A call for help, and a leave of absence

Banana Soychoo (psst! I just sent you a reply, but it bounced) writes in with a merchandise info request (bold emphasis mine):

“I used to own a pirates of dark water comic, it might have been #5 but i cant be sure. It’s the one where ren and niddler are in the belly of the maelstrom, and there is one part where they are running from the constrictus. What i’m really looking for is the other comic that was on the other side of it. It was one of those 2 in 1 comics where half way through it was the end of the other comic and you had to flip it upside down and backwards to read the other one….Could you please tell me(if you know) what was the comic on the other side?”

This is the first I’ve ever heard about this, but it sounds pretty awesome! If you have any info on this, please comment here.

And on that note: I’m going out of town for several weeks and then moving, so I may not have regular online access till April. (I’m attending SXSW Interactive in Austin, Texas, and then I’m going back to Japan for 1-2 weeks!) If you’ll be at SXSW and want to say hi, please do drop me an e-mail.

Hello again

I think I figured out why some people keep thinking the site’s down: they’ve always been linking directly to http://piratesofdarkwater.net/index.html, which is not valid and has not been since I implemented WordPress. It took me this long to finally set up a redirect to the actual index site (index.php). Hello there, those of you who’ve been unfortunately locked out all this time!

Just to make this all as easy as possible, when you link to this site, please link only to http://piratesofdarkwater.net and DO NOT put any sort of /index.??? after it. Thanks, and sorry for the hassle!

Is there anything else that you find a little hard to find or use around the site? Any broken links? Any random inconsistencies that you may think are minor and inconsequential but that still stick out? Any suggestions or complaints or constructive criticism? I’m always open to them, though these days I may be fairly slow in fixing them, but please don’t let that stop you from suggesting anything you want! This really is my only truly active site these days, so regular and fresh feedback is very welcome; my Japan journal is slowly withering away now that I’m back in the US, I got rid of all my fanlistings, I update my portfolio a few times a year, and I only occasionally update my profile page–I don’t think I’ve touched the rest since well before I went to Japan. Crazy how that happens.

Unpacking and settling in

When going through my closet to clean out old junk (to make way for the new junk that’ll eventually arrive here once it’s completed its journey across the Pacific Ocean), I discovered that when my mom was tidying up in my absence, she designated a couple of bags just for all my Pirates of Dark Water merchandise and memorabilia. It made me laugh out loud, that my parents, who at first kept pushing the “why do you waste so much time on this crap? You need to study!” thing all through high school and into college, have finally given in and just rolled with it.

This is also my way of saying “hi, I made it to the US okay.” It was a tough transition–after two years there, I’d really dropped roots and made some good friends, and I shed many tears when I said goodbye, when I waved at the friends who came to see me off as my bus pulled away from the terminal in my town and I left Tokushima Prefecture and Shikoku, and when I walked down the jetway at Kansai Airport in Osaka onto the plane that would take me out of Japan and across the Pacific. But I’m here…and my hometown has never felt more suburban to me in my life. Things are going well, though. It’s been a week and a half, and the honeymoon period’s kind of fading, and I’m feeling uneasy about various things, but that’s just a part of culture shock. A local Japanese grocery has many of the little food things I miss about Japan, so that’s really nice, and I randomly found out yesterday that one of the librarians at a nearby library speaks fluent Japanese–talk about serendipity!

As for my merchandise inventory, it’s been nice going back through it, and it’s been really cool looking at the animation cels I’ve won and had shipped to my parents’ house while I was abroad. My Niddler plush was still stuffed away in a box with all the other stuffed animals, though, but it took going through that box to remember that I even owned it. I also had a good laugh at the horror that is the Halloween costume of Ren (blue plastic one-piece costume, with a picture of Ren on the torso), and I discovered the OOP Niddler action figure a former friend gave me, which stoically guarded my monitor during college, along with a stuffed ladybug a friend gave me in high school. I’ve reassigned them to their former post again, now that I’m back to using a desktop.

It feels good to be home. Strange, but good. I do miss Japan, but that’s to be expected.

I think this post kind of accidentally became my annual “post on my birthday” post, except a little early–I turn 26 tomorrow. I’d post something introspective about the evolution of the site and the fandom and stuff, but I’ve done plenty of that already.

