnpike, accessed Nov. 16, 2012
  3. The NAQ, "He is the one who checks the over three hundred links that are submitted each week." Last updated June 19, 2000. Accessed Nov. 16, 2012.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 The Revival of Anipike Last updated Feb. 28, 2003. Accessed Nov. 16, 2012.
  5. Future Plans "Anipike is planning to add search engine on the entire site." Last updated Feb. 28, 2003. Accessed Nov. 16, 2012.
  6. New Main Page. "Currently over 62,000 live links. Wow Anime fans!" Accessed Nov. 16, 2012.
  7. Turnpike Logo: Trixie Turnpike. Raillard's versions include "Summer", "Winter", "Birthday", "Mononoke", "Sailor", "Dragonball", "Vampire Princess", "Misty May", "Inverse", "Ryo-ohki", and "R. Wayneright". Accessed Nov. 16, 2012.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Backstage: Trixie Turnpike "Ten years ago I made a small Anime style art gallery to showcase my anime drawings, and I drew a small GIF of a hitchhiking girl to link to the Anime Web Turnpike. Jei Fubler Harvey noticed her and asked if he could use her as an official mascot, which was fine with me." Accessed Nov. 16, 2012.
  9. TRIXIE, "Hello everyone!^^ My name is Viviane and I'm happy to draw the mascot Trixie for Anipike." Last updated 2007. Accessed Nov. 16, 2012.