Corn Pone Flicks and the ‘ultimate’ anime YouTube documentary

I’ll be your captain / come follow my dream…

If you put me on the spot and asked me – what’s your favourite ever ‘anime analysis’ video on YouTube, I’d tell you in an instant.

Corn Pone Flicks’ overview of The ZIV/Malibu Captain Harlock dub

I first encountered Corn Pone Flicks when I was going through a particularly ardent YouTube binge – consuming everything I could when it came to anime review / documentary-style videos on YouTube. I’d reached a point in my fandom where I’d watched pretty much every major show in the anime ‘cannon’, and was starting to be more interested in *what* people were actually saying about these shows instead. I’d gone through the Gigguk phase, through the Arkada phase, through the Digibro phase – and then… I stumbled across Corn Pone Flicks’ series of videos on the Leiji Matsumoto universe, and something just ‘clicked’.

Who exactly are Corn Pone Flicks? For that, I’d direct you to the FAQ section on their site – which is a fascinating relic/treasure trove of an older breed of anime fandom if ever I’ve seen one. In a world where the vast majority of hyper-intensive fan discourse has moved onto Twitter, the information shared in their FAQ recalls a more innocent age of tape trading and all round fan creativity.

In both the style and delivery of the videos, there’s something at work which feels completely at odds with the hectic, brash motor-mouth style most anime YouTubers operate in these days. CPF’s Harlock vids are the definition of old-timey old-school – and I love them all the more for it. They feel like something you could stumble across, late-night, on BBC Four. Strictly for ‘intellectuals’ and nostalgicists only.

These videos feel like they tie vintage anime into this vast ‘alternate history’ of American telly paraphernalia – a world of suited oldschool Hollywood types languishing in smokey bars sipping whiskey before signing on the dotted line for a bunch of ‘Japanese cartoons’. Everything is resolutely, irresistibly ‘analogue’.

They have their moments of comedy – no doubt – but there’s a reverent seriousness to the videos too that speaks of an age where information about anime came from photocopied fanzines and second-hand books. Where everything you watched came via a fuzzy TV and battered tape deck. They delight in the concept of bizarre trivia and factoids that would otherwise have been lost to time. They feel like gems from a bygone age, just as much as the shows they’re describing – a sepia toned revue playing endlessly out into the stars.

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