And another reminder: DragonCon is this weekend, and I will be on the Classic Cartoons panel on Sunday at 5:30! I believe it’s in the Vinings room, but don’t quote me on that. The Pocket Programme is on the website, so check it out. I’ll be with three other people, and it should be a lot of fun, with a lot of emphasis on audience participation, so come on out to have your say. I hope a few of you will drop by! I’m looking forward to meeting you guys, and those of you who already let me know you’re coming, I’ll keep an eye out for you.

DragonCon panel update

EDIT, 25july2007 11:50PM JST – the time has changed to Sunday at 5:30 PM. And for those who aren’t aware, DragonCon takes place annually in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, which is also my hometown.


It looks like the Classic Cartoons panel is currently set for Sunday at 4:00 5:30 PM. I’m still trying to get a group of panelists together and figure out exactly what topics to address, but in my limited convention experience, I feel like fan-run panels like this are best when they encourage a lot of constructive audience participation and discussion, so I’d like to see if we can do that.

Like I’ve said before, please stop by and say hi! It’d be cool to meet you guys; I know at least a few of you are planning on attending the convention, so I do hope you consider coming and taking part in this. I’ll only be at the convention for a couple of days this year, if even that, and other than hanging out with my friends who’ll be in town, this is the only thing I have planned so far. I look forward to meeting you guys there!

In other PoDW-related news, a few links:
allgame.com – general info on the Sunsoft video games.
a Ukraine-hosted blog with a post including good screencaps of the Sega game.

(There are now 22 Facebook groups related somehow to the show. Dang!)

And minor updates:
– the link to the transcript to episode 11, “The Collection,” has been corrected on the episodes page
– the link to Myrmior’s DVD cover off the fanart page has been fixed

As always, please tell me if you find any broken links on the site! Chances are I won’t know about them at all unless somebody else tells me about them.

On a personal note, please don’t expect any blog updates for a while after this–I have about a week to finish packing and shipping stuff home, then I travel for a week, then I vacate my apartment and lug my suitcases to a friend’s place for a week so I can stay to help my successor and to take part in this massive dance festival our area has in mid-August (ironically, each dance group/team is called a Ren, haha)…and then I end my time in Japan and return to the US. (Thankfully, I’ve found a job, so that’s a huge load off my shoulders, knowing that that’s waiting for me!) This week marks my two-year anniversary of moving abroad, and I’ll be done just a couple of weeks after that.

And thank you for the kind e-mails and blog comments that the “On this site and the show” generated. I totally wasn’t fishing for compliments with that, I swear! But it really is great to know that you all are so supportive of this site and of my continuing to maintain it. Thank you so much!

On this site and the show

I’ve found several posts and comments lately about this site, from people who think it’s a little creepy, or who think it’s strange that I’d keep this site so regularly updated even though it’s about a show that stopped production over a decade ago.

To be honest, sometimes I wonder if it’s a bit strange as well. But I’ve just had this site for so long that I couldn’t imagine retiring it. I’m not obsessed with this show. It doesn’t rule my life. I don’t think about it that often. I haven’t even watched an episode in quite a while–the last time I did, I was hanging out with some friends a few months ago, and they started talking about it, and they pulled up a couple of episodes on YouTube to watch. (Hi, Genna and Victor!)

It makes me really sad to visit “website archives”–big sites that are no longer updated in any way just because there’s no new active content to put up. At the very least, I feel like if those webmasters have the time and still enjoy the subjects of their sites, they should keep the design and the backbone of the site updated to be in line with modern web standards. It doesn’t hurt to dust the site off every now and then, especially since people are most likely still visiting.

If nobody visited, I think that might make a difference in whether or not I stick with this. But for every weirded-out comment I’ve seen/gotten, I have dozens thanking me for keeping the site updated and reminiscing fondly about what a great show this was and still is. I’ve gotten so many messages from people who love the show. I’ve come across many hundreds of posts on messageboards of people who still love the show. There are countless thousands of people who’d love an official DVD release. The show may be “dead,” in terms of no new content, but it’s very much alive and well among the people who love it.

There’s also still the very real possibility of a comeback. Lately I’ve had quite a few people contact me about possibly going in on co-writing a movie script to end the series. There are a lot of groups out there who are very interested in seeing or creating the ending of the show. There are plenty of rumors flying around, too. All these pieces are just sort of hanging in the air, waiting to fall into place. It’s totally possible!

