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Arcade in the Sky Blog: The Death of Steve Pearl

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Death of Steve Pearl

This will be the most difficult blog post I'll have to write.

Last weekend, a good friend and hero of mine passed away; Steve Pearl. Those who have been in the anime fan community long enough will know of Steve Pearl, the American Otaking. There's a posting on anime news network that gives his background, but I wanted to remember his as a friend, and not just an anime fan pioneer.

I met Steve at the Rutgers anime club, the Japanese Cultural Association (JCA) , during my college years-1998-2001. Steve was like a special guest star. He would visit our weekly meetings and give sage advice about anime. Having him there was always a treat. We ended up going on several road trips together to anime conventions.

There were, however, many such anime-related friends I've met over the years. Steve Pearl stood out unmistakably. What made Steve a great fan and a great friend was the extraordinary parts of his character. It wasn't his wealth of knowledge about anime, nor was it this legendary VHS collection which blotted out the walls and most of the ceiling of his room. Nor was it the tireless dedication to the Anime Alliance or the newsgroups. Steve was a man alway putting others before himself. No drive was far to bring anime cheer to a fan in need. No hour was too late to tape a TV special for a needy enthusiast.

Never a complaint or cross word would emanate from this perennial Santa Clause. He always had enlightening news and antidotes for anyone who would lend an ear. He kept his unbridled optimism to the end, no matter how dark his situation became. If ever a man deserved to be called a king among his peers, Steve Pearl would be it.

I feel bad about falling out of touch with him these past few years. The solace I can gather in this dark hour is that the world has changed since our fan days in the 90's. America is now a country where any adolescent can walk into Best Buy or Borders and have access to all the anime and manga they could ask for.

This the the America Steve Pearl was fighting for; and it's the America that he achieved.

There may never be another Otaking, as the county now has little use for a crusader of Japanese pop-culture. But wherever there are new ideas and media that have yet to strike into mainstream success, small groups of dedicated fans will ban together, form clubs and websites, and fight to bring the things they love to others. Though they may not be aware of it, they owe a debt to a trailblazer known as Steve Pearl, one of the finest human beings I have ever met.

Buzz this

1 comment:

  1. My condolences. I just heard about this today. I never met Steve, but I do remember reading lots of his posts in the rec.arts.anime lists. He always gave me comfort knowing that I could also enjoy anime as white American male about the same age as he, just as much as the younger kids.