From January 5th to 10th, the Tokusatsu Network celebrates its One Year Anniversary. Throughout the week, the members of Team TokuNet looks back on their first year together.
Yasin Bulhan (also known as Yas), like most American tokusatsu fans, got his start watching Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers and found out later that its original footage originated in Japan. In 2006, he discovered tokusatsu through the Kamen Rider Kabuto and Gogo Sentai Boukenger.
From there, he was active in fandom forums and in 2009, alongside Tokusatsu Network Senior Editor, Jorge Salas, started Rising Sun Tokusatsu. In 2014, Yasin was one of the seven founding members of the Tokusatsu Network.
Did you feel nervous or worried in the weeks leading up to the launch date?
I was a bit nervous, yeah. When you’ve worked on creating something for months, it’s only natural to be a little nervous on how it will be received once you put it out there. But I wasn’t nervous about whether people would like the site, that I was fairly confident in since a lot of planning was put forth and we had a great team assembled.
It was more about if enough people would see it. There were a lot of well-established tokusatsu sites with grounded readerships and we were just starting out. And being a part of the creation of another tokusatsu site in the past, I knew how hard it was to get people to click on a link. So I was a bit worried about how many eyes would see it, rather than if people would accept it.
How did you feel about the positive fandom response in its first week? Have you had that kind of response before for your previous works? Do you remember your first thoughts or reactions?
It was mind-blowing, to say the least. I figured it would be a couple of thousand visitors at the most since it was our very first week. We were still figuring things out so we had no idea how people would respond to our reporting style.
On the Rising Sun Tokusatsu website that I worked on with Jorge, it took us a few years to gather a decent readership for a small site like ours. But we did receive a response similar to that a few times, the first being our coverage of the press conference for Kamen Rider Wizard, where we stayed up most of the night gathering, translating and posting every piece of info we could find from various sources. Our views spiked way up and we got so much feedback, more than we were used to.
But to see TokuNet reach that point in only a week, I knew that we were onto something. We just needed to stick to our guns and things would only go up from there.
There were a lot of really positive tweets and messages from the tokusatsu community when TokuNet launched, do you remember how you felt reading those messages? Do you have a favorite?
I remember one comment from reader Tokugami that summed up everything quite well.
TokuNet is a project that a group of friends got together to produce. We spent many nights and weekends ironing out details of how we wanted to organize things regarding both the website and our process for getting articles written. We wanted it to be right. So, to hear people say that they were excited to see what our group would do from here on out really gives you the confidence to see this thing through.
The Tokusatsu Network expanded faster than anyone on staff had expected regarding bringing new staff members and launching its forums, podcast, and YouTube channel. Considering this kind of growth, do you have a sense of tension or excitement? What would be your hopes and fears for TokuNet in the future?
There is definitely a sense of excitement for things to come more than anything else. Expansion is one of the main goals of any project. And for TokuNet, we had an idea of what we wanted to achieve and how we wanted to achieve it. I think the only thing we couldn’t account for was how fast things would develop, especially within the first year. But Team TokuNet is a very level-headed lot, so any challenges we faced, we navigated our way through it as a team. Therefore, there isn’t much nervousness involved when it comes to the growth of the site and brand.
What are your personal hope and goals for TokuNet’s future and as a team?
Well, a jet, for one. I want it to be blue and have some kind of cloaking mechanism.
But in all seriousness, though a jet is serious business, what I want to see TokuNet become in the future is a hub for creative ideas from all corners of the tokusatsu fandom backed by the news journalism that we already strive to achieve every day. I want TokuNet to be a source of fun and interesting content from the most creative minds in our community.
We have such a great team already and it’s so much fun to work and joke around with everyone. If there was one thing that I hope for in the future regarding our team, it’s that we continue with the vibe that we have going right now and that as we add on more to the group, we all keep the attitude we have now. We were extremely lucky with the additions that we made to the team this year. They’re folks that I can truly call friends. And I have no doubt in the future that we will add more people that I can add to this category.
What inspires you to keep moving forward creatively in your personal projects, as well as your projects and goals for TokuNet?
The jet. Seriously, there has to be a sandwich bar and maybe hyperspeed capabilities.
Real answer: Possibilities.
There are so many ideas that we have for both TokuNet and our own personal projects. And the fact that people continue to check out our site gives us the confidence to try out these ideas in the future.