People have asked me if this site is an archive, and it definitely is not. However, from here on out, I don’t know if I really will do regular updates in the same way that I used to back in its heyday during my college years. I’m getting older (I started this site when I was 15, and I’ll be 26 next month!) and work and (eventually) grad school will definitely keep me from doing much. The lack of time, a real desk/chair setup, and inclination to spend all my free time on my computer in Japan have kept me from making weekly/monthly updates the way I used to. There are a few things I still would like to do, a few sections I’d like to complete (the episode screenshot slideshows that Kooshmeister and I were doing, and consistent episode summaries for all 21 episodes, instead of those novel-length ones for ~5-6 episodes, which aren’t even necessary anymore since the show’s available online), and I know that there are fans working on fanfics and scripts and posters and artwork that they’ll be sending me, and I may luck out and stumble onto more behind-the-scenes content. Beyond that, there isn’t really much left, unless the show makes a comeback. That’s what I’m holding out for at this point.

But as the years have gone on, I really have realized that this is one of the best modern American animated series to come out in recent history. There’s been very little to match or surpass it. In the 90s, there were Gargoyles, Batman: The Animated Series, SwatKATs: The Radical Squadron (not a masterpiece, but still original and a lot of fun, with great characters and villains and a fun animation style), and other great shows. After that…what has there been? Recently there was the He-Man remake, Avatar: The Last Airbender, X-Men: Evolution, Samurai Jack, the Clone Wars shorts…and okay, yeah, this is a subjective list, and I’m really out of touch with anything else that may have come out while I’ve been living abroad. I enjoy Kim Possible and Danny Phantom and Dexter’s Laboratory and others, and from the 90s I loved (the original Nickelodeon) Rugrats and Doug and Hey Arnold! and Courage The Cowardly Dog, but I’m not including them on this list, because they’re fun but they aren’t really pushing the envelope. People will argue that The Simpsons and Family Guy should be on there–and they’re cool for satire and social commentary, but in those cases, animation is just a medium to bring those ideas across. The art isn’t really anything special.

Anyway, the point is that before PoDW, I really can’t think of any shows that succeeded in introducing this kind of gorgeous animation, strong characterizations, noticeable character and plot development (people really hate when Ren doesn’t leave Bloth for dead in the quicksand in “The Game Players of Undaar”, but I have to admit that I really love that moment), and a continuing story, “all in one neat little package” (to quote the show, heh). It was revolutionary–especially coming from Hanna-Barbera, which is credited widely as having killed creativity in American animation with the cheap visual quality of The Flintstones and The Jetsons–and it’s still one of my favorite shows. It’s totally a 90s production, and the dialogue and some of the animation reflects it, but on the whole, I think it’s aged pretty well and still tops out so many current shows, especially since people seem to favor cheap animation and art styles more and more. It’s a real shame that PoDW failed to catch on, but people do remember it very fondly. And as long as people are out there wanting to find others who love the show, I’ll be here, doing my thing with this site.

That is all. ;o)

Two things

1. If any of you have posted comments to entries before that haven’t shown up, I apologize; I manually approve all comments and must have inadvertently marked them as spam, because there was a while when I would just get waves and waves of spam messages here. I just approved what I think is the first actual legitimate comment are the first two actual legitimate comments I’ve seen (hey! thanks!), which prompted me to throw this in here. Sorry!

2. To the people who found me on Facebook: thank you for the friend requests! I do appreciate them! However, because of the incident I mentioned a couple of entries ago, right now I feel uncomfortable about adding people who I don’t know personally. This is just until this all blows over and I feel better about things (though it may be a few months, because there’s a very real chance this online incident will spill into the offline arena at Dragon*Con). I hope you understand–I’m really sorry to have to do this, and that this had to happen at all. Healthy obsessions with certain items/films/musicials/TV shows/etc. are fine. Unhealthy obsessions with people are…not fine at all.

Tightening security

Recently I’ve had issues with somebody severely violating my trust and getting far too close for comfort. As a result, I’ll be locking down my online presence in various ways from now on, for my own protection and peace of mind. I’ve set my AOL Instant Messenger buddy list so that only people on my list can see when I’m online. Please send me an e-mail if you’d like my screen name, and if you’d like for me to add you to my list.

This is just the first of several steps I’ll be taking to guard myself online. It’s a small one, and since I have this website and a blog that my friends and family use to keep up with me while I live abroad, I can’t completely cut myself off from the web–but I have to do what I can.

Action figure help, and some possible DVD info (or lack thereof)

Someone recently acquired the Wraith toy, but he can’t get the two base parts to snap together, and is looking for some advice from someone who also owns this (I don’t). If you do own this and are willing to offer up some advice, please send me an e-mail and I’ll put you in touch with him. Thank you!

Also from the same guy–someone on the CaptainN.net forums claims that the PoDW masters have become dirty and damaged by moisture (very strange, considering the show’s relatively young), and said that the show was apparently slated for a 2008 release but that it’s been pushed back due to the masters having to be restored. I have no idea how credible a source he or his own sources are. He cites Earl Kress’s blog as having written something about the Banana Splits Adventure Hour (though there’s no mention of PoDW)–but it turns out Kress (a writer, among many other things, for quite a few animated series over the years) had posted a list of 2007 Hanna-Barbera DVD releases last September, so I definitely will be watching his website to see what else he posts, since he has a lot of information on many classic Hanna-Barbera toons, and had ties to the studio itself.

(Thanks, Nathan!)

Oh, and on a more personal note…I’ve booked my one-way plane ticket back to Atlanta. I’ll be moving back to the US on August 16th. From June onwards, life will be pretty hectic for several months–from now onwards, even, since I’m starting to look for jobs for mid-September right now. I’m not looking forward to leaving all this, but I’m looking forward to getting back into my area. It’s been an incredible ride so far, though.

Just for the record


I swear, I am a 25-year-old human being of the female variety. It’s simultaneously funny and frustrating that, despite different indicators across the site that point to the webmaster being a girl, people still make that mistake. I understand that my name, which appears at the bottom of every page in the disclaimer, is one that many western readers won’t have come across–that’s because it’s Indian, as am I. It’s a very common Indian female first name. Run the name of Smitha through Google Images if you don’t believe me.

But I also don’t understand why people assume a webmaster is male if the gender isn’t immediately obvious (and I HAVE had it in the FAQ for several years, actually–“Your site’s awesome, man!“/”Thank you! But I’m female, actually”). I think the content I wrote for the site years ago is most decidedly effeminate in tone (just click “the old blog” in the category/tag list and read the older entries to see for yourself), though I’m not very girly by nature and my writing style’s become less superfluous and more focused as the years have gone on. Occasionally, though, if I gush about something geeky or just awesome, there’s seriously no way to think I’m male.

Want more proof? Here’s me in a print club booth with some friends, and with the other female cast members of this year’s musical (added 05apr2007 because the previous image wasn’t that flattering; I’m in the purple fleece to the lower right). See? Totally female.

I hope this clears things up, though I don’t doubt that people will continue to make this mistake in the future. I just wish people wouldn’t assume when there’s no reason at all to make that assumption.


I’ve decided to go ahead and import all the entries from the old “obsessive PoDW fangirl heyday” blog (and I finished as of 2:45 AM, early Monday! Thank god we have Monday off). I’m faced with the burden of formatting and publishing each one individually, to add a subject line and remove excessive HTML and the like (and remove the name of former employers which I stupidly referenced by name)…not bothering with broken image tags or old e-mail addresses, though. The only way to contact me these days is through the contact page, which I think/hope you all know.

Referencing the “obsessive fangirl” bit from above…there are some truly choice (and by choice, I mean horribly humiliating) things I wrote 5-6 years ago. My whole online writing style back then was a lot sillier and online-dorky, and I actually wrote a post in September 2001 saying that I would gladly take Dark Water over Osama Bin Laden any day (I’ve made it a private post for now, so nobody can read it and laugh at me, and while I decide if I should delete it or save it for a laugh sometime way down the road)–but I guess that’s part of growing up, right? I’ve gone through a lot since then (college graduation, starting to work, moving abroad, having friends and relatives pass away, other sobering/maturing experiences), and I’m just five years older–everyone’s always growing and changing, though, so I really shouldn’t be so hard on myself. I’m just really self-conscious, and also really critical of unhealthily obsessive fans that give us more well-rounded fans a bad name…and I’m now realizing that I used to be one of those fans. I guess I need to lighten up, though.

Anyway…I’m debating now about formatting and importing all my old website updates (from the updates.html pages)…but I’m thinking that’ll come later, after the more important stuff goes up. Right now, all that’s left is putting up the updates that have been amassing in my e-mail inbox for the last year, and the site will be ready to go live. If you hadn’t noticed already (which I’m guessing is nearly all of you, because I don’t think anyone actually visits this blog–hah!), this is the new layout, but the links don’t work. For the two or three of you who do visit–surprise!