I've noticed the worries of the members of this community, and I hope to quell a few of those doubts about TOKYOPOP's release of the U.S. version of the Gothic Lolita Bibles.
My name is Michelle, and I'm the one mentioned as the "Japan contact" for the magazine. However, more than that, I am the one who first presented the idea of translating the Gothic Lolita Bibles into English for a Western audience to the TOKYOPOP staff. I was nothing more but a huge fan of Lolita, and at the time, a low rung member of the TOKYOPOP staff. However, now, I am the current project manager of the U.S. version of the Gothic Lolita Bibles.
Firstly, we apologize for the huge misunderstanding. We do not want to usurp amanikitty's panel in anyway. We were seeking suggestions for our own panel, however, it was not done in the professional manner that I had personally hoped for. For that we are sorry. As Peter Tatara, head of programming for NY Anime Fest has said (http://community.livejournal.com/egl/9934108.html?thread=172779292#t172779292), we will be having our panel at a completely different time. amanikitty, I hope our panels will compliment each other well.
Now I'd like to address some concerns raised in this community.
I know that many members THINK that TOKYOPOP has no clue about the fan base or the fashion of Lolita. Nothing could be further from the truth.
After speaking with our editors, we all agree that we should bring some points to light for the EGL livejournal community which will hopefully put some of you at ease. Yes, we DO read this community, albeit silently. And yes, we DO have Lolita fans working for this magazine.
"Who ARE you guys?"
Working on this Bible are myself and several other highly qualified writers, editors, and photographers who have had a keen interest in Gothic Lolita before this magazine's translation went underway. Almost all of them have lived in Japan for some time before returning to the States. We have writers in both the U.S. and Japan working hard to make as authentic a product as we can. Do not doubt that we all have been fighting hard to maintain this incredibly important point. We wish to promote the Lolita fashion in the States and other English-speaking countries, not mar it or change it into something else. (Don't worry, we know about the Hot Topic thing. ;))
We have met, and frequently correspond with, the editor in chief of the Japanese Gothic Lolita Bibles as well as KERA magazine, Mr. Naoki Matsumura. I will be going down to meet with him and his staff again later this month to have the first issue further approved and critiqued.
"So who are YOU to talk anyway?"
As for myself, I have been a Lolita fashion fan, creator, buyer, and wearer for the past 6 years. I have observed both the American and Japanese Lolita trends in fashion and fans during this time. I previously lived in the U.S., then Tokyo for a bit, and now, I have been living in Osaka for the past 2 years, observing and yes, living a Lolita lifestyle (as well as working ;)). I have been a panelist and organizer for various Japanese street fashion and Gothic Lolita panels at conventions around America including Katsucon, Tekkoshocon, and Otakon. I was also interviewed and photographed for the NY Times article on Gothic Lolita many moons ago. (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/13/fashion/13GOTH.html?ei=5090&en=c844d49ac1bc47f0&ex=1268456400&partner=rssuserland&pagewanted=all&position=)
"So what's going to be in this magazine, anyway?"
Much of the content will be original translated over from previous issues of the Japanese Gothic Lolita Bible, as well as translated patterns.
Also we will have some original content. I personally have written a few of the original articles for the magazine, which includes interviews with Japanese Lolita celebrities, shop girls, and Lolitas on the street. We are also doing interviews with U.S. Lolitas, and have also been keeping an eye on J-Rock bands that come to the States.
"What about the fans? Doesn't our opinion count?"
Without making a previous huge public announcement, we have been observing this online community and making notes of the many Dos and Don'ts that pop up from time to time here. I have been a member of this community for a very, very long time, before I ever worked for TOKYOPOP, and I've always valued the information as well as the connection that this community offered. We respect this community because you are our fans. You are the reason we are doing this translation. Let me tell you, I have been fighting to get the English release of these Bibles for.. well 3 years now. I am definitely on the project to help create an authentic product, not just for my own purposes or benefit.
We always take the opinions voiced here into consideration.
We know you don't like lace gloves.
We know you don't like Hot topic dresses, but some of you think the accessories are still fine!
We know that the average age of users here is 18 (remember that poll someone posted 3 months ago? Yeah, I saved that).
We know that people are afraid of posting pictures up here for fear of being flamed.
We know La Vie en Rose to be a fine fan-created magazine.
We know that Mana wasn't the first one ever to invent Gothic Lolita (GASP!).
We know that Gwen Stefani is NOT LOLITA.
We know that this community didn't used to have any moderators for a long time (back when chaos reigned).
We know that you all don't trust TOKYOPOP a whole lot, but we're willing to give it the old college try anyhow :)
I know three of the EGL moderators in person: missmeganmaude, jolie_laidexelyna
The purpose of this post is to show you, the fans, that we want to be as honest and open with you about our efforts as possible, and hope to continue doing so in the future. We are sorry for the confusion that our silence has caused.
Please feel free to comment with suggestions or problems, and I will do my best to reply to all of them, although it will take some time.
Thank you for your time, and God Save the Lolita!