Even though we are at the 19th day of the new decade, the Decading Bananas series shall continue until the end of January, as it still marks the events and cultures of the past 10 years. In Part III of Decading Bananas, we are going to open a time capsule of sorts and reveal what kind of influences, interests and fads I was into, as an unknowing young Banana, a short decade ago.
Every time I visit Hong Kong, I always experience several attacks of nostalgia during the journey home from the airport. Even just sitting in my room (which has evolved over the years) and panning my eyes across the short buildings of the neighbourhood, history, my history, naturally unfolds in my mind. This time around I wanted to look for objects that would help me pinpoint what I kind of culture, media and fads I was into around 10 years ago. To my surprise, it was sitting on my shelf the whole time. And this is what I found:
Ten years ago I was an avid collector of CoCo, a bi-weekly comic magazine printed in Hong Kong that regularly featured Japanese manga, local comics as well as gaming news. It was first released in 1997 around the time British rule was handed back to China. Whether the Handover had significance in the birth of this magazine is unknown, but I will look into it. I actually own several issues from 1997 but shall only highlight the ’99 and ’00 issues as it marks what happened a decade ago. The snapshots that follow are the popular trends, manga and culture I, and many other teens, were into at the brink of the millennium.
Like many 10-12 year olds back in late 1999 and early 2000s, I was very much immersed in the global Digimon fad. Ten years ago in Hong Kong, you would be hard pressed to find a kid who did not own Digimon product. Many had 7 or more Digimon Virtual Pets attached to a single key chain, myself included. CoCo followed this trend religiously, to the point where they printed Digimon fan-fiction created by local Hong Kong artists:
*Nerd Alert!* Digimon Adventure was in the midst of airing in Japan at this point, and I don’t think they reached the Dark Masters arc yet. The Puppetmon on this cover of CoCo was to promote the latest Digimon Virtual Pet device that was released, Digimon Pendulum IV: Wind Guardians.
Another major trend in Hong Kong were fighting games such as Street Fighter and King of Fighters. At around the turn of the millenium SNK versus Capcom was released and CoCo followed suit, releasing fan-fictions along the way:
Noticed how they covered up Mai’s cleavage? Censoring at its best (:
Continuing with another trend in CoCo at the time was Bomberman, but not in the regular sense. These are Bombermen who have marbles at their core, who can either shoot energy blasts out of them, or are used as toys used by teens at tournaments. Both types of these marble-Bombermen have spawned into manga and anime series:
From 1999 to 2000, the world was in between the 1998 France FIFA World Cup and the upcoming 2002 Korea/Japan FIFA World Cup. Even though we were in between the two events, local Hong Kong artists and CoCo kept the football (soccer, for you North Americans) spirit alive through parodies and fan-fiction comics:
The once hugely popular Mini-4WD trend was going downhill at this point in time, but CoCo continued to feature them in their issues going into the millennium:
Here are some remaining trends, manga and anime that were highlighted by CoCo 10 years ago:
So there you have it. What one of the creators of TheBananaTimes was into 10 years ago. Needless to say my love and passion for anime and manga remains unchanged, but of course I have become more selective to which ones I watch and read. For example, no matter how sexually desperate I was as a young pubescent boy, I would never find the weird-looking big-breasted women in the snapshot above, attractive in any sense. The same goes for now…
Manga and Anime will always be a big part of my creative life and personal life, and it seemed that way back in the year 1999 and 2000 (: